Aruba Travel Guide

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

Well it’s only taken about 2 months to put this post together, but I am so excited to share our honeymoon with y’all! When trying to decide on a place to honeymoon, we knew we wanted somewhere we could absolutely relax, be adventurous if we wanted and spend plenty of time in the sun & sand. Everything I have ever heard about Aruba was how amazing the island is, and I am here to vouch for that. Y’all, we LOVED Aruba, it was incredible. We really didn’t know much about the island before we went, but we loved everything about it & are already planning our next trip back!

Our honeymoon was hands down one of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken. For obvious reasons of course, but I think the island had to do with it too! In order to make this as informative & organized as possible I am going to give a quick recap of our daily agenda, then share some random facts about the island that we learned and lastly, go into a little more detail on our resort and three of our favorite things about the trip!

If you’re interested, just keep reading πŸ˜‰ If y’all have any questions about Aruba that I didn’t answer, please let me know!

xoxo!

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

Day 1: We arrived at the resort! WooHoo! We visited the pool and had dinner at the resort, followed by a trip to the hotel casino!

Day 2: We spent the day at the pool and the beach. The beach is right beside the pool! We opted for dinner at the other Riu location. We thought the food was better there.

Day 3: Early morning snorkel excursion! We booked this excursion right on the beach. The excursion was onΒ a catamaran, which took us to a coral reef and then to a WWII shipwreck. We really loved this trip, the guides were super nice, it had an open bar & snacks for the group. We spent the rest of the day at the pool & beach, followed by dinner at the Italian restaurant in the hotel.

Day 4: Opted for lunch at Bugaloe, located on a pier down from our hotel. It was another beach & pool day! We wanted to explore the island a little bit, so that night we walked down to Craft. It’s the cutest bar by night & coffee shop by day! We visited at least 3 times over the week. Their ‘Blueberry Bramble’ was one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had! We ended our night at the Steakhouse in the hotel.

Day 5: UTV Excursion day (more on that below!!), dinner at Flying Fishbone (more on that below!!), Craft for after dinner cocktails and a trip to the Hyatt Casino.

Day 6: We had had just about too much sun for the week, so we took a long morning walk down the beach to check out the other resorts on the island. We wanted to scope out where we would stay next time we visited (more on that below!). We rented a float and enjoyed the ocean and then we tubed on the Caribbean Sea– the tube was called the BIG MABEL! It was so fun!Β That night it was dinner at the hibachi restaurant in our hotel, it was probably our favorite meal we had at the resort.

Day 7: Flamingo Beach time (more on that below!)! We had dinner at the resort, followed by some casino time. What can I say, we love to play blackjack πŸ˜‰

Day 8: Coffee & waffles at Craft. USA here we come!

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

Random facts about the island:

  • The terrain is desert like, not tropical.
  • It is super windy, which makes the heat feel quite nice– but pack a hat πŸ˜‰
  • The island is below the hurricane belt
  • There are 365 days of sunshine (or so they say!)
  • There are casinos in just about every “high-rise” hotel
  • We felt VERY safe, we were able to leave our resort and explore
  • The hotels are located on the beach of the Caribbean Sea, not the ocean, the water was calm & pristine
  • Β They accept the U.S. Dollar
  • We didn’t see any mosquitos during our trip. That isn’t to say Zika isn’t a threat, because I honestly don’t know, but I am thinking the extreme wind keeps them away πŸ˜‰

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

Where we stayed: The Riu Palace Antillas

  • Our resort experience: B
  • It is an all inclusive resort
  • The Riu has two locations on the island, side by side, one hotel is adults only, the other is family friendly
  • We opted for the adults only hotel, however, we had access to the other Riu hotel (those who stay at the family friendly Riu do not have access to the adults only location)
  • Why did we chose the Riu Palace Antillas? When researching we wanted an adults only, all inclusive resort, and this was one of the only (if not the only, I can’t remember!) that met that criteria.
  • Why an all inclusive? We didn’t want to worry about every meal or cocktail we ordered.
  • Hindsight is 20/20, but Tyler & I both agreed that next time we probably wouldn’t opt for an all inclusive (at least in Aruba!). Why? We wanted to get out and explore other restaurants, especially for dinner, but felt guilty doing that because we had already paid so much for the all inclusive aspect.
  • The food was just okay.
  • I would definitely recommend making reservations at the restaurants in the hotel. Otherwise, dinner is buffet/cafeteria style.
  • The rooms were very spacious, but could have used some upgrades.
  • The pools were nice, however, the swim up bar pool was ocean level. Due to the extreme wind, there was plenty of sand that ended up in the pool– it wasn’t pleasant.
  • The service was good, and for the most part the staff was very friendly.
  • Due to the fact we probably wouldn’t do the all inclusive thing next time, we think we will stay at the Hyatt instead!

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

Our favorite Excursion of the trip was the UTV Tour withΒ Around Aruba Tours! It was SO fun!! The UTV seats two and is covered, which is why we oped for the UTV instead of the ATV. Remember me saying the island is like a desert?! Well here is where you actually realized it really is! They gave us masks to cover our noses & mouths to prevent the dirt & sand from getting all over our faces. Sunglasses are also a must to keep the sand out of your eyes! However, even with our best efforts we were covered! We didn’t mind though because the tour was so fun!Β 

A bus fromΒ Around Aruba ToursΒ picked us up at our hotel & took us to Philip’s Animal Garden. The Animal Garden is a wildlife sanctuary, and they let you feed the animals before you gear up & head out on the UTV. There is a tour guide that leads the group of ATVs & UTVs throughout the 4 hour tour. Side note, the tour guides were awesome too! We made four different stops across the island during the tour. First up, was the first chapel on the island, you were able to see inside of the chapel and light a candle for loved ones that had passed. Tyler’s granny is no longer with us, and she always said Aruba was her favorite island, it was such a special moment to share lighting a candle for her πŸ™‚ On the rest of the tour we also saw a natural bridge, beautiful views of the ocean, an old gold mill and we ended our trip with a dip in a natural pool!

It was well worth our money & we had so much fun!

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

We did make an exception for dinner one night, and ate outside of the resort. We had SO many people recommend Flying Fishbone for dinner, so of course we had to see what it was all about! Y’all, I’ve never had a dining experience quite like this one. It will be something I remember forever, it was amazing. It was about 30 minutes away from our hotel, so it is a little bit of a drive, we opted for a taxi so we could enjoy some vino πŸ™‚

First off, you HAVE to make reservations. Second, if you want to sit in the water the seats are limited, so you want to make reservations as soon as you get to the island. Also, ask the hostess what time the sun sets, because that is when you want to make your reservation. We were unable to score a table with our feet in the water, but our table was about as close to the water as you could get. The view and sunset were just so beautiful, and the food was delicious! It is a little pricey, but if you’re going to splurge one meal, this is the place to do it!

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

This picture was from our snorkel excursion πŸ™‚

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

Flamingo beach!! This was the one thing that set Aruba apart from the rest of the Caribbean when we were researching where to honeymoon. It might seem silly, but all the Caribbean islands started to seem the same, and this was something I knew the other islands didn’t have! Flamingo Beach is the private island for the Marriott Renaissance Hotel. If you’re a guest of the hotel you can go for free, however, if you’re not a guest you have to buy a day pass.

Let me start by saying I would make this an all day affair. It is $100 per person for a guest pass. The pass includes access to the beach, lunch, one cocktail and an hour of non motorized water sports. However, if the hotel is at full capacity, they do not sell the guest passes, so I would suggest calling the Marriott the morning you are wanting to visit to make sure you can get a pass. The beach is beautiful, the lunch was really good and just look at those flamingos! There were 6 of them I believe, and they just roam the beach, minding their own business– waiting for their picture to be taken πŸ˜‰ !

We opted to visit on our last full day on the island, and it was quite nice getting out of the resort and visiting elsewhere! Β Also, Flamingo Beach is an adults only beach. Attached to it is Iguana Beach, which is full of iguanas and is family friendly!

All in all, we are so glad we visited Flamingo Beach, it was well worth the money!

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Aruba // What to do in Aruba, where to stay in Aruba, Flamingo Beach, Flying Fishbone, Around Aruba Tours UTV

And there you have it y’all! As I am sure I repeated myself 100 times, but we loved Aruba and would recommend it to anyone! If you have any questions, just ask!

Also, this post isn’t sponsored, I just wanted to share our experience with y’all in case you’re thinking of taking a trip to Aruba!

xoxo!

36 Comments

    • Shelby
      September 21, 2016 / 1:50 pm

      Thanks for reading Carolyna! xo!

  1. September 21, 2016 / 10:16 am

    Omg this looks amazing! You guys are adorable. The water is so blue! I need to talk my husband into taking me here! πŸ™‚

    • Shelby
      September 21, 2016 / 1:50 pm

      Thank you so much, Nicole! It really was, no filter needed πŸ˜‰ And yes you do!

      xo!
      Shelby

  2. September 21, 2016 / 11:42 am

    OMG I love this!!!! We are headed to Playa Mujeres for our honeymoon but Aruba is definitely going to be next on our list. It looks amazing and sounds like it was incredible!

    xo Laura Leigh
    http://www.louellareese.com

    • Shelby
      September 21, 2016 / 1:49 pm

      Oh we looked there too! ENJOY!!

      xo!
      Shelby

  3. September 21, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    Sounds like an amazing honeymoon! These photos are giving me serious vacation vibes, like I need to go on vacation now! Thanks for sharing.

    XO
    Lee Anne
    http://www.lifebylee.com

    • Shelby
      September 21, 2016 / 1:49 pm

      Thanks so much, Lee Anne! They’re giving me vacation vibes too πŸ˜‰

      xo!
      Shelby

    • Shelby
      September 21, 2016 / 1:48 pm

      Thanks Dylan!

  4. September 21, 2016 / 1:15 pm

    This trip looked incredible! I’ve only heard amazing things about Aruba and can’t wait to travel there!!! Flamingo Beach looks like thefts place on earth, haha!!

    • Shelby
      September 21, 2016 / 1:48 pm

      It sure was! πŸ™‚ And I might have to agree with you on that!

      xo!
      Shelby

  5. September 21, 2016 / 1:16 pm

    *the best place on earth (is what I meant to say lol)

  6. September 21, 2016 / 1:47 pm

    What a fun area to visit! I have Aruba on my bucket list for sure!

    • Shelby
      September 21, 2016 / 1:48 pm

      It’s so good! It should be on everyone’s bucket list πŸ˜‰

      xo!
      Shelby

    • Shelby
      September 22, 2016 / 12:59 pm

      Thanks Steph! If you get a chance to go, I highly recommend it πŸ˜‰ xo!

  7. September 21, 2016 / 4:43 pm

    how fun, I have always wanted to go to Aruba. Looks amazing!

    xxS

    • Shelby
      September 22, 2016 / 1:00 pm

      Thanks so much, Stesha! It really was! xo! Shelby

  8. September 21, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    Oh my gosh I loved this! I honestly love a good tropical getaway and Aruba has definitely been on the list of places I want to go. I really appreciated your honest review and tips. So many times, I visit a place with a list of things to do, but not sure how to do them so this was amazing. Hope you had a great honeymoon, I’m so happy for you!

    http://www.livelaughlinda.com

    • Shelby
      September 22, 2016 / 1:00 pm

      Thank you SO much Linda, I really appreciate it! We absolutely loved it, I hope you get a chance to go!

      xo!
      Shelby

  9. September 21, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    This was an awesome post and so helpful! Aruba will be on my list for one of our next holidays! I love flamingos and Flamingo Beach is my dream 😍

    • Shelby
      September 22, 2016 / 1:01 pm

      Thanks so much Jana! I am so glad it was helpful! Yes, the flamingos were incredible!

      xo!
      Shelby

  10. Lexi Baker
    September 21, 2016 / 10:37 pm

    This is so helpful! My fiancΓ© and I have been trying to explore ideas for our honeymoon in July 2017 and Aruba has definitely been on the list! It looks like it was an amazing trip!

    • Shelby
      September 22, 2016 / 1:01 pm

      Thank you Lexi! I am so happy you found it helpful! Oh how exciting and happy wedding & honeymoon planning!

      xo!
      Shelby

  11. Rebecca
    September 22, 2016 / 8:36 am

    Beautiful pictures! What type of camera do you use? I hope to visit Flamingo Island one day.

    • Shelby
      September 22, 2016 / 1:02 pm

      Thanks Rebecca! Some were shot on our iPhones, but most were taken with a Canon 6d & 50mm lens!

      xo! Shelby

    • Shelby
      September 22, 2016 / 1:02 pm

      Thank you Anna!

      xo!
      Shelby

  12. September 22, 2016 / 11:39 am

    Okay, this is the best guide I’ve seen in a looong time! So helpful, and yet honest. Okay, so crazy story… I traveled to Aruba back in 2005 with my parents, and we happened to be there the same week that Natalie Holloway went missing. It was crazy to see such a happy little island turned upside down in a matter of 24 hours.

    Seriously, loved this thorough review, and the picture of your face after the ATV excursion. The cutest!

    xx, @stylesouffle

    • Shelby
      September 22, 2016 / 1:04 pm

      Ah! I am so glad you think so! I was worried it might be oversharing, but I wanted it to be honest & helpful so I am glad it was that!! Oh my gosh, that is crazy. Such a sad story!

      That’s one of my favorite pictures of us πŸ™‚

      xoxo!

  13. Megan
    September 22, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    My husband and I are going to Aruba this November…so this was very helpful! Gives me so many ideas!! I’m so excited for our trip! Looks amazing!

  14. September 26, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    These photos are incredible, sounds like you had such an amazing trip!!! Those flamingos are SO cute! xo

  15. Jen
    January 16, 2017 / 6:45 pm

    Hi there!

    Can I ask why you would choose the Hyatt for your next stay? We’re trying to decide if we want to do an all inclusive honeymoon, and I’m looking for other non inclusive hotels as well.

    Thanks!

    • Shelby
      January 23, 2017 / 6:18 pm

      Hi Jen! Of course! We visited the Hyatt both during the day & night, and toured the facilities. The pool, the rooms, the casino, everything was nice, updated & clean! Hope that helps!

  16. February 4, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    Oh my gosh, thank you so much for such a great post! I am researching for our upcoming trip and I will be using several of your suggestions. Plus, I am a photographer so looking at pretty pictures is super important to me and I love seeing the trip through your eyes…you and your hubby are adorable!