Bon Bini na Aruba!
Updated: Jun 7, 2022
This means Welcome to Aruba!
Our second annual joint family vacation was an international success, which makes me worried for the vacations to come...they keep getting better and better! If you didn't know already Zach's family, my mom and her fiancé go on vacation every year in November. Last year we were in Tennessee and this year brought us to beautiful Aruba. If you have never thought about going to Aruba, I highly recommend if you like tropical vacations.
Where did we stay?
For this vacation in Aruba we decided to book an Airbnb. We chose this instead of a hotel due to convenience, affordability and to stay away from the hotel zone and immerse ourself in the culture a little more. Our Airbnb had accommodations with 5 bedrooms with king sized beds, 4.5 baths, full kitchen, a pool, and it even came with a 12 person van to use for the duration of our stay. The van was the selling point for our Airbnb so we didn't have to worry about a taxi every time we wanted to leave the house. If anyone is interested in the property we stayed I will link it here. The house is located in Noord which is close to the Palm Beach area on the north side of the island. The whole island itself takes approx 45 minutes from top to bottom so if you have a method of transportation it is easy to see all that Aruba has to offer.
Food and Drinks
We had so many amazing food and drinks while in Aruba. The best part of not staying at a hotel or all inclusive was the ability to try different restaurants and experience the culture. We had a mixture of nice and casual dining experiences. These were our favorite places to eat and drink while in Aruba:
Casual Dining and Breakfast:
Pelican Nest: Seafood Grill in Palm Beach right on the Pier. They had amazing tropical drinks, and seafood options. I ordered grilled shrimp tacos and side of plantains.
Zeerover: Located in Savaneta (south end of island) with the freshest seafood Aruba has, meaning fresh off the boat to table. They have a catch of the day which was Wahoo. They have HUGE shrimp and the best tartar sauce I've ever tasted! Highly recommend Zeerover for an authentic Aruban meal and experience.
Lola Taqueria & Craft: Located in Palm Beach with outdoor eating with a modern vibe. This was definitely a favorite among us and we went here 4 times during our trip for food or drinks! They have the drinks, food and atmosphere! The best drink on the trip was from Lola and it was the Rum Coco Lemonade. It was so good we tried to replicate it at home... with success! My favorite tacos were the Baja Fish, Pork Belly, Al Pastor and the La Gringa tacos. If you are looking for a snack the Nachos with Pork were also amazing.
YOLO Cocktails and Tapas: A unique dining experience in Palm Beach. YOLO describes itself as an "upscale & artistic lounge, modern nightclub meets exquisite tapas & cocktails." We definitely tried the whole menu here and again the drink favorite was the Coconut Mojito...if you couldn't tell the rum and coconut drinks are our favorite. Everything here was good and you can't go wrong on the menu!
Dushi Bagels & Burgers: Breakfast with drinks, bagels, sandwiches and coffee. A quick seated breakfast right in the Palm Beach area.
Linda's Dutch Pancakes: Family owned Authentic Dutch breakfast with dutch pancakes (think kind of like a crepe.)
Aruba Experience Cafe - Patisserie: Traditional Aruba Breakfast with Arepas, croissants, smoothies, healthy options and coffee. They don't have a fryer in their kitchen so all their food is fresh. Located in Oranjestad in a traditional old-fashioned Aruban house.
Oak Restaurant & Bar Aruba: We will think of this restaurant long after leaving Aruba. They have it down here; from the food to the service and the atmosphere! This is a must go when in Aruba. Everyone had something different and we loved every entree there, as well as all the appetizers and the bread...the bread...SO GOOD.
Bohemian Bar & Restaurant: Outdoor garden dining located in Palm Beach. Described as "french flair with a pinch of bohemian magic."
These other dining options were suggested for fine dining but we had not tried them:
BLT Steakhouse: Steakhouse
2 Fools and a Bull: International Contemporary
Ocean Z: Caribbean, Seafood
The Flying Fishbone: French Caribbean
One thing about staying at an Airbnb is you have to book your own activities in advance, however our Airbnb has a concierge service and they were able to set up excursions for us! We set up 3 different activities for us before we got to Aruba and left the rest of it for when we got there. These are the three excursions we had set up before we got to Aruba:
De Palm Island
Small private island located 5 minutes off the mainland by ferry boat. De Palm Island is a 6 hour all-inclusive 6 hour experience with open bar, flamingos, activities and more. Included in the all day package is free food and drinks, snorkeling, body drop slides, relaxing cabanas, salsa lessons and banana boat rides. We did this in the beginning of our trip and it was the perfect way to settle into Aruba! Everyone had a few drinks and had such a good time!
We booked our offroad UTV tour with Around Aruba Tours. The concierge service at our Airbnb was able to set this up for us. We all opted to each get a 2 person UTV (one for every couple.) The tour is a 4-hour ride led by a tour guide who will take you to Philip's Animal Garden (the island's largest exotic animal sanctuary and part of your tour purchase price goes towards the sanctuary), Alto Vista Chapel, Baby Bridge, Bushiribana Ruins, Natural Bridge, Shark Bay, Andicuri Beach, Three Bridges, Ayo Rock Formation, Cave Natural Pool with Cliff Jumping, and Wariruri Beach. We were able to drive the coastline of Aruba, see the cliffs and off road in the Aruba desert. Our tour guide was hands down the best tour guide and made the experience so much better! If you know you know! Shoutout to Camillo!
Champagne Brunch Catamaran
Also set up with the Airbnb was this Champagne Brunch Snorkel Catamaran. The 4 hour tour includes food and drinks with open bar, and snorkeling. During the tour you have 3 stops to snorkel or lay out on the boat. The three stops are Catalina Bay, the Caribbean’s largest underwater wreck; the Antilla, a 400-foot-long German freighter sunk during WWII; and the wonderful, shallow Malmok Reef. A fun snorkeling day with beautiful blue and turquoise waters!
One of the afternoons we decided to spend a few hours shopping. Some of the shopping is located in the Palm Beach area but if you are looking to go to more stores and do more shopping I recommend the Renaissance Mall which is located in Downtown Oranjestad.
This was another excursion highly recommended for snorkeling. They take you out on a pirate ship to snorkeling spots with a rope swing and open bar! Unfortunately we had this booked but the ship was gone for 2 weeks for yearly maintenance, so next time!
Aruba was an amazing vacation and I wish we had one more day! The weather there is 85 with a breeze all year round and we didn't have any rainy days which makes it the perfect vacation spot! We felt very safe during our whole trip and everyone was so nice there! They really are One Happy Island! I am linking all of my looks on my Liketoknow.it page and app. Be sure to download the app to shop all my looks and more!
If you are looking for recommendations while visiting Aruba send me a message or comment and I will be happy to answer and if you have recommendations for our trip next year let me know!