Upon arrival in Aruba we were greeted by big signs that said “One Happy Island”, and that was the start of one happy vacation! I’m not much of a tropical vacation kind of girl; I tend to jet off to Europe every chance I get, but the frigid weather in Ottawa got to me.
I generally don’t take trips to tropical places because I’m not a fan of all-inclusive resorts. I just don’t get why someone would travel across the world to spend most of their time in a hotel. My goal when I travel is to spend the least amount of time in my hotel room as I possibly can. My goal is to see the world! For this reason, my parents and I stayed at Cadushi Apartments on the outskirts of Oranjestad. These beautiful little apartments had a full kitchen, an outdoor pool and allowed me to live like the locals.
We spent the first day wandering around the capital city, Oranjestad. Their hop-on-hop-off “tourist trolley” is the perfect way to get around the city.
I was fascinated by Aruba because it’s actually a Dutch colony- hence the bright and beautiful architecture you’d expect to see in Amsterdam.
From Cadushi Apartments we were a 5 minute walk to a small, quiet, sandy oasis: Surfside beach. In an attempt to really “experience” the beaches of Aruba we also went to Eagle beach. I have to say, I was really disappointed by the experience there. We were harassed by people negotiating prices to sit at the beach and it really took all of the fun out of it. Since I’m not a resort-goer, I didn’t even know this was a thing. Although Eagle beach was gorgeous, it was very crowded and touristy. If you’re looking to relax, my advice would be to stick to the smaller beaches.
My Mom and I spent Day 2 happily wandering around Renaissance Mall and the outdoor shops in Oranjestad. Can you say Gucci?
This was probably my favourite outfit of the whole trip. After lacking in the sunscreen department the day before (sunscreen is important, people!), I opted for long sleeves paired with my favourite floral skirt, both Zara finds. My Lack of Color Spencer boater hat shielded my face from the sun’s harmful rays and my Chloé Jane bag kept my belongings secure.
I’ve talked about my bucket list-chasing ways before, and this trip was no different. My Mom had always wanted to ride a horse on the beach and I thought, what better beach? Despite the fact that I’m extremely allergic to horses, all three of us took a ride on the white sandy beaches of this happy island.
This is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done (right up there with Edge Walk), but it was exhilarating. I’ll be sharing more photos from our ride on an upcoming post, so be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss a thing!
If you’re looking for adventure rather than relaxation there are a plethora of activities in Aruba and it can be hard to distinguish which ones are worth your precious time. On Day 3, my Dad and I decided to take a submarine ride 132 feet under the ocean and I have to say, if you get a chance to become part of the 1% of the population that has been in a sub, take it!
In contrast to the beautiful Aruban beaches, the rest of the terrain was filled with dusty roads and cacti. We took a drive along those dusty roads to visit the California lighthouse at the northern tip of the island. On that note, I should mention that although Aruba is an extremely small island, it is in no way “walkable”. When in Europe, I love to walk everywhere. How else will you find the quaint Mom and Pop restaurants or that delicious, hidden pâtisserie? Although Aruba is a Dutch colony, it is not like Europe. The sun is one thousand times hotter than it is anywhere else on the planet (not true, but it sure felt like it). I would highly advise that you rent a car. Once we realized this was the best way to get around we were free to explore sans perspiration.
Sadly, Day 4 was coming to a close so we headed to the beach to watch the sunset.
Watching the sunset over the ocean at Surfside beach is something I’ll never forget. You can see more shots of this beautiful experience here.
As always, thank you to my wonderful parents who are willing to follow me to the end of the Earth, or at least to this happy little island.