Aruba is called “One Happy Island” for a reason.
Aruba has perfect weather, friendly people, great restaurants, beautiful beaches, excellent shopping, and a lot of fun and adventurous activities to keep you busy.
Our first of four trips to Aruba was for our honeymoon back in 1997. It’s easy to see why we picked this idyllic spot.
Located just 15 miles from Venezuela and is outside of the hurricane belt. The average yearly temperature is 82 degrees, the average water temperature is around 80 degrees, and receives only 18 inches of rain per year.
It takes 3 hours to fly from Miami, 6 hours 20 minutes from Chicago and 4 1/2 hours from New York.
English is the official language and spoken everywhere. The US dollar is used almost everywhere.
We loved exploring the beaches in Aruba. Palm Beach is where most of the high rise hotels are located. Eagle Beach has low rise condos. Baby Beach and Arashi Beach Are great for snorkeling.
Hadicurari Beach is Aruba’s most popular spot for windsurfing. They host the annual Aruba Hi-Winds Kitesurfing & Windsurfing Tournament from this beach.
UTV or Utility Task Vehicles differ from ATV’s in that UTV’s typically have side by side seating. Our 4-hour tour through Around Aruba Tours was the highlight of our trip.
They offer a 2, 3 or 4 seat UTV and they pick you up at your hotel or condo. The includes stops at Philip’s Animal Garden (the island’s largest exotic animal sanctuary), Alto Vista Chapel, Baby Bridge, Bushiribana Ruins, Natural Bridge, Arikok National Park, Shark Bay, Andicuri Beach, Three Bridges, Black Stone Beach, Conchi Natural Pool, Ayo Rock Formation.
They supply bandanas to put over your face because it gets pretty dusty on the trail. They also provide water out on the trail.
Make sure you bring sunglasses. The last stop is at the Natural Pool where can wash some of the dust off and take a much-needed dip. Make sure you have on a swimsuit under your clothing.
We enjoyed our 2-hour ride at the Goldmine Ranch that visited 7 different spots on the island. Johnny, the owner of the ranch, picked us up from our hotel and during our ride proceeded to give us a history lesson of the island.
He was very proud of Aruba and we learned things you never would have learned otherwise. This ride was really fun because you can walk the whole time or run the horses if you like. It’s really geared for all experience levels.
Here are some other top horseback riding spots in Aruba.
We have snorkeled the Antilla shipwreck 2 times, once on our honeymoon in 1997 and once in 2016. The 398 foot SS Antilla was a German cargo ship that was sunk in 1940 by the captain so it would not end up in the Allies hands.
The first time the water was very calm and you could see the entire wreck in the water. The 2nd the waters were quite choppy and you couldn’t see as much. Make sure you go in the morning before the winds pick up for best results.
It is recommended to use a tour company that takes you out to the wreck and not to swim out to the wreck on your own.
It’s really a neat experience to be snorkeling over such a large vessel. We boarded the 70 foot Palm Pleasure by DePalm Tours for our 3 stop tour to Antilla Shipwreck, Arashi Reef and Boca Catalina.
Besides the great snorkeling, this is really a great way to view Aruba from the water.
There are 2 distinct areas where you can stay in Aruba. Along the northwestern coast, there is the high rise section on bustling Palm Beach and the low rise section on the more tranquil Eagle Beach.
We love the Surf Club with the lazy river, excellent staff, great dining options, and excellent pools.
A 5-minute drive for groceries at Super Foods would allow us to have a few meals at our condo and then go out for lunch or dinner.
We also wouldn’t miss the daily bingo game in the pool.
Whether you choose a hotel or resort, timeshare or all-inclusive, Aruba has just about everything you’re looking for.
Aruba has a vibrant dining scene with over 250 restaurants on the island. I was surprised at how many top-notch eateries were found here.
Everything from local food trucks to fine sit-down dining. Most of the restaurants are located near the Palm Beach hotels or in downtown Oranjestad.
We stopped by Salt & Pepper for dinner one night. They serve tapas (small plates) which makes it easy to order numerous plates and sample many of their great items.
We ordered the mango shrimp, fried calamari, spicy beef, mahi-mahi, and teriyaki chili chicken. All items were fabulous and the service is top-notch.
One unique feature of the restaurant is that people from all over the world bring them salt and pepper shakers to add to their collections on the walls. The have over 350 different shakers.
Aruba is a Dutch island so it’s only fitting that we sample some of the Dutch eateries. Since it’s not a big place, we arrived at Linda’s Dutch Pancakes early to avoid the crowds.
The thin pancakes can be topped with many different options. We went with the mango and strawberry toppings.
This is a must stop for breakfast on Aruba.
There lots of great spots to eat outside but one of our favorites was at the Barefoot Restaurant. Located near the capital of Oranjestad, Barefoot opened in 2010 and has been busy ever since.
It has a great menu, excellent food, and a great location on the beach.
Check out the over 250 restaurants in Aruba.
This is also very helpful when deciding where to go for spring break with the kids: 10 Reasons why Aruba is the Best Spring Break Destination for Families!
Aruba is a place we can go back to again and again. It has perfect weather, warm waters, great places to stay, fun South American vibe, top-notch restaurants, fun activities, and great people watching. This is “One Happy Island”. We can’t wait to go back.
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David Kluge is the founder of the Global Travel Boss blog. He loves helping Empty Nesters & Midlife Adventurers create more freedom, travel more, travel smarter, explore destinations, and for less money. He is a travel activist, small business advisor, avid Green Bay Packer fan, and has a Caribbean soul he can barely control.
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