Aruba started making a name for itself as a highly desirable travel destination in the ’70s and ’80s. My parents actually went on their honeymoon in Aruba in 1984! Since the ’70s tourism has been a key contributor to the country’s GDP. And more recently, it’s become a hot wellness travel destination. Consequently, yoga retreats in Aruba are becoming more prevalent.
The wellness market in Aruba actually represents 11.9% of the country’s GDP, mostly attributed to incoming wellness travelers. Comparatively, the global wellness economy represents 5.1% of the global GDP. So, wellness is an outsized percentage of Aruba’s economy. Basically, this means that Aruba is a wellness sanctuary.
Aruba is located in the southern Caribbean Sea, just off the shore of Venezuela. But did you know it is actually a constituent country of the Netherlands? Neighboring Caribbean islands of Bonaire and Curacao are also Dutch. They’re known as the ABC islands.
Reasons To Go on a Yoga Retreat in Aruba
Where do I start? Overwater bungalows, flamingos, white sand beaches, the island vibe? Aruba is a quintessentially Caribbean island with all the ingredients for a good time AND it’s a new hotspot for yoga and transformational retreats.
Aruba’s tourism board recently launched a wellness campaign, focusing more on the island’s wellness appeal and less on its appeal as a party destination. The tourism authority is building up local wellness offerings and businesses, encouraging travelers to take advantage of the island’s many wellness activities.
This is good for wellness travelers as well as island inhabitants because wellness destinations are often synonymous with environmental health, quality, and cultural activities that are regenerative and economically stimulating for locals. Destinations that wish to be viewed as wellness destinations must take these pieces of the designation into account.
Anyway, back to reasons Aruba is a great location for a yoga retreat! It’s secluded and relaxing, the beaches are pristine, and the water sparkles.
The island is known for its Aloe Vera production. It’s not only plentiful but it’s an intrinsic part of Aruban history and culture. As a core wellness product, Aruban aloe is used for many treatments at spas across the island.
Aruba has a dry climate and sunny weather all year. This makes it a great year-round wellness travel destination.
If adventure is part of your wellness travel, there’s no shortage of adventurous activities in Aruba. Diving, hiking, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, off-roading in Jeeps, and dancing are just a few activities that come to mind.
TIP: Papiamento is the local language. It’s a Portuguese-based creole spoken on all of the Dutch Carribean islands. Most people speak English, but it’s always nice to learn a few words in the local language.
Top Yoga Retreats in Aruba
Now that you know what a wellness haven Aruba is, it’s time to choose which mindful movement or transformation retreat is best for you. Below are the top yoga retreats in Aruba.
Island Yoga is a destination yoga studio founded by Rachel Brathen, or @yoga_girl on Instagram and the best place for an Aruba yoga retreat. Rachel has a major following and can be credited for a big boost in travel to Aruba for yoga.
Island Yoga prioritizes community, offering courses, teacher training, resources, classes, and fully customizable retreats. Your group can work with Island Yoga to choose a date, retreat size, length, and other included activities. The studio also offers SUP yoga, and partners with other local businesses to offer diving, snorkeling, sailing, hiking, and even volunteering at an animal shelter. If you read my 2023 Wellness Travel Trends blog you know that animal therapy/animal presence is a growing trend. Hotels, resorts, and retreats are offering more opportunities to soak up some time with animals as a way to de-stress and support local humane societies and shelters.
If you attend a retreat at Island Yoga you will stay at Costa Esmeralda Resort, just a few steps away. This is one of the best centers for yoga and retreats on the island. Don’t just take my word for it, check out the glowing reviews on TripAdvisor.
Location: Noord, Palm Beach, Aruba
Manchebo Beach Resort is the number one wellness resort on the island and a great option for an Aruba yoga retreat. It offers everything you need to maintain your health and wellness while on vacation. Not only does it offer daily yoga and pilates classes, but it is a destination for weeklong yoga retreats in Aruba.
Manchebo also welcomes instructors from around the world so if you are looking to host your own retreat this resort is a great option. Its beach is secluded from the rest of the hotel strip and it has a beautiful open-air yoga deck.
Location: Eagle Beach, Aruba
This is a 6-day mindful movement and spiritual retreat for anyone looking to solve inner conflict and improve self-awareness. Each day you practice gentle yoga and meditation to open your mind and body to the magic of dream analysis. Over the six days, you participate in three dream workshops. Spend your free time lounging on the beach, exploring the area, or building connections with other retreat guests.
Location: Oranjestad, Aruba
If you are looking for less of a commitment, but want to practice yoga daily on your travels, check out Yoga Aruba. This is a beautiful, locally-owned studio near the hotel zone of the island. It offers a variety of classes including hot yoga.
Location: Noord, Aruba
Wellness Travel Activities in Aruba
For the ultimate Aruba tropical wellness vacation, stay a few extra days and partake in some other wellness activities. The pandemic took a toll on a number of renowned local businesses in Aruba offering wellness classes but there are still plenty of other activities and excursions to connect with nature and clear your mind.
As the island works to rebuild its wellness sectors, check out the following activities that are sure to complement any yoga retreat in Aruba.
Aruba has a variety of edible flora and local chef Frank Kelly, aka Taki Aruba, will take you on a foraging excursion through the countryside and along the coastline. As you hike you will find sea salt, edible flowers, moringa, seaweed, and more. You can email Taki directly or set up a tour through your hotel.
Kayak Along the Barrier Reefs
For an active yet leisurely adventure, rent a kayak. Explore Aruba’s coastal areas, wildlife, mangroves, reef barrier, and other areas not accessible by car or foot on the island. Aruba Outdoor Adventures is the best rental kayak rental and excursion company.
For an exhilarating day, check out one of the island’s most popular attractions – a Jeep Safari. Swim and snorkel in Aruba’s Natural Pool and at Baby Beach, and off-road in Arikok National Park. On the way to the natural pool, you’ll stop at some other popular landmarks. Enjoy a BBQ lunch and learn about the island’s history from your guide.
Spend the day lounging on a catamaran exploring the Caribbean Sea. Look for dolphins, snorkel, and learn about the local marine life. Book here.
North Coast Seabob Reef Tour
If you are wondering what a Seabob is you are not alone. But alas, this is one of the coolest tours ever. A seabob is an underwater scooter that you hang onto with your hands. It allows you to dive deeper and move around more quickly underwater without extra effort. You will experience Aruba’s marine life up close, including the coral reef.
Final Note on Yoga Retreats in Aruba
Turn your yoga retreat into a full on Aruba tropical wellness vacation. You can’t beat Aruba’s weather and its tourism authority’s commitment to investing in its wellness sectors makes it an up-and-coming wellness travel destination. Aruba’s official motto is “One Happy island”. This is because it’s a tropical paradise with a sense of community, colorful architecture, and the best weather of all the Caribbean islands. Check it out for yourself!