Granted we went during the only month it rains in Aruba… our trip was still fantastic, especially since it was low season! We flew from the US and the entry into the country was pretty smooth. This was one of our first trips to the Caribbean, and so we were really excited. As soon as we cleared customs, we exchanged money into the local currency. Honestly, this was a wasted effort. US dollars are all you need!
Here is what we were able to accomplish during our stay in Aruba.
Day 1: Arrived in Aruba
We arrived in Aruba late in the afternoon. We decided to stay towards the northern end of the island in the Palm Beach area. The area has some really nice family friendly hotels along with access to local transportation. It was perfect!
Once we settled in, we headed straight to the beach and spent the rest of the evening enjoy the amazingly calm waters. After sunset, we headed back and enjoyed some time by the pool before having dinner and calling it a day.
Day 2: Downtown Area (Fort Zoutman and more)
We started the day enjoying the morning at the beach. After breakfast, we decided to head in to town. One of the easiest ways to travel into town is on the local bus which stopped by the resort area. Soon we found ourselves in the Oranjestad Bus Terminal. We were able to explore the area leisurely. The shopping was nice and we were able to pick up some nice beach clothes. It so happened that the day we went there, a large cruise ship had also made port call. The kids had an amazing time seeing a cruise ship so close!
Late in the afternoon we headed back to the resort and took a short nap before heading back to the beach and pool.
Day 3: Drive around the island
On our third day, we rented a car to go around the island. We spent some time checking out the California lighthouse and continued driving towards the Alto Vista Chapel. Next we headed to the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins and had fun exploring the area. Afterwards, we headed towards the Natural Bridge and had our lunch.
Since it was still afternoon, we headed to Arikok National Park and explored the caves there.
Our final stop for the day was Hooiberg, where after climbing the stairs, we thoroughly enjoyed the spectacular views. We were very lucky… the skies were absolutely clear so the views extended far into the horizon.
Day 4: Day trip to De Palm Island
Kids love waterparks and we had heard so many good things about snorkelling in Aruba that a trip to De Palm Island made perfect sense. And boy were we right… the kids had a blast! The snorkelling was also amazing. Up to that point, we had never seen so many colorful fish… it was like a scene right out of “Finding Nemo”. After an amazing day at the island, we came back exhausted but thrilled.
Day 5: Beach & travel day
On our final day, we spent the morning at the beach before heading back home in the afternoon. Aruba was amazing and we are grateful for all of the wonderful memories we took home with us.
There are opportunities to visit various factories in Aruba. Because we had kids and our priorities were slightly different, we did not include them in our itinerary.
Also please remember that if you buy any creams (such as Aloe Vera), it is important to pack them inside the check-in suitcase. It was really sad to see so many people tossing their brand new bottles as they went through security since the quantities were too much to be carried in hand luggage bound for the USA. What a waste of money!
Finally, even though we went during rainy season, the impact was minimal…. Most of the time the weather was clear. The rains were quick and did not last long.