Visiting Aruba: One Happy Island!


When we decided to go to Aruba, we weren’t entirely sure what all we would experience on the island. We knew that, unlike several other Caribbean islands we have visited, the climate would be a little more desert like than tropical. We also knew that we would be out of the hurricane belt, but it would be windy, and that Aruba is One Happy Island. Everything else we experienced during our time here was a surprise and we had the best time during our stay here.
When visiting many other Caribbean islands, there are often underlying issues including crime against tourists and sometimes a general dislike of visitors, relentless approach by vendors selling their wares, catcalling, etc. We never experienced anything like this on Aruba and felt incredibly safe and welcomed from the second we walked off the plane.  We also enjoyed the rugged beauty and the less intense humidity of the island’s climate. So, if you are looking for a beautiful, welcoming, and safe place for a beach vacation, we highly recommend Aruba. Curious where to stay, eat, and play while on this island? Keep reading!

Where to stay and eat

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort. Not only did the property offer a ton, but the location was great too. Here, you will find impressive swimming pools with a waterslide and swim up bar, beautiful beachfront with palapas for rent, restaurants, activities and more. While there is a fee to rent some of the prime palapas, you can also reserve free ones which are a tiny bit further from the water via the hotel app.  We also liked that there was not a daily resort fee for all the things this property had to offer.  The hotel is located on idyllic Palm Beach, which offers more than 2 miles of area that is great for splashing and strolling!  And, all the beaches in Aruba are public, which we really liked as well.  Why wait? Book your stay at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort today!
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While the restaurants onsite are expensive, there are plenty of options within a short walk from the property. We recommend Salt and Pepper, Diana’s Pancake House, and Craft. Or, if you want to go for breakfast a little further away in downtown Oranjestad, try the notable Dutch Pancake House. Make sure to get here early to avoid the lines!
There are plenty of things to do on this island and admittedly, we spent a substantial amount of time relaxing on the beach and enjoying time in the water.  We just really wanted to be beach bums!  However, we made sure to try our share of activities during our time here.

Golfing at Divi Links

We enjoy an occasional round of golf during some of our travels. While Aruba hosts two golf courses, we decided to play 9 at Divi Links. We picked a 7:00am tee time to avoid the mid-morning heat. While this was a rough early morning, it made for great temperatures during our game. We like this course because 9 holes went by pretty quickly, making it easy to enjoy the rest of our day.

Sunset Sail

Much like golf, we enjoy an occasional catamaran cruise in some of our island travels too. We are completely landlocked, so sailing is always a great experience for us. Because this particular trip was not only relaxing, but also romantic, this was the perfect way to spend an evening. While we did not book a dinner cruise, we were surprised to be offered a variety of appetizers, a cheese plate, and unlimited drinks. The staff was really friendly and we would highly recommend Pelican Cruises. As a bonus, this company sails every night whereas a competitor down the beach only sails a few nights per week. Keep this in mind for your planning purposes.

Off-Road Island Tour

Aruba can be a challenging island to fully navigate. This is not only because of expensive taxi service, but also due to the terrain. Much of the island is rugged coast. We decided to do this tour because it sounded like a great way to see a lot of things that were otherwise inaccessible to us. We were right! This tour, which lasted all day (about 11 hours) took us to so many places and was one of the best tours we have ever been on. We started with the California Lighthouse and worked our way across the north coast, eventually covering the perimeter of the island. Other stops on this tour include the gold mine ruins, natural bridge, caves, Baby Beach, and our favorite spot, the natural pool. Really, this tour is a “must do” while on the island, but make sure to book with ABC Tours for the best experience. Keep in mind however that this tour is off-road and extremely bumpy and dusty.

Words cannot describe how much we liked the Conchi di Tortuga (natural pool)!

 

The Alto Vista Chapel accommodates 25 people inside and over 300 outside. The priest conducts his service on the chapel steps so everyone can participate.

Although the big natural bridge collapsed in 2005, the island’s baby bridge is just as cool to visit.

 

The exterior of the Bushiribana Gold Mine Ruins.

 

Hiking to the entrance of the Quadirikiri Cave.

 

The California Lighthouse, located at the north end of the island.

 

Baby beach – not at all crowded during late November.

Aruba offers something for everybody. Downtown Oranjesaed offers high end shopping, as well as souvenir stands.  It is an island where visitors feel safe and welcome, and everyone is happy.  Whether you are a seeking the sun, sand, or some serious fun, this is truly one happy island!

Looking for the perfect items to take on your Aruba vacation?  Check out our recommendations below!

 

Have you been to Aruba or are you thinking of going?  What would you do once you got there?!?!  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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