Travel

Weekend Guide to Aruba

October 8, 2017

One Happy Island

Aruba’s slogan is “One Happy Island” and once you visit you will see why it completely lives up to it! After seeing so many pictures on the internet of the clear water and the famous pink flamingos, I decided I needed to scratch Aruba off my never ending bucket list! Since it was summer weather, I figured this was the perfect time to jump on a plane and visit this dreamy island. Although Aruba is located in the Caribbean, it is not your typical tropical Caribbean paradise, but rather dry and arid. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful island that is located below the hurricane belt, which mean trips during hurricane season are typically not a problem!

If you’re interested in visiting Aruba, then continue reading because I’m going to share facts I learned about the island, my trip details, what to do while visiting, recommendations on places to stay and where to dine.


Facts About Aruba

Before you visit Aruba I think it is important to know:

  • Aruba is a former Dutch colony and is considered part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • The average monthly temperature in Oranjestad varies little from 26.7 °C (80.1 °F) to 29.2 °C (84.6 °F).
  • Dutch and Papiamento are Aruba’s official languages​​, but most Arubans speak at least four languages​​, including English, Spanish and Portuguese.. English is known by many since its usage has grown due to tourism.
  • Climate is dry, so rainy days are a rare occurrence.
  • Aruba’s currency is the Aruban Florin, however the US dollar is also accepted everywhere.
  • The tap water is pure and refreshing, meeting the highest standards of quality of the World Health Organization. Since Aruba does not have any significant natural sources of freshwater, the water is distilled in a saltwater desalination plant.
  • Be prepared for wind because Aruba is windy year round.
  • Aruba drives on the right-hand side of the road, as in North America. The roads are well-paved and marked with signs in English.
  • You will find a casino in almost every single hotel in Aruba.
  • If you’re traveling from the U.S. you won’t need a converter.

Transportation

The only way to get to Aruba is by flying into Queen Beatrix International Airport, which is located in Oranjestad, Aruba.

Aruba is a tiny island measuring only 32 kilometres (20 miles) long and 10 kilometres (6 miles) across with a land area of 179 km2 (69.1 sq miles). Getting around in Aruba is pretty simple, however can get pricey rather quickly despite it’s size. Taxis are widely available in Aruba and normally handle up to five passengers per taxi. All prices are per taxi not per person. Sundays, holidays and after midnight fares have a surcharge of $3.00. Taxis in Aruba do not have meters since rates are based on destination rather than mileage and are set by the Aruba Department of Public Traffic. Refer here for an exact taxi rate to/from places throughout the island. It is very easy to grab a taxi from the airport or any hotel and the price is given to you upon entering. The taxi price from the airport to our hotel, The Renaissance Aruba, was $18.


Where to Stay

Aruba is full of incredible hotels for every budget. If you’re looking for affordable luxury then Aruba is definitely the perfect place for a dream vacation. Below you will find a few hotels I recommend during your visit to Aruba.

Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino

In the heart of the cosmopolitan capital of Oranjestad, with stunning Caribbean views the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino features completely renovated rooms and suites in two distinct settings — the Renaissance Ocean Suites and the sophisticated, adult-exclusive Renaissance Marina Hotel. Explore the rich blue waters of Renaissance Island, Aruba’s only private beaches, reserved exclusively for guests of the resort where you can visit the famous Flamingo Beach. Click here to read about How to Visit Flamingo Beach. If your interested in shopping, then a short stroll from the main street and adjacent to the Renaissance Marina Hotel, Renaissance Mall is home to luxury brands, like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Furla & more. The hotel also features several great restaurants for a top dining experience and a casino if you want to try your luck!

Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort and Casino

Located in the heart of the Palm Beach Strip, Hilton Aruba was renovated in 2016 and is a beautiful resort with a great location. Shopping, restaurants and activities all nearby within walking distance. On the hotel grounds you will find a spa, a casino, on-site diving center, two swimming pools and several restaurants.

The Ritz Carlton Aruba

Steps from the white sand of Aruba’s Palm Beach you will find luxury at The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba. All hotel rooms and suites include private balconies overlooking the Caribbean Sea. On the hotel grounds you will find four dining outlets, a luxurious spa, two swimming pools, and a 24-hour casino.


What to Do

Snorkel

Want to pretend to be Ariel for a day? A great way to explore underwater life is to schedule a snorkeling tour. I chose a Champagne Brunch and Snorkeling tour with Pelican Adventures. I cruised along on their beautiful catamaran and experienced some unforgettable snorkeling, all while sipping on some bubbly. They offer several different snorkeling tours as well as on land tours. De Palm Tours is also a very highly recommended tour company on the island which offers everything from transportation, romantic sunset sails, sightseeing in a luxury air-conditioned motorcoach, exciting off-road adventures, snorkel and sailing adventures, atlantis submarines tours, underwater exploration, and splashing sliding water park fun.

Visit Eagle Beach

From the pristine beach and magnificent scenery to the aqua blue waters  — Eagle Beach is absolutely stunning. Named as the number one Caribbean beach in a USA Today survey of travel writers, travel agents and frequent travelers, Eagle Beach is a favorite among locals and tourists and is located in front of the low-rise hotels. Whether you choose to stroll the beach, soak in the sun while sipping a cocktail or go for a refreshing swim, you must visit Eagle Beach during your stay in Aruba.

Visit Flamingo Beach 

Being surrounded by flamingos is just one of the unique experiences to enjoy while visiting Aruba. You can’t find beautiful, pink flamingos on just any old beach. The one and only flamingo beach is located in Oranjestad, Aruba on the private island of the Renaissance Resort & Casino Hotel. The island boasts two private beaches. Flamingo beach, which caters towards adults only while the other, Iguana beach, is perfect for families. If you’re an adult you can visit both sides of the island, however children must remain in Iguana beach only. If you want to read about How to Visit Flamingo Beach then click here.

Relax in a Private Cabana

While a full day at Flamingo Beach is luxurious enough on its own, you can take it up a notch and rent one of their private ocean-front cabanas for the entire day for the ultimate beach experience. In order to rent a private cabana, you can be a guest at The Renaissance Aruba or if you are a non-guest you will have to pay an additional fee of $99 on top of the cost of the cabana. Most people who visit Aruba would tell you to visit Flamingo Beach for the flamingos, however I will tell you to visit Flamingo Beach for the ultimate luxury cabana experience! If you want to read about my luxury cabana experience click here.

Gamble

If you like to gamble, then you’re in luck! Aruba has countless casinos spread across the island for you to choose from. Most likely your hotel will have a 24-hour casino. For a list of casinos, click here.

Relax on a Hammock

Grab a book, tunes and a cocktail and sway away on a hammock overlooking the Caribbean sea for the ultimate relaxation experience. Enjoy the sun soaking into your skin and the Aruban breeze. Be sure to put on sunscreen because most likely you will fall asleep here.


Where to Eat

The Flying Fishbone

Eduardo’s Beach Shack

The Dutch Pancake House

The West Deck

Interested in a full list of detailed recommendations on where to eat in Aruba? Click here.


There you have it! My guide to Aruba for an unforgettable weekend in paradise!

Are you planning a vacation to Aruba? Which activity are you most likely to experience from my list?


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  1. It looks absolutely stunning. It might not be a typical Caribbean island but it looks like I imagine them to be – clear, incredibly blue & sunny. It’s on my wishlist, hopefully not too long anymore..

    1. I’m glad it’s on your list! The turquoise waters and weather are just like any other Caribbean island! Definitely a beautiful place to experience.

    1. The flamingos are a huge attraction it seems, but there are so many other things to see! I think you would love it Valerie!

  2. I can’t think of a more perfect place to spend a weekend and can see why they’d promote this as “One Happy Island”. Definitely adding Renaissance to my hotel bucket list so I can enjoy that Flamingo Beach! Thanks for sharing <3

  3. Thanks for the guide! Very helpful. As far as the water, the tap water in the Bahamas was salty, good to know it is purified. Kind of a water snob here ha!

    Myfootprintsaroundtheglobe.com

  4. I have to admit I’m a little jealous. Aruba has been on my bucket list for years but I haven’t taken the plunge to do it yet. Seeing your photos of the gorgeous beaches and those flamingos has inspired me! Thank you for sharing!

    1. There really is much more to the Caribbean island than resorts and beaches. It just requires some research and planning to find these things before your trip. I find speaking with locals once your there is very helpful too.

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