Aruba, my home away from home

Your ultimate guide to a dream island

Before visiting Aruba I didn’t know much about the place but I was about to discover that beside the famous beaches with white sand and pink flamingos the island has many other treasures ready to be explored.

Far away from Europe and even further from the Middle east where I currently live, located in the southern Caribbean sea, Aruba was always a dream too beautiful to become true and I never imagined that (after a totally unplanned holiday) the tiny island will become my home away from home.

Although Aruba is just miles apart from Venezuela and on a clear day you are able to see the controversy latin state from the south-eastern side of the island, Aruba is officially part of the Kingdom of Netherlands, an autonomous state that many likes to call the Dutch Caribbean.

The North-East side of the island

Since the beginning of my trip, Aruba was a total surprise, the heavenly green island that I have pictured in my mind is in fact a very arid place with a vegetation predominantly composed of cacti, thorny shrubs and evergreens while the rocky landscape takes over the white sand so frequently promoted in the instagram posts.

Flamingos are not roaming around as expected, the most visible wildlife being the lizards that are walking freely on the island, including the grounds and the swimming pool areas of the hotels.

You may ask yourself… does Aruba worth visiting? Known as “One happy island”, Aruba lives up to that name and once you step in the country you will feel the positive vibe everywhere. Smilling locals, tasty food and the island with most sunny days in the whole Caribbean… if this doesn’t convince you then let me show you the best spots that Aruba has to offer.

1. The flamingo beach

From the beginning you must know that flamingos are not native to the island and the only place where you can see them are the private islands around Aruba. While the famous pink flamingos have been brought in by the Renaissance hotel as a touristic attraction, another species of flamingos, Chilean (smaller and whiter in color) are entertaining the crowd in the Palm island.

Price:125$ for day pass including lunch and a drink of your choice

Renaissance island
Palm island

Flamingos are charming, interesting birds and my trip to Aruba would have lacked the magic without them, reason why I strongly advise you not to skip the visit to one of the flamingo islands.

Everything you have to know about flamingos on a different post Flamingos beach

2. The off road experience

Due to the rugged terrain that Aruba has, an off road experience shouldn’t be missed. There are plenty of agencies ready to provide you an ultimate jeep safari, ATV tour or a horse ride and it’s the best way to explore the areas where the tourist buses don’t have access. One thing to take into consideration is the bumpy ride, not recommended for people with back problems and recent surgeries. If you know yourself fit just buckle up and enjoy the view.

Price: 120$ for a 8 hour off road adventure including buffet lunch

Jeep safari
ATV tour
Horse ride

3. The natural pool

Have you ever had the chance to swim in a natural pool? Even though it wasn’t my first visit to this type of natural wonders, Aruba was a total different experience, combining the beautiful view with the adrenaline of swimming in rough waters, surrounded by colorful fish.

Get ready for the 200 stairs that connects the pool with the road and equip yourselves with few cold beers that might help you fight the sun. It worked wonders for me!

Natural pool
200 stairs challenge completed
Nothing better than a cold beer

4. Book a submarine trip

If you are bored of the common transportation means and you would like to try a more fancy trip than I recommend you the submarine experience. For a little bit over 100 bucks you will be able to explore the depth of Caribbeans underwater and be part of the 1% human beings who have ever been in a real submarine (the percentage also includes the narcos who were using the submarines to transport drugs).

The duration of the tour is 2 hours including the boat ride to and from the submarine but the actual time underwater is just 45 minutes. The submarine dives as deep as 160 ft and you will be able to explore the beautiful coral reefs and few ship wrecks without the need of a scubadiving equipment.

Coral reef

You will be surprise to discover that down there at the bottom of the ocean the marine life is not so colorful how you might have expect. The colors begin to fade one by one starting with the red of the corals, followed by yellow and green until everything becomes completely blue, inside and outside of the submarine. Now you know that you have reached the deepest part of your dive and the most unforgettable part of the journey.

Price: 110$ plus 12$ for a souvenir picture

5. Snorkeling in Caribe

While the submarine dive is more suitable for the bravest hearts (people who suffer of claustrophobia or panic attacks should avoid it), snorkeling in Aruba is safe and fun. Most of the tours include three snorkeling areas where you will be able to swim with million colorful fish, sea urchins and the attraction of the day, Antilla a German shipwreck dating from the World War II.

Price: 100$ including lunch and unlimited drinks. Tip: try the Captains special, a misterious cocktail…drink now and ask later.

6. Spend a day at the hotel

Last but not the least, take advantage of your hotel’s facilities and enjoy a day inside of the hotel’s perimeters. Most of the hotels in Aruba are resorts type and you will find everything what you need including shops and casinos. The island is a famous port for the Caribbean cruise ships and a real heaven for the gamblers, as every hotel wons it’s own casino. To attract new costumers, the hotels are offering free vouchers, breakfast and discounts as long as you accept an invitation to their casino. All in?

Beside that, our hotel was hosting daily events including local bands and carnivals.

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