Finding vegan heaven at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort

Ahh, Aruba. The picturesque sunsets over the ocean, the blindingly white sand beaches, the aqua green waters, the friendly vibe–they don’t call it “One Happy Island” for nothing! A little bit off the beaten path from the usual spring break hotspots, Aruba remains one of the hidden finds of the Dutch Caribbean. Seventeen miles off the coast of Venezuela, this precious little island may be just a little dot on a map, but those who have been there know the secret: Aruba is a true paradise.

Colourful and sunny Aruba in the Dutch Caribbean Credit- Michele Peterson

Colourful and sunny Aruba in the Dutch Caribbean Credit- Michele Peterson

I’m lucky enough to have traveled to Aruba a handful of times with my mom Sue Campbell (being a travel-writer herself, Aruba is her favorite spot on Earth!) and each time I’ve had to reluctantly drag my feet back onto the plane to head back home. After hitting up countless awesome local restaurants and resorts over the last five years there, let me tell you about the absolute best vegetarian food I’ve eaten on that island, and trust me, my standards are sky high.

Elements Restaurant at sunset Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts

Elements Restaurant at sunset Credit Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts

Elements is the exclusive main restaurant of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts located on the awe-inspiring Eagle Beach, one of the top rated beaches on the planet. I visited Elements for lunch earlier this year. It has an indoor/outdoor setting but I chose to sit outdoors and, as opposed to opting for the usual wrap, veggie burger or salad (all of which looked alluring) I decided to be adventurous and order the more creative vegan options. I asked for the chilled roasted melon soup and the “Mi Jibarito” sandwich. The soup was delightful–chilled roasted cantaloupe with ginger sherbet and pomegranate swirl–refreshing and light. It was the perfect combo for basking in the sun while sipping on an iced latté.

Credit Jessica Percy Campbell

Enjoying the sun on Aruba Credit Jessica Percy Campbell

Then came the sandwich. And I’ve never seen this before or since, but instead of bread, the grilled veggies were stuffed in between fried plantains, which were juicy and tender! The zucchini, eggplant, portobello mushrooms, lettuce, and tomato were beautifully paired with the sweet passion fruit vegan tartar sauce. I believe I muttered something about it being the “Best sandwich I’d ever had,” in between scarfing down bites.

Plantain sandwich at Elements Aruba Credit Jessica Percy-Campbell

Plantain sandwich Credit Jessica Percy-Campbell

As an added bonus, most of their food is farm-to-table, organic, and locally sourced whenever possible. They also have an excellent appetizer/salad bar, extensive gluten free/vegetarian/vegan options, and non-rushed table service. Element’s philosophy is to let people enjoy their meals at a relaxed pace, aiming for the delicate balance of comfortable island life and creative upscale dining and they totally nail it. They are also one of the only adult-only resorts on the island, so noisy children will never disturb your meal.

Eco-friendly and beautiful Elements restaurant , Aruba

Eco-friendly and beautiful Elements restaurant , Aruba

To top it all off, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts also boasts the title of being a pioneer resort in running an eco-friendly business and have recently acquired the rare Silver LEED certificate (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), and are the first resort in the Caribbean to do so. And, last but not least, if during your vacation you find a stray dog you’d love to take home with you, Bucuti will pay for their vaccinations and shipping back to your home! Now that’s a real dedication to animals!

As a resort on a socially-conscious mission, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts have won numerous awards for their environmental programs, and their new vegan offerings at Elements should put them high on the bucket list for those seeking first-rate cruelty-free gourmet options when traveling to Aruba.

Travel Planner

Reservations mandatory. Breakfast/lunch/dinner. Credit cards only.

For more on Aruba, visit the official Aruba Tourism Authority website.



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Showing 8 comments
  • Donna Janke
    Reply

    Elements sounds great. My adult daughter moved back in with us for a few months. She is vegan plus has a gluten-intolerance and a soy allergy. I’ve discovered how difficult it can be to shop for suitable food and how next to impossible to find restaurants we can all eat at. When you are in your home city, you eventually get to know what places are suitable. It can be very tough when travelling. It’s nice to know some places are becoming more aware of food allergies and eating choices.

  • Irene S. Levine
    Reply

    Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts looks wonderful but I don’t think your mom would steer you wrong:-)
    The grilled veggie sandwich looks amazing!

  • Kathy Marris
    Reply

    I recently did a Caribbean Cruise and we stopped at Aruba for a day of exploration, but unfortunately before we knew it we were whisked back onto the ship and sailing to the next port. It was a gorgeous place and I can see why you wouldn’t want to leave it. As for their food, we never got to dine here but that sandwich does look delicious.

  • Culture Tripper
    Reply

    Good to know! That plantain sandwich looks delicious. How nice of Bucuti to pay for vaccinations and shipping of stray dogs to loving homes.

  • Jo
    Reply

    Oh Yum! Elements looked an amazing place for lunch and Aruba is on my bucket list of must-see places before I die.

  • Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    Reply

    I’d like to try that plantain sandwich at Elements restaurant in Aruba. Sounds delightful, as does the resort as well.

  • Sue Reddel
    Reply

    Looks like a beautiful place to relax and enjoy yourself. That sandwich between the fried plantains is original and looks and sounds delicious. Have to put Bucuti Tara Beach Resort on the must-visit list.

  • Wandering Carol
    Reply

    Eating healthy AND gorgeous beaches. That’s what I call a vacation.

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