Aruba. How I love Aruba. It’s been awhile since we’ve been but I’m quite certain I would still love Aruba. Just off the coast of Venezuela, this Dutch Island had the warmest of breezes and seas when we visited. I’m excited to compare experiences as Megan from Some Places I Am Moderately Excited About shares a more current view of the A of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao).
Name and Blog Name/URL
I’m Megan, of Some Places I Am Moderately Excited About! (www.moderatelyexcited.com) I curate snarky and educational city guides to destinations all over the world and Chicago, where I’m from and currently living.
Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?
Aruba! Aka One Happy Island. This little slice of Dutch Caribbean heaven is one of my favorite tropical island destinations – it feels like you are somewhere much more exotic than just a 7 hour flight from the Midwest!
How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?
We personally stayed for 9 full days – we were very overdue for a nice, long, relaxing vacation. But you could definitely get a great experience with 4-5 days!
What Is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?
My absolute favorite memory from our trip was our spontaneous 3 AM swim in the ocean after we got back from one of our (late night) excursions. We dropped our stuff off, donned our suits and headed over to the beach. The water was as warm as your soaking tub and the stars were literally the brightest I’ve ever seen anywhere. The water and sky met at this slightly darker horizon line, but for all intents and purposes, they looked like they were one giant black abyss. Which was both a little terrifying and also exhilarating (especially because I could touch the bottom and there was little to no current – I felt okay being out there!) We swam and watched shooting stars for an hour before the mosquitos came for ransom.
What Is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?
This island has absolutely no shortage of things to do, eat and see. Whether jet skiing across clear blue water, relaxing on sugar sand beaches, snorkeling or diving by one of the many offshore shipwrecks and dive sites, ATVing through the desert or learning about the Dutch Caribbean culture, you will find something perfect for everyone in your party.
My personal favorite “Can’t Miss” activity is a dead tie between two really unique experiences that are as equally “touristy” (at first glance) as they are so much fun that you’d kick yourself if you did miss them.
- The Kukoo Kanuku party bus tour will take you on a bar-hopping joy ride (with a champagne toast AND dinner, in some instances!) led by “Mama” with a group of people who will start out as complete strangers, but may create some long-lasting relationships.
- The Jolly Pirates Snorkeling & Sailing tour will check both snorkeling and sailing off your itinerary – plus give you a chance to imbibe while enjoying a soft sea breeze in your face (if you’re into that sort of thing). Not to mention, when else are you going to check rope swinging into the ocean from a replication pirate ship off your bucket list?!
Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?
The Screaming Eagle was one of the most unexpected surprises and best meals of the whole trip. Ask for a bed – you’ll have the opportunity to eat “dinner in bed” in a special upstairs lounge area – literally, in a bed! Plus, the swordfish steak, truffled potato soup and pork belly were some of the best I’ve ever had anywhere.
What Surprised You About this Island?
While it seems pretty small, it’s actually fairly big with tons of different topographies and places to explore.
Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?
We stayed on Eagle Beach at the Amsterdam Manor Beachfront Resort and I would stay here every time we go back. Not only was it on one of the most highly-rated beaches in the world, it was also a great middle-ground for getting to both the downtown area and the northern side of the island. Not to mention it was walking distance from a grocery store and we had a kitchenette in our bungalow, so it was very cost-effective!
As for how to get around, we managed just fine without a car between the public bus system (you can pay when you get on) and taxis. However, if you want to get over to the other side of the island or see the national parks, etc, you’d best rent a car.
Language and currency are easy – most people speak English and US dollars are widely accepted – if not preferred – everywhere.
If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?
Absolutely! You can read my full breakdown of where to eat, stay and play on Aruba by visiting this link! (http://www.moderatelyexcited.com/aruba-a-little-slice-of-dutch-caribbean-heaven/)
This was a perfect getaway from this gray and white winter palette- thanks so much, Megan!
Now I’m definitely in an Island mood… Don’t forget to check out the Island Rum Punch that Living Lark shared with us here….
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