Things To Do While Staying at Barcelo Aruba
The Barcelo Aruba is a fantastic resort right on the Palm Beach on the northern coast of Aruba. Palm Beach itself is about four miles, and almost the whole length of it is lined with resorts, restaurants, and bars. You can walk along a pathway that connects most of the resorts, or you can walk on the sand—even during the middle of the day, because the sand is made from a unique combo of crushed coral and shells, also making it very white and tropical looking.
The Barcelo Aruba is right in the middle of the action, with the Hyatt on the right and the Hilton on the left. Right across the street there is the Arawak Gardens and Village shopping malls, with even more bars and restaurants. Of course, there are also plenty of cool things to do, see, and eat right at Barcelo Aruba itself, so you don’t really need to explore too far unless you want to.
Food and Drink in Barcelo Aruba
The Beach Club restaurant is right on the beach pathway. It’s a grill with soups and salads and a great view of the turquoise waters of Aruba’s western side. The Palm is a buffet with views of the pool serving three meals a day and sometimes themed buffets. Speaking of themes, if you want Mexican, there is Mexico Lindo, if you want Japanese, there is Kyoto, and if you want Italian, there is L’Olio. Want to try a taste of Caribbean fusion cooking? There is something for everybody at Aruban Seafood.
In the mood for drinks? Barcelo Aruba has you covered. The Lobby Bar has live music, and the Splash Bar will let you swim up to your next sip. You know what goes with drinking? Gambling! Responsibly, of course. A few of the hotels on Palm Beach have casinos, and Barcelo Aruba has one too with 120 slots and five tables for Roulette, Blackjack, and Pai gow.
The Rooms at Barcelo Aruba
Your hotel room is also an important consideration when you’re traveling. The majority of the Barcelo Aruba rooms have an ocean view. The hotel itself is shaped like the letter U around its amazing pools, so some of the suits have oblique views of the Caribbean. The three top floors of the Barcelo Aruba make up a boutique hotel of 35 Royal Level rooms (each with a balcony), personalized service, and its own bar and restaurant.
The #1 thing to do is…the beach! You can swim, build sand castles, sunbathe, and rent what you need for other water activities like jet skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, and windsurfing. The hotel pool is naturally shaped like a lagoon and has two hot tubs, along with sunshades and hammocks sprinkled around the pool, so you can relax in the water or by the poolside swim-up bar. The hotel offers a kids program if you want to drop off your 12 and under travelers for a break, and if you want to get active here are two tennis courts, a fully stocked gym, and a full size 18 hole golf course just ten minutes away. On the more relaxing side, there is a spa that also offers in-room massages.
Aruba is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. There are over 90 different ethnic enclaves on the island, and frequently spoken languages include Dutch, Spanish, English, and Creole. Many Arubans speak all four! Because it’s a former Dutch colony, and so was Indonesia, Aruba is actually known for its Indonesian food.
Aruba is one of the more unique Caribbean islands in that it’s actually pretty dry and arid. That means less chance of rain ruining your vacation! Aruba’s weather is practically perfect: it gets only about 15 inches of rain per year, making it the Caribbean’s sunniest island. Aruba is a pioneer in purifying water technology. Residents and the 1.5 million annual visitors can enjoy clean drinking water made from the ocean. The mineral content is controlled, making the water extremely soft…which is great for bubble baths.
The side of the island on which the Barceló is located looks like your typical Caribbean island, with palm trees and white sandy beaches. If you like capturing photos and tagging them with descriptions like #nature or #rugged you won’t want to miss the other side of the island, which is rockier with black sand beaches, caves, crashing surf, and even some natural rock bridges. There are not really any hotels on that side of the island, so it’s more of a day trip.
Aruba’s San Nicholas is a great place to soak in street art. Over 30 murals line the main street, leftover from the Aruba Art Fair. You can book a tour and learn more about the artists. The city is actually mostly abandoned and has become kind of an open-air museum, described as the Caribbean Capital of Street Art.
If you don’t want to venture too far from the Barceló, there is an amazing cluster of divi divi trees at the southern end of Palm Beach. These trees are unique to the island, and are bent over from decades of trade winds blowing across the island. It makes for a great shot of dark foliage against the white sand and azure waters.
Nearby there is a butterfly garden—with hundreds of colorful butterflies dancing around an indoor jungle—and the Bubali Bird Sanctuary, a wetland with 80 different species of migratory birds you can check out from a watchtower. Across the street from this birdland is an Old Dutch Windmill (with a nightclub underneath) that was actually brought over from the Netherlands. The nearby capital of Aruba, Oranjestad, is a goldmine for any travelers who like history or colonial buildings.
In order to travel to Aruba, you need to get a COVID test before coming to Aruba, or get tested at the airport upon arrival. The fee to get tested in Aruba is around $70, results take up to 6-8 hours and you need to quarantine until those come back. You also have to sign a waiver saying you will follow all health codes while you’re there (mask wearing, social distancing, etc.). All resorts are very careful about wearing masks, requiring masks, and sanitizing everything, along with policies that facilitate social distancing…so you don’t need to let the pandemic interrupt what will be the vacation of a lifetime!
Have you been to Aruba? Have you stayed at Barcelo Aruba?
What were your favorite things to do while staying there? Comment below!