Soo… Actually, people message me all the time asking what to do and where to go while they’re visiting Aruba, I always try to reply via private message or I comment back but I thought it would be nice to have a blog post dedicated to the beautiful Island of Aruba so I can share with you where I go and what I do, but these are 100% my favorite places, restaurants I go once in a while, the beaches I prefer, the places where I take my friends to take pics and where I shop…
When is it a good time to visit? Any day, we are lucky to have good weather all year long. It’s always sunny, it’s hot but very windy so it balances things out, so book your trip any month of the year… but where are you staying? That’s the important question.
Aruba has many hotels, apartments, and villas. I have stayed at the Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino many times, you all know that by now, but, I have also stayed at The Boardwalk and the Marriot’s Aruba Ocean Club. So I am recommending these three for you to stay.
Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino
The keyword here: Flamingos. Yes, this is the hotel with the private island where flamingos wander around you while you sunbathe, sip cocktails and take the most amazing pictures. The Marina Tower is for adults only, where I recommend you stay if you are a young adult with no kids, the pool is open till late at night, they always have DJs playing around 4 pm, it’s pretty cool, you have the Renaissance Mall downstairs where you can shop at Dolce. This hotel is downtown Oranjestad, there are many places to take pics around, many restaurants across the street.
This is a cute, small, boutique hotel in Noord in the High Rise area… it’s Q, very Q… perfect for honeymooners or people that want to disconnect, attention from the staff here is on point, there are hammocks everywhere, the casitas are very cute, they have a kitchen just in case you feel like cooking… Overall this is a very romantic place, they have a small pool but it is indeed very nice… I mean, if you want to just relax and disconnect you have to stay here and just in case you want to have some fun this hotel is located walking distance from Palm beach and Moombah Beach (my favorite beach bar) and a 5 min taxi ride from other night clubs and restaurants. You can always mention the Caribbean King sent you. BTW, there are many spots where you can take beautiful pictures, actually click here to read my full review.
Marriott’s Aruba Ocean Club
I stayed here finally for my birthday last year, it’s a huge Resort in Palm Beach, I think is the biggest hotel on the island, definitely a great place to stay, many bars, huge casino, the beach is breathtaking, attention is great, lot’s of people… lots of places where to take pics (you know me, I like doing that), close to many beach bars, they have many great restaurants, they even have a Starbucks… a lot of jacuzzis where you can relax at night, the rooms are great, the views are amazing, definitely a place to stay with your family and friends or even if you come alone. Brunch at La Vista is my favorite… check it out!
It’s a bit far from the hotels but is totally worth visiting, specially during the week, weekends is a little busier. Saturday is ideal if you can only go during the weekend. This beach is like a pool, very relaxing, very shallow, if you have kids is ideal but this shouldn’t suggest this beach is full of children, the wind is not a problem like in Eagle Beach.There are palapas, there are few places where you can get some snacks and refreshments but I’d advise you to stop in a gas station and get what you need first. There is this little Fofoti tree that you have to photograph, also there’s this “iconic” dead tree there that is also a piece to snap. If you are bringing a floaty this is one of the few beaches where you can enjoy it. I suggest you park at the very beginning, don’t go in the back… but that’s just my suggestion.
This beach is up Noord, if you are staying at Boardwalk or Marriott then is very close, but you can’t walk there from these hotels, take the bus, a taxi or if you rented a card just head Noord, many beautiful places to snap some pics on your way there. Tyr to get early to get a palapa, there’s guys renting chairs there for 5 dollars, which I think is fair but they kick you out of them around 5 pm, water is beautiful, white sand, sometimes there are waves so is fun… but seriously, the water on a clear day is phenomenal, it’s amazing, you can even see your toes… you can snorkel there but there’s not a lot to see, to be honest. I like it cause is close to my house, the water is so clear, is not crowded (just Sunday is a little bit busy). They have the beach shack there if you wanna have some drinks or a quick snack, tell them the Caribbean King sent you. Definitely one of my favorite beaches… specially for the clear water.
Mangle Halto is a place I will recommend you visit during the week, not the weekend. Very calm waters, you can snorkel (not for beginners I think), you can relax, take beautiful pictures with mangroves in the background. It has a little dock where you can sunbathe, have a picnic, etc… I think Mangle is one of those places you have to visit while exploring the island, not necessarily to spend the whole day there but definitely a place to visit.
Other beaches you can visit are Eagle Beach, which is beautiful, long and the white shimmering sand, Eagle is gorgeous BUT, there’s a lot of wind and you might end up like a breaded fish stick. You can also do Tamarijn, Manchebo… keep in mind ALL BEACHES are public, you can bring your towel and enjoy all of them regardless of the hotels surrounding them. If you dare to go to Andicuri, that’s another beautiful beach, lots of waves, it’s more fun… but is a bit difficult to get there. I strongly recommend you go visit any of these beaches, explore, don’t just visit the beach in front of your hotel.
When it comes to Restaurants, I have a few favorites, not that I have eaten there many times but the few times I’ve been there was always a great experience. I have to Say Papiamento is one of them, food is great but the place is so beautiful, you have to go see it, sit on a table by the pool and have a romantic dinner. You have to try the “Keshi Yena”, it is a typical Aruban dish, there’s a lot of cheese (keshi) involved… delicious. I think is a very romantic, cosy place to eat and the service is impeccable.
I went to Quinta Del Carmen for the first time not long ago and it is definitely a place I would like to visit again, food was great… and that’s a thing with all the restaurants on the island, the food is always good, I focus mostly on the service and the place, and this place is just so beautiful, used to be a convent or a plantation, I didn’t get the story right but this is definitely a restaurant to visit, seafood is their specialty and please do yourself a favor and ask for the white sangria…. but careful, is so good and strong, after two… well, you will have to call a cab. What I liked it about the place also is that you can also go and drink, it has a bar and a few areas outside where you can just sit and have drinks with friends.
If you wanna eat by the beach or with an ocean view you have to go to Flying Fishbone and Marina Pirata, both very charming, great seafood…. Went to flying fishbone once, try to be there for sunset, same for Marina Pirata… very romantic, family friendly also. Both for dinner only, these are located on the other side of the island, let’s say more south.
If it is more casual, just a quick bite before going out, you can do Local store and ask for the chicken or shrimp wrap but with fried funchi… the dipping sauce is the best. Ask for the fried funchi. Casa Tua is always great to have a Pizza.
And if you went for drinks till late and you are craving Mexican go get a burrito at the Mexican Truck, they’re open till… dawn I guess. Noord also.
Last but not least, do yourself a favor and go grab a beer or lunch at Charlie’s Bar all the way down to San Nicolaas, this place is iconic, it is definitely a live representation of horror vacui… and the pictures, you have to take pictures there and ask for seafood. Have an Amstel bright with lemon, please.I recommend you do lunch there before heading to Baby Beachor after spending the morning there.
Go to Eagle Beach, right across from the Amsterdam Manor you have the Fofoti Trees, you need a picture there. People call them Divi Divi but they’re not… anyway, you have to take a pic there, it’s the ultimate proof you visited the happy island.
Go visit Boca Catalina, jump into the turquoise waters and snorkel, here you can see a lot of beautiful and colorful creatures, fishes, turtles, starfishes… It’s really a cool place to spend the morning and is close to the hotel area in Noord.
You can visit the island without staying in the hotel, I do recommend you stay with them so you have access to it 24/7 cause when the hotel is fully booked there is no day passes to the island. If your dream is the flamingo pic book the Renaissance hotel and tell them the King sent you there.
Visit downtown, there are many spots to take pics, visit, shop… Where to go? Well, if you want a souvenir I recommend you get a magnet or you visit Bula Surf Shop and get the “Life Is Better In Aruba” tee. Go get one, it is the ultimate souvenir from Aruba. You can also take a ride on the tram, I think is cute and you can get a few cool shots up there. Visit the Renaissance Mall and shop, go to Pastechi House and get a pastechi, cheese one is the best one…they’re all great but do cheese or meat. There are a couple of museums around, old houses… The Marina is also there and the I love Aruba sign is just there also. Go get a pic there.
Visit the dunes in Noord, walk them, do not drive an ATV or a jeep while visiting them, be a nice tourist and just walk them and take amazing pics, the best time honestly is during the sunset… careful with the indian thou :p I heard this silly story that there’s the spirit of an indian wandering at night, so… just go home before sunset.
If you wanna go for drinks, well… there are a few places you can visit. You can do Gusto, which is one of my favorite places, you can go hear the best DJ in Aruba at Heart Musik Kafe…and Sunday night please do yourself a favor and go to Moombah and go crazy, well, I suggest you start the party early there like at 7 pm, Gusto I suggest you do 9 pm for the happy hour, you go with friends, talk, catch up and then by the time is 11 pm and you are tipsy the place gets packed and the music is fun. Heart is great every day, more house music, lots of different DJs. I do not go out that much anymore cause apparently, alcohol makes you gain weight… I got the memo last year :p so… If I wanna keep the abs I only go out once a month but you can go any day of the week cause they’re all open every day… except Heart I think… there are other places, feel free to explore, it is all about the company and the ambiance, right?
WELL… if you want to visit more place, just browse my Instagram and usually, there’s a GEO TAG in all my pics so you can locate the place on google maps.
Hope this has been informative for you all and thank you for reading.
Great post! Can’t wait to visit Aruba and use this guide.