5 reasons you’ll want to go to Aruba
Aruba hasn’t missed a beat in the past few years. During and after the pandemic visitors have continued to arrive on the One Happy Island with no signs of interruptions. Friendly people, ideal climate, global diverse cuisine, and beachfront resorts keep visitors coming back.
This year’s Aruba Hi-Winds competition comes early in May and draws water sports enthusiasts from around the world and the Caribbean to compete and watch the action. What began as a windsurfing event has evolved and grown to include the latest version of wind-powered sailing craft–the foil. Both kiteboarders and windsurfers have added this version for speed and distance sailing. The event includes several categories like big air kiteboarding, kite foiling long-distance, and long- distance windsurfing: there are youth categories and even a sunfish sailing race. This popular event began in 1986 when two local windsurfers, Anthony Blok and Ruben Croes decided to share the secret winds of Aruba with the world. At that time, windsurfing was one of the hottest sports worldwide with top athletes like Robby Naish, Stephan van den Berg, and Natalie Lelièvre competing on a professional basis at the Aruba Hi-Winds. Today’s event is minus the big purse but a total of $20,000.00 will be handed out to winners along with trophies and other prizes. The action will take over Fisherman’s Huts where the sand converts into a collage of colorful sails and boards and on the southern end of the island at Boca Grandi where competitors catch big air. The five-day competition runs from May 17 to May 22, 2023. To register: https://www.arubahiwinds.com/
Peruvian food is in the spotlight and while Lima is one of the hottest culinary destinations in the world Aruba is chiming in with several hot spots featuring seafood in a range of Peruvian cooking styles. Peru’s cuisine incorporates some of the most biodiverse crops and hundreds of varieties of corn, potatoes, and quinoa endemic to the country appear in menus in Peru and around the world. Order up a selection of ceviche accented in roasted corn and sweet potatoes along with a Pisco cocktail fashioned with brandy, lime, and simple syrup with egg white foam afloat and you’ll be transported to Peru. Family- owned and run, Delimar is located in Oranjestad and serves tasty and unpretentious meals. Lunch and dinner offerings include a collection of ceviche dishes, which are the cornerstone of Peruvian cuisine. Order the dish with just fish or explore more layered textures and tastes with a combo including shrimp, squid, and octopus. For more details: https://www.delimararuba.com/
Así Es Mi Peru also in downtown Oranjestad came on the scene in 2016 and gets plenty of kudos for its authentic cuisine. Dining is a tad upmarket with white linens accented with colorful table runners and meticulously designed plates. The team of Peruvian chefs prepares dishes like, pescado a lo macho (fish filet with creamy seafood sauce and Peruvian spices) and lomo saltado (pan-seared steak al la Peru ) and a long list of appetizers with various renditions of ceviche. Don’t pass on the Peruvian Cuzqueña beer. Deserts include arroz con leche and picarones– sticky doughnuts dripping in honey and cinnamon. See more at: https://asiesmiperuenaruba.com/
The latest on the scene is Lima Bistro which opened in June of 2021. The spot is on the marina at the Harbour House Condominiums in Oranjestad. Inside, a hanging star guides the way for patrons to tables or the bar, a tribute, and designation to the North Star. The open kitchen invites insights to preparation and ingredients and a sneak look at the components in the daily spontaneous creations the chef dreams up. Take a table outdoors and dine as they would in Peru overlooking the Pacific. Chef Teddy gets plenty of accolades for his combinations and creative flavors inspired from his home in Lima. After culinary school and a journey around the world to glean his culinary techniques and tastes and a final stop in San Sebastian, Spain he returned to the New World. His menu is well-rounded with seafood, duck, pork, beef, lamb, and even a veggie dish. As with most Peruvian establishments, the list of ceviche is extensive, after all, it’s the national dish of Peru and becomes a point of pride in the kitchen. Sweets combine Peruvian and Aruban comfort foods. Visit them at: https://www.limabistro.com/
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba has completed its new look, not that the old one was so bad. Keeping in tune with the local ambiance, the rooms are now using locally inspired designs and motifs. Colors and textures reflect an ocean motif with flowing waves. A color palette of beige, blue and green replicates the Aruba landscape and coastal area, and new artwork showcases aloe plants and succulents found in the natural environment. https://www.ritzcarlton.com/
A brand new all-suite property opened its doors across the street from Eagle Beach, the best, most photographed and widest beach on the island. Embassy Suites by Hilton debuted its 330 rooms evoking a homier experience. The idea is to offer a place you might live, which is right in the middle of all Aruba has to offer. Oranjestad is nearby along with a slew of restaurants, bars, and shops. Eagle Beach is just a walk across the street and Palm Beach is a short ride. https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/auajmes-embassy- suites-aruba-resort/
Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort, also in Eagle Beach has undergone major renovations to all studios and suites that include using bright Dutch Caribbean colors which the hotel’s architecture has embraced over time. You can’t miss the brightly painted golden yellow buildings showcasing Dutch colonial architecture. Passions on the Beach and Horizons Bar both got a jolt of energy and some sprucing up. Certified by EarthCheck, the resort is working on water, energy and land usage. Monthly beach cleanups, a reduction in single-use plastics and a program to protect Aruba’s flora and fauna are part of their green imitative. https://www.amsterdammanor.com/
Aruba has its share of local artists and with a diverse ethnic community, the art scene is fueled and influenced by techniques and media used around the world, and in Aruba, that world is constantly evolving. There are three art schools on the island and numerous galleries and museums. You can find primitive art, multi-media productions, textiles, traditional oil on canvas, and murals that continue to materialize overnight. Art shows and pop-up galleries appear at a minute’s notice. There is an organized art show that takes place in San Nicholas in November. San Nicholas, the island’s second largest town has transformed from the oil refinery community of the mid-1900s along with its red-light district (which is still active) into a thriving art community where murals welcome arrivals and spontaneously appear on dilapidated buildings brightening up the Sunshine City.
Legendary Charlie’s Bar is considered a piece of art on its own merit with a multi-layered décor of license plates, flags, plaques, and novelty items dangling from the ceiling. It’s become a subject for local artists to interpret. The family-run bar is still going strong with the third generation now manning the storefront. Today people come to San Nicholas from around the world not just to have a beer at Charlie’s but for the art. It’s the place to be if you are an artist or art lover. The fifth edition of the Aruba Art Fair takes place November 4 to 6, 2023, and promises to be a celebration and an inspiration with various art disciplines including fashion, mosaics, murals, and more. There were 150 exhibitors at the last show in 2019 so expect a big turnout. For more information: https://arubaartfair.com/
Music & Comedy
Long time music festival celebrating 21 years running brings in internationally known musicians and celebrities for a long weekend of concerts. Talent at the Soul Beach Music Festival in Aruba this Memorial Day weekend will include Jill Scott, Lucky Daye, The Roots, Deon Cole, Tiffany Haddish, and more. The kick-off party happens Wednesday eve May 24 and features guest DJs. Moomba Beach is the venue during the day on Thursday and the evening concerts run from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. A comedy concert is set, and more main stage concerts run for the consecutive nights until the finale which is Memorial Day Cool Down when it’s back to the beach for the day with DJs hosting the party and barbeque. Dates are May 24 thru May 29, 2023. For tickets: https://soulbeach.net/2023/