Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Private weekends or time alone with your wife, girlfriend or significant other is a requirement for a happy and successful relationship. Just as the kids deserve a Fit Father’s attention, so does the woman in your life. For this reason my wife Misa and I hit the road at least once a quarter, sometimes as local as Miami or as far away as Phuket or Tokyo. This is in addition to our quarterly family excursions with the kids. This go-around we chose the small Caribbean Dutch Island resting 15 miles off the Northern shoreline of Venezuela.
Aruba is unique, captivating and very touristy. Strong, customary trade winds, white, sandy beaches and Spanish, Dutch, English and Papiamento lingo commingle with 82-degree breezy weather, kind-hearted inhabitants and the southwesterly bending leaning fofoti trees. Keep in mind rainy days are rare on the 19.6-mile long and 6-mile wide dry island.
To get there we flew into Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) on a 4-hour direct United Airlines flight from Newark, NJ. A car rental was a must so we could explore every nook and cranny the region had to offer including Arikok National Park which encompasses 18% of the island, the California Lighthouse named after a shipwrecked vessel coming from Liverpool, the Capital City of Oranjestad and of course as many vegan or vegetarian friendly restaurants as possible. The Lighthouse sits atop the Northern most part of the island and is the perfect locale for lunch or dinner at the well-known Faro Blanco Restaurant. With spectacular sunset views, the Italian and Aruban infused eatery serves a medley of salads, soups, risottos and pastas and hosts a daily happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm and daily live music between 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm.
I didn’t view Aruba as an enchanting retreat or meditational destination as I do Negril, Belize or Costa Rica so it wasn’t treated like one. For that reason an entertaining beach experience can be had from the Renaissance Ocean Suites in Oranjestad where the action takes place. For example, the Renaissance Marketplace consists of a mix of hip cafes such as Sidebar Bistro, live music and a movie theater for those who become restless quickly. A main stage stayed busy with various musical acts each evening of our visit. Guests can enjoy the private beach at Renaissance Island to relax and feed the Flamingos, visit the Okeanos Spa for the Sea of Tranquility or Chocolate Embrace treatment, play volleyball or tennis, strength train at the fascinating gym, hit the running trail, kayak, sail, scuba dive, snorkel or watch a wedding on the beach as day turns to night. As well, the Patamingo Kids Club is at your disposal if you do decide to bring the young ones.
The Fit Fathers mantras is simple, “vacations are to relax the mind, not the body.” So the first morning we chose to run free for 4 miles through the hustle and bustle of downtown along a path that leads to the airport. Furthermore, each ¼-mile we knocked out 25 push ups and 25 dips for a total of 400. Yes, it felt amazing as usual. Swiftly afterwards we were able to reward ourselves with a big fat vegan grub and poolside sunbathing. I enjoy cycling equally and stopped in Tri-Bike for $25 a day loaners (24 hours that is). They have swimming, biking and running gear in addition to Trek mountain bike rentals. However my timing was off for the Duo ExTreme Mountain Bike Challenge at Rancho Notorious with 60km, 40km and sprint distance races.
Searching for health conscious foods is always a key adventure for our excursions. The Happy Cow app typically points us to the top and most popular veggie based eateries within range. One that I can’t forget is the authentic Indonesian vegan meal at Indo in the Palm Beach area. We had potato rotis, spirited veggie rice dishes and an assortment of spicy noodles. The small joint is popular to locals and focuses strictly on the culinary experience. No need to worry about Karaoke ruining your meal.
If you want to explore a bit more try an ATV Tour, the UTV Beach and Cave Adventure or a Jeep Safari outing to traverse over the wild beauty of Aruba’s outback and rugged coastline to witness either the Natural Bridge, the Natural Pool, the Andicuri Trail, Alto Vista Chapel, Gold Mill Ruins, Cero Crystal or the Caves just to name a few. Conversely, riches can be made or lost at a multitude of Casinos where high-end shopping such as Breitling, Ralph Lauren, Cartier or Bvlgari patiently await your earnings. I’m not a gambler whatsoever so this theme never entered my consciousness.
For the last supper we were looking for a blend of health conscious culinary experiences alongside fine dining and found the precise place. Just two years old, the luxuriant Elements Restaurant is nestled within the Bucuti & Tara resort on Aruba’s Eagle Beach. A viscous Broccoli & Carrot Soup along with a refreshing Caesar Salad with avocados tickled our pallets. For entrees, Misa ordered the Quinoa Pineapple dish consisting of quinoa sautéed with a medley of vegetables creatively stuffed in the shell of a whole pineapple, and then flamed in front of us with Caribbean rum. I went with the Wheat Spaghetti featuring squash pasta, tomatillos, leeks and Quorn which was enhanced with garlic, Dijon mustard and Riesling wine. There was nothing more enchanting during our Aruban vacation than natural and organic dining by the sea.
Visit www.Aruba.com to start planning your romantic and active itinerary to show your lady just how special she is. It’s a Fit Fathers requisite!
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