Aruba is a great place for a wellness vacation, offering plenty of health-focused things to do. Think long walks on the beach, working up a sweat in the gym and lots of healthy food options, making it enjoyable to eat healthy on your vacation. It’s easy to make your trip a time to de-stress, rejuvenate and recharge, and that’s exactly the kind of vacation we planned when we visited Aruba.
So, if you need ideas for planning a healthy vacation, keep reading. I want to share how we created our own wellness retreat.
Where to Stay: Aruba Resorts
We split our stay between two resorts: Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, which we booked with Hilton Honors™ Points, and Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, booked through RCI® Exchange.
Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino
The resort, its amenities and the beach were exceptional. As Diamond Hilton Honors members, we received an upgrade to a nice 1-Bedroom Suite, complete with a kitchenette and lots of space to spread out. We spent three nights at the Hilton Aruba, and between the well-appointed Suite and the staff’s commitment to Hilton CleanStay™, I didn’t want to leave.
Since we focused on having a wellness vacation, we visited the resort’s large and fully-equipped gym each day. Adjacent to the gym is eforea™ Spa, which we took full advantage of during our stay and I highly recommend. The staff was very professional, and the massage was fantastic. They also use a local line of cosmetic products made of natural ingredients, like aloe vera.
Another highlight of staying at the Hilton Aruba is the walking path behind the resort that connects the various resorts and small businesses nearby the hotel, similar to a private boardwalk. It saves you the hassle of needing to walk along the street, and given that it’s pretty hot during the day, it’s nice to be closer to the water when you explore the areas along Eagle Beach.
Insider tip: Book your umbrella a day in advance. Booking for the following day opens at noon. You have two options: free umbrellas, or you can pay a fee for umbrellas that are closer to the water.
While exploring the area near the resort, we came across a small, locally-owned cafe called Garden Fresh Cafe with fresh and healthy food. The various options — from tasty wraps to sandwiches to a wide range of breakfast options, including smoothies and desserts — and reasonable prices made eating healthy on vacation easy. We ended up eating here several times during our trip.
Order: The pistachio cake is an absolute must to try.
When we weren’t eating at Garden Fresh, we enjoyed Eduardo’s Beach Shack, another great place. It’s an ideal spot for a quick healthy meal, plus it’s on the beach.
After a relaxing day at the beach, we would check out the area near the resort, which comes to life in the evenings — lots of local vendors selling their trinkets and plenty of dining options. We visited Papillon Restaurant and were pleasantly surprised.
The food, service and atmosphere were incredible. Try taking your vacation to the next level by attending a private dining event. The chef cooks for small groups at a private location such as an outdoor garden. Although we didn’t have an opportunity to try it, we heard great things about it.
The weather was amazing, and the sea was warm and calm. And our primary goal was to relax on the beach, so we didn’t venture out too far.
But there are lots of tours you can book to stay busy. So, if your goal is to explore, consider talking to the concierge about a snorkeling tour or take a Jeep or ATV tour in the Mondi (Aruba’s desert-like woods).
Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort
We spent the second leg of our trip at Divi Aruba Phoenix timeshare resort, which we booked using our ClubPoints through RCI® Exchange. It was a few doors down from the Hilton Aruba, and we enjoyed the beach and took full advantage of the gym, sticking with our healthy routine.
Insider tip: The beach is much smaller, and you have to claim your umbrella early in the morning if you want to be in the shade.
We had the opportunity to visit the fabulous Elements Restaurant for dinner one evening. The romantic atmosphere and pleasant staff made our evening exceptional. The fine-dining restaurant features natural, organic ingredients in European-style portions that are balanced and very healthy. It was truly an unforgettable culinary experience, even for two well-established foodies like us.
Insider Tip: The restaurant is cashless and only serves groups of six or fewer people.
If you’re hoping for an even more romantic experience, try reserving one of the tables in a private palapa on the beach. But plan in advance as there are only three and they book very quickly.