Aruba Travel Guide

February 6, 2017 Aruba

Renaissance Island Aruba Flamingos

From gorgeous beaches, fun water sports, luxurious hotels, delicious eateries, there is something for everyone to enjoy while visiting Aruba. Keep reading for a complete guide for what to do, where to stay, where to eat in Aruba.

Bon Bini Aruba!
The lovely island of Aruba and also known as one happy island is a must see destination. Within 15 minutes of arriving on the island, I could easily see why people rave about Aruba. The weather is sunny, dry and perfect year round, and the shades of blue water looks like something straight out of a postcard. Most people know that Aruba is located in the Netherlands Antilles and is just 17 miles north of the coast of Venezuela. Aruba has a diverse population, with more than 90 nationalities present. The main languages are Dutch, and Papiamento, but most Arubans speak multiple languages, including English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The official currency is the florin, but the U.S dollar is used and accepted everywhere (ATM's offer both dollars and florin). Even though the island is tiny (20 miles long and 6 miles wide), there is so much to do!

The reason for my trip to Aruba was because I surprised my mother for her 50th birthday with a trip here! Although we've taken many family trips together, this was our first ever mother and daughter trip. My mother has always wanted to celebrate the big 50 somewhere abroad and what better way to make her wish come true than to go somewhere we both have never been before. I gave her the surprise on Christmas day and lets just say she was in disbelief! I planned everything so we would be in Aruba on her actual birthday. It was so much to plan and more better time exploring the island together. If you want to see her reaction to the surprise and our trip, scroll down to watch the video!

Also two months prior, my father was turning 60 years old. Yes my parent's are ten years apart and of course have birthdays within month of each other is hard to plan out for their first born (me). This was the year of surprise trips because I also surprised my dad to a trip to Colombia. He's been taking about wanting to go for the end of the year. He's not one to book a trip for himself and never takes time off to relax. I wish I could've accompanied him on this trip to Colombia but it was too close to the Aruba trip that it wasn't possible with my schedule. Nonetheless he had an amazing time with his family and friends that he even extended his trip there, which makes me so happy! Being first generation to immigrant parents is hard to explain. I hope to repay them more and more for all their hard work and sacrifices throughout the years. My parents mean the world to me and hope to take them on my trips around the world with me!

This Aruba trip was one for the books. I highly recommend visiting this awesome island. I already want to book another vacation back. If the pictures don't convince you to visit, I don't know what will, Aruba is truly a paradise.

Things to do in Aruba.
Rent a Car: The only way to see the island right is to rent a car! What I love most about Aruba is that you can pull over anywhere on the island and just go into the water. Once you step outside the airport, there a variety of different car rental offices. In high season, most of the more well known car rental companies have low inventory and very expensive. We were approached by a local company asking if we needed a car rental and he gave us an extremely affordable price compared to the other companies. The car was brand new, clean, and up to standard for our trip. It was not a scam, everything was legit but I cannot find his business card for the life of me (I know, I' know). But if you want to support local companies, be on the lookout for them (usually across the street from the airport, standing in between the other car rental companies).

Renting a Car in Aruba, WanderlustBeautyDreams, Aruba

Renting a Car in Aruba

Visit the California Lighthouse: It's located on the northern part of Aruba on a hill. For the best views over the island, you can pay a small fee to climb the lighthouse at the restaurant located on site. There is also a bus filled with ready to sell refreshments as well as fresh coconuts! I noticed many tours stop there briefly to take pictures and left. But if you rented a car, you could see this place at your leisure and you don't need to pay a tour company to see it!

Aruba California Lighthouse

Aruba Lighthouse Views

The Ultimate Guide to Aruba

Aruba Travel Guide

Things to do in Aruba

Aruba Desert Landscape

Things to do in Aruba, wanderlustbeautydreams

Visit Different Beaches: Aruba houses many beautiful beaches. Don't just stay at one beach the whole time during your trip. Go and explore the many beaches Aruba has to offer! This is why renting a car is beneficial because you're able to get to the different beaches at your leisure.

Arashi Beach
Arashi Beach Aruba

Arashi Beach Aruba

Arashi Beach Aruba

Arashi Beach Aruba

Palm Beach
Palm Beach Aruba

Palm Beach Aruba

Palm Beach Aruba

Eagle Beach
GoPro Travel Photos, WanderlustBeautyDreams, Aruba

Mother Daughter Trip

Eagle Beach Aruba

Parasailing: I love parasailing everywhere I travel to! The best way to see the island is from above and it's a fun experience you will never forget! I booked a spontaneous parasailing trip for my mother and I, lets just say she was a bit nervous and wouldn't stop screaming the whole time. She said, "I was trying to kill her" but at least she did something out of her comfort zone! It was a very memorable part during our trip that we can't help but laugh every time I bring up that adventure. I booked it at a parasailing stand near the Bugaloe Beach Bar and Grill!

Parasailing in Aruba

The Ultimate Guide to Aruba

Parasailing in Aruba

The Ultimate Guide to Aruba

Offroading Tour: We would see many ATV, UTV, Land Rover tours on a daily basis. We thought it would be great way to the the desert side of the island by booking a tour with De Palm Tours. We would see this company everywhere and read great reviews online so we went into an office to look at the different tours they offered. The off-roading tour by Land Rover stood out to us and stopped at the places we wanted to see such as, the Natural Pool, Natural Bridge, Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, Alto Vista Chapel, and it also stopped at the California Lighthouse from afar. This was a four hour tour which included water and snacks. You get picked up by the Land Rover at your hotel. During our tour we met up with 4 other Land Rovers to start the adventure! This was so much fun, everyone had a blast, the drivers made the experience outstanding. Watch where you walk when you get to the natural pool because I tripped and fell on some pointy rocks which resulted in bloody knees and hands.

Off roading in Aruba

Things to do in Aruba

Aruba Viewpoint


WanderlustBeautyDreams

De Palm Tours Aruba

Aruba Travel Guide

Aruba Travel Guide

Latina Travel Blogger

De Palm Tours Aruba


Aruba Natural Bridge

De Palm Tours Aruba



Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins Aruba


Watch the Sunset: I'm a big sunset lover! I love sitting back and just watch the sky turn different colors no matter where I am. The sunsets in Aruba were even better and couldn't help but take out my camera and capture them. It was fun to pull over off the road and just take in the moment of the sun going down. We took advantage of this many times during our stay, I mean how could you not?

Latina Travel Blogger, WanderlustBeautyDreams

Sunset in Aruba

Aruba Sunset

WanderlustBeautyDreams


Aruba Travel Guide

Sunsets in Aruba

Things to do in Aruba, WanderlustBeautyDreams

Sunsets in Aruba

Shop at Local Markets: If you're looking to buy souvenirs, I highly suggest visiting the Local Market! I love supporting local artisans and vendors, you'll get a better price for the things you're looking for. They have a variety of unique things to choose from that will appeal to anyone whose ready to do some shopping. It's a place for a cute photo op with the big red chair.




Spend the Day with Flamingos: I'm sure you have seen pictures on Instagram or the internet where people take pictures of flamingos on the beach. This doesn't occur on every beach on the island. The only way to get to the flamingos is by visiting Renaissance Island, a privately owned island by Renaissance Aruba Resort in Oranjestad. Guests of the Renaissance Aruba Resort have free access to the island, but you can buy a day pass for $99 to get access! If you're going to be spending that much money on the pass, I would suggest going as early as possible to spend the whole day there. The ticket includes the boat ride to the island, a pass to get drink and lunch at the restaurant located on the private island. The private island is beautiful and of course being able to take pictures with the flamingos, was very memorable. You can buy pellets for the flamingos to eat the bar so you're able to feed them if they are hungry. It was a very relaxing oasis to hang out at and take in the scenery.

Things to do in Aruba

 Flamingos in  Aruba

Renaissance Island Aruba

Aruba Travel Guide

Renaissance Island Aruba

 Flamingos in Aruba

Renaissance Island Aruba

 Flamingos in  Aruba

WanderlustBeautyDreams

Walk around Oranjestad: Downtown Oranjestad is beautiful with it's architecture, shops, restaurants, and of course it's colorful buildings everywhere. I would suggest to walk around and take everything in. You'll find locals and tourists hanging out especially during the evening hours.

Oranjestad Aruba



Oranjestad Aruba

Find the Aruba signs: Get some photos with the Aruba signs, they are scattered all over the island! These make a fun photo opportunity. I was surprised to see so many while driving around. I love when island, cities, and towns have things like this around.






Where to Stay in Aruba.
There many accommodations located in Aruba that go from budget accommodations , hotels, airbnbs  and high end resorts to choose from when planning your trip. It all just depends what your comfortable with but I wanted to have a more local experience and do as much as we can during our stay. Let's be honest, you're not in your room all day anyway so to me it wasn't a big deal to stay at hotel or resort this time around. During high season, most places are fully booked and the prices are very high. During our stay in Aruba, I choose to book in two different locations. Our first accommodation was more of a budget style apartment in Oranjestad. If you want to read a full review on this accommodation (click here). Our second accommodation was at an Airbnb located in Noord, if you want to read a full review on that (click here).

Places to Eat in Aruba.
Aruba has so many restaurants around the island from a variety different cultures. It's hard to pick one to eat at with the variety of options. Here are a few of my favorite places that I've tried throughout my trip and recommend!

Eduardos's Beach Shack: If you're ever craving acai bowls or want a delicious smoothie, this is the place you need to by at! I found many Pintrest posts and blogs mentioning Eduardo's Beach Shack and now I know why. There's so many yummy things on their menu, it can be hard what to choose from but let me tell you that you won't be disappointed.

Eduardos's Beach Shack Aruba

Eduardos's Beach Shack Aruba

Passions on the Beach: I made reservations here for dinner on my mothers actual birthday. I thought it would be a special place to go since the dinner tables are right on the beach. I booked to go right before sunset, which was perfect and stunning as we ate. The service here was SPECTACULAR! The food was fantastic and they also surprised us with birthday desert. I highly recommend coming here if you want a beautiful dinner on the beach!

Dinner on the beach Aruba

Passions on the Beach

Passions on the Beach Aruba

Don Jacinto: We found this cute restaurant while getting lost on out first night and glad we did! This is a authentic Colombian restaurant which has amazing food! The decor at this restaurant was cute and loved how the servers wore traditional Colombian outfits. The service was great and made us miss Colombia bite after bite!




Iguana Cantina: If you're craving Mexican food, come here! The food is great and it's always busy so that should let you know it's worth trying.




Iguana Cantina Aruba

Iguana Cantina Aruba

Iguana Cantina Aruba

Iguana Cantina Aruba

Bugaloe Beach Bar and Grill: This place is located right on the water of Palm Beach and has local food, yummy cocktail menu, and live entertainment. We had lunch here after spontaneously parasailing around the island. The caramba nachos and wraps were so yummy, definitely recommend!


Bugaloe Beach Bar and Grill Aruba






Try local food: My mom and I love trying local cuisines. We found a huge supermarket Super Food Plaza, where we would stop daily to get snacks, drinks, and fruits. They have everything you could ever need in there! We tried both Chill and Balashi local beers which were so good during the hot temperatures. You can find them at any supermarket and restaurant. Also try pastechi, their famous pastry that is filled with cheese or seasoned meat. It tastes and looks like an empanada and are found in all bakeries!
Where to eat in Aruba

Where to eat in Aruba

Where to eat in Aruba

Until Next Time Aruba!
 This our first mother and daughter trip and wouldn't change a thing! Aruba is a beautiful island that I would love to visit again in the future. I know my mother didn't want to leave but I was glad to have surprised her with this trip. It was on of my goals for this year and it meant so much to her, since in recent years she's been been going through hard times. This trip made us closer than ever and the gift of travel is irreplaceable. If you want to see more pictures, check out my Instagram feed !

Aruba Travel Guide, WanderlustBeautyDreams

Youtube Video.

Comment below,
Have you ever been to Aruba?

Until the next post!
-WanderlustBeautyDreams ♡ 

74 comments

  1. Interesting!
    I must say you have indeed made a perfect choice. Aruba is a place to be for the numerous perks it offers both travelers and the local. I enjoyed myself to the fullest while I was there and no doubt you did too; your pictures is presently doing the talking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh! This is really good. I'm sure your mum will really be proud of you now. This is the type of things we encourage on our page and I'm sure going to share this to inspire many more people.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love your post!! I’ve been to Aruba a few times and still haven’t done all these things. Your photos are great. I still need to go to the flamingo beach. I love bungaloe beach bar too! Check out my blog wanderlustwritings.com and let me know what you think 😄

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey, as a travel enthusiast, I am feeling a eagerness inside myself to go for such a trip as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing such great photos with us. cava restaurant santa barbara

    ReplyDelete
  5. What breathtaking scenes you've captured and shared with us. Just beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing. It looks that you had a great time in Aruba and you have shared a nice post on your experience.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing.
    medium.com/@traveld/easyjet-flight-delay-compensation-2e85dd60a054

    ReplyDelete
  7. Loaded with superb and virtuosic words.Powerful is all that is in this blog.
    Shoreline Amphitheatre tickets

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am about to travel with my 8 month old solo and I am getting anxious planning for it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like most of your traveling images but the picture of you and your mother while took dinner on the beach is the most precious one! www.bindu365.com/hotel-booking-tips-for-perfect-room

    ReplyDelete
  10. First, what an AWESOME mother-daughter experience. Those are so beautiful - they foster such treasured moments. Seems like you had a wonderful time. Lovely info and photos (those flamingos in your first photo are epic!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thank you! My mom deserved a fun trip and so glad I was able to do this for her.

      Delete
  11. Aruba looks like a prettier version of the Philippines. I'm sure your daughter will treasure these moments with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't been to the Philippines yet but it's on the list! My mom and I had such a great time in Aruba.

      Delete
  12. I would just love to watch the sunset there. Such a breathtaking place. I heard so many good things about this place. You confirmed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aruba is just honestly stunning, highly recommend visiting!

      Delete
  13. this has been a place ive wanted to go to forever- ahh i def need to book it now after looking at your gorgeous pictures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will honestly love it! I want to go back to Aruba ASAP.

      Delete
  14. Wow! I can't believe how close you were to the Flamingos. My daughter would love to be that close to them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was such a cool experience, such a pretty animal!

      Delete
  15. Great guide! I heard so much about Aruba, it is definitely super fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to visit Aruba some day to experience it yourself!

      Delete
  16. Wow this is so beautiful! I love all the photos.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, this place is so beautiful and definitely giving us an amazing travel guide. I am sure your mom had really a great time exploring Aruba.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love that you can just pull up anywhere and go for a swim! that's amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, I haven't experienced that anywhere that I've traveled to!

      Delete
  19. Aruba looks so beautiful and so sweet of you to surprise your mom with a birthday trip.

    ReplyDelete
  20. It looks beautiful in there. Hope that I can visit soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will love it whenever you have the chance to visit!

      Delete
  21. Wonderful place! I love the Offroading Tour more.

    ReplyDelete
  22. OMG! I need to put this paradise on my bucket lists. It looks so much fun with the flamingos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a gorgeous destination to visit, highly recommend!

      Delete
  23. I went to Aruba on my honeymoon in 2006 and it was really beautiful. That blue-green water and those flamingos are amazing!! Your photos definitely show how gorgeous Aruba is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Aruba was just breathtaking, would love to go back.

      Delete
  24. Aruba is such a gorgeous island. We love it there. The sun, the sand - it's all absolutely gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is a great destination that has everything you need for a perfect vacation!

      Delete
  25. Aruba is definitely on my list. Your photos are making me want to visit there even more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! You will love your time in Aruba.

      Delete
  26. Wow, I would love to go to Aruba! How nice of you to take your mom!! I hope my kids do things like this for me one day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww I'm sure they will. It was such a great way time and unforgettable experience!

      Delete
  27. your beach pictures are awesome. they show the beauty of Aruba. i will be going to the beach with friends at the end of the month. this post makes me look forward to it more. <3

    ReplyDelete
  28. you have sold me. this is so wonderful. i would love to travel to auruba and see that gorgeous beach and climb the california lighthouse. do you know why it is called the california lighthouse?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. S.S. California was wrecked nearby and that's why it got the name the California Lighthouse!

      Delete
  29. omg wow!! this place looks incredible. I have the travel bug now

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ooh no, I haven't been here before. It looks splendid, though. And also, I would love to climb up the California firehouse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aruba is for sure a splendid place for a great vacation!

      Delete
  31. I love Aruba I haven't been there for a while but I love it changed almost so much since I've been there

    ReplyDelete
  32. WOW! So amazing, I want to go to Aruba! Definitely on my bucket list!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Seems like someone had so much fun! The clicks are beautiful and mesmerizing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was hard to put down the camera when every corner looked like a postcard!

      Delete
  34. Beautiful beaches, blue skies and old buildings, where do I sign up? Great post

    ReplyDelete
  35. I haven't been to Aruba. It looks like a fun place to be at. I love your photos! So nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! You have to add Aruba to your travel list, it's so amazing!

      Delete
  36. That place is really stunning and eye-catchy. I would love to be there and taking pictures with the flamingos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aruba is such a slice of paradise! You would love it.

      Delete