Travel

Aruba

Aruba is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea. It’s a tiny island with only 20 miles long, and we thought we would be bored there. But after the seven days we spent there we still have not seen everything we wanted. The snorkeling is excellent; lots of fish (even starfish!) and clear water made us spent a lot of time in the water.

We were surprised by how European it is. We knew it’s a dutch island, but it was still surprising to see some of the things we miss so much from Europe. I think what I liked the most were the grocery stores. They had so many products that we cannot get in the US. We got super excited!

Flamingo Island

When you see pictures from Aruba, you’ve probably seen pictures with flamingos. You might want to know that even though the island is known for flamingos, they are not walking around on the whole island. Flamingo Beach is a private island owned by Renesaice Hotel. If you want to see the flamingos you either have to be a guest in the hotel or buy a ticket online.
It cost $125, and you can book it only on the same day, starting at 7 am. So if you want to see the flamingos (like me!), you might want to consider staying at the Renesaicne Hotel. More details about the hotel are coming later on.

To get to the island, you will get a boat that leaves every 15 minutes from both sides of the hotel. Take your room key; you will need it to get on the boat. The boat ride itself is around 10 minutes.

The island has to parts Flamingo Beach and Iguana Beach. You can find the flamingos on both sides. Flamingo Beach is adults only; Iguana Beach is accessible for everyone. If you want to rent the cabanas, they are $300 per day and come with champagne, private butler, towels, and more! Read further for more information about the cabanas.

When we visited the island, there were around ten flamingos in total — 5 adults and five baby flamingos, from what I remember. You will also meet lots of Iguanas, and don’t get scared some of them can be quite big 😉

Baby Flamingos

Private Cabana on Flamingo Island

“The cabana comes with two bottles of Voss still water, two bottles of Voss sparkling water, bottle of sparkling wine, refreshing food amenity, personalized cabana butler service, towels, two water floats, and two full face-snorkeling masks. Cabanas at Iguana Beach come with kids snorkels. Cabana 4001 at Iguana Beach has a water slide.”

There are cabanas on both sides of the island. So if you want to be on the adult-only side {like us), you can also get a cabana there.

You will get a complimentary bottle of champagne and water, and a fruit platter with chocolate sauce. The butler comes around quite often, but if you need anything, you simply raise a flag on the side of the cabana to let him know you want to order.

My husband is gluten-free, and we were happy to find out that they have a gluten-free pizza on the menu. It wasn’t the best GF pizza we’ve ever had, but it did its job.

You can feed the flamingos; there are individual boxes with food for them; if you want to do that, you will need a 25 cent coin. I forgot to bring one each time we were there, and I really regret it. The flamingos are not scared at all, and they will let you come close to them.

The cabana was such a relaxing experience. We spent there the majority of the day. Lots of sunbathing, swimming, drinking, reading, and just having a great time. If it’s in your budget, go for it!

Renessaice Hotel

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As I mentioned before, we stayed in the Renesaice Hotel, mainly because of the flamingos. The hotel has to parts, one is for adults-only, with a small pool, bar, and a live DJ. When I say a small pool, I mean SMALL. When we got there, all the chairs were taken, and the pool was quite busy.

The room we got was not impressive at all. It was a small, second-floor room with a view of the pool. The people were walking right next to our window, no privacy whatsoever.
During the check-in, I got all excited because we were given so many upgrades. I expected something much better. Also, the hotel knew it was our anniversary but didn’t receive anything.

I was disappointed with the room, and we asked to change it to a different one. The staff went above and beyond accommodating our needs. They drove us to the other property (just across the street), so we can take a look. That side is not adults-only, and a bit older, but the rooms are bigger. We liked that side much better, even though we didn’t get a fantastic view, it was much better than the previous one. It was closer to restaurants (I mean you didn’t have to cross a street ;)), it had two pools and a human-made beach.

The coconut shrimps in the pool bar are delicious!

On the newer side of the hotel, you will find many stores; the majority of them are luxurious brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, etc. I ran straight from the casino to LV and got myself something small 😀

California Dunes & Lighthouse

A spot that we found by accident while driving around the island. We ended up not going up on that day with the idea we will come back on another day. Well, we did not…

A tip: don’t believe the ‘cold’ coconut sign. Mine was so warm it was not enjoyable to drink it.
The ticket to get up is a couple of dollars; you can pay with a credit card if you buy for $10 (if I remember correctly).

Arashi Beach

It’s a quiet and secluded beach is known for its excellent snorkeling! Or just relaxing with a can of beer 😉

You don’t have to swim far out to see lots of different kinds of fish and even a starfish!

Flying Fishbone

Flying Fishbone is one of the best restaurants on the island. Gorgeous views, with your feet in the water and the food is delicious!

As an appetizer, I’ve had Carpaccio of Artichoke with Goat Cheese, which is warm artichoke hearts with melted goat cheese and honey walnut dressing. For the main dish, I’ve ordered a salmon with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and creamy lemongrass sauce. Both were delicious.

Pinchos Bar and Grill

Pinchos Bar and Grill is another great restaurant we had a chance to visit. The view is beautiful! They lit up the water after it gets dark and you can see fish swimming around, some of them are huge!

We had lots of delicious food, from coconut shrimp (because this girl loves everything coconut) to cheesecake.

Alto Vista Chapel

Anchor in Memory of All Seamen

If you are planning on driving to Baby Beach, you should stop by the Anchor statue for a quick picture. Chances that you will meet a wild donkey are high 😉 So watch out while you are driving!

Bushiribana Ruins

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge was formed naturally out of coral limestone. It collapsed on September 2, 2005, due to extensive damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. I would say it’s one of the things you will go to see once and you have seen it.

Next to the bridge, you will find a small shop, and restrooms ($1 charge if I remember correctly), and free language lesson if you want to pick up some words 😉

Even though I was a bit disappointed by the hotel at the beginning, the island grew on me, and I really liked it. I do want to come back there and explore more. We try to go to different places and to go back too often to the same spots, but we still have not seen everything we want it, and it’s so close! I will definitely be coming back!

P.

Other trips we’ve done this year:
Tokyo, Japan
Lake Tahoe
San Francisco
Cabo, Mexico

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