Aruba – A Wealth of Abundance In a Dry Land
By Candace Boggan
Who would have ever imagined that a desert land could behold such expansive offerings? During my visit to the island of Aruba earlier this year, I was thoroughly impressed with the depth of this deluxe destination. At first glance, the arid land and plentiful cacti will mislead you, but trust me when I say looks can be deceiving. In fact, Aruba is actually a rich oasis in a number of ways. The island has breathtaking ocean views, white sand beaches, luxurious spas, premier golf courses, fine dining, lavish accommodations, well preserved landmarks, and is a nature enthusiast’s dream. Aruba also has a constant trade wind that blows year round, providing the perfect breeze. In actuality, the wind is so strong that it has created a permanent arch in the country’s famous Divi Divi trees, which can be seen throughout. From its alluring power, to the vibrant colors of the sea, this elegant Dutch cabochon is an absolute must see. As one-third of the ABC Islands (Bonaire and Curacao make up the other two-thirds,) this copious land is not only abundant in beauty and amenities, but in history, culture, and its ability to provide infinite possibilities to the parched, elite palate.
Since a trip to the spa is the quintessential way to begin any relaxing holiday, I visited the ultra luxe Pure Indulgence Spa for a complete transformation. While there, I was taken on a journey to renewal that I will not forget. It all began with a warm welcome, a brief tour and access to the women’s locker room to change. From there, I enjoyed a delicious cup of hot tea over a fantastically soothing, rose filled pure essential oil foot bath to quickly set the tone. Up next, came the most incredible 80-minute “Lucious Body” treatment that included a fantastic full body exfoliation, a luxurious wrap and a refreshing massage. The treatment was exceptional and the service was unparalleled. I walked out of my appointment having left months of stress and fatigue behind me. The spa offers a full range of comprehensive services, waterfall showers for use before and/or after therapy, gorgeous ocean and pool views, and a serene and tranquil atmosphere. The owner, who is a native of the U.S., is delightful and her staff is equally as pleasant. I highly recommend Pure Spa Aruba for a little (or a lot) TLC on your next holiday. www.purespaaruba.com
Golf & Nutriment
When you think of sprawling greens and the ocean, Aruba may not automatically come to mind. However, golf has become a pastime favorite for many of the island’s locals and visitors. One green that attracts tourists and natives alike is Links at Divi Aruba Golf Course. It is a spectacularly landscaped, 9-hole course offering professional instruction to both individuals and groups. The Links also has one of the most diverse lines of products in its Pro Golf Shop that I have ever seen. You can purchase golf equipment and accessories, colorful men’s and women’s apparel, and even pick up an exquisite piece of jewelry to surprise that special someone over dinner later that evening. After a few rounds, golfers can grab a bite to eat at the delicious Mulligan’s restaurant, which is located, just a few steps away from the pro shop. There, ravenous players can dine on the fresh catches of the day, or dive in on everything from veggie quesadillas, to a variety of sandwiches and sides. While visiting, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the magnificence of the green, as well as some mouth-watering comestibles.
After spending time indulging in fabulous spa services, golfing and fine dining, you may want to spend some time just relaxing on the beach. If so, I suggest breathing in all the magnificence of Palm Beach on the high-rise side, or Eagle beach on the low-rise side. I spent time at the beautiful Palm Beach, where the strip of white sand runs parallel to a stunning body of turquoise and blue hued water that stretches for approximately 2 miles. This beach sits in rear of the highrise resorts and appears endless to the naked eye. There is even a water taxi that runs up and down the length of the strip to drop guests off between locations. Water sport services are also available for the aquatic adventurer at Palm Beach.
Sight-Seeing in Aruba
There is much to see and do in Aruba. From the remnants of the Natural Bridge Ruins to the Alto Vista Chapel, built in 1750 upon a hill, a rich history awaits you. The island is also home to the California Lighthouse, constructed in 1910, which now features the renowned La Trattoria El Faro Blanco Italian restaurant. There are also a number of scuba & snorkeling private and group tours for your underwater pleasure. Prepare to capture some stunning marine views and colorful sea life during your underwater expedition. Animal welfare enthusiasts can even support local initiatives, by visiting the area’s Butterfly Farm, Ostrich Farm or Animal Garden. For more information on these sights and services and more, visit www.visitaruba.com
While visiting the island, I split my time between the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort and Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, which are approximately 2 miles apart. These are two phenomenal options for different reasons.
Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort
I loved my capacious one bedroom private vacation villa that overlooked the Links at Divi 9-hole golf course, as well as my rooftop patio, complete with a sizable jacuzzi, a grill and seating. My deluxe room was open concept, with a full living room, dining room area, separate kitchen and patios. I also had two full bathrooms; one for guests and the other was part of the master en suite. My villa featured high-end kitchen countertops, stainless steel appliances, jacuzzi tubs and a separate glass shower. Divi Golf is a massive property, so units and amenities are well spread out. Although it is not situated directly on the beach, access to one is just steps away from the resort’s entrance across the street. Guests can dine at Sea Breeze Café by the pool, Mulligans, which overlooks the gulf course, or at the acclaimed Windows on Aruba, which offers super refined dishes like Swordfish and citrus. The resort also has two fresh water pools and a children’s pool, a fitness center, tennis courts, a mini mart, free wifi and more.
Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort
What I loved the most about Divi Phoenix was its beachside entry to Palm Beach. I also appreciated that it was a smaller property (not small, but less expansive than Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort in comparison) and therefore, more intimate. My room was equally as beautiful with an incredible pool and ocean view and was also open concept; with a separate living room, dining area, kitchen, bedroom and two full bathrooms. My suite featured stainless steel appliances, a fabulous master en suite with a large jaccuzi tub and separate shower, a balcony and was quite spacious also. The pool, beach, watersports rental and restaurants were all in the same vicinity. I was able to enjoy beach side dining at both purebeach and pureocean, as well as worked near the pool. I ate fresh fish and salads, and decadent desserts during my stay. Divi Aruba Phoenix also has 2 freshwater pools, 1 children’s pool, hot tubs, a fitness center, spa and sauna, a gift shop, puredeli, a mini mart and more.
Both are excellent options for singles, couples and families for beach or golfing holiday stays. The resorts are also popular venues for events and destination weddings because they have some of the most amazing facilities and island backdrops. My time at both resorts was phenominal. www.diviresorts.com
Aruba has a relatively high standard of living that is evident throughout the island. You can expect to be met with a certain level of sophistication while a guest of this atoll. Arubans are a warm and friendly group of people, who hold their beloved land in high esteem. There’s a mix of residents; primarily comprised of natives, as well as those expats from various Dutch countries, neighboring Islands and other parts of the world. Whether you speak Dutch, English, native Papiamento or another language, you will be welcomed with a warm smile and feel right at home.