Aruba, One Happy Island

My husband and I decided to take a babymoon before the arrival of our first child.  We wanted to go somewhere warm to relax, get away and enjoy each others company before the craziness of having a baby changed our lives  so, when I was 6 months pregnant, we decided to  take a trip to Aruba.

Aruba is  located in the Southern Carribean just 15 miles north of Venezuela.  Although the island is small, just 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across, with a total area of 70 square miles, the island offers all kinds of adventures and is the perfect place to relax.  There are tons of white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and the climate remains in the 80’s year round with no humidity, making it a true island paradise.

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Aruba is a regular port of call on most Southern Carribean Cruises so many see it just for a short visit but I highly recommend coming to stay for awhile to really relax and get to know the island.  Although the island is Dutch, it boasts people from South America, the Carribean and is truly a melting pot of people and cultures from all over the world living in harmony.   Most people speak English, although speaking Spanish does come in handy, especially if you go off the beaten path to where locals hang out.

What is great about Aruba is there is that there is something for everyone.  There are all inclusive resorts right on the beach offering a place to stay, food, drink and activities all in one place with no need to think about anything.  You can also rent a room at a big internationally known hotel with amazing pools and grounds, stay in a timeshare or relax at one of the smaller hotels and get to know the locals.

The Marriot Surf Club is located right on Palm Beach in heart of the the high rise area.  This hotel has studio, one and 2 bedroom accommodations and beautiful grounds with a lazy river, multiple pools and hot tubs and beach palapas.  Although the resort is big, the grounds are large enough that you can find space to relax and enjoy the beautiful Aruban climate without feeling too crowded. You do need to be flexible as the palapas and chairs fill up but we were always able to find a place to relax and we loved the lazy pool.  We stayed in a studio so we only had a kitchenette which allowed us to enjoy breakfast on our balcony each morning but we had no stove or oven to cook on.  There are BBQs on site so we were able to cook a few nights and the other nights we went out.

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One great restaurant we tried was Simply Fish.  Located right on the beach, dining at Simply Fish allows you to eat with your toes in the sand while watching the sunset.  Often a place with such an incredible few has underwhelming food but at Simply Fish both the view and the food are spectacular as is the service.

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Although relaxing under a palapa on the beach or going for a swim in the ocean is a great way to spend your days on Aruba, there are also some fun activities to do while on the island.

The Atlantis Submarines Expedition Tour which has been in operation for 25 years begins at the Adventure Center in downtown Oranjestad where you board a boat called the  SubSeeker to reach a submarine located about 15 minutes away.  You then board a submarine with the  opportunity to see  marine life and two sunken wrecks while diving to depths up to 137 feet.   If you’ve never been on a submarine this is a fun and unique experience.  For details on the Atlantis Submarine Expedition goto http://www.depalmtours.com/atlantis-submarines-expedition

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Another not to miss activity is snorkling.  Jolly Pirates is a super fun way to Sail, Swim and Snorkel.  The Boat visits 3 great sites Malmok, Boca Catalina and WWII shipwreck Antilla.  It includes a BBQ lunch, open Bar and for those who are brave enough,  a rope swing.  The crew is very entertaining making sure that both children and adults have a good time.  This is a great way to see Aruba from the water, enjoy the warm Carribean Sea, experience ship wrecks and marine life first hand and have a lot of fun. For more information on trips available and for booking goto http://www.jolly-pirates.com

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The low rise area on Eagle  Beach is a bit quiter than the high rise area and the water there is clearer because there are less boats in the area.  If you want to experience a smaller resort and one that is all inclusive I suggest the Occidental Grand.  This resort has a nice pool and a big beach area with lots of palapas.  There are daily activities at and around the pool  and each night a different show.  The resort boasts several specialty restaurants and each night the theme of the buffet changes.  We went on seafood night which boasts fresh shrimp and crab.  We had fresh cooked pasta which we added the shrimp to creating our own signature dish.  We also enjoyed the pina coladas and other drinks that are part of the all inclusive experience.  This is a great spot if you just want to relax and not have to think about where to eat or drink.

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If you want to stay somewhere off the beaten path, I highly recommend Club Arias.  This hotel run by a charming husband and wife team is really worth staying at.  The rooms are spacious and all look out on a pool.  It is very peaceful and there are nice touches of free unlimited lemonade and fresh baked cake every afternoon.   Although all the rooms have bathrooms with showers, you can use one of the showers located outside by the pool which has no roof, allowing you to look up at the sky and the stars for a unique bathing experience.  The owners a very friendly and have all kinds of recommendations of things to do and places to eat that are off the beaten path.  For detials and bookings goto http://www.clubarias.com

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One the places we ate which is close to Club Arias is Zeerover .  This place is full of locals and was a lot of fun.  You go to a window and order shrimp or the fresh fish catch of the day which is sold by weight.  You can then add plantains or corn bread.  You sit on a balcony overlooking the water and your food is fried while you wait.  The shrimp are fried in their shell so they are quite messy to eat but delicious and this place is full of locals enjoying food and drink in the outdoors.

Most hotels and resorts are located on or adjacent to a beach but there are some amazing beaches not connected to any resort including Beauty Beach which was one of our favorites.   The beaches in Aruba are all public  so you can easily find somewhere to relax and enjoy the white sand and warm water and go for a swim if you don’t want to pay for a high end resort or want to stay somewhere more relaxing.

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I highly recommend Aruba for a relaxing getaway.  The beaches are beautiful, the water is clear and the people are very friendly making it no surprise that so many people return year after year.

Aruba is the perfect spot to celebrate an anniversary, honeymoon, babymoon or to take a trip just because.  It truly is one happy island!   We had an amazing babymoon in Aruba and look forward to returning with our baby sometime soon making our next trip to the island a family vacation!

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One Response to “Aruba, One Happy Island”

  1. Jill BARTH says on :

    So pretty! I bet the seafood was superb!

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