Melting pot. Papiamento Restaurant -- which takes its name from the official Aruban language, a blend of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English and French, plus Arawak Indian and African influences -- serves a lively international menu. Try Eduardo's Seafood Pot, a savory stew created by owner Edward Ellis. Dine in the tropical garden or inside air-conditioned, antique-decorated rooms. papiamentorestaurant.com
Swinging by the sea. At the 600-acre Tierra del Sol Resort, Aruba's only 18-hole championship golf course occupies a rugged spot on the island's northwesternmost point. tierradelsol.com
Always a salve. Aruba is the world's top producer of aloe, beloved by the sunburned worldwide. It's soothing in drinks too: The Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino serves aloe rum punch and aloe martinis. Another melding of salve and beverage: an aloe and rum massage at the Radisson Aruba's Larimar Spa.
Off-road adventures. Aruba Off-Road's tough TomCars are two-person vehicles used in guided tours around the island. One 2.5-hour trip explores the stark yet beautiful north coast. Tours ($89 per person for two or $119 for a single) visit highlights such as the Ayo Rock Formation, the Bushiribana Gold Mine Ruins, the California Lighthouse and pretty Boca Catalina Beach. arubaoffroad.com
For local color, pick up a copy of American author Daniel Putkowski's novel, An Island Away, set on the dusty streets of San Nicolas, an Aruban refinery town. danielputkowski.com