There is no other destination like Aruba. No matter if it is your honeymoon, a vacation or a trip with a family there is no other place quite like it. Natural beauty, friendly people and great hotels are just a few of the reasons I continue to visit Aruba year after year.
Here is an outline of a 3 day trip to the Oranjestad region of Aruba.
Day 1: Arriving and Planning Day
Arrive: Hopefully you have crafted an early arrival to Aruba. When you arrive in Oranjestad it is always better to get a cab to the hotel. It is about $10 more and about an hour of time savings.
Hotel: My favorite hotel in all of Aruba is the Hyatt Regency Resort and Casino located at J.E. Irausquin Blvd. #85, Palm Beach, Aruba. It has breath taking views of the ocean and a fantastic casino. The best water sports excursion company, Red Sail Sports is located in the Hyatt. The Hyatt will run you about $1,200 for three days.
Make Reservations: In the Hyatt, Runias del Mar; but be sure to ask for an outside seat so you can watch black swans swim as you eat. Café Piccolo if Runias is not available. Call the French Steakhouse on the same street as the Hyatt in the Manchebo Resort for dinner the next day. Finally call Passions on the Beach at the Amsterdam Resort for your last dinner. All of these are pricey restaurants with entrée’s running about $25-$30 a plate. You can find cheaper dinners at Fishes N Moore with very good food directly across the street from the Hyatt.
Book your excursions: Book tomorrow’s activity at Red Sail Sports. If you are adventurous and an excellent swimmer go snorkeling or diving by the Antilla wreck and be challenged by rougher waters. If you like to snorkel and see vibrant fish on a jeep and snorkel tour of Baby Beach where you can see the natural beauty of the island. The catamaran dive to the Antilla runs about $50 a person and the jeep tour runs about $50 a person. Don’t forget an underwater camera!
Pool and Beach: Grab a hut and hang out. The water is crystal clear and the pool and bar is a great way to relax. Typically drinks cost about $5 during Happy Hour and up to $10 for fancier drinks.
Dinner and Entertainment: Hit dinner and the casino for your first night’s adventure. There are usually band playing on the patio adjacent to the beach. There are also outdoor secluded hot tubs that have waiter service for drinks as well.
Day 2: Enjoyment!
Morning: Enjoy a Jeep tour of the island and snorkeling at Baby beach. Make sure you bring enough sun block as you will be out in the elements all day. Food is usually included on this tour.
Afternoon: Head down to downtown Oranjestad where you will find the Renaissance Mall (cab fare $30 round trip). Across from the mall there are also some great street stands where you can find local souvenirs. Some of the best souvenirs can be found in the stand for under $10. Feel free to barter for a good price.
Evening: Catch a cab or walk over to the French Steakhouse. Enjoy one of the best steak dinners you’ll likely ever have. While this is a pricey dinner it will be one that is unforgettable.
Day 3: Wind Down
Morning: A nice relaxing day under a hut on a beach at the Hyatt where chair service is available. Stroll the shops in the Hyatt on your way back from the beach. A beach hut runs about $35 to rent for the day and you must get to the reservation desk early in the morning (by 7:30 AM) if you want a specific choice.
Afternoon: Take in some golf at Tierra Del Sol or a spa treatment. Relax and enjoy some of the best views on the island. A round of golf at Tierra Del Sol ranges from $99 to $129 depending on the season you play. You will also love the hundreds of iguanas and wild parrots that greet you throughout the course.
Evening: Enjoy a beach dinner of the finest quality at Passions. Hit the casino before you pack up to head home in the evening or early morning. There are also some piers near the Hyatt that have small bars where you can sit on the water and take in the night sky.
Gioia has visited Aruba five times since her honeymoon in 1999 and has frequented most places on the island.