We visited Aruba during Spring Break ’14. In summary, we all loved it. White sand beaches, turquoise sea, the resort we stayed at, sighseeting around the island, restaurants, food, everything. Only two things slightly scarred our experience were the relateively high prices and return trip.
American citizens do not need visa to travel to Aruba for vacation. However, it’s considered international travel. You need to take your passport with you, go through passport control and customs entering Aruba and coming back to the US. You need to allow yourself enough time to go through luggage check-in, passport control and customs on theway back home. Everything at the airport moves really slow.
The weather is always around 80F all year around. The forecast predicted rain few times during our stay. Every time it rained at night. It was never to hot or too humid. The sun is powerful though. You need good sun protection and need to put on sunscreen few times a day.
We stayed at Tamarijn Aruba, a twin hotel resort, on the west side of the island, just north of Oranjestad. We purchased our package on their website. It’s twin sister Divi was just north of Tamarijn. We stayed all inclusive. We were able to eat at both hotel’s restaurants. There were mini trams running between Divi, Tamarijn and Alhambra Casino which is a part of the resort. There is also a section with a golf course.
Our rooms were at two story buildings overlooking the beach. Behind all inclusive guest rooms were time-share rentals (Dutch Village) with kitchen and living room. There were many visitors, mostly from Venezuela staying at those rentals.
View from our room balcony was divine. You could literally jump to the sea.
There were 3 mid-size pools scattered around at Tamarijn. They were right behind our rooms, between our building and the time-share. I liked the fact that. pools were small, because kids spent more time at the sea, than the pool.
And the beach and the sea were indescribable. We’ve visited many Caribbean islands. My husband always does a great job picking the best beach on an Island. Here it was marvelous. It was shallow enough for the kids and deep enough for us. There were barely any waves. It wasn’t too cold or too hot. It was just right.
This is only a quarter of the hotel’s beach. The hotel’s rooms extends along Divi Beach. Lots of place to spread around for the guests. That doesn’t mean that there is no beach chaise lounge race in the morning. Everyone wants to get a parasol close to their rooms.
Kids snorkeled by the beach to discover the fish around small reef and collect shells.
There were lots of stones to make castles out of.
Sunsets were amazing. There is a bunker bar on a small cape where people welcome sunsets with their drinks.
After dinner, there were entertainment at the resort. We didn’t stay and watch all of them. Whatever we have seen was fun for the family. First night was Mariachis performing.
We were impressed by the young synchronized swimmers.
Latin dancers were amazing.
My daughter couldn’t get her eyes of off the dresses and make-ups.
What I liked better about Aruba compared to some other Caribbean islands were the the things you could do outside-of-the-resort. We’ve rented a car to go around the island. First destination was Oranjestad.
The architecture is pretty colorful and fun. Most of these buildings are high end retails stores by the cruise ship dock.
We wanted to have lunch at Yemenja in Oranjestad, which was highly raved, but it was closed. We ate at Delimar, peruvian restaurant which we came out of full and happy.
One day we did the Atlantis Submarine Expedition by Depalm Tours. I highly recommend this for families. Depalm Tours has other attractions as well, but this was the only one which 6 to 60 year-olds could attend and enjoy. We got on a small ferry from the dock year the cruise ship dock.
View of Oranjestad from the sea.
This is the “reality” of the Happy Island. Land fill near where we got in the submarine.
Submarine is ready for us.
Tropical fish list to help recognize.
Everyone is lined up.
Cameras are ready.
One fish, two fish.
Red fish, blue fish.
And a – intentionally sunken – ship wreck.
We hit the bottom of the ocean at 143ft, then went up.
We went around the island and visited other beaches. This was the ancher in memory of all the seamen at the entrance to Seroe Colorado.
Kite surfers at Seroe Colorado.
Island’s donkeys on the way to Baby Beach.
They were really friendly. I think people feed them.
This was another reality of the Happy Island. The refinery chimneys right by the baby beach. The beach was great but the smell coming from the refinery was very unpleasant.
The tagline of Aruba, “One Happy island”. I can vouch for that.
We also went out to the town at night. This is the old mill.
We went up north from Divi beach towards high rise hotels. There are lots of restaurants, stores and street vendors to enjoy and shop from. We visited these restaurants and were really happy with them. “Fishes & More”, “Tango Argentine Grill” . We might have eaten gelato at “Gelatissimo” almost every night.
We couldn’t get enough of the beach…
..and the sea
We took many pictures to save this happy island in our memory. However, I really want to go back few more times.