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September 4, 2012updated Feb 08, 2013

Aruba On The Rise

By Chris Boyle

Larimar-Spa

It may not have the ritzy reputation of Anguilla or St. Barths, or the celeb-owned private islands of the Bahamas, but Aruba has been attracting its fair share of jetsetters of late, and with good reason.

A stone’s throw from Venezuela, this delightful Dutch isle catches refreshing trade winds like a pro, its white sands, turquoise waters and beach bars rivaling the best of the Caribbean. Hosting its third annual international film fest this June, Aruba welcomed actors Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen and Xavier Samuel, as well as Latin pop sensations Juanes and Marc Anthony, to its idyllic shores. The thriving island is undergoing a billion-dollar revivification project, and is set to unveil a brand new Ritz-Carlton and Hard Rock Hotel in 2013, smart additions to the sleek Hyatt Regency and beautifully renovated Radisson—Queen Beatrix’s choice—whose 13,000-square-foot Larimar Spa works therapeutic magic. Adventurers are invited to ATV, bike and off-road safari through Aruba’s striking, cactus-studded Arikok National Park, or windsurf and parasail its crystalline waves. Head to over-water Pinchos Grill & Bar for sundowners, and Papillon for fine French fare with Caribbean flair (try the pineapple tarte tatin), where Dutch soccer stars were recently spotted kicking back after a tough Euro Cup.

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