Why ask me?
I cannot tell you how many couples I have met over the years asking me about "secluded spots" where they can get enjoy Aruba just by themselves, particularly some unpopulated beaches or adorable, out-of-the-way guesthouses. As a well established island resident, they often expect me to have that information at my fingertips.
Recently, a long-time friend who spends six to eight weeks wintering at a timeshare on Aruba, queried me on behalf of her nephew, scheduled to marry on the island in February, 2017. He and his bride plan to stay for an additional four days after the nuptials, and were interested in some definitive "just the two of us" time, so she asked my advice. He had tentative reservations at a huge, busy resort, but she was sure this was not what they wanted.
A number of people consider me well-informed on charming, "off-the-tourist-track" venues since I authored the Moon Handbook Aruba in 2012, and spent much of 2015 researching and updating the second edition, which hit bookshelves across the world at the end of September of this year. The publishing company describes their guides as being for the "adventurous and budget minded." Due to their standards, it allowed me to investigate well beyond the normal tourist venues and activities, much to my surprise and delight.
Where to Stay?
Aruba Reef Apartments, Savaneta
Regarding one of the most romantic places to stay, Aruba Reef Apartments in Savaneta is the first that comes to my mind. It is located adjacent to Flying Fishbone restaurant, which many also consider a very romantic dining spot-more about that later. I was entranced with Aruba Reef Apartments from my very first glance; my friend equally so, and has been nagging her husband to return to it for a week just to themselves, ever since I took her there.
The very small complex has only a few apartments, three of which are right on the beach. You can literally fall out of into some of the bluest, calmest waters to be found around Aruba. Rooms are cheap in comparison to most of the large resorts. There are cooking facilities and large refrigerators in each room, and the community areas are delightfully picturesque. Everything about it reflects much of the personal taste of the founder, Fred, who was an art aficionado. His collection of unique paintings and sculptures, many from Bali, adorn the interior and exterior, and can even be found in the trees.
Elegant dining is available right next door, or truly go local if you are watching your budget, by patronizing Zeerovers, just a few doors down the street. It is moderately priced in the extreme, and serves up some of the best fish and shrimp on Aruba. There are several good restaurants close by, within easy walking distance, featuring Chinese, Indonesian and Cuban cuisine, which cater mostly to islanders and are priced accordingly.
Zeerover Aruba, Savaneta
If you wish to be closer to all the action, both day and night, Aruba Beach House is just a short distance north of the Marriott complex, with its own little patch of beach. This cozy guesthouse on the main drag to Malmok has a few ocean front suites and the rest circle a pleasant community area. Your hosts, Ewald and Doris, contribute greatly to the charm of the place.
Each apartment has an air-conditioned bedroom, with the living room/dining and kitchen area fashioned after Hawaiian lanai, outside on the terrace. There is a small pool, a dedicated clientele, many of which are wind and kite surfing fanatics, and a distinctly friendly and cozy ambience, as well as undeniably romantic.
Private Dinner for Two, Anyone?
What could be more conducive to fanning the flames of romance and passion than a private dinner for two on the beach at sunset? A few resorts offer this as part of their regular client service, among them Hilton Aruba, Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino and Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. They set up table service a discrete distance away from their shorefront dining venues and you are provided with a private waiter. Additional services such as photographers, musicians to set the mood, flowers and other surprises can be arranged. This is a most excellent manner in which to propose; how could any woman say no? These private dinners should be reserved well in advance with hotel concierges, usually immediately upon arrival, or ideally, prior to the trip, via e-mail.
If you do not happen to be staying at a resort that offers such a service, do not despair! An experienced chef and certifiable character, Jan Hein Poelmann, offers dinners for two or any number on the beach at your resort with his delightfully titled Blue Eyes Catering. Jan is happy to offer a variety of menus or take special requests, and can also arrange extras, such as one of Aruba's top Frank Sinatra tribute singers, to serenade you. Whichever option you select, private dinners on the beach are an activity you best arrange well in advance via e-mail.
Aruba has an abundance of water and beach front restaurants that capitalize on their dreamy location. Many are associated with the major resorts, but only sport a few tables on the beach for a cozy meal. Footprints at the Hyatt is just such a venue, as is a special section of tables at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort and Passions on the Beach from Amsterdam Manor. Both of the latter are located in the Eagle Beach area.
Now for Something Really Different...and Romantic!
As for after dinner activities, I personally find nothing more pleasing than a moonlight walk along the beach. Once the sun sets, not even Palm Beach is all that busy. If you want to experience something truly out of the ordinary, then make your way to Oranjestad on a Saturday evening and seek out the new Rietveld Park, which is practically next to Aruba's most famous Argentine steakhouse, El Gaucho, on the Wilhelminastraat.
The author dancing Tango at Cas di Tango, Rietveld Park Oranjestad Aruba (pic by Rosalie Klein)
Every week, Cas di Tango, run by Tango Maestro Rafa Oliana, conducts a Minlonga (a social evening of tango) under the stars at this very attractive new park in the middle of town. Dancing begins at 8:00 PM, just in time if you are coming from dinner at El Gaucho and wish to continue the Argentinean vibe. Nothing is more conducive to passion that dancing the tango with your inamorata. Rafa will show you how it is done and give some pointers, so even if you are a novice to this romantic dance, you will most definitely be hooked after trying it out.
Aruba has literally scores of tour operators taking you all around and about to the standard sights and some very out-of-the-way places. The Bushiribana Gold Ruins or Conchi (Natural Pool) are both beautiful places to visit during the day, but take on a whole new dimension when viewed under a full moon. These tours are only possible 2-3 days out of the month, so should be arranged very well in advance of your vacation, which must be during full moon to take advantage of this singular experience.
Entrance to Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins
As a professional photographer, I can say that capturing these locations by moonlight provided an interesting challenge with absolutely delightful results. If photography is a favorite pastime, you should also definitely explore returning home with some very unusual and memorable pictures of Aruba.
A Private Picnic on the Beach
Secret Beach Aruba
What romance seeking couple does not want to find a secluded beach where they can imagine they are the only two people in the world, while gazing out upon breathtaking blue waters and snowy white beaches, as well as into each other's eyes?
Aruba has many, which will vary from absolutely deserted during the work week, to busy with islanders on the weekends. Palm Beach and Eagle Beach, the main resort locations, will always be filled with tourists, though the latter still has a spot or two that is relatively quiet with little traffic.
Couple kissing at sunset, Eagle Beach Aruba
To guarantee a beach will be deserted at all times is difficult, as tours often pass by some of the more remote locations and stop to give their passengers a chance to swim. During the week, however, couples are sure to find some alone time at any of these charming locations:
- Santo Largo Beach
- Mangel Halto (Pos Chiquito)
- The California Dunes
- Boca Druif
- Andicuri (North Coast)
- Dos Playa (Arikok Park)
- Boca Grande (San Nicolas)
Depending on the season, it is difficult to guarantee absolute privacy, but the chances are good on week days. You should have the expanse of shore to yourself for a time, particularly earlier in the day, before schools let out.
These are some of my favorite suggestions for honeymooners, and honeymooners-at-heart who wish to stoke those romantic embers. Aruba is certainly the ideal destination for a passionate interlude, fueled by tropical breezes, gorgeous sunsets and rustling palms. There is supposedly some scientific evidence that an extremely sunny, warm climate does charge up the libido... is it the additional vitamin D or just the surroundings that spark the imagination? Whichever, it certainly seems to work, and you should make the most of it!