“One Happy Island” – They aren’t joking when they say this, Aruba truly is one happy island.
I found out about a week before heading to Aruba that I was going there for work, needless to say the Type- A in me was feeling a bit overwhelmed by this. I love to plan when it comes to traveling, I like to thoroughly research the area I am visiting, different places to explore, sites to see, excursions to do, must try food & drinks and of course my outfits too. So, not only was I heading to a new island, but also all of my summer clothes were packed away. Thankfully within those few days it was Google, Pinterest and Amazon Prime to the rescue.
I am going to share with you all what I ordered and packed for this trip as well as tell you about the fun things we experienced while on Aruba.
Like most places Aruba is separated by different sections and we stayed at the Hyatt Regency in the “High Rise” area, located at Palm Beach. The red circle shows where on the island this is.
Yes, the beach and water really does look like that and yes, I did go down that water slide many times which also conveniently lets you out right by the swim up bar in the pool.
The picture below shows the lobby, which has an amazing breeze all day long.
And lets be serious, walking down these stairs everyday to go to the beach, pool, restaurants etc is not a bad place to be. I actually really miss this view, it felt so relaxing to me to look out and see this.
I could have laid on this beach reading for the rest of my life, I mean just look at that water!
And here is another view of the beach and hotel looking from the pier bar on the resort.
The Hyatt was located in a very convenient area with lots of great shopping, restaurants, and bars located right across the street. They also have a location in the hotel and on the beach where you can sign up for excursions.
Within the Hyatt there are multiple restaurant and bar locations, boutique shops, spa and a casino. Our favorite dinners were the Surf N’ Turf at Ruinas Del Mar as well as the Four Cheese Pasta and Pasta Sampler from Cafe Il Piccolo. All of the food was very good at the resort though regardless of location.
Now, onto the fun stuff!
We were only on the island for 6 days, but only had 4 full days there due to travel. We tried our best to see and do as much as we could during this time. My number one must do when I found out I was going to Aruba, was I had to see the flamingos.
Going to see the flamingos on Renaissance Island takes planning. Renaissance Island is a private beach island for the guests staying at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Oranjestad, the capitol of Aruba. The hotel is not on the beach so they have a boat running from 7am-7pm every 10/15 mins to take guests to the private island. This is the only place to see the flamingos. If you are not staying at the Renaissance Hotel you can purchase day pass to the island.
Everyday at 7am online there is a website through the hotel where you can purchase a day pass for the next day. There are only a limited amount of passes available and this is something you do not want to miss. With the day pass you have access to the private island all day, and (1) meal and (1) drink per person and water accessories like floats, masks, snorkels etc. is included. There are also cabanas available for purchase during the day. The island has one restaurant and one small beach store.
The earlier you get there the less crowded the beach is, perfect for photos!
Don’t forget to bring quarters for the flamingo food machines!
I just could not get over being this close to the flamingos and being able to interact with them, I absolutely loved it and it is such a special memory for my husband and I have to have from our trip.
Our next activity was renting UTV side by sides to go on a tour of the northern part of the island. We stopped at various significant locations along the way and swam in a natural pool. There are all different tour companies you can use for excursions like this one, we used Xtreme Island Tours Aruba. Our tour guide, Gavin was awesome.
The first stop on our tour was the California Lighthouse, followed by the Alto Vista Church, Baby Bridge (the original natural bridge collapsed in 2005), Casibari Rock Formations, Bushiribana Ruins where they processed gold from mining long ago and the natural pool to swim.
Going on this UTV tour was such a great way to see the island and its attractions.
Walking around the capitol city of Oranjestad is a great way to explore, there are luxury stores like Louis Vuitton & Gucci as well as local shops everywhere. The cruise ships dock here so it is touristy, but a lot of fun to walk around and explore. Be aware that most of the town is closed on Sundays.
San Nicolas is on the southern part of the island, we did not get to go there, but it is known for its street art.
Now onto the packing list!
Like I previously mentioned, all of my summer clothes were packed away and I was really pressed for time when it came to getting all packed for this trip. I decided to make a HUGE Amazon order and pack all new Amazon finds. My bathing suits are out year round, so I only purchased one new one. But I am going to link below the clothes I ordered and brought with me.
My best advice when packing for Aruba is to be aware of the trade winds, there is a constant breeze on the island at all times. This is extremely nice when you are sitting in the sun, but you can imagine how it can be difficult during the evenings with certain dresses and skirts.
I only wore dresses, skirts, bathing suits, cover ups, flip flops and one pair of shorts and t-shirt the entire time. Packing light was super easy! I wish I had more pictures of me in the clothes, but the winds were definitely not cooperating. Also, since I was there for work we were with 80 people and it wasn’t always easy to break away for a photo shoot.
Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and re-apply multiple times a day, that Aruba sun is strong!
Let me know in the comments below if you have been to Aruba and what you love about it!
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