Gorgeous weather, beautiful beaches, tropical drinks, and exotic locations. These are all the components that make up a dream vacation! And as you can tell from my last post, I was in paradise. For this post I find myself in paradise yet again, however, this time it is in a country that I’ve never been to before! So vamos everyone, we are going to Aruba!
The main premise for the specific trip that I took was to promote Aruba Restaurant Month, which takes place throughout the month of October. Now, I’m going to be honest when I say I had no idea exactly where in the world Aruba was in the world before this trip, I knew it was tropical and in the Caribbean but wasn’t positive. However, I read a very helpful magazine all about Aruba while I as at the airport (pro tip is that they should have these magazines available at your gate and I would recommend bringing it on the plane) and learned so many fun facts about the Island. For example, there are 5 languages spoken on the island, Papiamento, English, Spanish, Dutch, and French. This makes it a great destination for international travelers across the globe!
My journey began with my flight from Raleigh to Charlotte then from Charlotte to Aruba. Flight time is approximately 4 hours from Charlotte to Aruba, which was nothing when you see how close Aruba is to Venezuela. I arrived and was greeted by such pleasant weather, not too hot or humid and note a cloud in the sky. From there, I was shuttled over to our hotel, Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino. Upon arriving, I feasted on the above burrata and got ready for my first cocktail hour and dinner of the trip.
Our first dinner was hosted by the Ritz Carlton, conveniently next door to Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, and toured their bar, which has great sushi, their coffee shop, which has wonderful smoothie and fresh coffee options, and BLT Steakhouse, probably one of the best steakhouses on the island.
Our dinner was amazing and I basically conked out after the tiring travel day. I awoke the next morning refreshed and ready to explore! And one of the best ways to explore Aruba is through watersports! Paddleboarding is extremely popular and people also enjoys partaking in kayaking, parasailing, paragliding, boating, those weird foot jet pack things, and many more!
I went for paddleboarding and got to enjoy these crystal clear waters and Carolina Blue skies! We arranged the activity through our hotel, extremely easy to do and you can also walk along the beach to find the best deals. We participated for about 2 hours and then had time to freshen up before our lunch.
Our lunch was an exquisite fine dining experience with The Kitchen Table. Basically, it was an abbreviated version of the 8 course interactive experience that they provide for dinner guests. My main highlight was this amazing dessert, which included a dark chocolate mousse, blueberry sorbet, dragonfruit, kettlecorn, corn, and graham cracker crust!
Needless to say this dessert, and our other two courses, were top notch! The staff cooks directly in front of you and it’s amazing to see the meticulous way in which they prepare each and every dish. It is truly a culinary experience!
The rest of the day was time on our own to enjoy and explore our resort and the beach available to us. I spent my day lounging and relaxing, while soaking up the rays or Aruba. One amazing differentiator for Aruba regarding vacation spots is the weather. Hot and tropical is a given, but it did not rain a single time while I was there. Many other places have rainy seasons or hurricane seasons, however, because of Aruba’s location this is almost never a factor!
And this beautiful weather translates into gorgeous sunsets!
Our dinner was at this in-the-water restaurant called Pinchos, famous for their fresh seafood and Aruban preparations. Mahi Mahi is a very popular fish in Aruba, and this was the dinner dish that I decided upon. The freshness of the fish is really unparalleled and the setting of the restaurant was perfect. It is a great romantic spot for couples and honeymooners, but it also is wonderful for families because what kid wouldn’t love eating in the ocean.
Onto day 3 and I think you’re getting the theme that this trip was action packed. BUT that’s a great thing because there is a ton of stuff to do in Aruba. However, on the flip side, the beauty of the country is that you can be as busy, or not busy as you would like!
For our main activity on day three we went UTV-ing. This is basically pretty similar to ATV-ing except you go with a partner, as you can tell, and are covered and driving around the island. Aruba itself is really small, about 17 miles long, so that means you can really cover a lot of ground in one of these. And that’s exactly what we did! My partner for the day was Jackie, a fellow influencer who runs No Leftovers, and we had an absolute blast!
We made it to the California Lighthouse, which is one of the most famous landmarks on the island.
And we also drove through the “desert” region of the island. It is full of cacti and gave me strong Arizona vibes. I was also able to get this stellar shot that really captures what this Northern end of the island looks like.
A UTV, or ATV, tour basically takes up 5 hours of your day, so that left us with time to return to the hotel and clean up for dinner. The nightlife scene in Aruba is interesting, with locals and tourists mingling at some bars, or tourists deciding to stay at their resorts and party the night away from there. For this night, we chose the latter and stayed to test out the casino and indulge in some fun at the Marriott!
After sleeping in a bit on day four our press group met in the lobby to venture to our catamaran cruise and snorkeling excursion. This activity, and the UTV tour, are my top recommendations for when you’re in Aruba! Both are so fun in different ways and really give you a sense of what there is to offer on Aruba.
You can choose the length of time you want the catamaran tour to go for, but I would recommend at least 2 hours. This will give you ample time to sail and snorkel, but also take photos and enjoy some drinks while you’re on the water. Another pro tip, make sure to get a boat that has a slide and these nets that you can lay on and really see the water!
When we sailed back to our hotel we got dressed in our brunch clothes and headed to White Modern Cuisine to enjoy ourselves and dine at one of the best brunch spots on the island. The setup at the restaurant is chic and modern, which reflects the dining style of the place. They have a large menu but serve small plates. You are able to order as many plates as you would like so that you can sample each type of item they have, pair this with the bottomless mimosas and you’ve got yourself a brunch experience!
To end our day, we ventured back to the Northern side of the island for a foraging adventure. We were hosted by our tour, who makes his living by doing odd jobs, foraging, fishing and living off the land in a lot of ways. He showed us what plants are commonly used in cooking, which ones can be used for tea and herbal remedies, and where to find all of them on the island.
It was a fascinating way to learn how an island, which isn’t exactly the most fertile in the world is able to sustain itself in many ways.
That was our last activity, besides eating delicious food, and we returned to our hotel to enjoy our last day on the island. This consisted of shooting photos and content, spending time with my amazing companions on the press tour, and taking in as much of the hospitality and amenities that the hotel had to offer!
The time flew by and before I knew it the hour came where I had to change for our final dinner (cue sad music and wistful tears)!
Our final dinner was one of the most popular experiences you can have while in Aruba, dining on the beach. This is something that I love! There is nothing quite like eating amazing food while your feet are in the sand. Passions on the Beach is one of the best choices you can make when looking to have this experience in Aruba!
For our last meal we wined, dined, and had the best of laughs together while the sun set in one of the most beautiful locations in the world! I thought, while sipping my last Aruba Arriba, that Aruba had treated me to adventure, relaxation, and cultural experiences, all within just 4 days. It is the island in the Caribbean with the highest return visitor rating and I can completely understand why. The hospitality shown by the locals is second to none, the weather, as I’ve mentioned is impeccable, there are endless activities to occupy your time, and, as you’ve seen, the dining options are phenomenal!