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Usually when we go to Aruba, it is just a few of us at a time. This time, we took a lot of extended family and it was definitely a different experience for us. Most of us met in Austin and got a connecting flight from Houston with Southwest Airlines. The flight from Houston to Aruba is about 4 1/2 hours. We usually drive to Houston and take a direct flight, but this time the flight from Austin was the same price so we tried that. I have mixed feelings about taking that connecting flight. The drive to Houston takes about the same length of time as the layover, so if going to Houston saves any amount of money, I will choose that.
Once we arrived on the island, we grabbed a couple of taxis and headed to our resort. There are two main resort areas in Aruba, the high rise hotels and the low rise hotels. Our resort is in the low rise district on Eagle Beach and we love it. Eagle Beach seems a little less crowded to me and it is definitely a quieter area. The high rise district is on Palm Beach and has more of a party atmosphere.
My husband likes to get up early and go down to the beach and grab a front row cabana. They go quickly so if you aren’t an early riser, you may end up a few rows back. It’s not a bad place to be, I just like to be closer to the front to keep an eye on the kids. Going down to the beach early in the morning means it’s quiet and peaceful and the sun isn’t beating down on you so ferociously. I love sipping my coffee from a cabana on the beach.
Early and late hours means you may catch a glimpse of the sea turtles hatching. The island does a great job of keeping the nests safe and having volunteers help with the hatchings to make sure everything goes well for these amazing creatures. If you see the orange and white barricades, DON’T cross them. Go around. They are there for a reason!
We always do an excursion or two when we go to the island. For this trip, we did several so everyone would have a chance to do what they really wanted. It meant less down time for us, but it is always fun exploring the island. This was the first time I have ever gotten to see the mangroves up close. The sand is a little rockier here so I would suggest water shoes, but the view was spectacular. We did a full day tour of the entire island in open topped Range Rovers. Having been there before, I knew traffic rules were a little loosey goosey, but until we drove around the island in a tour like this, we didn’t realize that they don’t seem to apply AT ALL! Seriously. Traffic rules are nothing more than a suggestion. Speed limit? What speed limit? And don’t even get me going on the honking. Honking there is not at all like in the States. They can speak an entire language with just honking. Some honks mean ‘Hi!, glad to see you’. Some honks mean ‘I’m about to blow through this stop sign without even hesitating! Get out the way!’ Don’t plan to drive around the island unless you can handle some seriously aggressive drivers. Stick to the taxis. The drivers are friendly and can give you some awesome information about the island.
One thing we ALWAYS do? Snorkeling. That’s my happy place. We love taking a catamaran out to Boca Catalina and spend time exploring all the sea life in the coral. I am going to get scuba certified now. It’s on my bucket list.
The other thing we love to do? EAT
One of our favorite restaurants is in the south part of the island in San Nicholas. If you don’t have a car and a willingness to brave those streets, the taxi ride can be a little costly. But the food is delicious and cheap. So it is still definitely worth it! This is the dock at Zerovers.
Aruba is my favorite place to go relax and unwind. Everyone speaks English, they accept US currency and since tourism is their main industry, they are super friendly!