By Mia Ingui
There’s no better way to spend winter break than lying on the beach, drinking a smoothie out of coconut and soaking up the sun. But unfortunately, this is impossible in the New Jersey winter, as it is not the place to be during winter break. The perfect spot to have your island dreams come true is in Aruba, the tiny Dutch Caribbean island near Venezuela. Aruba is the best spot for relaxation, amazing eats and fun in the sun.
I visited Aruba smack in the middle of January, desperate to just feel the sunlight that I had missed. The summer is my absolute favorite time of the year, and I definitely suffer from seasonal depression. I am never sadder than the dark clouds of winter roll in. Once I landed in Aruba, the sunshine brought me back to life and I couldn’t be happier. The weather was a beautiful 80 degrees with a mix of sun and clouds. We caught a day of rain, which was not ideal, but this is very out of the ordinary for the island and does not happen often.
The island is large enough to explore yet small enough to manage in just a couple of days. The western half of the island is ideal to visit, as this is the strip with gorgeous beaches populated by high rise hotels and tons of attractions. One afternoon, we visited the famous California Lighthouse at the far end of the island, and after the Aruban Aloe Factory. I even took a plant back home to the States! We spent another day downtown in Oranjestad, the island’s capitol, and shopped till we dropped. Although the island is great to explore, we really wanted to spend time on the beach relaxing, which we indeed did. If you want an amazing place to lay in the sun even though it is the dead of the winter back home, Aruba is the place for you to be.
My family stayed at the Hyatt Regency, and personally I felt that this was an amazing choice for our stay. The property was absolutely gorgeous, as all are on the island. Because it was January, the beach was not crowded, which is why I would recommend going at this time of the year.
Obviously, spending some time in the sun was amazing, but what really proved to be impressive were the endless number of options to eat on the island. Almost every restaurant is highly rated and high quality. My favorite spot for breakfast was the vegan and all-natural spot Garden Fresh Café, which served amazing smoothies and breakfast wraps. On the beach was the famous playa bowl and smoothie hut Eduardo’s Beach Shack, which I visited every day to grab a delicious and completely Instagram-worthy acai bowl, decked out in all the local fruits of the island.
There is no greater feeling than escaping the cold, dreary days of the winter and escaping to a beautiful island getaway. If you’ve been dying for a better way to use your winter break than sitting on the couch watching Friends re-runs, consider taking that vacation you’ve always wanted to a lush island like Aruba.