Aruba may be the friendliest destination in the Caribbean, which is just what you’d expect from a place referred to as “One Happy Island.” Locals take genuine joy in welcoming you to their home and that’s especially true for honeymooning couples embarking on life’s great adventure together.

With its mix of beautiful beaches and rugged outback, Aruba is unlike most other Caribbean islands. Constant trade winds keep things comfortable even on the warmest days. Romantic and adventurous activities are nearly limitless: desert jeep tours and horseback riding, helicopter and submarine tours and sunset sails, riding the new trolley in downtown Oranjestad and diving into the crystalline waters of the Conchi natural pool on the island’s rugged northeast coast.

Spend your nights trying your luck at the casinos, singing along at a piano bar, or enjoying local crooner Edjean Semeleer as he performs at the island’s newest dining and entertainment hot spot, the O Restaurant and Lounge. Restaurants here know how to do romance right, too. You can dine in a waterfront private palapa at The Old Man & The Sea, or on a canopied bed for two at the Screaming Eagle on Eagle Beach.

Aruba’s luxury quotient recently got bumped up a notch with the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, a new fixture on famous Palm Beach. The “ladies and gentlemen” on staff offer legendary Ritz service and every room at the resort features a private oceanfront balcony. Couples can luxuriate in a private spa suite for two, complete with rose-petal bath and his-and-hers massages, then relax in a beachfront cabana or enjoy a special meal prepared by the resort’s executive chef.

With its multi-level pools, waterfalls, and lagoons populated by koi fish and black swans, the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino has some of the loveliest grounds of any Palm Beach resort and a dinner at the enchanting Ruinas del Mar restaurant is a must-do for romantics. For a private dinner on a very exclusive beach, book an executive or royal suite at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, which has Aruba’s only private-island beach: It’s guests-only during the day, and all yours in the evening after the sunbathers sail back to shore. The island’s secluded spa cove is a favorite spot for beachfront massages as well.

The Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is smaller, but what it lacks in size it makes up in intimate charm and character. This adults-only sanctuary sits directly on a quiet strip of beach and includes the acclaimed Carte Blanche restaurant, where chef Dennis van Daatselaar will prepare a unique five-course dinner before your eyes at a special show table set before the kitchen—or in a private cabana on the beach.

Aruba is ideal for active-minded honeymooners: This Dutch Caribbean island is not so much a place to get away from it all as a destination where you can get away to it all. Yet the quiet moments—a hike through cactus-studded Arikok National Park, or a sunset scramble to the 620-foot summit of Yamanota, the island’s high point—may become your most memorable. 

Especially if you are inspired by the endless views to tell your sweetheart (or, “Dushi”) the words they can never hear enough from you in the local Papiamento patois:Mi ta stima bo—I love you.

> Written by Bob Curley