"...Ooh I wana take you to." - The Beach Boys
Jokes, did not go to Jamaica... but I did go to Aruba!
This was the second stop on my boyfriend and I's weeklong trip, and I must say we liked it better than Curacao.
1. The Breakfast
Okay. We were only there for four days, but hear me out. This is the best breakfast you can find near the Renaissance, and probably Aruba. We came back here three times during our stay, and every time was the opposite of a disappointment. It's called The Dutch Pancake House, and it was awarded the best breakfast in Aruba in 2014 and 2015 (I know, what happened in 2016? No idea, but TRY THIS).
What's funny is that we ended up seeing the same groups of tourists returning to the restaurant every morning as well. I'm telling you, it's goo0ood.
2. The Vibe
Yes, the vibe. After a couple days in Curacao, we were starting to get bored. There are only so many days you can spend just lounging on the beach. Once we got to our hotel in Aruba, we looked at each other and went "woah." The bar in the lobby was packed, music was playing loudly, people were getting ready to party or gamble, and best of all it was 10pm. 10pm in Curacao everyone was in bed. Aruba is definitely the place for ones who like a mix between paradise and the city.
3. The Sights
The island itself is so beautiful. We rented an ATV for a day, and went around the island on the little thing. I would recommend renting a UTV instead if you're of age since the sun gave us major sunburns, but we had an insane time regardless.
Places to visit: California Lighthouse, Arikok National Park, Palm Beach
Where to rent: Justin's ATVs — They give you a free cooler (you'll need it), a cell phone, and will help you draw a route on a map of the island!
We ATV-ed through complete desert for an hour until we found this beauty.
It was a small food shack in the middle of nowhere (seriously, we were in the middle of the desert), and it was LIT.
The Quadirki Caves are inside the national park.
Remember to bring a flashlight on your way in because it's pitch black inside. I was freaked out because no one else was in sight, but I was so excited. Once you get past the darkness, and the bats flying around, you get to the cave opening where I assume all the bats come and go.
4. The Town
We stayed right next to the town center, Oranjestad. It's a cute couple of streets filled with shops and small shacks. There's also a free trolly you can take down the entire main street! Honestly not too much to do in town unless you're a souvenir fanatic.
Renassiance has it's own private island with restaurants and private beaches, all accessible free of charge for their guests. The private island is also home to a couple of flamingos that just hang around on their own.
7. The West Deck
One thing we never fail to bring up even weeks after the trip is a little restaurant next to the beach. There were plenty of restaurants in the resort, but none that we thought had food worth the price. We stumbled across The West Deck one night, and was immediately intrigued. There was live music, plenty of cocktails, and a great Caribbean menu.
Their ribs are incredible. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. If you're in the area, please go here instead of the seafood buffet at your hotel. I truly think it is far superior.
8. Palm Beach
If you're looking for the stereotypical white sandy beach that stretches as far as your eyes can see, Aruba is the place for you. What was lacking in Curacao was exactly this. Palm Beach is the island's longest beach, and is where most of the high rise resorts are located. This was also where we boarded for our snorkeling tour!
Hopefully this post will be useful to those planning a trip to to the ABC islands! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about getting around/other places to go.
I guess that wraps up my latest Caribbean adventure! The next couple months will be busy with me starting a new job, and moving apartments...but shhh, I'm already itching for another getaway. ;)