Aruba, Jamaica, oh I wanna take ya…to Bermuda, Bahamas, come on pretty Momma. You know how it goes. On my quest to becoming a Caribbean travel specialist I am thrilled to add another incredible island to the list. Aruba truly has everything going for it. Water, Sun, Sand and Fun.
This Caribbean Island has wonderful temperatures, incredible food, amazing beaches and wonderful people. Having visited St. Croix last year and my friend Candy, I knew to visit Aruba in February. Additionally, the weather stateside is not terrific almost everywhere. I grew up in Northern New York and I love snow but in moderation. Aruba was not going to have snow.
Aruba is close to equator, Venezuela and South America and their continuous warm breezes and sunny days are what make it the most revisited Island in the Caribbean.
Getting there and getting around Aruba
✈️ Getting to Aruba from the states is pretty simple, but not always easy. We had a great flight on American on the way down, however on our return it was a nightmare. If you follow me on social media, you might have followed the immense drama surrounding that flight. I still have a bit of trauma from it.
If you travel a lot at some point or another you will have a flight story that w
ill blow people away. It is just part of the travel world. It’s imperfect, sometimes messy but going with the flow and being flexible is your best course of action. Complaining helps some too. That will be in another blog, maybe a bloopers one.
TRAVEL TIP: Direct flights to Aruba are found from Atlanta, New York, Charlotte and Washington D.C.
Comparatively to flying to the EU, direct flights to Aruba from the states is under 5 hours, yay! If you have friends or family in these towns, it might be worthwhile to add a visit before a flight. They are considerably more economical as well.
Once we arrived in Aruba, we decided to rent a car for a few days to explore the island. However, public transportation on the island is GREAT! For $5 per person, we enjoyed taking the bus as well. We were staying in Oranjestad in an Airbnb, I will be sharing that blog on Where to stay in Aruba? soon.
Take the Arubus
The bus was super easy and within walking distance of everything. You might be staying in Oranjestad, come in on a cruise, staying in the Hotel district or the Timeshare area, there’s a bus! Here’s the website and easy information on routes.
Renting a Car
We did not need an international driver’s permit, however, because of the pandemic, inventory was low. It took us several attempts before we found a rental company and it was located at the airport. We probably would have rented the car prior to our adventure, however, we wanted to figure out if we even needed one.
TRAVEL TIP: Renting your car prior to arrival will also save you $$$.
Rental companies in Aruba put a hold on your card a larger amount than your rental for several days and will remove it after your return. This is not my favorite practice, but some countries in Europe do this too.
Our car rental for five days was about $300. After the hold on our credit card was released, so about $60/day.
RENT A JEEP! One of the best ways to see the island is by renting a jeep. A large part of the island that can only be seen by a jeep or truck. The Arakok National Forest has many trails and caves that are only accessible by jeep. I was bummed we didn’t get a chance to visit. Next time!
Florin or dollars?
Florin or dollars. Almost everywhere on the island everyone takes dollars. However, I would recommend you getting some Florin for you visit. Menus, tourist attractions, souvenir shops are in U.S. dollars but we wanted to enjoy some local food and they only accepted Florin. So maybe visit an ATM and grab $50 worth. At the time $1 = .60 florin.
Beaches and Water Sports in Aruba
Aruba is known throughout the Caribbean for its amazing beaches and water sports. You will be amazed at how many different beaches are on this 70sq meter island. Do you like scuba or snorkeling you can take a boat out and see a sunken war ship. If you like jetskiing, hydroplaning, SUPping (Stand Up Paddleboarding), surfing, kayaking and the list goes on.
Are you a beach baby? Will half of your time would be spent in the water? Aruba is your island. They also have the most incredible sunsets. So they of course offer catamaran sunset cruises, perfect for proposals, anniversaries, etc. on the water.
Do you like serene quiet beaches, one close to the bar, or a beach hidden with rocky cliffs and wildlife? Aruba has all of these too.
Aruba is also a cruise stop for many cruise ships. This may be a turn off for someone thinking about doing a land tour instead of cruise. A question you may have “Is the island going to be filled with cruisers? I can emphatically say, “no.” Specifically staying in Oranjestad, the cruise port, I never felt too crowded or overwhelmed.
I did have moments of sadness for the cruisers because they only had a few hours to explore the island and I can also say, “that’s enough time.”
However, if you want to book a cruise (I can help with that) Aruba might be a stop along your way. This would be a great way to introduce yourself to the island and return for a longer visit.
Aruba is the most returned to island in the CaribbeanAccording to Reader’s Digest and Tomas our cab driver
Casinos, casinos everywhere in Aruba!
One of the fun activities on the island is casinos and they are everywhere. My Jon really likes to play Craps and he’s pretty good at the game. He is a math major. I am NOT. Almost every hotel has a casino. I was not allowed to take videos in the casinos. However, I was able to grab a few photos. COVID restrictions were still in place, masks were required.
Aruba is One Happy Island
People are what attract me to a destination and the Arubans are lovely. The motto for the island is “One Happy Island.” Everyone I asked about this slogan agreed, why wouldn’t you be happy here. Light breezes, a constant temperature of 70s and 80s most of the year, sun, smiles, lots of color, amazing food. Be looking for that upcoming blog and vlog to What to eat in Aruba.
While we were visiting, we were lucky enough to catch the Carnival festival. Locals told us the light show parade was shorter due to COVID it was an amazing night.
Carnival time in Aruba is January – March. We happened to be visiting in February and were really lucky. We met an Aruban dancer, Esther who had us keep an eye out for her. It was really amazing and I have been to many Carnival(s) around the world. Gorgeous colors and fun music and everyone was just so glad to celebrate after these past few lock-down years.
So I hope I have wet your whistle to take a look and maybe even book a fantastic trip to Aruba. It is definitely, One Happy Island.
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