Last month, I had the privilege of returning back to sunny Aruba with the Aruba Tourism Board. The first time I visited Aruba was last summer, when my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in the island. I wasn’t sure if there was anything else to see or do but after spending 3 days with the locals, I was surprised to learn that there’s more to Aruba than just seeing the beautiful beaches.
Day 1 was all about yoga, snorkeling and massages. The destination: Moro Reef. We started our day with a yoga session and some stretching. I haven’t done yoga in awhile so I was really focused on trying to get the poses. Thankfully, our yoga instructor was amazing! Even though it was only for a short period of time, she really tried to connect with everyone and made the class enjoyable. We had time to kill before our BBQ lunch, so me and my friend Melissa went for a swim and even got massages. It was so relaxing that I may have dozed off a few times. It was such a treat especially after our long flight the day before. After lunch, a few of us went on a short boat ride to see a sunken ship. This was one of the few times I wish I was a great swimmer. I really wanted to swim up close to it but since I couldn’t hold my breath long enough, I had to settle seeing it from afar. Overall, it was a cool experience and I highly recommend it if you guys ever visit Aruba. Here’s an underwater shot taken by one of our photographers. For dinner, we headed towards Pelican Pier at Palm beach to go on a sunset excursion with Monforte Luxury Cruise. The views from the boat were absolutely stunning! One of my favorite moments during our trip was seeing this sunset. I couldn’t help but stare at these beautiful colors until the sun faded into the horizon.
Our second day in Aruba was my most favorite out of the three. The first half of our day consisted of a landmark tour where we visited some of Aruba’s treasured sites such as: Alto Vista Chapel, Ayo Rock Formations and Balashi Gold Mill Ruins. I only got to visit Alto Vista Chapel during my first time in Aruba so it was nice to see the other sites. We also learned more about their history, thanks to our special guest that day, storyteller Renwick Heronimo. After our tour, we drove to Santo Largo where a catered lunch was waiting for us. I couldn’t believe how dreamy this setup was! The Renaissance hotel really went above and beyond. It looks like something straight out of a Anthropologie catalog! It’s literally what every woman’s wedding reception dreams are made of. I seriously had to distract myself with food because I couldn’t stop taking photos!
As much as I didn’t want to leave, it was time to say goodbye to this beautiful setting. Our next stop was San Nicolas, the second largest city in Aruba and famously known for their vibrant street art. Our group was split into two: one group went on a mural tour and the other got to try mural painting. For me, this was another highlight of our trip because we met two world-famous mural painters from Lisbon, Portugal who taught us individually how to spray paint. We even got to be a part of a mural that the Aruba Tourism board commissioned them to do. As you can tell, they’re really talented! After our mural painting session, we went around to see the rest of the murals in San Nicolas.
Just when I thought our night was over, they surprised us with our very own Carnival! My mood immediately shifted from tired to excited! The band played while the carnival dancers came out one by one, dressed in colorful garb and beautiful headpieces. Their energy was so contagious that we even ended up dancing with them. It was so much fun! Carnival is hugely popular in the Caribbean and Aruba joins in on the festivities every year. If you guys want to experience this fun festival, their Carnival starts around January and extends till March. Exhausted and hungry from all the dancing, I was so excited to grab dinner at the pop-up restaurant they arranged for us. I love how they transformed this empty lot and gave it an artsy makeover. Afterwards, we hopped on a party bus and continued to dance the night away till they dropped us off in our condo.
It’s our last day in Aruba! We started our day by visiting one of the island’s well known landmarks, the California lighthouse. The lighthouse was closed last time I was here so I was happy that they allowed us to go up and check out the view. After taking pictures, we drove to Arikok National Park and had breakfast inside the park courtesy of Hyatt Regency Aruba. Once again, I was completely blown away with the layout they had for us. It felt like I was in a movie set for Alice in Wonderland! And who could forget the amazing breakfast spread. The food was delicious and they even had my favorite – an omelet station!
The final activity in our itinerary was exploring the rest of Arikok National Park. We visited Dos Playa, a remote beach that boasts amazing coastal views and Quadirikiri Cave, a large limestone cave with two roof openings that allows sunlight in. If you want to experience the diversity of Aruba’s landscapes, these two sites are just the places to see.
Sadly, my time in Aruba has come to an end. Good thing, I have all these photos to remind me of how beautiful Aruba is and how much fun I had during my second trip there. Hopefully, I’ve also convinced you guys to book your next trip to the One Happy Island! To learn more about Aruba, please visit their offical website here: Visit Aruba
Disclaimer: I was invited by the Aruba Tourism Board for their first influencer camp.
Some of the photos in this post are from Aruba-based photographers:
David Troeger (Instagram:@jetlagcreativestudio) and Ayrton from ARTN Photography (Instagram:@artnphotoaruba)