My hands down favorite island vacation (so far at least!) So much so, that me and the hubs left Aruba last time with a 40 year timeshare. (One of those examples of when my husband indulges in my travel obsessions perhaps too much)
Let me give you the background of how we ended up in Aruba to begin with. I’ve always wanted to go to Aruba, but I knew there weren’t a lot of all inclusive options there and we always wanted all inclusive. (Side note – I’m an avid non all inclusive after this trip, a story for another blog) We went to a local bar on a work night (cue eye roll… babe don’t you know I have work at 8am?) Blue Moon and WMMR were hosting a trip giveaway. All you had to do was take a picture with a Blue Moon and tag WMMR in it on Twitter. I’m not a twitterer (is that a word?), so my Twitter has one post and it’s this picture. About a month goes by. I’ve completely forgotten about this. My husband is in the bathroom and is yelling at me from the toilet (we are at that point in the relationship) to check my Twitter immediately. Come to find out my picture was picked as the winner of the Aruba trip and I had 10 days to claim it. It was the 9th day. CLOSE ONE.
So all expense paid trip to Aruba courtesy of WMMR! (For those of you who don’t know, that is a radio station out of Philadelphia). We stayed at Holiday Inn Resorts and Spa in the Palm Beach section of Aruba, which is like “downtown”. The hotel offered all inclusive, but we opted to decline as we wanted to explore the island off the hotel. After our first night there I was in love with this island! It’s funny because we had actually started fantasizing about getting a timeshare as soon as we got there and then the night before we left we are given that opportunity. (And obvs jumped on it)
I don’t want to bore you with each and every detail of our trip so I’ll break this up into 2 lists of why you need to go Aruba and things to do while your there. I’m going back in a little over a month so I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this list!
Why You Need To Go:
- Their slogan is literally “one happy island”, and they are not lying! I have never been somewhere filled with as many happy people as Aruba. I know, I know, we are on vacation, obviously the servers are going to treat us kindly and be friendly. Well first of all, that doesn’t happen at all resorts. Second of all, we barely stayed on the resort. We explored off the resort almost every day and everyone we bumped in to was extremely helpful and generous. There were no fake smiles here.
- You can rent a car with no stress (or take a cab, they are safe and everywhere). Transportation is super easy around Aruba. As soon as you head outside from the airport, there is a taxi service that will set you up with a ride and a rental car service that you can get a car for your stay. We got around by taxi our last trip, but we’ll be getting a car this time around.
- It’s safe. When traveling to other countries or even other cities, safety is always a top concern. Can we walk around? Are there bad areas? Crime? Although they got a bad rep from the Natalee Holloway incident in 2003, Aruba is known as one of the safest islands in the Caribbean.
What You Need to Do:
- Walk down the strip at Palm Beach. (Idk if they call it a ‘strip’, but that’s what I’m calling it.) Palm Beach has a strip full of restaurants, bars, and shops! We spent 3/5 nights just walking up and down exploring different bars and places to eat! A lot of little bars/restaurants have live music!
- Eat at Gianni’s! There’s a few Italian spots in Aruba, but we went to Gianni’s, which is on the strip. It was AMAZING and the service was incredible. We told them it was my birthday (it was, don’t worry we weren’t lying) and they gave us 2 free desserts on the house! There’s indoor and outdoor seating. It’s a great atmosphere. It can get crowded, so earlier the better! Also, they make your pasta in a cheese block in front of you! It was awesome.
- Kukoo Kunuku! The best party bus tour ever. If you can request a guide, you have to go with “MaMa”. She is hysterical! They have an option to have dinner and go take pictures at the beach during sunset or you can just opt for the party bus tour that takes you to some local bars around Aruba. I believe you go to 3 bars (to be honest, it was a long night so it might be 4). You can drink on the bus and they have these bottles that you can purchase to get refilled at each bar! There’s also maracas on the bus that they hand out to sing and dance along with the music. This was one of my favorite activities we did and we are 100% doing it again when we go back in May!
- Jolly Pirates snorkeling tour! Snorkeling+drinking on a pirate ship? What more could you want? They take you to 3 snorkeling spots and one of them is a shipwreck from WWII. The other two spots are swarming with tropical fish and much more shallow. You get lunch and drinks on the ship. There’s also a rope swing that you swing off of the ship into the water. My husband only tried to do a back flip 7 times, 3 of which ended up as belly flops.
- Moomba Beach Bar & Restaurant! This is a restaurant/bar on Palm Beach that has awesome food and drinks. I think Sunday is the beach party night but don’t quote me on that one.
- Smokey Joes– Best BBQ on Aruba!
- Pelican Pier– We ate lunch here everyday. Eat lunch and have a cocktail right off the dock over the ocean in Palm Beach!
There’s so much more but I’ll stop for now. There’s also a lot we want to do this time around! Aruba Part Two coming in May!