So if you follow me on Instagram, you know I recently went to ARUBA. Originally, we were supposed to go to Mexico but four days before our flight was to take off - the forecast looked awful! I panicked a little because who wants to pay good money to sit in a hotel room? UGH.
I started calling around. The hotel in Mexico is owned by a company which has other resorts all over the world. We had a matter of hours to choose where to go. We couldn't decide between Punta Cana and Aruba....but we settled on #OneHappyIsland.
PS - thankfully Southwest Airlines doesn't charge a fee to switch your flight (you only have to pay the difference) so that was a HUGE help.
Yes - we had to cough up more money (had to pay difference in fare for hotel + flight) but I'm so happy we decided to go to Aruba.
We landed on the island and immediately rented a car. All the cars there are so small and cute (and don't go very fast lol). We drove the 20 minutes or so to our hotel - Barcelo Aruba.
Our hotel was super cute - huge - and offered a lot to do. It was right on the beach and on the main strip. My one complaint was that the food was not that good, unfortunately! And I LOVE to eat so that was a bummer.
Gary is a wild man explorer who can't sit still for very long so after our first day at the resort, we decided to explore the island.
Our second day there, on Thursday, we went to two AMAZING beaches. The first - MANGEL HALTO
What I loved about all of the beaches (besides the crystal blue/green water) was that they weren't ever crowded! It was so peaceful.
The second beach we visited was BABY BEACH. It's called this because the water is fairly shallow - appropriate for kids or "babies."
We were so worn out after visiting both beaches - we went back to the hotel, had dinner, a few drinks and went to bed.
We started our 3rd day on the island by visiting a donkey farm! aw. It was so cute. The Donkey Sanctuary is a nonprofit where volunteers take care of the island's donkeys. For $3 you can feed them apples, which they LOVED.
Then - it was time to go to the beach (of course). On Thursday, we checked out Eagle Beach. I didn't take many pics of this beach but if I were to go BACK to Aruba with a group, I would take them here. It was the picture-perfect beach. White sands, clear waters, beach bars, water sports, etc.
We went back to the hotel to relax before our catamaran sunset sail! This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was open bar and Aruba has some of the most gorgeous sunsets I have EVER seen.
Was so sick of the hotel food by this time - so what do you do? Eat out. I didn't take any pics but I have to say Barefoot Restaurant is a 10/10. I'm honestly craving the dinner I had there. SO. GOOD.
On Saturday we wanted to both explore and revisit some favorites. Gary looked up ARISHI BEACH, which is an explorer's fantasy. It has rocks, stones, reef, etc. Apparently Arishi Beach is popular among the locals and among experienced snorkelers (not us, sorry Gary).
Gary took such good pictures of this beach so I'll share a few below.
After Arishi, we went back to Baby Beach, which I just love, then do an amazing dinner at an awesome restaurant called the Flying Fishbone. At the restaurant, you have the option to sit in the sand or in in the water!
Obviously we chose the water, which was warm.
We went back to the hotel and slept and flew out early Sunday afternoon. Such a fun trip