Before I made it out to Aruba, I had heard so many great things from those who have visited often. As a matter of fact, it seems that those who spoke about their visits always returned. Since my first visit, I have been planning my return to the one happy island with its clear skies, turquoise beaches, friendly people, and white sands.
If you haven’t been to Aruba yet, there are so many reasons to consider and a list of must-do’s.
Mingle with The Locals
The Carubbian Festival takes place every Thursday night in the neighborhood of San Nicolas. With a few purchased tickets you can enjoy some local street food and cold beverages, as well as access to entertainment featuring a parade where entertainers and artists display their elaborate festival wear which often serve to symbolize a community, a people, or a local belief or custom. A fun evening and beautiful sight as well as a wonderful way to mingle with the locals. I did this on my first night in Aruba and it served to quickly warm my heart to the people and the traditions. It was hard to keep my dancing feet from moving to the beating of the drums in the parade.
Go on a Tour
De Palm Tours is one of the leading tour services on the island and the party starts as soon as you get on the boat. They offer everything from island tours to sailing, snorkeling, and SNUBA excursions. If you have never done SNUBA, it is a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving. When I first tried it I was super nervous, but since then and because of how close I was able to get to the sea ground and marine life, I am forever addicted. However, if SNUBA isn’t for you, a snorkeling tour will offer a lot of fun and exploration as well. Taking a tour is the best way to see the island and they are a fun group to help guide you through. Taking an ATV tour is also a fun way to explore the island, especially if you don’t mind getting dirty.
The benefit of touring Aruba is not just the freedom to get wet, or get dirty, though they are definitely highlights for me, but also the access to sites that you would probably miss otherwise, such as the opportunity to explore the caves in Arikok National Park, or the chance to swim at Conchi. The island is small, but there is a lot to cover. These tours make it possible to get the most out of your visit.
Go To The Beach
Seems logical, especially considering that the beaches in Aruba are some of the most beautiful in the world, but I wanted to highlight some really special ones.
Moomba Beach is a kind of party, fun, play zone with sand. The swimming is fantastic, but so is the food, bar, beach tennis lessons, and nearby windsurfing lessons. The evening club feel is also fun to check out and busy with both locals and tourists, just be ready to dance the night away.
Palm Beach, right off the Westin Aruba, is a tranquil place. Quiet and mellow, the clear blue waters and serene surrounding make it easy to relax.
Baby Beach is a local favorite as it is secluded from most tourist spots and you have to travel a bit to get to it. It’s a half-moon beach, nestled within the walls of a coral reef. The beach is shallow making it perfect for those with small children to play in.
Enjoy the Culinary Scene
A drive into the neighborhood of Savaneta leads you to the very romantic Old Man & The Sea. Just steps away from the sand and water, guests are surrounded by the lovely music and sounds of the beach. Sitting for dinner while enjoying the sunset makes this an unforgettable dining experience.
Queens Restaurant serves the Caribbean flavors of Aruba. What I most enjoyed from this restaurant was how authentic the food experience is. This is the place to be if you want to try things like chicken keshi yena, goat stew (yum!), pan bati, and funchi! The staff is friendly and happy to guide you through the menu items and encourage you to taste Aruban favorites.
Screaming Eagle is an upscale eatery which brings a little South Beach feel to Eagle Beach, Aruba. They not only offer indoor and outdoor terraces for dining, but also the opportunity to dine in one of their in-restaurant beds, perfect for those looking for a bit more of a romantic experience.
All in all, Aruba turned out to be one of my absolute favorite Caribbean islands, totally deserving of its “One Happy Island” title. I was blown away and inspired. There is a lot to love about Aruba travel as well, such as the easy flight there and the stress-free immigration process getting to and from the island. I am left missing the colors, the beach, the good food and the warmth of its people. I can’t wait to return to Aruba and get my happy on!