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Aruba in 5 Days

Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Day 1

  • Sasaki Apartments
  • Super Food Plaza
  • Eagle Beach

Family trip with 1-year old twins. Arrived into Aruba around 2:30 PM, caught shuttle van to our car rental location. Rented through Ace, which worked out well. There are some companies that have cars you can walk to, but it was not a hassle at all to take the shuttle (2 minute drive). They also gave us a great map that our host was impressed by, and it got us all over the island over the next few days.

Drove to Sasaki Apartments where we were staying for 3 nights. Good location, 7-8 minute walk to Eagle Beach (which most people agree is the best beach in Aruba – more on our thoughts later) and right across the street from the Super Food Plaza. There are also some local grocery stores within walking distance. Place could use some updating (shower especially), but it was cheaper than anywhere else in the area. Got settled, grabbed some groceries across the street and then walked to Eagle Beach for a little bit before the sun went down.

Eagle Beach

Day 2

  • Bushiribana Ruins
  • Natural Bridge
  • California Lighthouse
  • Arashi Beach
  • Eagle Beach

Drove to Bushiribana Ruins, where an old gold mill used to be. Not that spectacular but an easy visit. The Natural Bridge actually collapsed over 10 years ago, but you can see where it was and there is still a baby bridge right there. Again, nothing spectacular but might as well if you’re going to the ruins. They are connected by a somewhat rough dirt road and any car can make it to both. The Natural Pool is kind of close, but in Arikok National Park, which costs to get in and you do need a 4×4. We did not go there.

Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins
The small remaining natural bridge

Drove back up north to the California Lighthouse. You can pay to go to the top, but we just took a photo and drove back along the coast.

Stopped at Arashi Beach, which was awesome. The water there is beautiful, great for snorkeling, and there are several free palapas (beach huts – get there early if you want one).

Arashi Beach

Then went back to the apartment and walked to Eagle Beach again for sunset. Ate dinner at Bavaria – expensive but great food.

Day 3: Baby Beach

We weren’t sure if driving to the complete opposite side of Aruba would be worth it (45 minutes), but it definitely was. Baby Beach is perfect for small children as it’s very shallow with minimal waves and this was our favorite beach of the trip by far. Hit up Bright Bakery on the drive for some pastechi (think empanadas) and pastries – delicious.

Had dinner at Quinta del Carmen, which was seemingly the only place around that was open on a Sunday – best meal of the trip by far. Pretty expensive but worth it. Eat inside or you’ll get eaten alive by mosquitos. They do have an indoor seating with a closed door, but it’s not easily visible so ask.

Day 4

Supposed to fly out at 3, let the kids take a morning nap and just stayed at the apartment pool. Picked up lunch at Pastechi House in Oranjestad. It’s hard to find because it’s on a pedestrian- and trolley-only road, and you do have to pay for parking (coins only) if you want to explore on foot.

Long story but Southwest didn’t do us any favors and canceled our flight due to maintenance after 7 hours at the airport. Put us up at the Holiday Inn Resort.

Day 5: Palm Beach

Spent the morning and early afternoon on the hotel grounds, which are right on Palm Beach. Another beautiful beach and they also have a really nice pool. The grounds and food were exceptional. The rooms were a little dated, but this was all on Southwest’s dime so we didn’t mind too much. Bus took us to the airport for the flight home.

Final thoughts

Few things to note: US dollar is accepted most places along with Aruban florin (afl). English is pretty widespread but we had to have a nice local interpret for us in some of the bakeries and stores when we had questions. There were times when knowing English and Spanish didn’t help, and there seemed to be several other languages we didn’t know (Papamiento and Dutch I assume?). They drive on the same side of the road as the US.

Year traveled: December 2016

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