Photo: Courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Aruba is known as "One Happy Island," and honeymooners know that better than almost anyone else. The 70-square mile island just off the coast of Venezuela has everything a newlywed couple could want: One of the top 10 beaches in the world, vibrant nightlife, 365 days of sunshine, multi-national cuisine, and endless opportunities for luxe post-wedding relaxation. Just a four-hour flight from New York and situated below the hurricane belt, the tropical paradise is the epitome of Caribbean romance. From brand-new resorts to snorkel-friendly beaches, we have the ultimate Aruba honeymoon must-list.
The Honeymoon Suite You'll Never Want to Leave: The Ritz-Carlton
The newest option on the alluring Palm - Eagle Beach stretch of hotels (it opened in November), this five-star resort offers classic Ritz luxury with a Caribbean twist. Each of the 320 rooms has a private balcony, and the serene property has unbeatable views of the sea. With two pools and a world-class spa, newlyweds will find it hard to leave the hotel grounds.
Where to Toast to Your New Marriage: Chalet Suisse
A longtime island favorite for fine dining, just-married couples will want to pack their rehearsal dinner outfits to eat at this traditional restaurant. Located right off of Palm - Eagle Beach in the low rise hotel area, Chalet Suisse offers sea views with a formal atmosphere. Get the rack of lamb or lobster to make the most of the full old-school romantic establishment.
How to Relax All Day as Mr. and Mrs.: Palm Beach
This two-mile long strip is home to some of Aruba's most luxurious high-rise hotels, including Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino and the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa. It's as popular as it is beautiful: Together with neighboring Eagle Beach, Palm Beach placed seventh on TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice 2013 list of the best beaches in the world. Calm waters make this a comfortable haven for swimmers and snorkelers. If couples can tear themselves away from the pristine sandy beaches, they can hit up the nearby shopping district, water sports concessions, piers, beach bars, and restaurants.
Dive Deep (Literally!) with Your New Hubby: Baby Beach
A half-moon sandy beach set on a lagoon, Baby Beach has roped-in shallow waters, making snorkeling a snap. If newlyweds swim out to where the bay opens out to the Caribbean Sea, they'll get a colorful look at coral and tropical fish. Close by is a local dive shop offering snorkel and dive gear rentals, a shower, bar & grill. Though it's only about a 45-minute drive from the high rise hotel area, it will feel a world away.
Grab a Nightcap After a Long Day of Canoodling: Madame Janette's
It's slightly off the beachy path, in downtown Oranjestad, but its open-air terrace more than makes up for the lack of sea views. Locals and tourists flock to this mainstay for the utterly romantic outdoor lounge area, which is strung with lights and filled with tropical plants. It's so delightful, you might end up sticking around for a meal.
See Who's the More Adventurous One While Sightseeing: Jeeping
Visitors to Aruba often hire private tour guides, but more adventurous couples should rent Jeeps and go off-roading. Aruba has the Antilla shipwreck, rum stores, Arikok National Park, gold mill ruins, the remains of natural bridge, hiking, and tons of flora and fauna. There's no better way to see it all than from an open-air Jeep.
Take in the Most Romantic Sunset of All Time: The California Lighthouse
This iconic landmark has one of the best vantage points to see a classic Aruba sunset. Located atop the hill of Hudishibana, the former home of the lighthouse keeper at its base is now a destination for newlyweds and tourists alike — the dwelling is now an Italian restaurant that has an outdoor terrace and bar where diners can watch the sunset while eating dinner.
Pick Up Your Bridesmaids Some Awesome Souvenirs: Renaissance Marketplace
This open-air shopping mall in downtown Oranjestad has it all: A movie theater, restaurants, nightlife lounges and bars, a casino, and live entertainment on stage every night. Oh, and stores, of course. Visitors can shop for clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, designer sunglasses, and gifts as they stroll in the breezy Aruban air.
Snap a Selfie That's Guaranteed to Make Your Friends Jealous: Flying Fishbone
Honeymooners can take a picture-perfect kissing selfie at this restaurant in Savaneta, the first in Aruba to popularize on-the-beach dining. That is, of course, if they don't get distracted by the water rushing over their feet. Certain tables are directly at the water's edge, meaning the warm surf may wash over their toes as they sip on a piña colada.
How to Say Goodbye to the Best Honeymoon Ever: Screaming Eagle
Located just off the popular Palm - Eagle Beach, this French-fusion restaurant has a South Beach vibe that appeals to newlyweds for one big reason: Canopy beds. In addition to its open-air terrace and regular indoor seating, Screaming Eagle allows diners to enjoy their meals on trays while relaxing on canopy beds strewn with white pillows. With a rolling flambé cart, this restaurant is a uniquely Aruban experience.