Aruba is an exciting little island located in the section of the Caribbean referred to as the Netherland Antilles. English, Spanish, and Dutch are the main language spoken on this island. This destination has become very popular with honeymooners, thrill seekers, and retirees. It is your typical white sand location but it is one of the more expensive Caribbean islands. Most travelers spend an average of $100 to $150 a day per person simply on food on attractions. You can reduce the cost of your trip to Aruba by opting to stay in a small guest house or bed and breakfast and still enjoy your visit to this beautiful island.
It should come as no surprise that experiencing the cuisine of a particular culture is a very important aspect of any trip. It is evident that a variety of cultures have influenced the dishes enjoyed by the locals, but the Dutch influence is the one which is most apparent. There were a few things I hated and then quite a number that I could not get enough of. Here are the five dishes I highly recommend that you try for yourself:
Pan Bati is a type of savory bread that looks a lot like a pancake. The bread is so light and fluffy that each piece melts away in your mouth. The locals serve it with everything, especially soup. It is fascinating to watch how the bread is made from a few simple ingredients and then cooked on a hot plate. Most people are pleased to know that very little oil is used in the preparation of this dish.
This can be a hard dish to order because most people simply cannot pronounce the name correctly. Thankfully most locations will readily figure out what you’re trying to order since this is such a popular dish. Keshi is actually another name for cheese. The dish is comprised of chicken or another meat that has been stuffed inside a ball of cheese. The entire dish is then smothered in a type of sauce. Each restaurant puts their own little touch on the recipe, but the idea of a meal made with spicy meat and lot of cheese sounds quite appealing, does it?
A plantain looks a lot like a banana but is much larger. Unlike bananas though, plantains are very starchy and are included in either sweet or savory meals. It is often sliced, fried, and served as an accompaniment to your meal. You will love it! It is naturally sweet and is the perfect complement to the savory taste of your meal, whether it is fish, chicken, or another type of meat.
Most people have little objections to eating ice cream, thinking it is complete on its own. Boy, are those people wrong! In Aruba, they take ice cream to the next level with a dessert called Pan Bollo. The dish is comprised of ice cream, rum cream, and bread pudding. It is an amazing combination of three delicious flavors, and every bite is delicious.
No trip to Aruba would be complete if you did not try Pastechi. Pastechi is the most popular street food in Aruba. It is made of a fried pastry that is stuffed with Gouda cheese. There are also many versions of this dish which also include ham, chicken, and other meats. Who doesn’t love a good fried pastry?
Things to Do
Being a Caribbean island, it is expected that you spend most of your time enjoying the glistening blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and the warmth of the sun. This will be quite a treat since the white sand beaches are typically very well-kept, and you can easily choose one that is not too crowded. Most of the beaches offer snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and diving.
When you are finally able to tear yourself away from the beach, you will find that there is so much more to do and to see. Haystack Mountain is one very popular location. The peak stands at over 500 ft tall and you can easily join one of the many guided tour groups which hike there. From this vantage point, you have a bird’s eye view of the entire island and the stunning sea which surrounds it.
Another great opportunity is touring the island in a 4 x 4 Jeep or quad. A typical tour will cost about $80 to $100 for adults and $40 for children. This is an excellent opportunity to see the real Aruba and explore a variety of fascinating off-trail locations. These tours typically take you to the north of the island which has yet to be developed into the typical cookie-cutter tourist attraction.
The archeological museum is also an interesting attraction. It features a number of unique artifacts which are said to belong to the original inhabitants of the island, which are now extinct. The guide explains how these artifacts were used and how this very fascinating people lived. Please however note that this museum is closed on Mondays.
A trip to Aruba is another adventure worth bragging to the grandkids about. The food is amazing and there is so much to see and do. The island is also quite a sight to behold. Most people wake up every morning thinking, “Wow. This is a paradise!”