In October 2014, my mom and I decided to visit the beautiful Caribbean paradise of Aruba. Often referred to as ‘the Happy island’, this place definitely lived up to its name!
You don’t need a lot of time on this island, though I could have stayed forever, 3-4 days is sufficient.
Some Key Aruba To-Do’s
Hit the beach, of course! – Aruba’s beaches are so beautiful and colorful and seem to last for miles. The water is a beautiful teal color, warm, and resorts along the shore offer all the watersports one could want, food, drinks, rafts & loungechairs, galore!
Walk along the cobblestone paths and look for wildlife – Aruba is home to various kinds of wildlife. Most of the critters we spotted were iguanas and lizards, as well all types of various beautiful flowers. These cobblestone paths are lined with shops and storefronts to book any kind of excursion you have in mind. Whether that be snorkeling, jeep tours, sunset cruises etc… it’s all here!
Snorkeling – What’s a Caribbean vacation without snorkeling? Make sure you take advantage of the many snorkeling tours available on the island!
Take a yellow jeep tour to the ‘Conchi’ Natural Pool – For me, this was one of the highlights of our trip! We booked ours through DePalm Tours and our tourguide Benson was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Aruba Natural Pool is hidden gem on the island, definitely not to be missed. Our tour also included snorkeling and a trip to the ‘Chapel of Our Lady Alta Vista.’
Shop, eat and drink in Oranjestad – Oranjestad is the capital and largest city in Aruba! It is accessible to the beaches either by walking or a short cab ride, depending where on the island you’re staying. Oranjestad is a colorful & lively town lined with shops, restaurants and locals selling handcrafted items super cheaply. It’s easy to get around the town, but if your legs are feeling like they need a rest, take a ride on the local trolley!
Enjoy delicious frozen drinks! – No beach vacation is complete without a plethora of delicious frozen drinks. Thankfully our hotel kept them coming well into the night! The signature drink of the island is called an ‘Aruba Ariba’ – this is fruity, sweet, yet surprisingly packs a punch. Ask for it by name 😉
Watersports! – Make sure to take advantage of the many watersports the island offers including sailing, scuba, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, surfing, paddleboarding, parasailing & much more! it’s very easy to book these activities at your hotel or at one of the various beachshops located along the beach.
Get up close & personal with donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary – The Donkey Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization devoted to saving the island’s donkeys and educating locals and tourists on their care. This place allows tourists to feed and interact with the animals and there is no admission fee – however donations are suggested.
Get your spelunk on! – There are 2 caves on the island, Fontein & Quadirikiri. Fontein is within Arikok National Park and you must pay park fees to enter. Quadirikiri, since it’s outside of park boundaries, does not charge a fee to enter. Both caves are very different and beautiful and provide visitors with an exciting & unique experience. Just make sure you’re quiet as you’re traveling through the wonders… these caves are home to a large population of bats.
Where we stayed
The Radisson (now a Hilton) – J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 81, Noord, Aruba
Book it here: http://www.hiltoncaribbean.com/destinations/aruba.html
We loved this hotel. The beach area was gorgeous and the pool was huge and relaxing. There was live music every night and the alcohol was flowing. Is there anything better than floating around in a pool at night, drink in hand and listening to music? Didn’t think so.
Some Aruba Fun Facts:
- Aruba is located 15 miles north of Venezuela.
- The nationality of the citizens of Aruba is Dutch.
- Tap water in Aruba is drinkable and 100% safe! (drink on, my lovelies!)
- Aruba does not participate in Daylight Savings Time.
- The official currency of Aruba is the Aruban Florin, however American dollars are widely accepted.
These pictures really don’t do the island justice, in my opinion ;).
If you could use some more ‘happy’ in your life, then I suggest booking your ticket to Aruba as soon as you can!
Disclaimer: this island has been mother-approved 🙂