J. Kelly Hoey

How To Bleisure: Mixing Work And Leisure Travel In Aruba

Travel trend or simply the hot work reality for a growing generation of freelancers, entrepreneurs, (and yes, employees with side-hacks), frequent travelers are mixing R&R with how they are earning a living. It’s a trend that is increasing a lifestyle choice, not completely a business necessity (according to travel insights site Skift). So whether you are a remote worker or freelancer or digital nomad looking for a change of scenery or simply someone looking for collaborative space and great WiFi (plus opportunity to network like the locals) here are the how to and where insights on networking in Aruba.

Name: Tristan Every, Co-founder ATECH

Location: Oranjestad, Aruba. Born and raised in Aruba, Tristan admonishes that Aruba is not just an island to visit for vacationing! And as he’s deeply involved in creating a (tech) startup ecosystem, it’s obvious to him what the potential for the island is.

To set the networking background, Tristan tells me:

It may surprise many, but Aruba hosts a variety of conferences where networking plays a key part. Throughout the year you can choose to attend conferences on green energy, business and matchmaking, seminars and lectures on any and every topic. You can attend a tech conference (ATECH Conference), and an all-female conference, Women in Leadership. Next to conferences, seminar, lectures, for locals Happy Hours are well known moments for networking and getting things done.

Tristan’s recommendations:

· Best power breakfast: Suikertuin, the Dutch Pancakehouse, brunch at Hyatt, The Hub, Koffiehuis · For the business lunch: Aquarius or Casa Tua (both Downtown) or Windows, Taste of Belgium, Blossoms, Gianni’s, or The Kitchen (in the hotel area) · The “only locals know this place” to start the day: Coffee4U, The Hub · Mid-day meeting place: Suikertuin, CILO, Taste of Belgium · Socializing early-birds: Coffee4U, Koffiehuis, Suikertuin, CILO, Smit & Dorlas at the Hilton, Garden Fresh · Work options for night-owls: co.lab Workspace opens up upon request for those who’d like to get some work in after 6pm and on Saturdays · After work retreat: Linear Park for some running, the beach (Eagel Beach, Fisherman’s Hut, Malmok, Arashi) for some sunset relaxation, or Happy Buddha for yoga · Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Aruba being an island is a neighborhood by itself! I recommend Yemanja, El Guacho, L.G. Smith Steakhouse, West Deck, Gari & Wasabi, Old Fisherman, AZIA, Gelatissimo · Local coffee shop: Coffee4U, Juan Valdez, Koffiehuis · Favorite bar(s): Chaos, On the Rocks, Wineroom, AZIA, Local Store

And the fit-in-like-a-local suggestions:

· Local inspiration: the many beaches and hiking in the National Park Arikok · Wardrobe and business essentials: usually the usual as in the summer in New York City · Events for combining work and play: co.lab Table Talk, any ATECH events, event by the Chamber of Commerce, events hosted by ATIA · Co-working space: co.lab Workspace · Place to unplug and recharge: The beach, grab a massage, rent a Jeep, and go off-roading off the coast, visit the museums, go SCUBA diving/kite-surfing/windsurfing, take a boat or catamaran out on the sea · Don’t Miss: All of the above?! It’s a complete package of experiences, tough to just name one!

Last local word: “Most people are friendly on Aruba, don’t hesitate to ask for help or tips on where to go or what to do.”


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