Aruba is known as “One Happy Island” and the minute you step foot into this beautiful country it’s easy to see why. The locals are kind, the food is delicious, and the beaches are breathtaking. There is truly something for everyone to do. Aruba is like a tropical island meets desert climate. It’s the perfect destination year round as it sits below the hurricane belt. Renting a car is a must so you can explore the entire island. I highly recommend Drive4 Cheap. They were extremely affordable and easy to work with. Aruba should also be known for their roundabouts, because there was one around every corner. . I don’t know about you guys, but I have an irrational fear of roundabouts. As far as accommodations go, I highly recommend Turibana Plaza. It is away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area, and the manager at the property (Alex) was amazing and went out of his way to make sure we had a wonderful stay.
Casibiri Rock Formation
This beautiful rock formation is composed of towering stone boulders. Walking trails and steps were added in order to allow for hiking to the top. Once you reach the top, you will be greeted with breathtaking 360 degree views of Aruba. This is the best place on the island to snap a photo with the beautiful Mt. Hooiberg. This is a very easy hike and family friendly activity.
Mangel Halto Beach
This is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Calm shallow waters make it perfect for snorkeling and kayaking. I fell in love with the wooden sundeck and stairs. This beach makes for some stunning photos. You will see the famous mangroves here as well. The only down side is that the beach here is pretty rocky so I would not recommend it for swimming.
Rated as one of the top beaches in the world, and it was easy to see why. White powdery sand and beautiful blue waters. This is the perfect beach for swimming. Eagle beach is home to the iconic Divi-Divi tree. These beautiful trees are local to Aruba and you will find two of them at the very end of the beach. This beach is very famous for weddings.
If I had to pick a favorite beach this would be it! The view of the lighthouse is breathtaking and this is another beach that is perfect for swimming and sun-bathing. The crowds were low and parking was readily available. There was even a little cafe where you can get drinks and food.
ABC Jeep Safari Tour
This was one of the highlights of my trip. I recommend booking the full day tour. Buy the bandana they sell to cover your face with, because this is one crazy, bumpy, dirt filled ride. You will literally be covered in dirt from head to toe by the end of the day. I have to say this is not for the faint of heart, as this is off road as it gets! It was like a crazy roller coaster ride. We saw so many amazing things on this safari such as an old gold mine, a natural bridge, the first chapel in Aruba, a lighthouse, a secret beach, a natural pool, a cave, and we ended the day swimming at a stunning beach called Baby Beach. Our tour guide was so much fun and kept the group laughing the entire day. Lunch was included as well. This tour is an absolute must!
This sanctuary was founded in 1997 in order to save the donkeys. Donkeys have lived in Aruba for over 500 years and served as the primary mode of transportation until cars were introduced to the island. Donkeys were being found injured or killed by vehicles. The donkeys at the sanctuary are well cared for, and the people that work there absolutely adore them as did I. Make sure to bring some money to buy food to feed them or you can bring some fresh apples or carrots.
This was definitely a very unique and different experience. It’s a quick tour that you can squeeze in the morning, and still have the rest of the day for other activities. I recommend buying the bowl of food as the tour guide will set you up to feed the ostriches. I even fed one out of my bare hands, and it was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I loved learning all types of cool facts about these beautiful creatures. They actually do not bury their heads in the ground, this is one of the myths about ostriches.
Aruba Watersports Center
This was another highlight of my trip. What I loved about the tour is that it was only a few hours long, and since we booked the morning tour we had the rest of the day to enjoy. The boat we went out on was amazing, as it had this netting at the front that you could lay out on. Make sure you actually listen to the safety debrifing as I didn’t and ended up jumping on the netting which was a big no-no. Thankfully the captain was very sweet about it. Speaking of captain, ours was amazing and so was his first mate. Their energy and hospitality made the excursion so much more enjoyable. The first stop was a stop to snorkel a sunken WWII ship, and it was one of the most incredible sites I have ever seen. Aruba is actually famous for having some of the best snorkeling sites around the world. Our second stop included a nearby beach where we snorkeled some beautiful coral and fish.
Hooiberg translates to Haystack in the Dutch language. It is a volcanic formation that can be seen virtually anywhere on the island. In 1951 a staircase was built (thank God the hike was difficult enough) and it was renovated in 1990. There are approximately 600 stairs to the top, and if you missed leg day like I did, you will not be able to feel your legs for the next several days after the hike. I was completely out of breath when I reached the top, but the nice thing is that there is a rest stop about halfway up. The view at the top is breath taking! You can see the entire island, ocean, and even Venezuela in the distance.
Renaissance Private Island
This was the perfect way to end my trip, but I have to say booking the tickets was a bit of a hassle. If you are not staying at the Renaissance Hotel, the way to reserve your ticket is to book online one day in advance. Tickets go on sale at seven in the morning and they go quick ! They only sell a handful of tickets each day so don’t wait until the last day of your trip to book. I would pull the website up on at least two separate devices so you have a higher chance of purchasing a ticket ( http://www.renarubaislandpasses.com). There is free parking during the day across from the Renaissance Hotel if you choose to drive there. Inside the hotel lobby is a small open area that connects to the ocean. A boat pulls up inside the lobby and a takes you to the island. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. The island is open from 7am-6:45pm and the boat leaves to and from the island every 15 minutes. Once you arrive on the island you can go right or left. Left will take you to the cafe where you can use your ticket for one meal either breakfast or lunch. If you turn right it will take you to the flamingos. Bring some quarters to buy food to feed the flamingos with. Make sure to wet the food before letting the flamingos eat it. It was incredible being this close to these amazing creatures and the island is like something out of a fairytale.
I am currently looking up one way flights to Florida as it’s 30 degrees outside, and snowing! Winter decided to come two months early! Anyone else ever feel like they live in the wrong place? These poor kiddos can’t even go trick or treating in normal weather. Anyhow enough of my rant, I hope you guys enjoyed reading this blog post and if you book a trip to Aruba I would love to hear all about it. Have a wonderful day 🙂