After two months of planning and pining over how excited Cole and I are to go to Aruba the time is finally here. The travel time is by no means short – I actually had overnight layovers on the way there and on the way back in Houston, however it was well worth it. We land and off we go to our first Airbnb. The owners of the Airbnb had informed us that we would be arriving during Carnival and that evening was the lighting parade. The costumes are incredible, the lights are insane, there is music everywhere and after each “float” is a bar… you know, in case the people in the parade get thirsty. No other parade I have seen can even remotely come close to how cool this is.
Following our first night in an Airbnb we wake up early to check into our hotel for three days – The Ritz Carlton. I have never stayed in a Ritz Carlton before (far too pricey for me) and when you get there you immediately see why.
We are greeted with a complimentary glass of champagne and since our room wasn’t ready for a few more hours we headed straight to the beach for sun time and cocktails. We are notified that our room is ready and they have upgraded us to an ocean front room, well ok… we’ll take that. Our view is absolutely stunning…
Another great thing about the Ritz is you can paddle board and kayak for free. Which those that know me know that paddle boarding is my favorite beach activity. After multiple days of drinking on the sand, paddling around and restaurant hopping it is time to check out of our beloved Ritz Carlton and head to our second Airbnb.
Needless to say the second Airbnb was less than impressive so we headed back to Palm Beach and found a hotel room to stay in for the remainder of our trip. One thing I was set on doing during this trip was doing something “I have never done before”. I battled in my head for about two days what this would be – it was between kite surfing and seabobbing (power snorkeling). The end result came to seabobbing – I absolutely loved this experience and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. You hold onto what I would refer to as a “torpedo” so you can zip around the ocean surface or when you press the seabob down it will begin to dive. Seeing shipwreck, turtles and a large amount of beautifully colored fish – it was quite the experience.
They provide you with transportation to the site, as well wet suits, a guide and while you are out and about the guide will be snapping photos which will be available for purchase at the end of your adventure. All together it was about an hour and a half of seabobbing which for me, was not enough because I was having so much fun. I could have done that for another couple of hours and been so happy with it.
Next on the adventure list is renting a jeep for a day and exploring the island. We had discussed with locals that a “new natural pool” had been found and that guides had stopped taking most visitors to the “original natural pool” given how difficult it is to get to. I have to say that I agree with them! We did rent a jeep as it is required to have 4-wheel drive to get the original natural pool – while the new natural pool does not require this. The new natural pool will have a vertical ladder to get down to. Do proceed with caution as the changes in tide are very quick and quite strong. The off-roading to the original natural pool was definitely that… off-roading. Very bumpy and at times very steep. We also got to see a natural bridge (the original natural bridge has collapsed) as well as the Alto Vista Chapel. On our way to baby beach which is all the way South we stop by the very notorious Zeerovers. Locals and tourists rave about this place and we definitely agree. Even my travel companion who isn’t big into eating fish loved their fried Wahoo. I had some shrimp which was also tasty, but the Wahoo was definitely the front runner for me.
One thing that really stood out about Aruba for me was how the culture is so apparent all over the city. Aruba is a Dutch island and it shows throughout the island with its vibrant colored buildings and lively atmosphere.
All in all – beautiful island, amazing locals, fantastic food and definitely a site I would return to. I did find Aruba to be one of the most expensive destinations I have traveled to thus far, but I guess most people would expect that when visiting the Caribbean, so budget accordingly.