Welcome to Aruba!
Can you believe even I get burnt out from traveling sometimes? Thank goodness for getting sick, which allowed me to rest in sanity from my phone for a few days.
I had not flown for work in at least two weeks because I went home for a few days to see my family and attended graduations. When I returned back from home, I came down with laryngitis and a sweet sinus infection (thank you Indiana spring-time allergies). So, I laid around in bed all day and pondered which Netflix show to watch next.
I came off of sick leave with one day left to fly and they sent me on an Atlanta turn. I just was not feeling up to flying and was feeling “off”. I guess we all have those off days when we just do not feel like getting ready for life; Or putting on makeup and a smiley face-ish.
After my ATL turn, I was officially off for a few days. Since I had been cooped up in my room for over a week, I knew I needed to find the motivation to get out and go somewhere… Somewhere warm. (Yes, I am so fortunate and blessed to be able to just escape.) I picked Aruba..mainly because there were over 100 open seats. I usually pick a destination where the loads are very open so it is easy to travel to without the anxiety of getting stuck and not being able to get back home.
Aruba and its clear, beautiful, Caribbean, blue water welcomed me on arrival. What I did not expect was a desert island. I am used to seeing tropical islands with greenery within the town, but is was all desert.
I laid out at the Ritz Carlton and received some of the most excellent customer service. I asked questions about where I should go because I am always up for a new adventure. One of the runners offered to spend a day showing me his island. How could I pass up a tour? I paid him back in food of course.
Our first stop was getting a taste of Aruban food. Then, it was on to visiting natural sites. We ventured to the northern tip of Aruba where the Caribbean Sea crashes hard against the shore. A surfers dream!
Next, we traveled along the desert coastline and onwards to a natural pool to cool off from 90 degree vibrant, beaming sun. Off the coast and between rocks, was a wooden ladder I had to climb down to get to the natural pool.
Once we got to the pool, which was in a cave, there were little crabs moving around on slippery wet rocks and fish swimming beneath me in the pool. It was a relaxing experience hearing the waves crash RIGHT next to me.
Next stop, natural bridge. So there was a big natural rock bridge that had formed back in the day, but in 2005 the bridge collapsed. Now, there is a small coral bridge forming next to the old bridge.
My new friend took me into the desert to an ostrich farm with baby goats, ducks, and bright, colored lizards moving swiftly. Also, there were fat pigs that reminded me so much of my Boston terrier dog back home. She is a tad bit overweight with her belly hanging to the floor and snorts so much she reminds me of a pot-belly pig. We then went to a horse farm where these horses are used to carry tourists along the blue waters. Unfortunately, I did not do this activity.
We then went all around the whole island of Aruba and made our way to clear Caribbean water at Baby Beach. This beach received its name from being as shallow as walking 500 feet (estimated) and water still being below the knees. It is the best place to sit in the water and soak up Aruba sun. Speaking of, if you ever vacation in Aruba…wear SPF 100 because that sun is no joke. I am now peeling like a cow. It is an ugly look and if only I were kidding.
If you are a fish lover, Aruba is known for Grouper and Mahi-mahi fish. My mouth is watering thinking back to my fresh water Grouper burger with tomato, pickle, honey mustard, and butter breaded bun. Okay, now I am hungry.
To end an amazing day, we went to the main plaza near the Holiday Inn and watched a traditional show put on for the tourists. I always love seeing talent representing their culture.
Besides laying out and getting crispy bacon burnt on accident, this was my most favorite day. I was lucky to meet someone who gave me more of a tour of the island than I never would have expected to receive when picking a place to vacation. I can now check another beautiful island off the list!
The Cons of Aruba
- You have to drive everywhere.
- There is not much culture or quick places to eat around the resorts. I am a lover of being immersed in the culture of places I am visiting. I was a little upset when I could not find Aruban food trucks or small fruit and food stands located near the beach strip.
- The desert may not be appealing to many as some have claimed the island is dirty and there is litter everywhere.
- Some may fear the Zika virus, but I personally only saw one mosquito that was more attracted to my cantaloupe than me. And well, here I am alive today.
The Positives, Tips, and Sites to see on your next vacation to Aruba🌴
- Language – Common languages spoken in Aruba are Papiamento, Dutch, English, and Spanish.
- Transportation – The smartest option is renting a car/jeep, but you may also take public transportation. There are buses that run sporadically, but not always where you need to directly go. You may take the bus from the Marriott to downtown for $2.60. I suggest renting a 4×4 jeep so you can go explore the sand dunes and desert. It is worth every penny to get out of that luxurious resort hotel to just go explore for a day. You may also rent four-wheelers which looked really fun as they were doing doughnuts in the sand dunes! Having a rented vehicle is a plus because things are not close to one another at all.
- Tours – Like any tourist island, there are tours you may sign up for where they take you to main attractions. Check into which tours are the most appealing for your desire for adventure. You may go horseback riding on the beach, explore fallen rocks, go to the chapel and get hitched, and other activities. My suggestion, meet an honest local and let him show you more than a tour ever will. (Trust your gut of course )
- Natural pool – There are several natural pools around the island, but you also need a jeep to get to the main one.
- Natural bridge – For a picture, and to see a beautiful natural creation.
- Renaissance Hotel – Has their own private beach full of flamingos. Talk about paradise! If you do not stay at this hotel, you will have to pay $100.00 to go to their private island. Also, they have a luxury shopping mall within their hotel.
- I would suggest staying around the area of the Ritz Carlton and Marriott for relaxation where you can walk down the beach strip. Stay near the Holiday Inn for more nightlife and places to eat.
- Beaches to check out – Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, Baby Beach (has an amazing restaurant near this beach), or all of them since they are surround by the beautiful Caribbean Sea. Boca Grande Beach for surfing. 🌊
- Airbnb – I would not necessarily suggest staying in an Airbnb unless the reviews say it is walking distance to many things. Or, unless you rent a car. Ask me for a recommended place to stay!
- DO NOT miss the sunset. Watch it every night. Aruba sunset is unlike any sunset I have ever seen.
Lastly, enjoy your vacation in paradise and do not forget sunscreen! ☀️