11 Aug One Happy Island
Hello! I am totally behind on this post, but the past month has been crazy! Full disclosure – it is extensive, but I’ve had a few of you ask me about spots we visited, excursions, and places to dine so hope you guys enjoy it.
So, first things first, Aruba is known for its beautiful beaches and warm waters, and if you’re looking for a place to soak in the sun, relax, and be pampered, you’ll find Aruba as the perfect destination.
Excursions – On our rugged natural pool safari tour with ABC Tours Aruba we visited the Natural Bridge, Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins – spectacular rock formed from lava, quartz diorite, and limestone. Then went for a swim at the natural pool – so refreshing! You can swim and snorkel at the Natural Pool which is formed by a wall of volcanic rocks, ABC Tours provides snorkeling mask. Make sure to bring sneakers as the trails are rocky (I personally wore sandals but that’s my preference, Steven wore sneakers and was glad he did), swimwear (specifically if you want to take a dip at the Natural Pool), sunscreen, and extra cash (you’ll find a few local trucks which sell drinks and snacks). After the excursion, we had a delicious barbecue lunch it was delicious! When I read the reviews on ABC Tours, many suggested they didn’t receive lunch, but I believe the lunch is only included in the morning and full day tours.
We had a lot of fun and would recommend the excursion but only the half day tour. If we would have done the full day we would have been over exhausted, again that’s our personal preference. The tour guides are knowledgeable and friendly – they truly made the experience great.
Beaches – Aruba has many beautiful beaches, a few which we visited were Flamingo Beach, Iguana Beach, Baby Beach, Palm Beach and Eagle Beach.
Flamingo Beach in the Renaissance Private Island was my favorite and it is BEYOND amazing! The island has two private beaches. Flamingo beach (adult only) and Iguana Beach (family friendly). To visit the private island, you must be a guest at the Renaissance Aruba Resort or purchase a day pass for $100 per person. Daily passes are only available if the resort is not completely booked so I would recommend booking at least one night at the Renaissance Aruba Resort to visit the lovely Flamingo Beach. The resort also offers a complimentary water taxi daily from 7 am – 7 pm from the resort to the private island.
When we arrived at the island we purchased food for the flamingos from a vending machine for only 25 cents. We fed the flamingos it was a wonderful experience being up and close with these beauties! It truly was a dream come true swimming in crystal blue water with the flamingos walking around the island all day.
For the ultimate experience, we rented one of the private cabanas. Upon our arrival, we were greeted and taken to our cabana with a sand display with our last name welcoming us to our home for the day. The staff gave us a tour of our cabana and checked on us several times during the day and even surprised us with complimentary deserts in the afternoon. Steven and I spent the entire day enjoying the view, relaxing, sipping on cocktails (The Flamingo was my favorite), and sunbathing over the water hammock. We did not want to leave the cabana. The experience was far more than what we expected! Comfort and convenience.
To rent a private cabana, you can be a guest at The Renaissance Aruba or if you’re a non-guest you can pay an additional fee. Reservations must be requested in advance via email directly with the hotel. Rental cost is per day and includes two bottles of Voss water, two bottles of Voss sparkling water, a bottle of champagne, a tray of fruits, water floats, snorkeling mask, towels, and WIFI.
The resort also offers a private romantic dinner once a week at 7 pm at the island which can be pre-book at the hotel reception desk. I highly recommend it! We had one of the best dinners that night enjoying the breeze right in front of the beach with live music.
Baby Beach – a perfect beach for families especially with young children. It’s located in the southern part of Aruba, close to San Nicolas so many taxi drivers don’t drive down by the beach. We were lucky to find a local driver who took us there for $20 from the Renaissance hotel but on our way back it was an adventure, to say the least, so I recommend renting a car to visit Baby Beach. The beach is shallow with crystal clear waters, you can see all the fishes swim by. You can also spot some Divi Divi trees if you walk around the beach. There are also beach beds and windscreens available for rental.
Palm Beach and Eagle Beach – can be visited in one day as they are 5 minutes away from each other in driving distance. Palm Beach is a white sand strip surrounded by hotels, beach bars, restaurants, and shops. The water is much cooler than the other beaches, but the vibe is more upbeat. If you want a little more party mode, this is the beach to visit. Eagle Beach is the widest beach in Aruba and was awarded the 3rd best beach in the world in 2017 by TripAdvisor. It offers ample parking and beach huts, which are great for shaded areas. It felt like this is the beach more locals visit, very calm and relaxing.
Food – my favorite part because I LOVE to eat especially in local restaurants. Aruba has INCREDIBLE food but my top three were Zeerover, Che Bar, and Mojitos Cuban Cuisine. My top favorite spot was Zeerover – they offer delicious catch of the day with an amazing location overlooking the ocean. It was the most delicious and inexpensive meal we had the whole trip. Their shrimp and fried plantains were mouthwatering. Che Bar is a very small restaurant in J.E. Irausquin BLVD offering authentic Argentinian food. Mojitos Cuban Cuisine is a block away from the Renaissance resort overlooking the arena and offering the most delicious mojitos.
Shopping – If you’re like me who loves to shop on trips and grasp the styles from different countries then you’d be highly impressed with the shopping in Aruba! Next, to the Renaissance Resort, there’s an abundance of high-end stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, etc. But what I loved the most was all the sorts of little island shops across the Renaissance Resort selling unique items and clothing.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend the One Happy Island! I had never seen so many white sand beaches with turquoise water in my life! I loved how safe it is to walk around day and night without fear. Aruba is small, which made it a breeze getting around the island. It’s easy to communicate with the locals as everyone in Aruba speaks 4 languages: Dutch, Papiamentu, English, and Spanish. If you don’t have Aruba on your bucket list, it’t time to add it.
Let me know if you have any questions and I’d be happy to get back to you!