Looking for an island destination out of the hurricane zone? Look no further than Aruba!
We ended up in Aruba on the flip of a coin. My hubby picked Cabo, I picked St Thomas, both destinations ended up being pricey for a long weekend. With a stash of Marriott points, I googled best value for points and the Ritz in Aruba popped up.
We got the most bang for our buck with free breakfast and a $100 room credit each night, they were practically paying us to stay there! The room was small but had an amazing sunset ocean view and we were kid-free, a rare occurrence for us!
For our first day, we hired Around Aruba Tours to check out the island. Our driver was amazing and stocked our jeeps with waters and beers or whatever you wanted!
Aruba is a small island with a ton to offer. Four languages are spoken on the island, English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamento and most residents speak all four fluently! It's out of the hurricane zone, there is no VAT tax or gratuity added in so it's also a good value island. And with beautiful beaches and a desert, what more could you ask for?
Our first stop was the desert of Aruba. How cool was this! Just minutes after seeing the beautiful blue beaches, we were transported into a desert complete with cactus and goats!
Minutes later we arrived on the raw Atlantic shore with dark blue waters and a coast you wouldn't dare swim in! A short hike down several dozen steep steps, we arrived at the Natural Pool, an insta perfect spot for a snap or a swim with, uh eels! Yeah, that's the part no one tells you about! The Natural Pool is an amazing spot, a cluster of rocks formed together to make a natural calm pool, away from the crashing surf but if you happen to bring your googles and you happen to look down, you will see lots and lots of eels, yes EELS are swimming below your feet. They didn't bite us, they didn't really bother us, just keep in mind, uh EELS!
After the natural pool, we ventured to Baby Beach which some say is the best beach on the island, but our beach at the Ritz was just as good, if not better without venturing an hour away. I think anywhere on the Caribbean coast of Aruba would have an amazing beach!
After a long day of touring the island, we had dinner at the Flying Fishbone, a restaurant where you can actually eat in the water! We reserved a table on the beach, rather than IN THE WATER, and after watching the tide come up in, we were happy we were on the beach! If you want your booty beached, opt for the in water dining experience! With appetizers, lobsters and a bottle of wine, our bill squeaked in under $100 which again makes Aruba a good value island and our food was delicious and our dining experience incredible!
The next day was a day of rest! We tried some paddle boating and spent the day on the beach at the Ritz sipping pina coladas!
For dinner that night - we found an amazing place across the street from our hotel. Papiamentos, a little gem where the chef grew up in the house he later turned into a restaurant. Try to get a table around the pool it's very cool! I had lobster and the Chef whipped up Brian an off the menu fish stew he loved!
And with every vacation, there is an ending. This was a tough one. We had no desire to go to Aruba but ended up here by chance and it ended up being one of the most amazing experiences. Aruba will always be in my heart. Can't wait to come back!