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Aruba Travel Guide

Hello! Today’s post is all about Aruba. I visited Aruba in April 2015 with my family and have been dying to go back ever since. This vacation has been on my mind a lot lately, so here I am… writing about it. I hope you learn something new from my Aruba travel guide! This Caribbean island should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Aruba is one happy island!
One happy island!

Getting to Aruba

First off, Aruba is in the southern Caribbean. It’s only 18 miles north of Venezuela and is part of the ABC islands- Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. All three islands are part of The Netherlands, so Aruba is a Dutch colony. From Boston, Aruba is a 4.5 hour flight away. It’s more south than other islands so it takes longer to get to than The Bahamas, for example, which is only a 3 hour flight from Boston. The good news is that many major cities offer direct flights to Aruba. We flew on JetBlue and were on the island by lunch!

Staying in Aruba

Aruba has tons of resorts, but I recommend staying on Palm Beach. Here you’ll find most of the island’s tourist action. I really liked this area because there are tons of resorts lined up next to each other, each with its own pool (or pools), and then behind each pool is the beach. The resorts all have their own beach area in back of them, but also share land with nearby resorts, so you can bounce around. We often ate dinner at nearby resorts or used their amenities. Every major hotel chain has a resort here, including Hilton, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, and the Ritz.

Palm Beach, Aruba
Palm beach

We stayed at the Marriott Surf Club, and to this day, this is the best hotel my family and I have ever stayed at. It’s perfect for families as it has a lazy river, multiple pools, restaurants, slides, volleyball, beach swings, and more. We loved hanging spending time outside by the pool and walking right onto the beach. Nearby are the Ocean Club Resort, perfect for families with older children or adults only, and the Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino.

Aruba's Marriott Surf Club
View from our balcony at the Marriott Surf Club

We visited in April which was the perfect time of year in my opinion, although Aruba is great year around. I recommend staying on the island for 5-7 days. We stayed for five and although we did everything we wanted to, it would’ve been nice to have an extra day to relax!

Activities in Aruba

Aruba is famous for its weather. The island is known as the “windy island” because it has the perfect island breeze and 82° weather every day. A vacation in Aruba is best enjoyed by lounging by the pool and swimming at the beach, but here are the activities and excursions I recommend:

Water Sports at Palm Beach

My family and I went tubing for an afternoon and it was so much fun! All four of us were able to sit in a couch-like tube and get whipped around over the waves.

Another day my sister and I went parasailing! This was the highlight of the trip for me. It was so thrilling being so high above the water. We could see turtles swimming below and had an awesome view of all of Palm Beach!

Parasailing with Linds... see the boat below?!
Parasailing with Linds… see the boat below?!

ABC Tour

My number one recommendation in this Aruba travel guide! This tour picks you up in a land rover jeep and brings you off-roading all around the island. We first drove to the ruins of a gold mine where we made a wishing statue out of rocks by the water. To do this, you close your eyes, think of a number, and build a statue out of that number of rocks (hopefully you don’t think of 100!). If you’re statue stands for more than one minute, your wish will come true!

ABC tour Land Rover jeeps in Aruba
The jeeps
Posing in the gold mine
Posing in the gold mine

Next, we went to Aruba’s natural bridge and Conchi natural pool. This pool is so fun to snorkel in!

Aruba's natural bridge
Aruba’s natural bridge
Aruba's Conchi natural pool
Conchi natural pool… packed with tourists
Aruba's coastline... it's like a desert!
Aruba’s coastline… it’s like a desert!

Pro-tip: This jeep ride was by far the bumpiest, roughest car ride I’ve ever endured, but was also a blast. Maybe reconsider if you have a bad back though.

Catamaran Cruise

I recommend taking a catamaran cruise! Aruba is famous for its giant Jolly Pirate booze cruise/boat ride, but we opted for something more relaxing. Our 3 hour catamaran cruise brought us to the Antilla ship wreck where we got to snorkel and to Boca Catalina Cove, which is known for its coral and colorful fish. The boat also had a rope swing and slide onboard we could jump off of. And a bar. For the adults of course.

Explore Oranjestad

If you cruise to Aruba, you’ll most likely spend some time in the capital Oranjestad. This is also where the airport is located, so we spent some time walking around here on our last day.

Enjoy Eagle Beach

If you want to treat yourself, drive over to Eagle beach for a nice dinner. We visited Aruba during Easter break, so we attended an Easter Vigil on this beach and ate dinner afterwards. This beach is much calmer than Palm Beach, but equally as beautiful.

Dinner on Eagle Beach at sunset
Dinner on Eagle Beach at sunset

That’s all for my Aruba travel guide! I’ve been to several Caribbean islands at this point, including Bermuda, The Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Cayman Islands, and the Dominican Republic, and definitely think Aruba is my favorite. Add it to your own bucket list!

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