It’s hard to believe it’s been over a month since we were in Aruba! Oh, how I wish I could be back in the 86º weather right about now! This was my first trip to Aruba and it’s safe to say that I loved the island and will certainly be back! Today I wanted to share a recap of our trip & provide some suggestions on places to eat & things to do! Keep reading to see all Aruba has to offer!
Getting there & where we stayed
Aruba is a very easy trip from North Carolina! We flew out of Raleigh, had a short layover in Baltimore and arrived in Aruba by late afternoon. I was really impressed with how quickly we got through customs (some countries are in no hurry to get you through!) and we were on our way. From the airport, most hotels and homes are roughly 15 minutes away. This was a huge bonus as I have traveled to many islands where you land and then still have an hour or so drive to get to your hotel!
For this trip there were six of us, so we rented a house so that we could all have our space. I am so glad that we went this route because the hotels were extremely busy since it was over New Year’s! We rented this house, which had three bedrooms, a kitchen and living area, plus a private pool and back yard! We were able to send in our grocery list and they had the house stocked with the items we needed upon our arrival! You could also rent their vehicle for the duration of your stay, which made getting around the island really easy. Our house was located right between Palm Beach and Eagle Beach and was about 1.5 miles from the beach.
Where to eat
For a relatively small island there are so many delicious food options! There was no way we could hit all of the places we wanted in just a week! My absolute favorite restaurant that we ate at while we were there was Fred. It was an incredible culinary experience, serving only 14 guests per night! You have to make reservations at least 6 months in advance, but I promise you it’s worth it! While we weren’t able to try all the places listed below, they all came highly recommended by people!
BUGALOE BEACH BAR| A great place to grab a drink & apps! It’s located on a pier, so the views are beautiful, especially at sunset!
SCREAMING EAGLE | If you’re looking for a nice dinner with fresh caught seafood, be sure to make a reservation at Screaming Eagle!
PAPIAMENTO | Located in a historic home, Papiamento is a great spot to grab authentic Aruban food, while being surrounded by a gorgeous view.
FLYING FISHBONE | While this one is a bit out of the way and a bit on the expensive side, the views can’t be beat! You can even dine with your feet in the water. Make sure you make reservations to catch the sunset!
LOBBY RESTAURANT & BAR | Located in the heart of the high rise district, this is a great spot to grab a drink and people watch! They have live music a few times a week, too.
THE DUTCH PANCAKE HOUSE | There are numerous dutch pancake houses on this island, so you can’t go wrong with any of them! They have a delicious array of crepes and other breakfast foods!
ATARDI | If you’re looking for a spot for a romantic evening, Atardi is the place to go! You eat right on the beach and can view the gorgeous sunset.
ELLIOTI’S ITALIAN | Located in the low rise district, this place has good Italian!
Things to Do
Whether you’re traveling there with family or for a couple’s getaway, Aruba has something to offer everyone! There is so much to do on the island! I really wanted to rent an ATV/UTV for the day and explore the island, but since I was pregnant we couldn’t do that, but it looked like SO much fun! We had a great time exploring the island and relaxing!
SUNSET BOOZE CRUISE OR DINNER CRUISE | We did a sunset dinner/booze cruise one evening through Red Sail Aruba and I highly recommend it! The views and the sunset were gorgeous, the food was really good & the crew was so friendly!
VISIT THE DIVI DIVI TREE | There are Divi Divi tress located all around the island, but the famous one that you see often is right in front of Amsterdam Manor. It’s right on the beach and it’s a gorgeous photo app!
FLAMINGO BEACH AT RENAISSANCE HOTEL | I’m sure you have heard of Flamingo Beach & with good reason! The beach is filled with, you guessed it, flamingos! If you’re staying at the Renaissance Hotel you can head to the island free. If you’re not, you can purchase tickets 24 hours in advance at $125/person. This includes the ferry ride to the island along with lunch and one drink. I really wanted to visit the flamingos on this trip but after doing some research I found out that there is NO shade on the beach at all (cabanas/chairs are for hotel guests only) and I didn’t see the point in spending the $$$ since I couldn’t be in the sun for long periods of time! There’s always next time!
RENT AN ATV/UTV TO EXPLORE THE ISLAND | There are a lot of different tours and excursion companies that offer ATV/UTV rentals! You can either do a tour with a group or opt to go off on your own to explore the island. Although I couldn’t do this due to being pregnant, everyone raved about it, so I’m sure it’s worth doing since you can explore the island and go off roading on some of the beaches!
VISIT BABY BEACH, PALM BEACH OR EAGLE BEACH | Aruba has many public beaches! A lot of the public beaches have bars & restaurants with nice restrooms. We really liked Eagle beach and that’s where we set up every day! The first few days we rented umbrellas and chairs at Coco Loco Beach Bar (located on eagle beach) but for the rest of the week we rented those items right in front of Oceania Condos.
ARIKOK NATIONAL PARK | This national park has a totally different terrain than the rest of the island. It has a desert feel and is rich in history! There are natural pools, caves & a lot of different guided tours.
CALIFORNIA LIGHTHOUSE | The lighthouse is located at the northern end of the island and is a must visit. From the lighthouse you can see the entire island and it’s breathtaking! There are a lot of tours – as these are the beaches where you can go off roading in in a car or ATV/UTV!
CASINO HOP | Almost every hotel has a casino in it, so if you’re looking to gamble be sure to check out some of the casinos!