Aruba has one of the highest repeat visitor rates in the Caribbean, with more than half of all visitors returning to the island. Located on the outside fringes of the Hurricane Belt, Aruba sits in the southern Caribbean, just 15 miles north of Venezuela in South America. The island boasts 365 days of sunshine a year, with a temperature hovering around 82 degrees.
The island’s topography is diverse, with sandy beaches meeting rugged desert landscape. A strong Dutch influence can be seen in the island and several languages—including English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamento—can be heard. In fact, there are over 90 nationalities living in Aruba, making it a cultural melting pot.
There are plenty of activities to keep families busy during their stay. Adventure-seekers can explore the depths of Arikok National Park’s rugged and wild interior during an off-road jeep safari tour or by hiking, biking or horseback riding the more than 20 miles of wild flora and fauna. Tucked along the cactus-speckled northern shore, Arikok National Park is home to hidden beaches, cacti, natural bridges and pools, historical cave paintings and indigenous animals, including the burrowing owl and blue whiptail lizard.
Aquatic adventures are abundant along the world-famous beaches, attracting windsurfers, kite surfers, sailors, snorkelers and divers. Good visibility, several shallow reefs and captivating shipwrecks make this an ideal spot for snorkelers and divers. A lot can be seen under the sea, including brain and star coral, sea fans, parrotfish, angelfish, eels, barracudas, sea turtles and an occasional octopus. The island boasts more than 20 dive spots ranging from 20 to 100 feet, including the Shipwreck of the Antilla, one of the most popular spots. Sailing charters are popular and combine a catamaran experience with several snorkel spots. Snuba and SUP are also popular options.
A recent study showed that a majority of Americans prefer an all-inclusive stay while on vacation. The Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive and the adjacent Divi Aruba All Inclusive are sister properties located close to the airport and near Aruba’s capital city Oranjestad. The Divi resort opened in 1969 while Tamarijn was built in 1974.
“Both resorts have undergone renovations since their opening, with the most recent upgrades made to the Tamarijn rooms,” says Marin Bijl, general manager of Divi and Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusives. “The rooms were enlarged gaining 75 square feet, the bathrooms were updated and new modern furniture was added.” The properties opened when the all-inclusive concept was not common, but they built a loyal clientele who kept coming back each year. Today, the all-inclusive aspect is one of the biggest selling points.
The two properties together have ten restaurants, and guests staying at one resort can eat and drink at the other. The open-air Palm Grill is a hibachi-style eatery where people grill their own seafood, steak and chicken. Paparazzi focuses on Italian cuisine; Ginger has Asian fusion; Pure Lime is Mexican food, and The Red Parrot is the fine dining restaurant.
Bijl notes many of the resort’s staff have worked at the property for over twenty years. “The same customer service and exceptional hospitality that guests have come to know at Divi and Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusives is still as present today as when it first opened.”
Covid has changed the way people travel. People are traveling again, but their thought process is different. “The travel landscape shifted so much over the past few years with new restrictions and guidelines to address, and now we are seeing travelers navigating inflation in place of restrictions, but it is still a major factor,” says Bijl. “Our all-inclusive format has equipped us to cater to those needs. We think we will see all-inclusive travel continue to be a popular choice for travelers.”
Bijl notes that the commonality among their guests is simply a greater desire to travel. “I think the pandemic inspired a deeper appreciation for getting out and exploring new places and that is something we have benefited from,” he says. “On top of this, I think travelers are also seeking convenience.” For people who are covid-cautious, the open-air dining venues are a good fit. Also, for people who don’t want to interact with too many people on their vacation, they can try different cuisine types and flavors of Aruba by staying at the resort and utilizing the ten restaurants.
One of the most popular activities at the resort is the electric bike and snorkel tour to Boca Catalina. The e-bikes are a good way to see the island of Aruba no matter what fitness level travelers are. The bike tour takes in the highlights of the island and the snorkel part lets people swim with sea turtles and a variety of colorful fish. There is also rock climbing on the beach, windsurfing and snorkeling equipment, kayaks and a kids club.