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Your Aruba Itinerary


I am a far cry from being in the know about the ins and outs of this island but I do feel like we got some pretty bas ass recommendations from locals that I simply cannot *not* share.

This trip was 200% in our top 5 trips we have ever taken so if you are considering a trip to Aruba I could not recommend it more!

Accommodation

This was our first time in Aruba so I can really only speak on my experience staying at the Hyatt. This Resort is not all inclusive, I think the Rui is the only all inclusive option on the island but honestly why miss out on all the amazing fresh fish and local restaurant options available off a resort.


It is also not adults only but that means you get a big slide that Chadd and I went down no less than 50 times. (the slide operator gave us a hug goodbye to send us off on our final trip down the slide so, I think we qualified as regulars.)

The Hyatt resort is truly so beautiful much of it is modeled after the Gold Mill Ruins and makes for the absolute prettiest atmosphere, especially at golden hour.

We really enjoyed staying here, it's right on the beach and centrally located so even if you don't rent a car there are plenty of things in every direction to walk to! All of the excursions we did also picked us up right on the beach outside of our hotel which was huge! There is nothing worse than shuttling for hour just to get to your vacay explorations, am I right?


The inside of the Hyatt was pretty standard as far as hotels go,

the bed was insanely comfy in our opinion but the walls were paper thin so don't think you'll be sleeping in all day.

The ambiance at the Hyatt restaurant is amazing but the food is solidly average. While the pool area is 10/10 the restaurant at the Hyatt is really something you can skip. Go explore the island!


Last thing about the Hyatt, If you are planning on spending your day lounging by the pool, you need to reserve your chairs! You can do this online or at the little kiosk they have set up by the pool. Some of the spots are complimentary but some of the chair reservations do get charged to your room so just plan ahead on what days are for lounging around.


Things to do

I highly recommend tubing while you are in Aruba!

We had so much fun doing this, your boat driver will tow you out for 20 minutes and whip you around the water but the best part (in my opinion at least) is that the tube has a back rest! Am I old for feeling that way? I don't care, I will be tubing with a backrest from now on.

There are a couple of excursion companies set up along the beach behind the main strip of hotels. We used Octopus for both of our water activities during this trip and loved them!

Octopus Aruba offers a private speed boat snorkeling tour that was so so much fun! They also offer group trips that are cheaper but snorkeling without a million people around you is such a vibe. Plus, you have more control over how long you stay in each spot.

The first spot we stopped to snorkel was an old ship wreck from the beginning of the 2nd world war. Such a cool experience! I mean really, unforgettable.

We also spotted a couple turtles and some really cool fish.

Ask for captain Lex and first mate Juan!

If there is one thing I recommend doing more than anything it is this! Our self guided tour around the island was easily one of the coolest things I feel like we have ever done on vacation.


When we picked up our UTV we were asked to download a map which our guide marked with pins of places she recommended we visit. Her recommendations were complete with restaurants we could stop at for lunch, the best beaches, and even petting zoos!

Definitely bring a portable charger so that you can take as many pictures as you want while you explore without having to worry about how to navigate back.

We visited Mangel Halto Beach first on the way to Baby beach at the most southern point of the island.

Both of these beaches were so ridiculously beautiful but Baby beach takes the cake. The water was so crystal clear and bright teal. Baby beach is also so shallow so you can wade out pretty far and the water won't come above your hips. I wish we had spent an entire day at Baby beach just lounging in the water but we only rented our UTV for eight hours so after lunch at rum reef and about an hour of splashing around, we were off to our next stop.

Next we drove through the Arikok national park that nestles up to the Atlantic Ocean. In the park you can walk through the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins which date back to the 19th century. We got lucky and made it to the ruins while no one else was there and got to explore all by ourselves.

The way the Atlantic Ocean waves crashed into the cliffs in this park very well might be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and I wish I could have spent all day just staring.



Driving through the park got pretty crazy bumpy and it felt a little sketch at times but our little buggy made it through. Chadd seemed to feel line about the whole thing but I would not have been comfortable driving so keep that in mind when picking your route and vehicle! You Might also want to bring some sort of face covering, we were fine without but I could definitely see how getting stuck behind an ATV tour would be a dust nightmare!


This entire self guided tour was also so private, I am not sure if we just got lucky but every tour that was before and after us seemed to be at least 30 minutes behind or ahead so we really got to explore completely uninterrupted.


Restaurants & Bars

Santos

The cutest little coffee shop that we went to the morning that we rented out UTV with the best bagels! I definitely recommend checking this place out for breakfast or a quick mid-day snack, the coffee was so tasty and you can even add a shot of Rumchata or Frangelico.

Gianis

Gianis is a really popular Italian restaurant in the busy shopping district that is a quick walk down the road from the Hyatt. You 200% need a reservation here and I would highly recommend being early to check in for your reservation. The line to check in with the host starts to get really long and that is not something you want to be stuck waiting in after a long day in the sun. If you want to get a whole lobster get it here! Oh my goodness it was incredible. We also got their signature spaghetti that comes served out of a wheel of parmesan but you have to order this for a minimum of two people and while it is very good, its not like an absolute must order, ya know?

Yemanja

Please go here!! The shrimp sampler is 200% a vibe if you are 2 ppl or down to order more than one. I won’t tell you which is my fav but I’d love for you to message me and tell me what you think. Maybe we can argue ;)

The beef carpaccio is also a must! It looks like a raw hamburger patty when it gets to the table but it is filled with arugula and maybe that sounds weird but y’all I am a carpaccio girlie and this shit was the bomb. For our entrees we ordered the ribeye and the triple tail which were both phenomenal. Like I'm talking the kind of meal that makes you stop and say oh wow. Normally I prefer a filet over a ribeye because I am not a fan of fatty steaks but this was cooked incredibly.



Apotek

After dinner we walked to a speakeasy called Apotek around the corner. Do not sleep on this spot! Hands down the best cocktails I have ever had in my life and the vibes were immaculate. There is a DJ in the corner set up at a blackjack table and the whole place is themed to be a pharmacy. The attention to detail in this spot is insane and the drinks are even better. I would get here early if you really want to explore the cocktail options because each drink takes awhile to make. I highly recommend sitting right at the bar if you can so that you can watch the bartender's attention to every single little detail while making your drink. This alone was a vibe. You can also ask for a custom drink and have them whip up a prescription completely unique to you. When you are ready to head home just ask your host to call you a cab but keep your eye out because they come quick! We missed our first cab so we had to ask her to call a second.. oopsies.

More Clubs - Moomba beach Bar & Gusto

These are two clubs we went to while we were in Aruba. Both super fun if you are looking for nightlife. Moomba was recommended to us for Sunday Funday but we went here a couple times during our stay and it always met the vibe. I mean incredible people watching if that's your thing. A friend of mine also recommended we go to Bugaloe for drinks but we never made it to this spot.

Bohemian

Bohemian is a completely outdoor French restaurant is right off one of the main streets in

the high-rise hotel area but feels like you are tucked away in a secret garden. Some of the tables are nestled under wicker tents and some have their own wooden stage. You will be listening to live music surrounded by plants in this beautiful space that feels very Tulum.


We have been trying to get into white wine a bit more especially for the summer so we asked the Sommelier what she recommended and ended up with a beautiful Croatian bottle.

For our appetizer we ordered another beef carpaccio that came topped with caviar and then shared the filet with foie gras and a whole red snapper. I adored the red snapper and the steak was to die for! Personally I preferred my steak without the foie gras on top, the flavor was amazing but the texture was not really for me. The waitstaff at this restaurant was incredible and the whole dinner felt very intimate! 10/10 recommend!

Whacky Wahoo

Whacky wahoo was recommended to us by our cab driver on the way back from Apotek. He told us that he fishes a ton himself and sells grouper to the local restaurants so we trusted his recommendation when we asked what his favorite spot for fresh fish was!

This place was a bit of a walk from the hotel area so we assumed it would be dead but when we got here there was a line out the door. I feel like this can really only mean good things so we put our name on the list and headed outside to wait.

We started with fish soup and I know... it doesn't necessarily sound appetizing but really it was so so good! Think minestrone soup but fish. This restaurant is owned by fisherman so all of the names of the menu items are straight to the point. No fluff here.

For my entrée I followed our cab drives suggestion and ordered from the catch of the day, grouper - pan seated the Aruban way. No complaints here, this fish was incredible. Hands down.

Ruinas del Mar - The Hyatt Restaurant

This restaurant is modeled after the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins (one of the places you have to stop and see if you are renting a jeep) and is actually stunning. If you do decide to eat here definitely specify that you want to sit outside by the Koi pond. Other than the ambiance though this restaurant was not anything special and for the money I would really recommend going to a local spot instead. Plus, if you are staying at the Hyatt, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy the Koi pond. Honestly, even if you aren't staying at the Hyatt just walk up from the beach and give it a quick peak, no one will know.


Miscellaneous Tips

This island is windy as fuck. Do not even attempt to wear your hair down, its not worth it. I wore a low bun or my hair in a clip every single day and honestly on the UTV I wish I had braided my hair or something because the clip was not cutting it.


You actually need to get to the airport 4 hours early so plan appropriately. You will go through American security including customs before you even leave Aruba. Getting customs out of the way at the beginning of your travel day is so nice, but also potentially disastrous if you don't plan accordingly! The good thing though is that all of the transportation companies should do their best to prepare you for this and make sure you know to get picked up early.


Ask questions!! the people on this island were so nice and helpful to us. We had complete strangers help us find the gas tank on our UTV so we could fill up before returning it. Everyone was also very excited to give us their recommendations on what to do during our stay.


Enjoy your Aruba trip!





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