I was surprised with how much I ended up liking Aruba, knowing all too well how much of a touristy place it is. On average, Aruba receives over 1.5 million visitors each year, much like other Caribbean destinations. I’m not one for crowded places at all, and if you’ve read previous posts on here about some of my recent destinations, you’ll quickly notice how true that is!
However, I really did enjoy Aruba and it truly is one happy island! The locals are incredibly friendly, it’s a safe place for solo travelers, and being a Dutch island it has a tropical European feel. It’s part of the ABC island group: Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao and is the most frequently visited out of the three. It’s also delightful in terms of weather: unlike other nearby Caribbean islands, it is outside the hurricane belt, receives much less rain, has way more sunny days, and always always has Tradewinds which makes it feel much cooler than it is (although is notorious for creating the ideal conditions for sunburns! Ouch!). Aruba is a relatively easy island to get around, with a pretty good bus system feeding the major parts of the island. I managed to take a few buses to explore, but when I return I will be renting a car as most of the places I wanted to go explore weren’t accessible by bus. Taxis are insanely expensive, so I would suggest avoiding those at all cost.
The island of Aruba is also unique in its climate: it is a desert surrounded by ocean. There are cacti all over the place, Aloe plants once ruled the island (and still do, partially), and the humidity is practically non-existent. Also, mosquitoes don’t seem to be as bad as other islands, in large part due to the dry climate. For me, it was the perfect weather! I do not do well in humid places and have had my fair share of it to date! I prefer dryer places, but they’re definitely hard to find in tropical locations.
Alas, Aruba was the winner and I will for sure be back to this one happy island!!
Where I stayed
If you’re looking for an authentic, quiet, cozy stay close to everything and within walking distance to the nicest beach in Aruba, look no further then Bubali Bliss.
This quaint little hideaway is the perfect location for solo travellers, or couples looking for some tranquility with proximity to Eagle Beach: the best of the best! Bubali Bliss offers 3 types of self-service apartments, ranging from studios to one bedroom apartments. They has a down to earth boutique-like feel to them, and are perfect for everything you’ll need! Across the street from Superfoods Market, it’s in a prime location, yet on a back street which offers so much privacy and tranquility. Superfoods is a 2 min walk across the street, and is a huge supermarket with everything you’ll ever need.
I like making my own meals most of the time when I travel, as eating out in restaurants can get very costly. I loved that these apartments are self-sufficient and have everything one can need to make meals!
Their front gate is a numeric lock which is provided to you upon check-in. The door to every room is also an electronic keypad, which is so much better than carrying around a key! The whole property is surrounded by a fence which is hidden within the lush tropical landscape and palm trees! I always felt safe!
An 8-10 minute walk to Eagle beach, along a pathway leading to the main beach area, important to note that Bubali Bliss is not a beachfront location, but it’s very accessible and therefore a lot more budget friendly!
My two favourite spots at Bubali was my front porch, and the pool area! See the images below to see what I mean!
The poolside was definitely a hit for me; it has such a relaxing vibe, with a nice waterfall in the pool providing soothing sounds all day long and nice palms trees swaying in the wind (and proving some shade too!). The pool is lit up at night, with blue and purple hues; such a relaxing place to spend the eve. There are lounge chairs and hammocks as well… the perfect hideaway!
Marcel, the owner of Bubali, was incredibly kind and accommodating in making sure everyone’s needs were met and his guests were happy! I had gotten a bad sunburn (Aruba’s sun and winds are fierce), and Aruba is known for the Aloe plant that grow abundantly on the island. I asked if they had any onsite, and since they didn’t, they asked one of the cleaning ladies if she had any! Of course, within less than an hour, I had in hand 2 huge pieces of Aloe which provided massive relief from the burn! Needless to say, the staff were outstanding and amazing, and I was eternally grateful!!
It honestly was a perfect place to stay for the peace-seeker in me in a booming touristy island! I’d return in a heartbeat!! <3 I highly suggest taking a look at this place and considering it for your perfect holiday!
Another places I stayed for 3 nights while in Aruba, was at The Aruba Palm Condos. These high-end condos were great in every sense. There was pool in the centre with lounge chairs, BBQ’s, tables and so on. I was there during the Easter Holidays, so needless to say it was busier than usual. Mostly families rent out these condos, so there were a number of kids too and some noise. Something to keep in mind if peace and quiet is what you’re seeking. It’s the perfect place for families and larger groups to be together.
All their condos differ in decor since many of them are privately owned. I stayed in a lovely two-bedroom condo on the 3rd floor, with two private balconies overlooking the pool area. The condo was spotless, with everything you would need in an apartment. Longer term stays here are also popular, and I can see why!
It’s important to note that this is not a beachfront property. Palm Beach is about a 20 minute walk away. My disclaimer would be to avoid walking it in the midday sun, as there is no shade and it’s HOT. You can also opt to take a taxi, although the taxis in Aruba are really overpriced in my opinion.
There are a bunch of restaurants nearby within a 2-3 minute walk, along with a bank and some shops. It’s located on the main road so there are definitely options. My favorite was Linda’s Dutch Pancakes right across the street! The best pancakes I’ve ever had in my life!
The entrance is gated with a security guard at all times, and you need your key card to unlock the gate or have the guard open it. The parking is also inside. It’s a very safe property, and kept very clean as well. The staff are incredibly welcoming and helpful, and will tend to anything you need!
Here are some photos of the property itself and the condo I stayed in. I also had the chance to visit a couple of the other condos to get an idea of how vastly different they are from one another.
I definitely would not hesitate to stay here again! If you’re looking for similar commodities that would you have back home or you have a family and need more room, definitely give this place a try!
Activity Providers I used
You can’t go to Aruba and not enjoy the water! Their beaches are pristine with turquoise hues, and the abundance of water activities are endless.
Palm Beach is where most of all these activities take place, and you’ll definitely find an abundance of providers as well. I went with Octopus Aruba. I took part in their sunset catamaran sail, which was a delight! Who doesn’t like sailing to the setting sun, anyway? The staff onboard were excellent, providing drinks and snacks for all, with plenty of room to move around. They also had very comfortable seating areas onboard, and meeting people from all walks of life was an additional pleasure! It lasts for 3-4 hours or so, returning right after the last rays of sun set below the horizon. They depart from the crowded Palm beach hotel zone area, and they offer an array of activities for anyone to choose from. I highly suggest checking them out!
I also did a speedboat tour with two of their crew members, for about 4 hours or so (and where I got a bad sunburn even though I was under the canopy on the boat and wearing SPF 30). That was so much fun! I love speedboats and being able to take lots of pictures and stare at the color of the water for hours on end.
They also have a new addition to their activities which is the donut boats, which is basically a donut shaped motorized boat with an umbrella, that allows people the privacy and freedom to sail and stop along the coast. I didn’t get on one as I was solo, but it did seem like a lot of fun! I was having fun watching them from the speedboat! 🙂
Another company offering transfers and tours on island are De Palm Tours which I used for my Bus transfer to/from the airport. If you work in the travel industry (hey, all my airline friends… take note!) they offer complimentary bus transfers for you + 1 companion! You’ll need to see the reps in the arrivals hall and show your business card or airline pass. They also offer reduced industry rates for some of their tours! For those who don’t work in the travel industry, they still do offer very competitive rates and their service is quite excellent as well! Although I didn’t have the time to do any of their tours, some of them were quite appealing! Do check them out!
Beaches & Other places I visited
Eagle beach is by far the nicest, calmest and least crowded beach on this end of the island! Palm Beach is very crowded, loud, and way too busy for me! Eagle beach was way more up my alley in terms of tranquility! It’s also the longest stretch of white sand beach on the island, and it’s very lovely to walk up and down, especially at the end of the day to watch the golden sunsets, which consequently, was my favorite part of the day!
Island Yoga Studio & Yoga Girl Rachel Brathen
If you’re in the yoga world, you’ve probably heart of YogaGirl. Rachel Brathen is the founder, along with her husband Dennis, of Island Yoga and the onsite little restaurant, Nourish Cafe. It’s a lovely little place, super cozy with amazing vegan dishes! I passed by since it was literally right next to Palm Aruba Condos. I didn’t get to meet Rachel unfortunately since there was a retreat going on at the same time, but I definitely encourage anyone to pop in and try their food, take a class, or visit their yoga boutique! Lovely place indeed!
Aloe plants once ruled the whole island of Aruba some years ago before mass development started happening. They are still very abundant on the island still, and Aruba Aloe is a local product that is simply amazing! All of their products are made from the plants that grow on island, and they use all natural products, nothing is tested on animals, they use eco-friendly packaging, and their plants are all organic with no pesticides used. Their products are amazing: ranging from lotions to bath bombs, to sunburn kits and more. I bought some stuff for my sunburn and it was very effective in helping ease the discomfort. They also have an online store and they ship to the USA and Canada.
The factory is onsite, so every single product is made locally, and they also have a museum dictating the history of the island and the plant itself. It was actually quite interesting to read up about it all. They have tours of the factory – and best of all, it’s free – where they explain the processed they use, how they harvest the plant, make certain products and the ingredients they use to do so.
Aruba Aloe is a definite must-see if you’re in Aruba!
There’s always something to see and do in Aruba, from festivals to beaches to water sports… you name it! You can find tranquility if you’d like as much as the party scene! It’s definitely one of my favorite islands in the Caribbean – if only for the climate alone! The beaches are beautiful, the people are friendly, and I never once felt unsafe! I’ll definitely post again once I return to this Happy Island, but in the meantime, I’ll have to just be content with the images that bring me back to this beautiful land!
Thanks for stopping by, and as always, feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments! I always love to hear from my readers!
Cheers everybody! ‘Til next time!
Love & Light,