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As self-proclaimed Aruba addicts, there’s just something about this Caribbean island that never fails to blow us away. It has 19 miles of white-sand beaches, is lined with curiously-tilted Divi trees, boasts unspoiled views of the sparkling Caribbean Sea, and since it’s just outside the hurricane belt, good weather is pretty much guaranteed. Appropriately named “One Happy Island,” it’s hard to have a bad day here. The locals are friendly and the food is delicious, and with its pastel houses, postcard-perfect views, colorful “Aruba Ariba” cocktails and shimmering underwater paradise, it’s a Caribbean dream come true. Whether you’re here for a girls’ getaway, a spa retreat, island thrills or even a honeymoon, one fact rings true: Happy Aruba can be anything you want it to be.

RELATED: Aruba after you’re bored of the beach

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Flamingo Beach at Renaissance Island

For the jet setter…
The most luxurious hotel on the island, The Ritz-Carlton Aruba, delivers phenomenal service, complete with nightly live music in the courtyard, a Club Level with personal butlers, two bespoke pools, restaurant BLT Steak and a 15K square-foot luxury spa with every treatment option you can imagine. Dine on the town at 126-year-old manor Papiamento, or with your toes in the sand at Atardi at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Located in the heart of Oranjestad, Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is home to Renaissance Mall, a waterfront luxury shopping center with brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, CH Carolina Herrera and more. It also owns Renaissance Island which includes the Instagram-worthy “Flamingo Beach.” Free to hotel guests, visit the island for swaying hammocks, breezy palm trees, separate adults-only and family hangouts, and hundreds of wild, pink birds roaming around you. Only 30 non-hotel guests can get access each day, and admission is $99. With photos that’ll last you a lifetime though, it’s worth every penny.

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For the health nut…
With its serene beaches and unbelievable sunset views, Aruba is relaxing even without any pampering. Stay at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino where the wellness weekend practically comes to you. Wake up and join the morning joggers on the sand, walk down Moomba Beach to try your hand at “beach tennis” (a combination of beach volleyball and tennis) and grab an açaí bowl from Eduardo’s Beach Shack on the walk back. If you’re there in June, celebrate the healing properties—it’s Aloe Wellness Month!—at Aloe Factory Aruba. Back at the hotel, find serenity at Marriott’s adults-only pool or with a “Massage de Aruba” at the 6,500-square-foot Bali-inspired Mandara Spa. For something truly inspiring, end your day with SUP paddle board yoga. Suitable even for the novice yogi, this serene, challenging activity will balance you mind, body and soul.

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Aruba Marriott’s Stellaris Casino

For the gambler…
Aruba—the “Vegas” of the Caribbean—has 12 casinos. Designed with both novice and veteran gamblers in mind, each casinos has everything from penny and $1 slot machines, to blackjack, roulette, Texas Hold ’em and Caribbean stud poker. Most casinos are in the mega-hotels on Palm Beach or in downtown Oranjestad, and you have to be 18 or older to enter. While all are packed even late at night, two casinos, Stellaris Casino at the Aruba Marriott Resort and Crystal Casino at the Renaissance, stay open 24 hours a day. Don’t worry about keeping track of time, casinos in Aruba have a colorful, circus-like atmosphere that promise to keep you awake at any hour.

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For the penny pincher…
With flights to Aruba running as low as $180 from South Florida, and boutique hotels averaging $100 a night during low season, it’s actually easy to do Aruba on the cheap. And while you might be cutting costs, you never have to cut quality. Aruba’s soft white-sand beaches, insane views, and clear-blue Caribbean Sea—perfect for swimming—are the island’s best free activities. Plus, with seafood in easy abundance, there’s no such thing as a bad meal. Head to Zeerover and you’ll see what we mean. Perched in the quiet fishing town of Savaneta, this cheap, open-air spot pulls fish and jumbo shrimp right off the fishing boat docked next you, fries them in the kitchen, and serves them in piping hot baskets with a local Balashi beer. If that’s not fresh, we don’t know what is.

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For the adrenaline junkie…
There are plenty of ways to get your adrenaline pumping in Aruba. Everyday, De Palm Tours Aruba leads a 9am Snorkel Adventure on its 70’x40’ catamaran Palm Pleasure to Antilla Shipwreck, Arashi Reef and Boca Catalina. Explore Arikok National Park—a protected desert with lava, limestone and quartz formations, and the island’s famous Natural Pool—on a rigorous jeep or UTV tour with ABC Tours Aruba or Action Tours Aruba. Of course, being in the water is a must on this floating piece of paradise, and a fun way to do it is on a SEABOB, or a small, bullet-shaped jet ski that lets you both skim the surface of the water and dive 40 meters beneath it.

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Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba

For lovebirds…
Aruba is home to a range of boutique and high-rise hotels, the most romantic being Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba, Divi Aruba, Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, The Ritz-Carlton Aruba and Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino. Get couples massages at a hotel spa, take a helicopter ride over glittering Aruba or jet over to Flamingo Island and take honeymoon photos sure to make your other couple friends jealous. Catch a dreamy sunset on De Palm Tours Aruba’s nightly Sunset Sail (with open bar!), and follow with a torchlit, toes-in-the-sand dinner for two at the private beach at the Hyatt Regency Aruba. Keep the romance going with cocktails in downtown Oranjestad or a late-night walk on the beach. With beautiful views everywhere you turn, Aruba paints the perfect backdrop for one steamy honeymoon.

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Tagged: aruba, Caribbean

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Jennifer Agress

Jennifer Agress

Jennifer is a Miami-based writer and editor who loves good food, a better martini and traveling every chance she gets. She writes about luxury travel, dining and lifestyle for Travel Weekly, Private Air Luxury Homes, Preferred Travel, Modern Luxury Weddings, INDULGE Miami, Thrillist, NUVO Magazine and more. When she’s not on a plane, she’s likely plotting her next adventure—follow @JenniferAgress on Instagram to see where she lands.
Jennifer Agress

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