Being born and raised on Curacao you would think I visited our neighbor Aruba numerous times. Nothing could be further from the truth. This was actually my second time to the island, the first being when I was just able to walk let alone speak. Where Bonaire is seen as the more layed-back lazy sister of Curacao, Aruba is definitely the more outgoing sister. So whenever the parents went on a trip to Aruba – it was a non-kids zone.
You can probably imagine my excitement when we booked a very last-minute trip to AUA with friends. #onehappyisland here we come!
Our pre-set goals were as follows:
- Get a foot tan! Yes I can see why that needs some explanation but for someone living on a Caribbean island I have seriously white feet.
- Explore all the beaches and have a beach – swim – drive – beach – swim – drive rhythm going on. I’m sure someone at one point wrote a song about this. If not, than Taylor Darlin’ you need to start writing!
- Fall in love with Aruba
So our strategy to reach our goals was to do some serious roadtrippin’!! After some crazy car rental drama (seriously, when wanting to rent a JEEP or 4×4 on Aruba – being a last minute travel organizer is not the ideal situation.) we managed to rent a SUV and decided to do 2 different trips.
Day 1 – Road trippin’ to the east.
Having arrived by night, the getting up part was extra exciting. What does Aruba look like? The swaying palmtrees on this “windy” island is a very welcoming wake-up call. We headed out for breakfast, as Aruba was getting ready for the arrival of Mr Sinterklaas ( you could call him the dutch Santa Claus), and found a spot near the marina. During breakfast we decided we would out to the east and north side of the island – Day 1 Roadtrip has officially started.
Baby Beach & Rogers beach
Two great beaches next to each other. Rogers beach has calmer waters as it is just positioned on the leeward side of baby beach. Baby beach has 2 sections. A section with facilities such as a bar and beach chairs and a section where the only thing left standing are the palapas with palm-tree-leaves roofs. This was our preferred section. The water is slightly choppy but water access is fairly easy. Ideal spot to catch some sunny rays and do a little dipping in the Caribbean waters.
The name is not a lie. This large sandy beach on the north side of the island is a big hit with kite-surfers alike. Once you have stepped over the “moored” kites and find a spot on the little beach dunes the views are spectacular. The ocean is choppy but if you are a good swimmer, it should not be a problem here to enter. If kite-surfing is not your thing than this is a great spot to do some body surfing ! It kept us occupied for a bit and hey…. no need for a gym today!
Are we there yet?
On your way to Boca grandi you will pass a crossing with a big red Anchor. Now you wonder – why so specific? alright here goes: take a right and only a few meters further you will find the reason. Wild, very curious, donkeys will greet you and will try to get you to feed them. These donkeys are very friendly and nibbly, might I add. Obviously we stopped, took a picture and gave them something special to nibble on.
We kept driving along the north side and found the Arikok National park. We must admit, we did not plan checking out the park we just wanted a refreshment. Signs alongside the road told us if you mentioned the restaurant inside the park, no entrance fee was charged. The restaurant is a short drive from the entrance and this did give us the chance to check out the rougher side of this part of Aruba. This is the scenery I love. You can see the different levels of the island (just like her sisters Aruba “formed” in stages, something noticeable in the park. The park offers you amazing views, caves ( with bats!) and rocky formations.
No road trip goes without having some serious good food. Having heard many good things about Zeerovers we had to tick this of our list. Fish straight from the fisherman into the kitchen and then straight on your plate. Hello fishy – fishy- fishy. Obviously not a great place for vegetarians…….
Elegant dining in flip flops is their slogan. Just as I like it. We reserved a table on the beach so we could enjoy the sunset and a nice glass of vino. Their menu had a good variety and between the 4 of us we all decided to order something different so we could share. I can tell you this much – NOM NOM! Food is delish, service is great and the views well—– who does not like a #sunset (yes that word needs a hashtag).
Slightly tired and rosy we decided to head back to basecamp as tomorrow is day 2 – on the blog soon!
To fall in love with Aruba is easy, peasy, lemon, squeezy!
We stayed at: Boardwalk hotel – this cosy small hotel was the perfect spot for us. We rented the double casita, which provided us with 2 great bedrooms, a kitchen, porch and a BBQ. They have the coziest little pool and great relaxing area in the garden. Their extra amenities are fantastic as well and we used their beach chairs, cooler and snorkel gear everyday. They are very easy-going about giving you clean beach towels every day. Kinda handy when on a road trip-mission and everything seems to be collecting dirt like crazy. LOVED IT – WILL GO BACK!