Aruba holds a special place in my heart because it is the first vacation I’ve taken in 21 months since I was going through some major changes in my life. For those of you who “know know” me, know that I usually don’t wait that long to hop on a plane. To say I was ready to board a plane and hit a beach sipping Pina Coladas is an understatement. I was in search of my happy place. Bon Bini Aruba!
Referred to as, “One Happy Island,” Aruba has been on my travel list for quite some time now. With perfect weather all year round, very little rain and no hurricanes, it’s understandable why Aruba is known as “One Happy Island.” The locals here seem happy with life and love living in Aruba, and the tourists keep coming back year after year to vacation in Aruba. Timeshares are quite popular on the island and everyone I spoke with mentioned Aruba is one of the safest islands to visit.
Situated just 12 degrees north of the equator, the sun rays in Aruba are extremely strong so the higher the SPF, the better. The water here is a very pretty greenish blue color, more so in the shade of green. Having said that, I will say the best water I have experienced so far in the Caribbean was in Turks and Caicos where the water was a perfect shade of turquoise blue and you could literally see your feet in 3 feet of water. Unlike Turks and Caicos, in Aruba, you can’t see your feet in 3 feet of water. Gotta be honest, right! Regardless, Aruba water is still very, very pretty, and after Turks it is probably the next best water in the Caribbean.
In terms of cost, the USD is widely accepted on the island and most resorts are relatively affordable and family-friendly. Taxis are reasonable with a standard fixed rate. Most cabs charge $9 to get from point A to point B, so a ride from Palm Beach to the capital, Orjanestad, will run you about $9, but so will a ride that is half that time. Taxi fare to the airport is $25. Tip is generally 10% for taxi drivers and waiters.
Speaking of waiters, the food in Aruba can be quite pricey. At most romantic, slightly more upscale restaurants with a view, a piece of fish will run you anywhere from $30-$45. Grouper seems to be quite popular on the island and it is highly recommended at most restaurants. For you non-fish eaters, there is usually one chicken dish and steak dish on the menu, however for the vegetarians, I barely came across any veggie items on most menus. With that said, I’m sure most places will cater to vegetarians. Desserts are usually about $10 and cocktails are about $12. Additionally, every cuisine is easily available on the island, you name it, they have it – Mexican, American, Japanese, and even Indian. There is something for everyone. I highly recommend visiting Aruba if you haven’t yet been, you will leave happy!
Here is my 5 day recap…
At Newark airport, hanging at the United Lounge with my friend, Shanam.
We freeloaded on oatmeal and drank lots of coffee prior to our 5 hour journey since they don’t feed you on “International” Caribbean flights, ya know!
About to land in Aruba. Pretty shades of blue.
A complimentary fruit platter awaited us, a gesture I really appreciated by Aruba Marriott Stellaris Resort since we were starving by the time we checked in.
On our first night out for dinner.
Dinner and sunset at Simply Fish located at the Marriott Stellaris Resort & Casino. The views were breathtaking and the food was perfection.
It was a nice change sipping coffee on our balcony with an ocean view every morning. Priceless.
Heading to the beach. It was quite windy on that particular day.
Pool Bar Happy Hour was the best… I could so get used to this life.
You know I love taking pictures of my feet in the water.
Love Essie’s Under Where!
These iguanas were everywhere! Eeeeeeeeeek!
I had the opportunity to cook with Executive Chef Teddy Bouroncle of Aruba Marriott. I was SO excited, but the chef hat doesn’t suit me at all. More coming on this cooking experience soon.
Walking on the beach and viewing a beautiful sunset with blue, purple, and pink hues.
Shanam and I awkwardly posing in front of the I heart Aruba sign.
Dutch Pancakes were one of the highlights of my trip.
This photo truly captures Palm Beach… loved these Palapas.
Gorgeous shimmery water. The water is pretty shallow which was nice for someone (me) who can’t swim. I know! I still went in far and rode the waves.
So relaxing under the shade with a breeze, the smell of salty water, and reading magazines! It was blissful.
A day trip to the capital – Orjanestad. Adore the pastel-colored Dutch architecture.
No Pictures Please! Just kidding! In front of the Royal Plaza Mall.
On our last night we found a beach party on Palm Beach and danced the night away. It was just what I needed.
Absorbing all of Aruba the last day.
At the airport, Duty Free shopping, I came across an Aruban brand of skin/body/hair products. Yeah, I had to purchase some, the smell was divine!
Bye-Bye Aruba… will definitely be back!
And 4 hours later, we were home. And although the trip was so relaxing, it felt really good to be back home.
Stay tuned for dining and lodging in Aruba!
Question: Have you been to Aruba? If so, where did you stay? What did you do? Share with us!