I just got back from Aruba, and I want to tell you – it’s amazing! Aruba is a small island in the Caribbean, known for its white sandy beaches and tropical climate. Part of the Dutch Caribbean, Aruba has been inhabited since at least 1000 CE, and has been under Dutch administration since 1636. Although it is small – only about 69 square miles – and has a small population of about 100,000, it is a beautiful, friendly, and wonderful place! I loved the island, and met tons of nice people, all of whom were happy, helpful, and very very kind.
On top of all my sightseeing, I ate some great food! The award-winning Dutch Pancake House – “Best Breakfast in Aruba” was actually so good we ate there two days in a row! The Poffertjes, or Dutch-style silver dollar pancakes – were to die for. Seriously, how amazing do these look?
We also had the Sweet Dutch Pancakes – yum! These were topped with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and powdered sugar. Indulgent, sure, but it’s vacation! If you’ve never had pancakes topped with ice cream, now is the time!
One of the other amazing places we ate was Aquarius, a contemporary restaurant located in the Renaissance Aruba Marina Hotel, right in the heart of Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba. Unlimited seafood, plus fresh lobster and crab legs cooked on a grill right in front of us. Even the atmosphere at Aquarius was beautiful – sleek wood, glass, metal, and of course, all that delicious food! They had buffet and a la carte options, which was great, and would be especially helpful for a larger group!
El Gaucho, one of Aruba’s most famous dining spots, has some of the most friendly and professional staff to pamper you while you chow down on Argentinian steaks – charcoal-grilled to perfection of course! – including the famous Gaucho steak, the 18-ounce sirloin, the Pincho Torro Caliente (the biggest shish kebab ever served!), T-bone steaks, veal chops, and so much more! This Argentinian restaurant also features a strolling guitarist duo and some amazing, and exclusive, Argentinian wines.
Here is the Camarones al Ajillo – Jumbo Shrimp Scampi – that’s smothered in roasted garlic puree (who knew that was even a thing!?!) and then pan fried:
Café The Plaza has amazing food, but what really stands out is the location. It’s the perfect place to eat and drink, alone or with a friend, but it’s also a great place to just relax and take a book. They also have a large outside patio area with live entertainment, and the food – from a huge menu with something for everyone – is fantastic. Whether you want a snack, a meal, or a bite with drinks, they have it!
The Fettucine Pescadore was one of my favorites – mussels, shrimp, and grouper in a creamy white wine sauce:
In between all this eating, I definitely did some sightseeing! One of the most beautiful places was Flamingo Beach. Flamingo Beach is on a private island, and is the perfect escape for adults who want to get some sun, sand, and – OMG – real flamingos! You can even feed the flamingos!
We went to the island via private water taxi, then rented a cabana. Our cabana was only $230, and it allowed us to enjoy the scenery while being served drinks and food by a private waiter.
The views couldn’t be beat – this gorgeous swing, with views of the water and close to the cabana, was beautiful
There was plenty of space for lounging, reading, enjoying a drink or just listening to the waves.
We also visited Iguana Beach. This beach was more family-friendly, with lots of kids, families, adults, and the occasional iguana! You could even feed the iguanas!
The long boardwalk was perfect for strolling and getting lots of different views of the water and the wildlife.
Yassss. I found a hammock!
Eagle Beach was beautiful, but it was also FUN! We went water-tubing, and Eagle Beach has a ton of water-sport options.
We also visited Palm Beach – Aruba for the great outdoor clubs. This beach has an amazing nightlife, with lots of great DJs, dancing, and drinks!
Plus, how fun is the “I Heart Aruba” sign?
We stayed at an absolute paradise, the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. The hotel is on a private island covering about 40 acres, with exclusive beach access. There is easy access to a ton of local spots, including the Renaissance Mall, Baby Beach, and the airport, Queen Beatrix International Airport. Even better, the resort has two areas – adults only and family-friendly. You can go back and forth depending on your mood, and it really made for a relaxing time. Kids are awesome but sometimes you want a beach, beverage, and book – and others you want cannonballs and sand castles!