Aruba is an incredible country. I honestly did not know much about it until I went, but now I understand why people return so often and love Aruba so much. Here are some fast facts about Aruba that I thought were interesting:
- Aruba’s weather fluctuates between the upper 70s and mid 80s ALL.YEAR.
- Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt so it only rains a handful of days per year and is sunny most of the time.
- On top of the above, Aruba is constantly subject to a cooling trade wind. This country’s weather is the definition of perfect.
- Do you get tired of laying at the beach? Aruba is the place for you. 20% of the country is a national park so there is ample opportunity to hike and explore.
- Aruba is one of the best places on Earth to practice windsurfing!
- Many natives speak 4 languages: Dutch, Papiamento (the native language), English, and Spanish (Aruba is only 15 miles from the Venezuelan coast).
- Locals learn in school about the importance of tourism to their economy and are taught to be helpful and kind to tourists. It definitely pays off because Arubans are some of the nicest people I have encountered in my travels. They are enthusiastic about their country and excited to have you visiting!
I’m going to post about Aruba a little bit differently than my usual format because I think it will be easier to share recommendations this way. In this post, I’ll share recommendations of the restaurants and bars that we enjoyed during our Aruba trip. The next post will cover some of the activities and hikes that we did.
Restaurants and Bars:
Bugaloe on the DePalm Pier – This is a great beach bar on the pier right by the Radisson resort that serves casual, fresh seafood. I highly recommend the ceviche and the shrimp salad. Bugaloe has live music on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. Alex and I went on Sunday and the band was awesome! We had a great time watching the sunset with Balashis (the local Aruba beer) and getting our groove on!
Zeerover– This is a great place to get an authentic Aruban seafood meal. At Zeerover, fisherman prepare the catch of the day right there on premises. The menu consists of the catch of the day, shrimp, and a handful of sides like plantains or Aruban cornbread. You place your order by piece or weight and they pick out the fish and fry it and serve it to you in a plastic basket. The seafood is the freshest and Zeerover comes highly recommended by locals!
Moomba– This is a really fun beach bar/restaurant. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with great cocktails and live music Friday/Sunday. Also has rental equipment to play beach tennis.
Scott’s Brats– This is a great place to stop for lunch if you want something other than seafood. It is fast and right on the beach so great for a beach day. It is owned by a retired couple from Wisconsin and the walls are covered with Green Bay paraphernalia. The food is good and the drinks are cold! If you’re a bloody mary fan, they have a make it yourself bar as well.
Balashi Brewery– On our last day in Aruba, Alex and I went here for a few beers. The bar area was empty, but that might be because it was a Thursday in the middle of the day. In any case, the beer was cold! The Beer Garden and Restaurant has some sandy areas to play Bocce so it might be a lot of fun with a group. You can also take a tour, but they are only offered once a day (I think at 10:30) and we got there too late.
Bread Basket– This is the perfect place to stop for breakfast. Alex and I loved it so much that we had breakfast there twice. It’s a quick little cafe to pick up breakfast sandwiches or coffee near the high-rise hotel area. Their smoothies are also delicious. The Aruba Watersports Center is located here so you can rent bikes and diving/snorkeling equipment rentals as well.
Gelatissimo-Delicious gelato right near the high-rise hotels. It is open late so save your appetite after dinner to go here!
Flying Fishbone– Although this is a fine dining seafood restaurant, people were dressed at all levels of formality since it is a beach restaurant. The tables are right on the beach and some are actually in the water. This was probably my favorite restaurant! The service was fantastic and the sunsets are phenomenal. When you arrive, you are brought a stand to hang your shoes and hold your wine bucket. When you leave, you are directed to a footwash to rinse the sand off your feet. Special touches like that always win me over. The only complaint I have is that the wine menu was very pricey, especially compared to other comparable restaurants on the island.
Passions was another of my favorite meals. It’s a little more romantic with tiki torches by the tables and live music. Tables are right on the shore and sunsets were beautiful. The seafood was amazing here too!
West Deck– We didn’t go here, but we drove by it the last night were in Aruba and thought it looked like a really neat venue right on the water. It seems to have good reviews so it might be another place worth checking out!
Old Man and the Sea– This was another place that we didn’t go but we saw a sign for it and thought it looked unique. You can eat in a private cabana on the water so if you’re looking for an uber romantic dinner, this might be the place for you. It is located near the Flying Fishbone in Savaneta.
There are plenty of great options in the high-rise hotel area, so I’m not going to spend a ton of time on this recommendation. If you want to stay somewhere else, there appear to be plenty of homes and condos available for rent. As far as location though, the high-rise hotels can’t be beat. We stayed at the Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino, and Spa. The rooms and views were superb. We didn’t spend much time at the hotel, but the facilities appeared to be well-maintained. We did use one of the resort’s cabanas at the beach so we could get some shade. There are a few pools, a spa and gym, and a casino. The resort has several restaurants on premises. We had lunch at Gilligan’s Beach Bar and Grill on our first day in Aruba and shared a grouper sandwich with plantains. It was excellent!
Have you ever been to Aruba? I’ve heard that people who go tend to go back because they love it so much. What were some of your favorite restaurants? I can’t wait to finish telling you about all of our adventures in Aruba next time! Lots of pretty photos of the breathtaking scenery at Arikok National Park coming at you next week!