Aruba Familiarization Trip

In the travel industry, professional Travel Advisors who produce are often invited to participate in Familiarization Trips by Island Tourism Boards to visit the Island and “inspect” resorts and hotels. I won’t lie, there is beach-time but mostly the trips are pretty intense, fast -paced and educational. This is one way Travel Advisors stay on top of the changes and upgrades that take place at the destination.
I am personally familiar with all Islands and Resorts I suggest in my newsletters.
“Been There – Got the Tee-shirt!” ~ Molly
Boardwalk Boutique Hotel Aruba
Adults and Family resort. 46 fully equipped private casitas located in a lush, tropical setting with colorful Island d├ęcor. Across the street from Palm Beach, a 3 minute walk or short shuttle ride. On site, Eduardo’s Beach Shack offers vegan and plant-based breakfast and lunch menus.
Amsterdam Manor
Family resort. 72 rooms, studio, 1 and 2 bedroom rooms with kitchenettes, across the street from Eagle Beach. One restaurant and bar on site plus Passions Restaurant on the Beach for toes-in-the-sand dining. Passions is not only for guests of Amsterdam Manor – a “must” for anyone staying in Aruba!
Bucuti & Tara Resort
Adults only. 45 suites and 59 guest rooms, a full breakfast is included at this romantic resort located directly on Eagle Beach. The open-air Elements Restaurant has been named one of the top 10 fine dining restaurants in the Caribbean. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menus are available. Additionally a Dine Around Meal Plan featuring other Aruban restaurants is offered.
Barcelo Aruba
Family resort, all-inclusive, located on Palm Beach where I stayed on this trip. Most rooms and suites are ocean view or ocean front and well appointed. Wrist bands are issued to identify room location (I recommend the Royal Level Rooms) The pool is small and poolside lounges are difficult to obtain, usually all claimed by 6:00am. The food overall is average. I didn’t care for the 2 towel maximum that are obtained by presenting cards to the “Towel Monitors”.
Ritz-Carlton Aruba
Family Resort. Located directly on Palm Beach with extraordinary views of the white sand beach and the turquoise-blue Caribbean Sea, this is a large, upscale, full-service hotel. Both adult and family pools face the beach, the resort is complete with 5 international restaurants.
Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba
Family and adults-only. With two buildings and 2 distinct resort experiences, the Renaissance Marina Hotel is for adults and the Renaissance Ocean Suites are for families. The private Renaissance Island is an easy 20 minute boat ride away where the Flamingos reside. This downtown resort lends itself to a split stay – shopping, restaurants and a 24/7 casino paired with a beach resort would be ideal.
Riu Palace Antilles
Adults-only, all-inclusive, located on Palm Beach. The least expensive room at this resort has an ocean view. Rooms are newly re-decorated and are fresh and airy with relaxing Caribbean colors. It’s a large resort, as all Rius tend to be, with multiple restaurants. Guests have free exchange privileges with the Riu Palace Aruba next door.
Riu Palace Aruba
Family, all-inclusive, located on Palm Beach. This resort has over 400 rooms and multiple restaurants. The rooms tend to be a bit dark, but they are adequate. Guests from this family resort do not have exchange privileges with the adults-only Riu Antilles next door.
Holiday Inn Aruba
Family resort where kids through 11 years can stay and eat free. I was pleasantly surprised as I don’t always think positvely about Holiday Inns. This is very nice resort occupying a long stretch of sand on Palm Beach. Pretty, re-freshed rooms. Five restaurants on-site with additional restaurants, shopping and nightlife within walking distance.

Papiemento Restaurant – An unforgettable dining experience located on a 100 year old historical site with tables set in a lush tropical garden, featuring local cuisine. Not to be missed!

De Palm Tours – We took the Private Off-Road Jeep Safari through the Arikok National Park which featured amazing scenery on the north side of the island. It’s a rough ride – I appreciated my seat belt!
CASINOS – Aruba’s Casinos are an excellent place for those who want to experience the excitement of gaming. All major resorts have their own casino and they are generally open from noon to just before sunrise, although some casinos are open twenty-four hours a day for slots play.

Aruba has dropped all Covid Entry Protocols but do require an online Immigrations & Customs form to be filled out in advance of arrival.
Aruba now has U.S. Customs located in the Aruba Airport for easier entry to the United States. However navigating the process can be confusing so when the airlines say you must be at the airport 3 hours in advance of departure, don’t cut it short!

by Molly Sumption, Caribbean Honeymoon / Sandals Expert, Seattle & Portland / subscribe to RSS feed