Photo: Renaissance Island Aruba (courtesy Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino)
Who wouldn’t want to spend their honeymoon marooned on a near-deserted island paradise? Aruba, dubbed a “use-less island” by unimaginative Spanish conquistadors who were clearly more interested in converting the heathen than tanning, is a trove of prime bathing spots (mainly along the island’s placid west coast). Try the small, secluded Boca Catalina beach for pristine sand and superior snorkeling.
If you’d really like to spend PTT (Prime Tanning Time) in peace, stay at the Renaissance Aruba. The resort owns Aruba’s only private island, complete with an “adults only” section; rather than wading with others, you and your better half will only have to share the beach with a flock of friendly flamingos. And for premium privacy, venture to Aruba’s windy east coast beaches. Due to strong tides and undertow swimming is discouraged, but they do offer excellent surfing and windsurfing. For some of the most picturesque views of the Caribbean, try Dos Playa in Arikok National Park, but do try to tear yourself away from the surf for a breathtaking sunset hike among the squat aloe plants and spindly cacti. You won’t regret it.
As home bases go in Aruba, you can’t do better than the renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino’s Marina Hotel with its stunning harbor views and world-class shopping complex. But the big draw here is access to the 40-acre guest-exclusive renaissance island: Look out over pure waters to infinity, or enjoy a couples massage at the spa cove. Lloyd G. Smith Blvd. 82, Oranjestad; Marriott.com
In seafood shanties the world over, “catch of the day” is just a synonym for “daily special.” At Zeerover, the catch of the day is literally that: the fishing haul from that day. Popular with locals, Zeerover is everything casual dining should be: The food’s fresh, the beers are cheap, and the patrons are friendly. Everything is fried, liberally seasoned, and terribly delicious. Savaneta 270, Savaneta
A German cargo ship launched at the start of World War II, the SS Antilla is now one of the largest diveable wrecks in the caribbean. It’s a lively home to sea turtles, colorful corals, schools of angelfish, and the odd Jewfish.