- Currency: Florin but most places accept card. I did not exchange any money. I used a travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees throughout the whole trip.
- Weather: Low 80s, High 90s, Very windy. PRO TIP: Bring a hair tie with you at all times to keep the hair out of your food when you eat or when you're trying to take pictures 😅
- Language: Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish, English. English is widely spoken on the island. I didn't have to translate anything my whole time there. Most signs and menus are in English as well.
- Getting Around: Rental Car or Taxi. We found renting a car to get around was the easiest. Especially if you want to go off-roading at Arikok National Park, renting a Jeep is ideal.
- Where to Stay: There are a ton of resorts and hotels but we got an Airbnb instead because it was cheaper and it came with my own private pool.
- Supermarket: Ling and Sons Supercenter. For all your basic needs such as groceries, liquor, toiletries, etc.
Things to do
1. Beaches 🏖
I think Palm Beach was our favorite. They had the most water sport options here if you're looking for activities to do. There are tons of restaurants on the piers where you can grab food or drinks and just sit back and enjoy the amazing views over the ocean. Of course, it wouldn't be Palm Beach without the PALM TREES 🌴 and I think this beach had the prettiest ones for the pics.
They call it Baby Beach because the water is so still. It's super shallow even if you're out pretty far from shore making it the perfect spot for kids. They offer snorkeling here where you can rent gear or in my case, I brought my own gear. I found a little sea turtle to swim with here!
When researching, people talked highly about Eagle Beach but I didn't see what the hype was about. They do have the Fofoti Trees which are cool to take pictures with but other than that, they didn't have as many water sports or scenery for pics.
2. Natural Pools 🏊
They have a huge natural pool at Arikok National Park called "Conchi" but required some off-roading to get to so I didn't get a chance to do this. The island does offer Jeep rentals or ATV/UTV Tours if you are interested. Instead, I went to the "New Small Natural Pool" which wasn't as pretty but I enjoyed being the only ones there since it is not as known.
Right next to the "New Small Natural Pool", this was a gold mill built-in 1825 to process ore from nearby hills. Today, you can see the leftover ruins.
4. Water Sports 🚤
Aruba offers a ton of water sports including jet-skiing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboards, tube rides, windsurfing, parasailing, the list goes on. I decided to go parasailing for the first time! I booked with the booth on Palm Beach and ended up costing about $60 per person. Since Aruba is such a small island, you can see the whole island end to end up there! Unfortunately, I broke my GoPro and didn't get any footage or pics of this 😭
Pro Tip: If you get motion sick, I recommend taking Dramamine or get those motion sickness bracelets because like I said, it is WINDY in Aruba so it does get a bit rocky up there 🤢
5. Shopping 👜
A ton of shops inside and around the Renaissance Mall. They have several luxury brands where prices are CHEAPER THAN THE US! As a result, did a little splurging at Gucci 😝 My purchase was about 13% cheaper compared to if I were to buy it at home. The bigger your purchase is, the more you'll end up saving with that 13%. If you have been eyeing something for a while, this would be the time to buy it.
Pro Tip: US Customs allow only up to $800 worth of goods per person to be brought into the US. Any amount over than that will be taxed so keep this in mind when you're shopping!
Places to eat 🍴
I was using Trip Advisor for restaurant recommendations and I found that most of the reviews on there were skewed in my opinion. Some places that were 4+ stars ended up being average or less than average to me which was a bummer. I'm only including the ones I really liked in the lists below.
Happy hour deals with performances. Sits on the pier at Palm Beach where you have a gorgeous view!
What to get: Grouper Ceviche and drinks!
Smoothie bar which offered Acai bowls, smoothies, fresh juice and more to help you cool off. Has a cute swing for photo ops.
What to get: Hisbiscus Bowl with Acai and Cocowhip
3. Mooba Beach
Came for the experience over the food. I wasn't a huge fan of the food but it was a beachside restaurant where you can have dinner with toes in the sand.
You can get pre-made ones or build your own!
What to get: Dutch Pancakes (DUH!)
Because you can never have enough pancakes. There was a bit of a wait here so I suggest avoiding prime brunch time if you want a seat right away, especially if you're a bigger group.
What to get: Nutella filled Poffertjes (tiny dutch pancakes sprinkled in powder sugar)
Portions were smaller than I liked but the food was a thumbs up.
What to get: Huevos Rancheros
I did not expect Aruba out of all places to have bomb Italian food but OH MY GOD. This was my FAVORITE MEAL while I was there. It is VERY VERY small, the size of a wine cellar with a couple of tables but the food blew us away. Perfect for an intimate date spot.
What to get: Spaghetti with Clams
The patio is decorated with lights and I enjoyed the vibes here so much.
What to get: Limoncello Cocktail
After a hot day, the perfect treat.
Overall, had such a great time here if you're looking for a place to just lay on the beach and relax. We skipped staying at the Renaissance for the flamingoes because we didn't think it was worth it and still had a blast. If you are planning a trip soon, let me know what questions you have.
From 👩🏻💻with 💖,