ARUBA ONE HAPPY ISLAND
HI BOMB BAES!
I'm back again to provide you with more helpful details on planning a trip to bomb travel destinations. This short travel guide will tell you almost everything you need to know about planning a trip to Aruba, known for its white sand, turquoise warm water, and perfect weather. This island has more sunny days than any other Caribbean Island, making it an ideal travel destination all year round! Whether you’re looking for tranquility, romance or adventure, Aruba is one happy island and has something for everyone.
First things first, what is it like traveling during covid?
Travelers are no longer required to present a COVID-19 negative test result or proof of vaccination. Travelers are also no longer required to purchase the Aruba visitors insurance, but it's available if you would like.
FYI: Please note that all travelers will still be required to complete Aruba’s Embarkation/Disembarkation Card prior to arrival, which is the country’s digitized customs and immigration process.
The online ED card is mandatory for all travelers to Aruba, including minors and infants. You can fill in your Online ED Card application up to 7 days prior to your arrival. You can get more info on the ED card by clicking the link below:
*US citizens are required to take a covid test to return to the US*
What is the currency in Aruba?
The official local currency is the Aruban Florin; however, U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Using American money in Aruba is common but you may receive Aruba currency as change. ATM cards with a Cirrus, MasterCard, Maestro, or Visa logo can withdraw cash at banks and more than 50 locations and ATMs in Aruba.
*Please note, some businesses will not accept U.S. $50 or U.S. $100 due to worldwide counterfeiting.*
Cost of living:
If you compare the cost of living in Aruba to the U.S., it is slightly higher. Groceries are a little more expensive since agriculture in Aruba is limited and almost all food needs to be imported. Prices are 5 to 6% higher.
Tipping your servers, cleaners, guides, and other staff in Aruba is not mandatory but encouraged. If you feel like leaving a tip, the amount is entirely up to you, but 15% - 20% is customary. The service is amazing, and everyone is very friendly and helpful, I suggest having cash on hand for tipping.
How is the weather?
Out of about 700 islands in the Caribbean, Aruba consistently ranks as having the least amount of rainfall. Aruba is located outside the hurricane belt, which makes planning your vacation a secure and carefree experience. The temperatures average in the low 80s year-round, The warmest temps are between May and October, and lower temperatures between December and March. The water is usually warm, and the sun is always shining, but I must say Aruba is a windy island! I do enjoy a nice breeze, but expect some mildly uncomfortable winds from time to time.
Where we stayed:
We stayed in Oranjestad-West, Aruba at an Airbnb located inside a 4 star resort called the La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino, a family-friendly oceanfront resort located on Eagle Beach, one of the island’s most popular beaches.
I think our Taxi from the airport was around 30 USD. The resort offered on site dining and great happy hour specials at the pool bar. There was also beach front access, including free chair rentals under umbrella huts. The resort offered casual dining like Islander Grille, Sbarro, Cinnabon, and a café. There was also a beautiful romantic beachfront restaurant Las Ramblas, they are only open for dinner, and we didn’t get a chance to experience it, but the reviews are amazing.
I let the Airbnb host know we were celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday and when we checked in there was a birthday cake and card on the kitchen counter. The studio suite had a full kitchen but we didn’t have much time to utilize it. The room was very clean. You should bring a Travel Outlet Adapter because the typical power outlet we use in the US may not be used where you're staying. I also bring portable chargers on trips to be prepared.
The staff was extremely friendly and helpful at the resort. We didn’t gamble but there was a casino on site. The location was perfect for us being right there on the beach and the front desk called taxis for us as needed. I booked on Airbnb for a nightly rate around $110 and the official website averages around $260 per night for the same rooms. I highly recommend booking through Airbnb with Jiarong.
- Booking Link Below:
Can I drive in Aruba?
Arubans drive on the right side of the roads; they are safe and modern. So, you can rent a vehicle from Queen Beatrix International Airport and drive during your stay. I preferred using the Taxi service during the trip. The island is small, and the taxi drivers are readily available. You will need cash on hand if you plan on using the taxis, but it all depends on where you’re staying and what you plan on doing during your stay. If you are planning to rent a car you should do additional research on insurance and parking. I did notice a lot of the gas stations do not permit you to pump your own gas. There is usually staff at the stations who pump for you after you pay.
Our first night we went to "Cubas Cookin" located in Renaissance Marketplace. This is a popular area with several restaurants in proximity but the reviews for this place were great. The art throughout the restaurant has been collected from Cuba throughput the years. The live band plays nightly and is a huge part of the Cuban ambiance. This place is highly rated when it comes to service, ambiance and food. I got the catch of the day, fresh fish paired with sweet plantains, beans and rice. SO GOOD. They are open for both lunch and dinner, so I suggest making your way to eat here during your stay.
"Dinner Under the Stars"- This experience is an absolute must during your trip to Aruba.
The dinner is $80 per person with an additional 15% service charge added at the end. The price also includes water taxi transportation to and from the private island, plus a 4-course meal. Dinner is scheduled 6:30-9:00pm but the boat pick up is a little earlier. It is typically every Wednesday, but they had it on a Tuesday when we went. I had to rearrange our excursions because I planned our activities around making it to this dinner experience. This was a surprise for my boyfriend, so I was super excited to make it happen. If you are not staying at the renaissance hotel, you are still able to book this experience, but you are required to make your way to the hotel navigator desk to fill out paper forms including credit card payment information in the case of a no show. They will not confirm your reservation until this step is complete, so make it a priority upon arrival. After you fill out the forms, they release the water taxi pick up location and time. The boat will pick you up dockside at the downtown marina (behind Lucy’s), you will be greeted with a cocktail. The ride over to the island is romantic and relaxing. Upon arrival you choose your table (first come first serve. We got one right at the shoreline. The flamingos were still outside before the sunset. I let them know about our dietary restrictions (pescatarian) and that we were celebrating a birthday at the time of booking.
The menu has 2 options per course, one includes seafood and non-meat options. I attached the menu below, but it does change weekly. The food was delicious. The service was impeccable, you’ll probably want to leave an additional tip. Our server brought out my boyfriend’s dessert with a sparkler and the whole staff sang happy birthday. The treat you like you're a VIP guest and are happy to serve you. After dinner you can enjoy a live band under the stars.
The ride back to the marina is very dark and a bit chilly on the water so be prepared. I would suggest bringing a jacket.
- Booking Email Below:
Beaches to Visit:
2022 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Award Winner for 3rd Best Beach in the Caribbean and 5th best in the world! Eagle beach is a big deal in Aruba. Four species of sea turtles nest in Aruba; most turtle nests are found on Eagle Beach. Its equipped with beautiful views, ample parking, shaded areas, some beach huts, light refreshments, and a variety of water sports. This is the beach our resort was located at! I felt super lucky to end up staying at one of the highest rated beaches in the world.
This beach is known not only for its excellent snorkeling but a variety of water activities including windsurfing, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, swimming and sailing. Arashi Beach is a white sand beach north of Malmok Beach, just off the road to the California Lighthouse. Also offering huts, a fun bar and large parking area. New features on this beach include showers, lounge chair rentals, and occasionally live music at the bar. We spent some time here during our ATV excursion. It was magical. We were so hot and dirty from the ATV ride so taking a dip into the water was the most refreshing experience. I remember the sand being so white and the water looking so pretty, perfect and blue. If I spent more time on the island this is a beach I would have wanted to revisit.
We didn’t make it hear but this beach is highly recommended. Described as a gorgeous half-moon sandy expanse in a calm lagoon that is ideal for families with small kids.The shallow waters make it a prime beach destination for swimmers who like to wade out for a long distance and still touch the bottom. Baby Beach also offers the perfect location for snorkeling. This beach does have a refreshment stand and restaurant, Big Mama's Grill offers BBQ, as well as seafood platters.
Iguana Beach/Flamingo Beach: These beaches are the most exclusive and can only be reached when you visit Renaissance Island. Renaissance Island is the exclusive property of the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. Guests of the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino have free access by boat taxi to the island that is open between 7 AM and 7 PM daily. When you are a non-visitor of the resort and you would like to visit Renaissance Island to enjoy your day, buying a Renaissance day pass is possible for $125. A day pass includes the water taxi trip to and from Renaissance Island, as well as lunch and a drink at the Papagayo Bar & Grill. Every 15 minutes, the boat departs from the ground level of the resort from 7 AM to 7 PM. The ride is operated by staff of the Renaissance Resort and takes less than 15 minutes. Iguana beach is branded as family friendly; children can feed the iguanas daily at noon. However, Flamingo beach is adult only making it a very popular honeymoon destination.
UTV Shore Excursion Aruba Adventure:
This was so much fun! I highly recommend doing this activity while in Aruba. You get a chance to explore the island driving an off-road vehicle on an adventurous shore excursion. The price for 2 Adults was $215.39 USD, and worth every penny!
Natural attractions including Alto Vista Chapel, the Bushiribana gold mill ruins, and the California lighthouse. My favorite was the cave pool with cliff jumping, located right in front of the Bushiribana Ruins.
A little dangerous if you ask me. You climb down a ladder and walk across rocks while waves are smacking against them. It can be slippery so bringing water shoes with a grip may help. After you make it over to the natural pool you get to jump in and take a dip. A swimsuit is needed but I was happy I brought mine because we also went to the beach during the excursion. Your clothes will get extremely dirty from the dirt so don't wear anything valuable.
This excursion is full of adventure and adrenaline. Food & Beverages were not included. Bring cash to buy refreshments along the road.
- Booking link below
- Breakfast with Champagne
- Lunch with Champagne
- Unlimited drinks (open bar)
- Use of Snorkeling equipment
$85 per person
The tour serves Champagne cocktails and unlimited drinks, a gourmet lunch seafood paella, and a continental breakfast with fresh fruit. The boat ride was 4 hours, the itinerary including three stops—each home to an abundance of marine life—where you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel. Amazing experience! Although I was salty, I didn’t get to a see a turtle while snorkeling. I swam far out and kept missing him, that’s why I was super content with my snorkeling experience in St Thomas, I was determined to see some turtles and I did. I love boat tours, it’s a must every time I visit an island. The water is so recharging, and I get the best suntan.
Booking link below:
Natural Pool Horseback Riding Tour in Aruba: LIKELY TO SELL OUT SO GET YOUR TICKETS ASAP
I think this was my favorite experience in Aruba, but I’m biased because I love horseback riding and don’t get to do it often. The cost per person was $130.00 including hotel/port pickup and drop-off. The max body weight for the is 225lbs, and they do weigh you on a scale upon arrival, so don’t try to finesse. You will be paired with a horse based on your riding experience, weight, and height. There was a lady there who didn’t have the flexibility/coordination to successfully get on her horse, so she was unable to ride (No riding experience necessary).
You start your ride through the island’s Arikok National Park before traveling down the sand dunes to explore the picturesque shoreline. At the end of the tour, you get to visit a natural pool where you'll be able to take a refreshing swim and get a cool photo. The views are breathtaking. Bring water!
- Booking Link Below:
COUPLES MASSAGE: SPA DEL SOL:
I booked a private oceanfront cabana for $260 including an 80-minute couples massage. I originally wanted to get the massages right on the beach but there was no availability by the time I booked. Spa Del Sol is located right on eagle beach. The atmosphere was so tranquil and serene. The Swedish massages were amazing. We were active during this trip, so these massages were the perfect idea to add some relaxation. The location and service, both 5 stars! I highly suggest booking here during your stay.
- Booking link Below:
Starting December 1, 2021, all passengers leaving Aruba on flights to the USA will be part of the new flow control program at the Aruba Airport. This is GOOD NEWS because there was something seriously wrong with the airport flow when I visited in July 2021. We arrived 4 hours before our flight and still missed it and stayed an additional night.
The most important tip no matter your skin tone: USE SUNSCREEN
All in all, I highly recommend Aruba as a Baecation, Group Trip or family trip. The island is a bit slow paced for a HOT GIRL SUMMER girl’s trip, but it all depends on your travel style. I also traveled here over a year ago so there may be more bars/lounges open since Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. There was a place called "south Beach" near the Benihana. It looked fun.
You should note that Aruba is LGBTQ travel friendly and safe for solo travel as well. I treated my boyfriend to this trip as a birthday gift, and was proud of how all my planning played out. The Horseback Riding Experience was the trip highlight for me, followed by Dinner Under the Stars. Let me know if you've been or if you plan to visit! I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below.
check out my Instagram reel @ArrianaBeyf for more videos of the trip
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