When the Aruba Tourism Authority asked to meet with me last December to gauge my interest in a collaboration, I didn’t hesitate! After all, TRAVEL is the part of this blog I’m really expanding. I’m especially interested in destinations Pete and I have never been to. Head to the sunny island in the Lesser Antilles Islands located in the Southern Caribbean Sea? Heck ya! Come discover ARUBA with me!
Although we have been to the Caribbean many times visiting the Bahamas, Turk & Caicos, US and British Virgin Islands, Saint Martin, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Antigua, we’ve never been this far south. I go into every trip I take with a blank slate ready to discover and uncover hidden treasures. I literally do zero research before departure other than checking the weather so I know what to pack. This little happy island didn’t disappoint.
Aruba is pretty far south in the Caribbean Sea avoiding the hurricane path. With pristine white beaches and beautiful blue water, this 19.6 mile x 6 mile desert island is a part of the Leeward Antilles which include Curacao and Bonaire. Hence the reason why you can call them the ABC islands referring to Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. It’s located 12 degrees north of the equator with a year-round average temperature of 82 degrees. Trade winds cool the island making basking in the sun an absolute delight. Make sure to pack the sunscreen though, the sun is very strong!
Travel to Aruba is easy with many flights from the US daily. American Airlines just started a new non-stop flight from Dallas on Saturday’s too. Heading to Aruba, we had a layover in Miami. Once we arrived on the island, we had First Class Aruba meet us. This is an AMAZING VIP service that you will really want to hire. They fast track you through arrivals and/or departures and with Aruba only having one major airport, you can imagine the log jam going through check-in, customs and immigration. When you depart Aruba, you actually clear US customs at the Aruba airport making your entry into the US very easy. However, all of this creates a log jam and that where this service really helps. Our host, Zaruska sailed us through all lines (I.E. you cut in line and go to the front) and processes both on arrival and departure. You also get a private, VIP lounge with a full bar and snacks while waiting. This service is well worth the money. Trust me!
We had a rental car though Amigo Rent-a-Car because we love to explore while traveling. You don’t have to have one as there are plenty of taxi’s and it’s so easy to get around the island. We stayed at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort which is located on the glorious Eagle Beach. This is an adult-only property that is eco-friendly without losing any of the luxury. I was so happy to have free WiFi and breakfast included because we definitely sleep in while on vacation and heaven knows that I am constantly posting on social media – #bloggerlife. This is a low-rise property and we stayed in a beautiful, beach front Tara Suite. If you watched my Instagram Stories or saw any of my social media posts, this is where I enjoyed my daily morning coffee while taking in the ocean air. What a glorious way to start the day!
This property is quiet, charming and busting with happy employees. There is a huge workout facility and a wellness activity each morning. Aruba is a great place for wellness activities that help you recharge. I fully intended to do 7:00 AM yoga on the beach but my relaxed, island time schedule dictated otherwise. We ate a late breakfast outside each morning at enjoying the oceanfront view at Elements Restaurant before setting out to explore the island or simply relax on the beach. It usually takes me a full day to relax enough to enjoy my experience but I just jumped right in to “Vacation Tanya” immediately upon check-in at the hotel. We highly recommend staying here.
By ourselves, we took the rental car and headed out to Hooiberg, which is the highest point on the entire island. When we got there, we realized you can climb the stairs to the top. This is a 540 ft mountain with 587 steps. I volunteered Pete to go and it’s not for the faint of heart. From the top of Hooiberg you can see Venezuela! On another day we went in the opposite direction to visit the California Lighthouse. This is on the very northern tip of Aruba.
Don’t miss all the amazing sites on the windward side of the island. There is no development allowed on the eastern coast so you are encountering spectacular views! Not to be missed are the Alto Vista Chapel, Arikok National Park, the Natural Pool, abandoned Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins and the Natural Bridge. If you are feeling adventurous, climb down the ladder at Budui to get a beautiful view of the natural crystal clear pool. We did all of this with our amazing guide Alex at Kini Kini Transfers and Tours. We spent all morning on a private UTV tour with him and learned so much. People in Aruba speak four languages – Papiamento (the native language), English, Dutch and Spanish and I never encountered anyone who wasn’t happy. Anyone! What a joyous place to live!
On our final night in Aruba we took a sunset sail with Red Sail Aruba. This is a two-hour voyage up and down the west coast of the island while enjoying cocktails and light appetizers. You’ll watch kite surfers and flying fish while waiting for the sun to set. If you have a clear day, watch for the green glow when the sun hits the ocean horizon. Magical!
I can’t say enough about this little gem of a destination. Beautiful beaches, gorgeous water, friendly people – what’s not to like? It has everything you need for a relaxing vacation. Pete and I will definitely be back as we both highly recommend it. I suggest a full week to completely unwind. We didn’t have time to snorkel, scuba dive or shop. Every major luxury retailer is represented as Aruba is a cruise ship port. It’s perfect for honeymooners, family vacations and more. In fact, we met several people who come to Aruba every year. I can certainly see why!
How long until you can get here? xoxo- Tanya
P.S. All of my outfit details can be found in this blog post
Our Aruba Adventure
Our view from the balcony of our Tara Suite at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. This is where we enjoyed our morning coffee.
Daily breakfast is included at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort and it’s served until 11 AM.
Eagle Beach is pristine white sand and beautiful blue water. Bring lots of sunscreen!
You will discover lots of hidden treasures when touring the windward side of Aruba with Kini Kini Transfers and Tours.
This is the oldest church on the island and it is Alto Vista Chapel.
Alex was our guide on our private UTV tour. He speaks four languages and was so tolerant of all of our questions.
This is the Natural Pool. Don’t let the picture fool you. It’s actually a steep climb and rocky decent to get into the water.
Food in Aruba is your typical Caribbean fair. Lots of fresh seafood, rice, vegetables and fruit. Delicious!
The California Lighthouse is at the northern tip of the island.
En route to the California Lighthouse, we stopped to explore this rocky beach. That’s a shipwreck behind me!
A frozen Margarita and an Aruba Arriba will always quench your thirst. Especially on the beach!
We took a two-hour sunset cruise with Red Sail Aruba. They offer lots excursions and you should definitely check them out.
These are the steps to Hooiberg. It brings a whole new meaning to “stair climbing”!
We rented a car from Amigo Rent-A-Car. Probably the easiest process I’ve ever encountered.
I can’t emphasize enough to book First Class Aruba for both arrival and departure at the Aruba airport. You need to book this ahead of time. This was our darling guide VIP escort Zaruska who met us both times.
I’m not sure which was better… sunrise or sunset. Both were spectacular sites from our room.
PIN THIS IMAGE
photo: Pete Foster
This blog post was sponsored by Aruba Tourism Authority. All opinions are my own.