I visited Aruba to celebrate my cousin’s “Dirty 30”, (aka her 30th birthday). Not only was it my first time visiting Aruba, but it was also my first international trip! It was super exciting to finally use my passport and visit a place I’ve never been! We visited during the spring time (in 2022) and the weather was perfect.
Aruba is located in the Netherlands and considered one of the safest places in the Caribbean.
It’s famous for its white sand beaches and mild temperatures (the weather was literally PERFECT. 80s with a nice breeze…which apparently is its year-round temperature).
It’s located right below the hurricane belt, so direct hits from hurricanes are very rare.
Aruba is 20 miles long and 5 miles wide (it’s a small island!)
During this trip we stayed at an Airbnb located in Santa Cruz. It has three bedrooms (four beds total) and two baths. Overall, the Airbnb was nice. It was beautifully decorated and had an amazing backyard area with a pool and grill.
However, there were cracks in the foundation/walls and floors. The bathrooms were also very small (but nice!) and didn’t have much counter space for doing makeup. The lighting wasn’t great too for makeup either.
Also, couple of nights there were a lot of bugs by the front door, which may have been a result of the rain overnight, but it was still kind of gross lol.
When I visit Aruba again, I’ll definitely opt for a resort instead. I saw some nice ones that were in great areas and within walking distance of nice restaurants and shops.
We rented a car for our stay, which I highly recommend! There are several rental car companies outside of the airport and having your own car makes visiting Aruba so much more fun. It’s easier to get around and explore and it’s also more affordable. Aruba does not have ride sharing options like Lyft or Uber. They do have taxi services, which can be costly. I inquired about a ride from the airport to our Airbnb (15 minutes away) and it was $45. Much easier to pay for a rental and drive yourself where you want to go!
During my first night I had dinner at a restaurant called Water’s Edge. It’s actually inside (but on the outside by the water) of a resort, which I didn’t realize until I got there. The food was so delicious and there was also live entertainment with a very talented singer!
Calico Cafe + Bistro (unfortunately, this place is now permanently closed)
This bistro gave mom and pop vibes. I went here for breakfast and had the best latte I’ve ever tasted. The customer service was great! Everyone was so friendly and sweet. I also ate a very non traditional breakfast of salad, breakfast meats, fruit, cheese and eggs. It was different, but filling!
We went here to celebrate my cousin’s 30th birthday, and the rooftop bar did not disappoint. First of all, the views were incredible, especially once the sun started setting. The food was delicious and beautifully plated. I ordered their lamb chops over risotto and it was incredible. Their drinks were good too! If you’re looking to celebrate a birthday here, they do it big with a special dessert, spark candles and a song. We had such a great time.
This was probably one of my favorite dining experiences…and that’s probably because it was right on the beach by the water! Hearing the sound of the waves and dining in the sand was so relaxing. The atmosphere and food were both lovely.
Reservations are required to dine here.
I absolutely loved breakfast here. This is a Dutch pancake house that was awarded ‘Best breakfast in Aruba’. They’re famous for their poffertjes (silver dollar pancakes), which were delicious! This was definitely my favorite breakfast spot on this trip.
Things to do
National Archaeological Museum Aruba (FREE)
If you’re interested in checking out the history of Aruba I highly recommend checking out its museum. It’s free and you can learn all about their culture, language, prominent figures, etc.
This excursion exceeded all expectations! It was a two-hour long sail and included an open bar as well as delicious appetizers. There was also music on board, and we definitely turned this entire boat out! It was so much fun. At first, the boat ride was very chill and relaxing. But, in the end we were all literally dancing and vibing into the sunset. Speaking of sunset – it was so breathtaking!
This was a three-hour excursion that included cocktails and lunch. We sailed two of Aruba’s best snorkel stops – the Antilla Shipwreck and the Boca Catalina Bay. We snorkeled at each stop for 45 minutes and spent of the rest of the time relaxing on the catamaran. The vibes on this excursion were so great and the hosts were so much fun! They are experienced snorkelers and they provide you with all the equipment you need. You can opt out of snorkeling if you’d like and just enjoy chilling in the sun. This was also my first time ever snorkeling. I was a bit nervous at first, but it was such a cool experience seeing the beautiful fish beneath the sea. Everyone should brave the waters and do this at least once in their lifetime!
There are plenty of beaches to visit in Aruba. Flamingo Beach is probably the most popular. It’s located on a small, private island and the only way to get there is by boat. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit during this trip…but maybe next time!
Other beaches include Palm beach, Eagle beach, Baby beach, Druiff beach and more. I laid out by Druiff beach and it was beautiful. The water was calm and had such beautiful hues of blue. Seriously the clearest and most beautiful beach I’ve seen thus far.
Travel Tips & Essentials:
When traveling to Aruba there are a couple of things you NEED to make sure you have.
- Your passport: A passport is required to travel to Aruba.
- Entry destination form: You must complete Aruba’s official embarkation-debarkation card to visit. You can find more information and complete the form here.
There are a few things I highly recommend you bring when visiting Aruba:
- Portable charger
- Car charger
- Waterproof phone pouch
- Bug spray
- Water shoes (these can be used for water sports or the shower…our shower was not enclosed and I preferred to wear my water shoes when taking showers)
- Beach bag
- Swimsuit coverup and/or light jacket
This was such an amazing, peaceful and adventurous trip. I really enjoyed visiting Aruba and can’t wait to return!