An Unsurpassed Sanctuary
On the Island of Aruba
By Meghan Chalfant
The details have been finalized and as your wedding quickly approaches, you look forward to celebrating the day with family and friends, and leaving together on a romantic honeymoon. If you’re looking for a locale with pristine beaches, year-round tropical weather, rich history, and endless activities, travel to the “One happy island” and discover all that Aruba has to offer.
The Dutch island of Aruba is located 18 miles north off the Venezuelan coast in the southern Caribbean. Aruba’s drinking water comes from the ocean and is purified through the second largest desalinization plant in the world, which makes the drinking water pure and safe for human consumption. Ranked as one of the safest, cleanest islands, with the highest return-visitor rate in the Caribbean of almost 60%, it’s no wonder why Aruba is one of the most popular destinations for honeymooners and families. With clear skies, warm sunshine, and refreshing trade winds, the average temperature is 82 degrees with low humidity. On average, Aruba receives about 16 inches of rainfall (mostly between October and January) and lies outside of the hurricane belt.
Over 100,000 people of 96 distinct nationalities make Aruba their home. Although the official languages are Dutch and Papiamento ─ a language drawn from Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and African dialects ─ the Aruban people are multilingual; most also speak English and Spanish.
Getting Married in Aruba
With the recent passage of a new law, couples are now legally able to tie the knot in Aruba. Although legal ceremonies must take place at the Civil Town House located in downtown Oranjestad, with proper documentation, couples are also welcome to have a second ceremony on the island. Exchanging heartfelt vows beachfront, under a quaint gazebo, at Fofoti Tree on Eagle Beach, or at Alto Vista Chapel are picture-perfect settings.
Where to Stay
From relaxation to nightlife, Aruba offers a variety of accommodations to satisfy every guest. Situated in the high-rise section on Aruba’s famous two-mile-long strip of white sand and palm-lined street of Palm Beach is the Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort. Approximately seven miles from the airport and about four miles from Oranjestad ─ Aruba’s capital city ─ this beachfront resort is centrally located. The newly expanded Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort offers spacious studios, and one-two-and three-bedroom suites with deluxe amenities, while the newly constructed beach tower suites offer granite countertops, washer and dryer, flat-screen televisions with DVD players, and a chic, modern décor.
Also nestled on Palm Beach is the 24-hour, all-inclusive Hotel Riu Palace. Located approximately six miles from the airport, this beachfront resort offers 450 guestrooms, including junior suites, suites, and double rooms with breathtaking views and turndown service. Throughout your stay enjoy five bars and six restaurants with all meals, snacks, and beverages (local and imported beverages) with your all-inclusive hotel package.
Located in the heart of Oranjestad, the 40-acre Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino boasts two distinctive lodging options with 287 rooms, including 269 suites and a variety of top restaurants to choose from. While the Renaissance Ocean Suites offer family-friendly services, The Renaissance Marina Hotel is an exclusive oasis with adult-only amenities and infinity pool. Both lodging options offer easy access to Renaissance Island, Aruba’s only private beach, which is ideal for a relaxing, romantic honeymoon.
There are many locations you may want to visit on the island which capture Aruba’s natural beauty. The California Lighthouse offers breathtaking views of the western coastline and entire island, while the Fontein Caves emphasize Aruba’s history with drawings made by the Arawak Indians. Stop at the Natural Pool after a drive around Aruba, or stop for a romantic picnic under the famous divi-divi trees in Arikok National Park. From spectacular sunset dinner cruises, nightlife, entertainment, casinos, and adventurous activities such as sailing, snorkeling, and kayaking, you can do it all or nothing at all. Other activities you may want to consider are shopping at the Renaissance Mall and Marketplace, visiting art galleries and museums, or playing a round of golf.
Eat, Drink, and Be Happy
Aruba has over 100 international restaurants, with cuisine ranging from French and Italian to Japanese and Indonesian. If you would like to try a variety of restaurants check out the Aruba Gastronomic Association Program (www.arubadining.com), which represents more than 20 well-known ethnic and international restaurants on Aruba. This unique dine-around program is perfect for travelers who are new to Aruba. Purchase combination meals at an affordable price for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that include your appetizer, entrée, dessert, coffee or tea, and service charge (where applicable). And while you’re on the island, don’t forget to try the local cuisine as well.
How to Get Here
With many airlines offering nonstop and direct scheduled flights to and from Aruba, getting there is quick and easy. Just a four-hour flight from the New York and New Jersey areas, most major air carriers (American Airlines, US Airways, Continental Airlines, United Airlines, Delta, and JetBlue) fly into the Queen Beatrix International Airport.
The ambiance in Aruba sets the mood for a honeymoon in paradise. Whether you choose to relax beachside or explore the island, you and your husband will create many lasting memories as you begin your life together. For more information about Aruba and to book your honeymoon or destination wedding, visit www.Aruba.com.
Photo Courtesy of via Hotel Riu Palace, Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, and Aruba Tourism Authority