Traveling to Aruba with food allergies, do you think it is possible? How do you think Aruba did when it comes to food allergies? Allergic Traveler has traveled extensively these past six months doing lengthy research for you with regards to where to go with food allergies. It is important to us to always be aware of where the hidden gems are as well as the hidden dangers. Here is a list of places we have visited so far in 2017.
While traveling to these areas, it is equally important for us to try the local cuisine as well as dine in to make our own meals. We eat out to truly experience the culture, the ambiance, and the people. Whereas we eat in when we are abroad, to see how food is packaged and labeled differently from where we live. Of course, dining in also gives us a break from going through the thousands of questions with the waiters.
I realize that many people with food allergies do not eat out, do not travel, and don’t eat at family functions. It’s a real shame! There is truly no way to experience a place without being there. Culture and customs are so vastly different from country to country that it is truly a beautiful educational experience to be able to take part in these cultures. You will never understand the salt air unless you experience it firsthand. You cannot appreciate the prehistoric work involved in building the pyramids in Mexico or sailing in Venice until you have lived it. None of these activities require eating, but we do need to eat to survive! OK enough with my soap box, back to Aruba!
Back to Aruba
So how do you think Aruba did when it came to food allergies? They did great, well almost. I would give them a 95% ranking!
Every restaurant was helpful, made suggestion and understood the dangers of food allergies. Never did I feel in danger or not understood. I brought my English/Spanish Allergic Traveler card with me and handed it to the waiter, everywhere I went. Aruba has four official languages. They are Spanish, Dutch, Papiamento and English. There were absolutely no communication barriers.
We did not stay in an all inclusive. We stayed at the Divi resort where we had a one-bedroom apartment. Divi offers both all inclusives and just regular rooms. In the past, we used to stay in all inclusives but at my age I am too old to eat as much as I want or drink as much as I want! Of course, the other advantage of staying in an apartment is having your own kitchen. I know many people who go on vacation refuse to cook. They want to try every restaurant in town. This is not a vacation to me. It can be very stressful as I am always on guard while eating out. I enjoy cooking when I travel because you get to visit the grocery stores and see what is available there that is not available at home. Plus, you get to try new things! That is a delight when you have a restricted diet. To find new things that you may enjoy is such a treat.
Why not 100%?
So why did Aruba only get 95%? Well it is because of the packaging of the bakery items. When I travel I bring my own baked goods, but occasionally I like to buy bread (I am not gluten intolerant). Unfortunately, all the baked items at the grocery store did not have listed ingredients nor did they have any nutritional value. The employees did not know the ingredients, and I did not expect them to. I suppose I could have called the company to inquire on the food preparation methods and the ingredients. I did not bother, I simply went without.
Aside from the labeling issue, I would highly recommend Aruba. People there are the most hospitable and generous. The area is safe. Food is delicious. The weather is perfect and the beaches are gorgeous! We will most definitely go back or perhaps we may even retire there!
Have you been to Aruba? Did you love it as much as we did?
Author: Tarah Jakubiak
After working for 20 years in the corporate world, Tarah Jakubiak founded Allergic Traveler. Jakubiak, president of Allergic Traveler has traveled the world since the age of two. She has been to 24 countries and 26 states. Jakubiak has been to all inclusives, gone on cruises, gone camping; backpacking through Europe, gone to the big cities, and little hidden gems. She has multiple food allergies but it does not stop her from seeing the world. Jakubiak is allergic to eggs, nuts, mushroom, soy, garlic, corn, sesame, potatoes, celery, shellfish, chicken, pork, peanuts, and many fruits. She is originally from Montreal, Quebec and now lives in Greensboro, NC with her husband.