ARUBA ” ONE HAPPY ISLAND”
I am finally FINALLY getting around to posting about our vacation in Aruba!
Aruba’s slogan is ” One Happy Island” and it doesn’t take long to understand why. We love love loved our time in Aruba and we’re already planning to go back soon.
WHERE WE STAYED
Our Airbnb “Lagoon Studios” was located in the heart of downtown Aruba in Oranjestad.
Let me start by saying that we WILL be staying at Sharon studios again. The building is well maintained, very safe and extremely clean. Sharon was an amazing host, and took the time out of her day to personally come and meet us to go over the Map of the Island and help plan our days.
The studios came with beach towels, chairs, a cooler and even sun screen for all guest, which is great considering we didn’t pack towels or sunscreen!
When you enter the property, there’s a sitting area on the patio. This was perfect for us to enjoy the summer breeze each night, and it was also walking distance to Governor Beach.
Fun Fact: The Old Governor House was located right in front of our Airbnb!
We loved that our Airbnb was located right downtown near shops, restaurants, the airport was 10 minutes away and everything was easy to get to!
WHAT WE DID
We got a lot crossed off our “MUST SEE” list! Below were our favorites!
We rented a car so we could come & go without having to wait on any taxis ride or bus. Our Airbnb host arranged for Budget rental car to pick us up so we could start our day around the island. It was super convenient and it turned out to be one of the best parts of the trip…just cruising the streets of Aruba!
The island is so small, we were able to see most of the main attractions; California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel…8 beaches: Governor Beach, Palm Beach, Baby Beach, Eagle Beach, Boca Catlina, Mangolina Beach, Arashi Beach, and Divia Beach.
Snorkeling at Boca Catalina Beach was amazing! It was our favorite beach and it will always hold a special place in our hearts!
We swam for hours looking at some of the most rare fishes we’ve ever seen. The weather was perfect and so was the water.
During our trip, we decided to an ATV excursion…which turned out to be one of the BEST EXCURSION EVER!
This half- day excursion took us along rugged back roads to seaside bluffs and beaches, including the Natural Pool — accessible only by 4×4.
Our tour guide was “Alex”, he made sure we were having the best time during the tour. We stopped at a few landmarks such as the Alto Vista Chapel, Baby Natural Bridge, and a stone wish garden. We were not able to swim in Natural Pool due to heavy winds but it was still amazing to see!
This was my second time booking an excursion with Viator; they always exceed my expectations with great customer service such as free hotel pick up. It was so convenient to just wait for them to pick us up to start the excursion.
WHERE WE ATE
Soooooooooooooooooooo many great places!!
Zee-overs – this is a local bar and restaurant that’s on the waterfront in the fishermen’s town of Savaneta.
We had fresh fried Mahi Mahi fish, fried shrimp with a side of the sweetest plantains, french fries, pan bati (local cornbread), and tartar sauce.
Everything is served to you in a basket, we sat on the dock that overlooked the water.
This was our favorite place to eat in the Aruba!
Next up was O’Neil Caribbean Restaurant.
The food was so delicious and authentic that we had to go twice! They had the best curry goat on the island, it’s served with rice and peas. But it’s only served until 5 pm(not on the dinner menu).
At Barefoot, the tables are right on the beach. We didn’t make reservations for this restaurant however, I’d recommend you do and ask to sit outside near the water; the views are simply breathtaking. The food was amazing, we had the Caribbean Grouper and the Snapper; they were both delicious.
We really enjoyed every bite of this pizza. During happy hour, drinks are buy 1 get one for free, and the price of the pizzas was about $10.00. After eating seafood almost everyday, it was refreshing to have something new like this pizza joint and it definitely hit the spot!
Here’s a little secret: we didn’t like ANY place we visited for breakfast
Fortunately, we found this place the day before we left Aruba.
It was a very modern and intimate coffee shop; they had a variety of pastries, soups, breakfast sandwiches, and muffins. We enjoyed every minute in this spot and talked for hours as our vacation slowly came to a end.
We finished our vacation with a 7 course romantic dinner at Bucuti & Tara. This dinner was the MOST intimate and romantic experience we have ever had in our lives. Our waiter Thomas provided attentive and entertaining service under a private cabana on the beach, with a fabulous ocean view, and a romantic moonlit ambiance.
As we listened to the palm trees swaying from left to right, and the waves from the beach at our candlelight dinner…it felt like magic in the air.
Happy travels to Aruba! I hope our local experiences helped you to see a more local side of the island, and that you fall in love with it as much as we did.
It’s the perfect place to unwind – the island is small enough to have a variety of experiences in just a few days but also unique in every aspect to keep you wanting to come back to see more.