I “blame” my new insatiable curiosity about the Caribbean on Patrick Bennett, an AFAR Ambassador who writes at Uncommon Caribbean. These islands were an area of the world that I had written off as too touristy and not for me. But he has lured me back in and the more research I do on this region, the more I am intrigued and the more I am certain that I will be returning very soon.
For my next trip, I want to go to an island that I have not been to before, I want to visit a place with fresh eyes. Fresh, but not naive. I want to seek experiences that are not those that can come from a cruise boat. I want to engulf myself into the real island, meet the real people, taste the real food.
I am thinking of Aruba.
Besides Patrick, my good friend (and fellow AFAR Ambassador) Charu of Butterfly Diary has spent time on this island. When we spent time together in Napa last November she raved about it. Charu also seeks out exceptional experiences and I know by following her lead I am sure to enjoy every moment. I count on her and other travelers on AFAR to share their individual adventures that are unique and unparalleled.
How would I spend my time on this “one happy island?”
Well, the beaches are glorious – those are the positive memories I have from my visits to the Caribbean. The warm luscious waters and beautiful white beaches. I am not big on tourists so I think I would head to the Manchebo Beach or Eagle Beach area which is supposed to be less crowded. I could stay at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa or the Westin Resort as I am a big fan of Starwood Properties. But I think a more local experience would be renting a place. It is a good solution and there are plenty of private homes and villas as well as apartments and condos.
By doing that I can do something I love to do…eat! Nothing draws me more to the Caribbean than seafood. I want to seek out the local market early in the morning and buy fresh treats from the sea and bring them “home” for a relaxing lunch with a nice bottle of local wine from the island.
I can go to the beach and take in the sights, read a book or just do nothing. In the afternoon when I am beginning to get hungry again I will seek one of my other favorites, plantains. Fried with salt, they are perfect to wash down with an ice-cold beer, maybe a local Balashi?
For dinner, I think I am going to go with my girl Charu’s suggestion for the most romantic restaurant on the island, Papiamento. Although there are so many restaurants to choose from it will make your head spin! Whichever one I end u going with I need to save room for the local dessert specialty, Pan Bollo, an Aruban bread pudding with Ponce Crème!
Knowing Mr. Misadventures the way I do, he’ll want to spend a day capturing the beauty of Aruba in its nature reserve, the Arikok National Park. There are exotic plants and birds and breathtaking coastal views, the perfect way to appeal to a vacationing photographer who might tire of the beaches (is that even possible?!).
The more I research I do on my Aruba travel and how I might spend a week on this happy island the more certain I am that I will be going there very soon!
Have you visited Aruba? What was your experience? Have you thought about visiting Aruba? Why do you want to go?
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