Clients. Brother-in-law. Parent-in-laws. Preschool parent friends. My contractor. My cabinet installer. Instagram Influencers. Bloggers. It seems like everyone I talk to absolutely LOVES Aruba.
My husband and I, let’s call him J, have been kicking around the idea of taking a trip for the past few months. Our first thought was either Cancun or the Riviera Maya. We were pretty set on it. What’s not to like? So many all inclusive options and plenty of fun-in-the-sun activities to do. We decided on a resort and were ready to go. And then we talked to my brother-in-law.
My brother-in-law, M, has been to both Mexico and Aruba. He absolutely loved both for different reasons. But when it came to picking which one he’d rather visit again, he easily chose Aruba.
Between the friendly people, amazing and delicious food, clear blue-turquoise water, and plentiful excursions and activities, it was an easy decision. Even better, we can fly nonstop from BWI via Southwest Airlines in about 4 hours. Win-win!
So J and I booked our flights last week. Talk about doing a happy dance! Next came deciding on the hotel.
So. Many. Amazing. Choices.
When looking at Aruba, it tends to be either Palm Beach or Eagle Beach. There are advantages and disadvantages to each area.
Palm Beach is the high rise hotel/resort on a gorgeous two-mile stretch of white sand beach. Calm waters coupled with water sports, casinos, beach bars, restaurants, and shops make Palm Beach an ideal part of Aruba to stay for your vacation. Which also means more people. I’m still not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
The next most popular option is Eagle Beach. Eagle Beach is a gorgeous, wide stretch of beach voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world for multiple years. Located here are majority of the low rise hotels and resorts. It is a quieter, more serene section of Aruba and offers a more intimate setting.
By far, one of Aruba’s most popular sights to see are the Flamingos on the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino’s private island. About 15 years ago, a flamboyance of flamingos arrived at this private island in Aruba and made their home. Although there are only about 6 birds living here full time, other flamingos join them from time-to-time. If you’ve been on Instagram lately (and who hasn’t), you’ve probably seen these posts showing up with hashtags like #aruba, #arubaonehappyisland, or #flamingobeach.
J and I seriously considered the idea of staying our first night at the Renaissance and then transferring to another resort. While you can purchase day passes to the private island, they are first come, first served and they are EXPENSIVE. It’s cheaper reserve one night’s stay in the hotel vs. purchasing a day pass. But it’s a pretty incredible private island.
In the end after completing our due diligence research, we found that aside from the private island and shopping, all of the nightlife is in Palm Beach…meaning that’s the place to be. And for our second only child-free vacation, we weren’t really feeling like staying in Aruba’s business district. Additionally, this is where the cruise port lets passengers out = very busy. Plus the Renaissance has a shopping mall and no real beach without planning, and we just aren’t interested in that atmosphere.
So which resort won?
We chose the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino! We selected this resort for a few reasons, but one of the most compelling came from my in-laws firsthand experience staying there for six nights February 2019. Additionally, we really wanted to be close to all the good food and nightlife of Aruba.
With that said, we can hardly wait for June! I’ll keep you updated on our trip planning progress. We have lots of activities and dining recommendations to figure out. Until then…