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Aruba – One Happy Island – Stay, Play, Eat and Drink

 

Hi Friends!

Andy and I officially have 3 months of marriage under our belt today! It is crazy to think that not too long ago we were bogged down in the details of wedding planning ,and now the day has come and gone and 3 months past!

To celebrate I thought that I would do a quick highlight of some of our favorite spots at our honeymoon destination, Aruba.

We actually traveled to Aruba for the first time in August of 2017 with my family a week after we got engaged. Andy had thought about proposing in Aruba, but he then decided to do it back in Ohio to make sure both of our families could be involved. However, he went above and beyond and scheduled a photographer in Aruba to take our engagement photos while we were there, and we officially called this vacation our Engagemoon. It only made sense then to go back for the honeymoon.

Aruba Facts  

  • It is both desert and beach
  • It is a Dutch Island
  • The National Park makes up about 20% of the island
  • It is only 20 miles long and 6 miles wide
  • It is drop dead gorgeous — Okay, maybe this is an opinion, but it should be a fact 🙂

Where To Stay 

Casa Del Mar Aruba 

Balcony Oceanfront view at Casa Del Mar Aruba

Standing on the balcony of our family’s room at Casa Del Mar Aruba

On our Engagemoon we stayed at Casa Del Mar Aruba, which is on Eagle Beach. This worked out perfect for our family vacation as the rooms were set-up as Condos, which is my family’s preference when traveling. One of the great things about Aruba is it is incredibly easy to get a cab and the island is very safe to travel around and wonder off your resort property.

We were able to go to the grocery store and grab some items for our breakfast and lunches, and we then planned to eat dinner out at a local restaurant. The food in Aruba can be quite expensive, so this is a great option if you are trying to cut back on costs.

There were a few restaurants in walking distance of the hotel and a casino; however, a lot of restaurants we had to drive too. Also, across the street was a cute little market to get souvenirs  and other random things along with several smaller shops and restaurants!

The beach here was not huge. It wasn’t one that you could run around and throw a football on; however, it was great for building sand castles and laying out and relaxing. There was also one pool that was a good size and Matthew’s is on property, which made it easy to grab a drink or some food throughout the day!

This is a great option if you are looking for something a little bit more low key.

Holiday Inn Aruba 

On our honeymoon, we decided to stay at the Holiday Inn Aruba on Palm Beach. We LOVED this resort and its location!

The resort itself had several restaurants on site and a large amount in walking distance as well! We were able to walk out to the beach and take a right or left turn and find endless options. If we were looking for something away from the water (which is not likely for us) we were able to pop across the street and found lots of little shops to explore and even more restaurant choices!

Holiday Inn Aruba
Palapa View at Holiday Inn Aruba

The beach here was very large and easy to explore beyond our resort. We got a Palapa for the week on the beach and enjoyed every minute of it. The resort also had two pools. One of which was more kid focused and the other more adult focused. There were also several bars around the resort and snack shacks to make it easy to grab a bite, and they had various pool activities going on throughout the day!

Another thing to note is this resort does offer an All-Inclusive option. We opted not to do it because there are SO many great restaurants in Aruba to explore, and we didn’t want to feel confined to our resort. It may be great for you though; so, I encourage you to check it out 🙂

If you are looking for something that is relaxing, yet has a wide variety of options without having to explore too far, this is a great option! There are also tons of resorts along the Palm Beach Strip to check out; however, I felt that the Holiday Inn was a perfect central location to everything!

Where to Eat

Flying Fishbone 

This is the perfect restaurant for a more formal dinner night! The food and drinks are amazing, and even more so, the view is spectacular!

At Flying Fishbone you can choose to sit in the sand or in the water! Be warned sometimes the tide is low and just your feet are in the water, but the night we were there we choose sand, and we were happy we did. The water was up the knees of the people in the water!

It is a bit off the beaten path to find the restaurant, but it is worth the experience! Make sure you have a reservation and time it around the sunset!

Matthew’s 

I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times we have eaten at Matthew’s within our two trips!

Dinner at Matthew's in Aruba

The food here is great, but honestly, it is the staff that makes this restaurant so attractive to us! Every server has always been extremely nice and made us feel welcome. It is a great spot for lunch or dinner or even to take advantage of their 2 for 1 happy hour deals!

On our honeymoon we came to eat dinner here and had an amazing time listening to the waves as it was a very high tide that night!

No matter where you are staying I recommend Matthew’s. It will make you understand why they say Aruba is One Happy Island!

Hadicurari 

Hadicurari was right beside the Holiday Inn. We stopped by for lunch one day, and the food was fantastic and reasonably priced! It also sits right on the beach and has an incredible view. While we didn’t have dinner here, I have no doubts it would be just as good!

Texas De Brazil 

On our first trip to Aruba, Andy almost jumped out of his seat when he saw they had a Texas De Brazil. We didn’t get to it on our first visit, but I knew we would be coming back to this one on our honeymoon. It also just happened to be right across the street from the Holiday Inn.

I will be honest. I wasn’t very excited to go since I can be a bit picky with meat and can’t eat a ton of it in one sitting, but it far exceeded my expectations. The staff was great, the salad bar was to die for, and the meat cuts were the best I have ever had! We stuffed ourselves full, but we made sure to make room to split a dessert!

Eat a light lunch, don’t drink too much during the day and treat yourself with this restaurant one night!

Things to do in the Caribbean

Activities To -Do 

Sunset Cruise

On our family trip, my mom, Aunt, and Uncle went on a sunset cruise and raved about it the rest of the trip. We knew on our honeymoon we had to do it! While my parents  went with De Palms Tour, we decided to go with the Jolly Pirate since it was right next to our hotel!

The cruise, staff, drinks, and views were all great. They also had a rope swing on the boat and stopped for a bit for people to go off it! I don’t think you can go wrong with either company when booking this! My tip is to wait and book it once you are in Aruba that way you can monitor the weather and make sure you go on a clear night!

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Snuba 

Did you just read the word Snuba and think I misspelled it? You wouldn’t be the first if you did!  🙂

Snuba is a combination of snorkeling and scuba diving. You don’t need a certification, and instead of carrying your tank it floats on top of the water! You then have a hose and can go down 20-30 feet.

The first time I did this was in Maui, and my family has been addicted every since! We decided to the the Snuba tour through De Palm Tours, and it was fantastic.

There were two stops on the tour. The first one was a shallower stop, where we got out and snorkeled and others signed up did their snuba! The snorkeling here was great with beautiful fish and even a rainbow eel!

Then the second stop was a shipwreck, where we got off and Snubaed, while the others snorkeled! It was an amazing experience with tons to explore and see! After your two stops you get to enjoy drinks and music!

I hope that you found some of this information useful! While these are some of my favorite things in Aruba, there are so many amazing things to see and do, and if you haven’t seen this beautiful island yet, I highly recommend it! 🙂

Things to do in the Caribbean

 

 

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