A Tropical and Wellness Getaway to Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba

As the snow falls and temperatures continue to drop, there’s no better time to plan your next tropical getaway. If images of sparkling turquoise waters, pristine soft white sandy beaches, and palm trees swaying in the breeze keep showing up in your social media feed (they are in mine), it just might be the inspiration you need to book your escape to Aruba.

Eagle Beach

We all need a tropical vacation right about now

One Happy Island

Billed as “One Happy Island,” Aruba sets your expectations high with fun in the sun and sand and temperatures hovering around 80 degrees in this beautiful Caribbean destination. Looking back on our time in Aruba, this island paradise exceeded our expectations with it’s vibrant colors, crystal clear waters, gorgeous sunsets, and well…happy people. Including us.

Good times and wonderful memories of Aruba

Like many other visitors who return year after year to this enchanting small Dutch island (and we’ve met a number of them), we’re also looking forward to making a return visit someday soon and experiencing more of the native Aruban’s gracious hospitality, romantic ambiance, and easy way of island life. Every island in the Caribbean has a distinct character and personality, topography and scenery, local customs and cuisine that gives it a unique sense of place. If you haven’t been to Aruba, you must experience this happy little island in the southern Caribbean Sea.

View of Oranjestad from the top of Fort Zoutman

Colorful Dutch-inspired architecture

Beautifully restored buildings

The water is spectacular

Happy wakeboarders

The Caribbean

No matter how many times I step off the plane in a tropical locale, there’s an inner peace that takes over that’s hard to explain. I can describe the scent of the salt air, the color of the sand on the beaches, and the sound of the surf, but the images that come to mind fail to capture the real sense of place. There’s something much more to the essence of the Caribbean.

The tide at sunset

The sunsets take my breath away, and I can’t seem to get enough of them. The dramatic change in the pace of everyday life slows things down and allows me to take in and experience all that’s around me when I’m on island time. There’s also a carefree sense of abandon as I walk along the beach with ocean breezes tossing my hair, the rays of the sun on my face, and the warm sand between my toes as the gentle waves approach, lapping the shoreline as the refreshing saltwater rushes over my feet.

The Caribbean islands fill my soul like no other destination.

Another spectacular sunset

Sunset cruise

The silvery glow of sunset

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort

Our first visit to Aruba brought us to one of the most beautiful spots on the island, Eagle Beach, and the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. An award-winning luxury adults-only property, the resort has been voted the #1 Hotel for Romance in the Caribbean for 2017 and #1 Hotel for Romance in the World in 2016. After spending several days at this exceptional property, we can understand why they’ve received so many accolades.

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort

View of the Tara wing overlooking Eagle Beach

View of the resort from the beach

Bucuti & Tara is situated on Eagle Beach, listed as one of the best beaches in the world, and their staff excels in hospitality and attentive personalized service. This world-class resort boasts laid-back luxury and offers several types of accommodations in their two wings, Bucuti and Tara. The Tara wing features suites and bungalows with ocean views while the Bucuti accommodations overlook the gardens and courtyard. All of the rooms have an open and airy feel with a clean, modern design with natural tones, yet bring in a subtle pop of bold and tasteful Caribbean color in the pillows, rugs, and artwork.

Eagle Beach with a view of Elements

View of the beach from the Tara wing

Private beach huts (palapas)

Guests visit the property to enjoy the amenities, such as their Purun Spa, outstanding service, excellent dining and to just relax at the pool or on the beach, but the resort can also create an extraordinarily romantic experience for two. It’s the perfect destination for a honeymoon or special celebration or to renew your vows. Sunset beach dinners in a private palapa (or hut), a couple’s massage, or a safari Jeep ride around the island with a picnic lunch are just a few of the options that the Romance Concierge can create to make your visit to the island and the resort unforgettable.

Take a relaxing dip in the pool

Make dinner reservations to watch the sunset over the Caribbean Sea in a private palapa

This video from our visit includes an exclusive snorkel and lunch cruise on board a beautiful schooner along with several of our wellness sessions. Combining spectacular weather, water activities, breathtaking sunsets, relaxation, meditation and physical training as part the resort’s wellness program, and good wishes from my feathered friend Paco, this is a trip we’ll always remember.

Our beautiful ship for the day with Pelican Watersports

The chef and captain from our snorkel and schooner cruise

Snorkeling in crystal clear waters

Our happy and entertaining bus driver

We felt like Bucuti & Tara family by the time we left the property. We loved the adults-only upscale experience and the excellent dining options. The resort’s restaurant, Elements, serves beautifully prepared international and Aruban-inspired cuisine. You can also have dinner from Elements served in the private beach huts or dine at their brand-new venue, Senses. An extraordinary dining chef’s table experience created by Executive Chef Kelt Hugo Maat and Maitre D` Bas Kruisselbrink, the menus will feature five to eight courses blending classic French techniques with Dutch, Norwegian and Indonesian influences.

One of the delicious fish selections at Elements – Fresh Mahi Mahi

A sweet ending to our meal

Another favorite is SandBar, the open-air beach bar, which serves casual fare and hosts a daily Happy Hour along with live music. The bar is only available to guests at the resort, so it keeps a more intimate crowd, even at peak times. If you find yourself at SandBar, please tell Paco we said hello.

Hello Paco!

Bucuti & Tara can also be a place of personal rejuvenation with its unique Wellness Program that is ever-expanding its offerings.

The Wellness Program

The Wellness Program at Bucuti & Tara is a comprehensive program designed for mind and body conditioning. Their full-time Wellness Specialist, Isabel, has a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, evaluates the guest’s personal goals and creates a customized plan that includes everything from diet and exercise to relaxation and motivation techniques for those wishing to kick start the new you for the new year. Isabel can arrange for nature hikes, personal trainers, pilates and yoga instructors, targeted spa treatments, and meditation and mindfulness experts, based on the guest’s preferences and physical abilities. Best of all, individual sessions can be conducted outdoors in the Wellness Hut with inspiring and beautiful views of the beach and the Caribbean Sea. There are also complimentary daily wellness activities at the resort.

Meditation session with Shanti

Learning the art of meditation and how to relax

Our instructor Shanti

Before our visit, we completed forms for Isabel to create a wellness program best suited to our needs, taking into consideration any physical limitations or restrictions. During the first day, each of the trainers she selected for us listened and worked with us to see if any adjustments needed to be made. The second day, they returned with a complete plan, and then together we focused on our long-term strategy. With this assistance, we were able to return home with exercises and instructions on how to continue our wellness and fitness program away from the beautiful island setting.

Pilates with Alexei

We can do this balancing thing

Making exercise fun

The resort’s commitment to offering European-based potions with natural and organic ingredients, vegan and vegetarian options as well as gluten-free choices, smoothies, and mocktails, enables guests to stay with their wellness plan while at the resort, yet not feel deprived and still able to enjoy vacation time while on the island. In fact, their popular SandBar features a Daily Healthy Hour (half price for nutritional smoothies and mocktails) at 3 pm each day.

Healthy meal choices – Niçoise salad at SandBar

Bucuti & Tara were pioneers in being eco-friendly. They had the first Green Globe 21 certification of hotels in Aruba in 2000 and were the first resort in the Americas to be certified ISO 14001. Each of their rooms has an air dehumidifier and air purifier, making it a healthier environment to focus on a wellness program.

Complimentary Gigong on the beach (Photo credit – Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort)

They also partner with organizations on the island in their green efforts, sponsor adoption programs for guests wishing to take home one of the island’s homeless dogs or cats, and have a beach cleanup where guests can join Bucuti & Tara employees to keep Eagle Beach free of litter. For this, participants are rewarded with t-shirts and a chilled bottle of champagne to enjoy in their room, making the time spent even more worthwhile. These are just a few of the impressive ways the owner, Ewald Biemans, the staff, and resort give back to the community.

Rainbows appear for good works on the beach

They even rescued Paco, the Yellow-Head Amazon Parrot and Jessy & James, the two resident parakeets. Their stories are below.

Aruba

What to Do and Where to Dine on Aruba

While it may be hard to venture away from the resort property, there’s much to explore on the island of Aruba. Here are just a few of our favorite experiences.

Aruba Walking Tours

Join one of the island’s knowledgeable local guides for an informative and fun walking tour through the downtown area of Oranjestad. We always recommend finding an excellent guide when traveling to a new destination.

The colorful streets of Aruba

Take a trolley tour through town after your walk

It’s far more rewarding to understand the significance of a statue you’re standing in front of or the history of the local buildings and architecture you’re passing by when walking through a town.

Anne Frank statue in Wilhelmina Park

Fort Zoutman

Inside the fort

It’s also important to understand the background of a local snack you’re tasting or to learn about the local traditions and culture from someone who lives there.

Ordering a few local snacks

Pastechis – A fried pastry-like snack, this version is filled with cheese

Next up – Another local specialty at Cocoplum Restaurant

Aruban pancakes (Pan Bati) made with wheat flour, cornmeal and milk powder

It’s also fun to meet the local rockstars, like this gentleman, Ronald Figueroa at La Linda, a department store in Oranjestad.

Ronald Figueroa greets visitors to La Linda

Mark Benson Denz, owner of Aruba Walking Tours, gave us an excellent introduction to Aruba, just enough where we want to discover more and see the rest of the island.

With Mark of Aruba Walking Tours

Screaming Eagle

This upscale and elegant restaurant is a beautiful addition to make your romantic vacation complete. You can even choose to have ‘Dinner-in-bed’ on one of their comfy-chic lounge-type “tables.”

Screaming Eagle

Chef Erwin Hüsken’s French-fusion cuisine has earned him many rave reviews, including the #1 Restaurant in the Caribbean in Caribbean Journal in 2015 and 2016 on their Top 50 list and the Caribbean Chef of the Year Award for 2017. They also have an impressive wine list to complement your meal. And yes, they do have that rare bottle of Screaming Eagle cult Cabernet Sauvignon from California on the wine list.

Happy diners and happy servers

Yemanja Woodfired Grill

Another trendy spot on the island and also considered one of the best restaurants in Aruba is Yemanja Woodfired Grill in Oranjestad. A bit more casual in atmosphere, this lively restaurant under Chef Joyce de Cuba – Hüsken serves delicious and unique dishes combining Caribbean flavor and European style. Many of them are healthy choices and are vegetarian or lactose and gluten-free.

If you’re in search of that much needed warm weather vacation (as the winds continue to howl with 16 degrees outside my office window) and you need to feel the ocean breeze in your hair and the sand between your toes, head to Aruba for your next getaway.

You’ll soon be singing “I love Aruba.”

Cheers!

 

 

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