Did you know it’s possible to skip customs entirely when landing back in the U.S.?
We’re not talking about some unknown loophole either — there are certain countries you can visit that allow you to go through U.S. Customs before taking off back to the States. Then when you land at home, you walk right out of the airport like you would for a domestic flight.
Best of all? One of those countries is one of the most stunning destinations in the Caribbean — ????️ Aruba ????.
One Happy Island
If you’ve never been to Aruba, you aren’t alone. Many travelers flock to tourist heavyweights like Cancun or Montego Bay year after year.
But while those destinations are certainly worth returning to, a visit to Aruba might just change your annual vacation habits.
Affectionately called the “one happy island,” Aruba certainly lives up to its nickname. The moment you land on this eternally sunny island, you feel welcome and relaxed before you’ve even made it to your hotel.
Aruba is only about 20 miles long and 6 miles wide, so your ride from the airport to your hotel will be super quick no matter where you are on the island.
Many travelers head to Palm Beach, a breathtaking stretch of sand that many of the most popular resorts call home — including the alluring Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.
@traveloffpath Dazzling white sands, sun-kissed rocky bays, natural pools carved by Caribbean waves, and seemingly never-ending stretches of jade and turquoise ocean are undoubtedly the main highlights Aruba is known for ????????????✈️ #aruba #travel #traveloffpath #arubasummer #travellife #arubaresorts #travelbucketlist #bookyourflight #nextsummer ♬ JUMP – UN CAPS
Your First Day & Where To Stay
If you’ve never been to Aruba, I’d suggest taking your arrival day to unwind on the beach or at your resort. Nobody likes flying half the day away, but as soon as your feet hit the white sands of Aruba, you’ll forget about the time it took to get there.
For a first-time visit (and every visit after, honestly…), one of the best areas to stay is going to be Palm Beach. The beach is about 2 miles long and has everything you could possibly want on a Caribbean vacation.
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Watersports, beach bars, restaurants, shops, casinos… you name it — Palm Beach has it.
You won’t ever get bored exploring this stunning stretch of sand, and that’s assuming you even want to leave your resort. When planning my stay, I wanted to be able to get everything I could possibly need without having to leave the resort property. In this case, that property was the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.
While I did leave the resort during my stay, there was no need to. Everything I could possibly want or need was on site and easily accessible.
I realized an hour into my trip I’d forgotten toothpaste, deodorant, nail clippers, and my snorkel gear (amateur move, I know). I walked downstairs and found all 4 quickly and easily!
For a first-time visit to Aruba, the Marriott was a perfect fit, and I’ll definitely be back again the next time I head to Aruba.
The room was incredible, and having morning coffee while looking off the balcony as the sun came up is a memory that will be etched in my brain for the rest of my life.
@traveloffpath Who else loves the ✨room tours✨ — room from Aruba Marriot Resort ????✈️ #roomtour #aruba #travellife #traveloffpath #arubasummer #arubaresorts #traveling ♬ In the Mood – The Glenn Miller Orchestra
Aruba Is More Than The Beach
Of course, one of the highlights of heading to Aruba is going to be its gorgeous white-sand beaches. And when I say white sand, I mean it!
Aruba has some of the whitest sand in the Caribbean and, as a result, never feels hot on the feet. Everything about the sand and the beautiful blue waters screams relaxation and peace of mind.
But Aruba is more than its beaches! Aruba really is a destination for every type of traveler. Art, culture, adventure, nightlife, and more are all at your fingertips and easily accessible from anywhere on the island due to its small size.
Personally, I like to check out the local art scene and do more “off-path” things (yea, I said it).
On a different trip to Puerto Rico, one of my favorite experiences was exploring the amazing street art in Santurce. Little did I know Aruba is also home to absolutely breathtaking street art and murals!
San Nicolas Street Art
Founded in 2016 by Tito Bolivar after being inspired during a visit to Bogota, Colombia, Aruba Mural Tours in the city of San Nicolas offers travelers a glimpse into what’s possible when an idea becomes a sensation.
The first murals went up after the first-ever Aruba Art Fair, and San Nicolas’ fate was sealed.
Now, there are well over 40 murals to enjoy, and everywhere you turn your head, you will be met with art from some of the greatest muralists in the world.
@traveloffpath San Nicolas in Aruba is covered in gorgeous art! . #traveltiktok #traveloffpath #traveler #vacation #aruba #fyp #foryoupage ♬ original sound – Travel Off Path
I’d suggest the morning tour, as the sun won’t be as hot, and you can plan to stop and grab some great local fish on the way back to your hotel at Zeerover, a restaurant on a picturesque pier that looks out on the unbelievably blue waters where your fresh meal just came from.
@traveloffpath Can’t beat this view for lunch! . #traveltiktok #traveloffpath #traveler #aruba #vacation #fyp ♬ Feels Like Summer – Samuel Jack
A Truly Off-Path Experience
There is no better way to truly get off path than by heading into the desert! I wasn’t aware that Aruba had a desert until a few days before my trip, but it’s definitely worth exploring.
Most of my experience of the Caribbean is from the time I spent living in Grenada, which is very mountainous. You can’t look too far in any direction without seeing a mountain unless you look at the ocean, of course.
In Aruba, you can see for miles. Everything is incredibly flat, and a trip into the desert really shows the unique character of this island.
What is the best way to see it?
A UTV tour! UTVs are different from ATVs; they are like a cross between an ATV, a golf cart, and a car, and they are an absolute blast to drive through the desert! We toured with De Palm Tours, and our guide was hilarious and informative.
During the tour, you’ll stop at several points in the desert to get a bit of history, a chance to stretch your legs, and the option to switch off driving to be a passenger for a while, which is the perfect time to grab some great video!
@traveloffpath Beautiful day in the desert of Aruba ???? #desert #arubadesert #travel #travellife #traveloffpath #arubasummer #arubaresorts #traveling #travelbucketlist ♬ last night x feelsoclose twinsick edit – TWINSICK
Pro-tip: Wear some really amazing sunglasses with great coverage, or bring some off-roading goggles. If you don’t have either, they have them for sale before the tour begins. There is no windshield, and there’s a lot of sand in the desert! ????
Go Home With More Than Souvenirs
One of the joys of traveling is coming back with something to remind you of your trip, but you can bring back far more than just a souvenir. Why not go home with new knowledge and an experience that will remind you of your trip again and again?
If you are staying at the Aruba Marriott, you can definitely make it happen. The best way?
A cooking class!
@traveloffpath Pastechi cooking class with Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino . #traveltiktok #traveloffpath #traveler #aruba #vacation #fyp #cooking ♬ original sound – Travel Off Path
I know, I know… you’re on vacation; why would you want to work at something? Don’t worry. The Marriott makes the class so easy on you that all that’s left to do is enjoy the experience (and reap the delicious rewards).
I can confidently say that I will now be eating a local dish from Aruba from the comfort of my own home for many years to come, and it’s such a tasty treat! If you’ve never had a Pastechi, you need to book your tickets to Aruba right now. Seriously, they’re that good ????
The Most Important Decision
Aside from choosing to visit Aruba in the first place, one of the biggest influences on whether you will have a great vacation is going to be where you stay. I touched on it above, and I’ll say it again, the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino was the perfect pick for a stress-free vacation with everything I could possibly need while enjoying all that Aruba offers.
From a delicious breakfast on the gorgeous balcony to a picture-perfect afternoon under the ocean-front palapas, the Marriott did not disappoint.
I wasn’t there long enough to try everything, but that just means that I’m more excited to go back for another visit.
In particular, I want to try the Massage de la Aruba at the on-site Mandara Spa and the Desert Bathing experience offered by the Marriott, where you can enjoy a picnic in the desert after a yoga session and some introspection.
To cap off your Aruba adventures, I highly recommend enjoying your last dinner at sunset at Atardi, where you can dine with your feet in the sand in one of the most beautiful settings in the Caribbean.
The view of the sun setting over your delicious dinner on your last night in Aruba will stick with you, and you’ll desperately want to come back the second you leave.
**Travel Off Path was a guest of Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, who helped with the creation of this itinerary by hosting some of our accommodations and attractions. Our opinions, recommendations, and suggestions remain our own.**
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com