“Aruba, Jamaica, oooo I wanna take ya!” This song was in my head our entire trip in Aruba, and there’s good reason why the Beach Boys sing about these beautiful islands. Aruba is also on our list of 101 Best Honeymoon Destinations!
B and I headed to our honeymoon in the Caribbean and started in Aruba, went to Turks and Caicos and wrapped it up with our honeymoon in The Florida Keys.
Aruba is an island off the coast of Venezuela, and is below the hurricane belt in the Caribbean Islands. We went at the end of September, which is considered low season, and one of the hottest times of the year there.
Since there were several hurricanes brewing in the oceans around Aruba while we were there, it was very humid! We were told that Aruba tends to be a “windy island” and we only had one day of wind…and that day felt amazing after no wind on our first 3 days.
There are several direct flights from the East Coast and some Southern States to Aruba. And they seemed to be very affordable to get there.
B and I currently have the Southwest Companion Pass, so we like to fly Southwest whenever we can. Plus they let you take 2 bags free, have free entertainment, and also free snacks and drinks.
Coming from Los Angeles, we took a flight from LAX and landed in Fort Lauderdale. There was only one flight going from FLL to Aruba each day, so we stayed the night at a hotel near the airport that night, and took our flight the next morning.
Things to Do in Aruba
Enjoy the Beaches
Aruba has some beautiful beaches that have been voted as some of the top beaches in the world. If you’re wanting to kick back and relax in the bright blue waters, on a blue sand beach, with a tasty drink in your hands, you won’t be lacking in finding a great spot.
You’re in the Caribbean, you’re going to want to check out the amazing waters. We highly recommend booking the Sail, Snorkel, Swim, & Swing cruise with Jolly Pirates. This cruise has it all!
First off, you get to sail on a pirate ship! That’s enough convincing for us. This cruise takes you on a 4 hour snorkel tour where you get to stop in 3 spots to snorkel, see wildlife, tropical fish and even a 400ft WWII Shipwreck!
After snorkeling, you’ll get a chance to ride of the rope swing before jumping into the water. You get lunch included AND an Open Bar! Talk about a good time.
We even got to see the California Lighthouse from the boat too.
If you’re looking for a good adventure during the day, this one is crazy affordable and crazy fun! Enjoy your day on a Pirate Ship with Jolly Pirates!
Take a Romantic Sunset Sail
One of the most romantic things we did on our trip was the Sunset Sail with Red Sail Sports. Riding on a catamaran through the waters around Aruba while watching the beautiful colors of the sun setting was the best.
Plus, they had an open bar the entire time plus some appetizers. We sat in the front over the sunning nets watching the waters below us.
Because of the open bar, it became a party after the sunset with music and dancing. It was a really fun night, and definitely something you should put on your list!
Swim with the Flamingos
One of the most iconic things about Aruba is of course their flamingos. After our research about the flamingos in Aruba, we learned the flamingos are actually on private islands and not just on the beaches.
One place you can see them is on Renaissance Aruba Island. You have to buy a day pass to visit if you are not a guest of Renaissance Aruba, but if seeing the flamingos is on your list, this is where to go.
You’ll take a quick ferry over to the island, where you’ll be able to enjoy flamingo island as well as iguana island. Flamingo Island is adults only from 10- closing, but children are welcome between 8-10.
There are 6 flamingos that hang out on the beach, and you can feed and take pictures with them. Everyone seems to take turns taking photos. Since you can spend all day there, it’s not a rush for photos and then leaving.
There are restaurants on the island where you can enjoy some food and drinks while looking over the water. You can grab a lounge chair or enjoy the hammocks around, or even rent a bungalow for the day. Be sure to grab your day pass early as it’s first come, first served.
Take Photos at the I Heart Aruba Signs
We found 3 signs around the island where we snapped our photos of these signs. It’s worth a quick stop.
Shop the Local Markets
There are a few markets around with all the souvenirs you can think of. It’s fun popping in and out of the shops and market places and just enjoying the day. We have some tips for finding souvenirs in our article Things to Know About Aruba.
How to get to your hotel
Once you get to the island, it can be a little confusing to figure out how to get to your hotel. The hotels on Aruba do not have hotel shuttles from the airport, so you will have to book a third party shuttle, take a cab, or try to figure out the bus system.
We decided to go the easy route, and booked a third party shuttle the night before. Unfortunately, we learned that you have to book a shuttle 24 hours in advance if you are booking through your hotel. It tends to be cheaper to book through your hotel than online, so we recommend checking with your hotel early to book.
We were able to book a one-way shuttle with De Palm Tours online less than 24 hours in advance, but soon found out that wasn’t the best idea, since we couldn’t book a one-way back…they had to be round trips. (More about this below).
A one-way cost $10 per person, and $20 for roundtrip with De Palm Tours.
If we booked through our hotel, Eagle Aruba, it would have been $16 roundtrip.
Finding the bus was extremely easy. As soon as we got out of the airport, there was an employee holding a sign saying “De Palm Tours” and he pointed us to the bus.
We hopped on the bus and headed to our hotel, stopping along the way to let off other passengers. The bus driver was giving us fun facts along the way, and it was cool to see a bit of the island on our way.
Where to Stay
Depending on what type of traveler you are, we actually do not recommend booking an All-Inclusive Resort. There is so much to do and see on the island, that you won’t see much just staying at your resort.
There seems to be 3 popular areas to stay in Aruba.
Renaissance Beach/ Downtown Area
Renaissance Beach is where all the cruise ships dock, and they have the “downtown” shopping area. While this is fun to check out one day, we don’t recommend staying here if you don’t want to fight all the crowds. There aren’t many hotels in the area, and probably for good reason.
Eagle Beach is also known as the “Low Rise Hotel” area. It is between Renaissance Beach and the “High Rise Hotels”, and is the place we chose to stay. Eagle Beach is a lot less crowded, and the beaches are beautiful. There are water activities you can book the same as you can on any of the other beaches, but it tends to be a lot less busy.
Eagle Beach tends to have more boutique type hotels with full room suites, casinos, restaurants, etc.
High Rise Hotels
The High Rise Hotel area is beautiful but also very crowded. We went in low season, and it was still so packed. Most of the more famous hotels like Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, etc, are here.
Since they are high rise hotels, that means a lot more guests staying there, and hanging around the pools and on the beach.
Our Tip: Stay in Eagle Beach if you are looking for a more relaxing vibe with less people, and head to the High Rise Hotel area for a day to check it out.
Eagle Aruba Resort and Casino
We stayed at Eagle Beach at a hotel called Eagle Aruba Resort & Casino, and highly recommend this resort. It was a good value for the price and is the perfect place if you’re looking for luxury on a budget.
The rooms were large and modern, as they have been completely renovated to all be Premium Suites. We had a kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom. The kitchen will come in handy if you prefer to cook any of your meals, or if you’d like to enjoy some coffee or breakfast in the morning at your room to save some money.
There is a huge grocery store a few minutes walking distance so its perfect to get some food to help with costs during your stay.
The rooms had great central air conditioning which was extremely appreciated on those hot and humid days. Our bedroom had a king size bed with lots of pillows and a Television in the room.
Eagle Aruba also added some very sweet honeymoon decorations in our room with some champagne on ice. Definitely the perfect way to start your honeymoon! Be sure to ask for their specialties!
The bathroom came equipped with a large shower, 2-in-1 shampoo and shower gel. Along with plenty of towels.
Eagle Beach Resort & Casino of course has a casino! This casino is complete with lots of slot machines, some table games, bingo nights, a cash grab box and a bar. It’s a great place for a fun night out.
Eagle Aruba has 2 restaurants on site, and a pool bar. Uncle Tony’s Pizza is in the main outdoor area and serves all day. They even deliver as well. We had a sandwich wrap, burger, and pizza there and they were all delicious. We even ordered a pizza for a late night dinner and movie night inside.
Double Down Sports Bar & Grill is the restaurant inside the Casino. They have Build-Your-Own Burgers, lots of appetizers, and steaks, chicken, etc. It’s a good menu with lots of choices.
There are 2 pools and 2 jacuzzis in the common area. One pool has a really cool waterfall that looks awesome at night, and the other pool has a fun waterslide and a swim up bar! Take a dip to get out of the heat during the day, and cool off with a refreshing night swim.
Eagle Aruba provides you with a pool towel every day at their Towel Hut. They also have umbrellas and lounge chairs for you at the beach. No need to worry about renting them. Just head to the beach and show your key and they will give set you up right there.
There is water available for your in the lobby, as well as a daily newspaper for you to enjoy. Check out the activities desk for any info or to book your excursions easily.
When you arrive, the receptionist will give you a list of activities going on during the week. We enjoyed an outdoor movie night, and live music while we were there.
We highly recommend booking your stay at Eagle Beach in their newly renovated Premium Suites. Enjoy relaxing on the beach just minutes away, all the amenities they offer, and you’ll be central to anywhere on the island.
Do You Need a Rental Car in Aruba?
Aruba has a fairly simple bus system as soon as you understand it. in the 5 days we were there, we took 4 roundtrip rides on the city buses, and had no issues at all.
The large city bus, called Arubus (cute, huh?) will take you to the Renaissance Beach area, the Low Rise Hotels, and the High Rise Hotels. This is pretty much where most of the activity on the island is.
Of course you can book tours to go across the island to the “Bowl” or to see the California Lighthouse as well.
Arubus costs $2.60 per person, each way. However, we learned that the smaller vans that say “BUS” run the same route and cost $2.00 per person each way. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but depending on the number in your party and how many times you take the bus, it can add up.
Also, when we took the large Arubus, we were given change in their currency, which did not add up to the 80 cents USD, so it was basically $3.00 per person.
Before hopping on a bus, just ask the driver if they are going where you want, and they’ll let you know. Buses come around about every 15 minutes so they’re never too far away. Check out the schedule here for more info.
Saving Money on your Aruba Honeymoon
We went over a few ways to save money on your Aruba vacation, but let’s recap…
Book a budget hotel (most likely in the low-rise area).
Use the small city buses
Skip the Rental Car
Book your airport shuttle early
Purchase breakfast, lunch, and/or snacks at the local grocery store to save on your food budget.
Enjoy the free amenities your hotel provides
Aruba is a great island to visit in the Caribbean. There’s enough to do to keep you active and enjoying the party vibe, but also has its charm and relaxing spots as well.