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Most American’s are strapped for vacation days, so planning weekend getaways are essential. If you only have a weekend to get down to Aruba, you can still see quite a bit of the island and spend plenty of time relaxing on the beach. From Florida and New York, you can catch a direct flight on Jet Blue. I travel to see the world, not just sit around on a beach. You’ll find the Weekend Guide to Aruba jam packed, but you can certainly slow down the itinerary or add on a few days to do everything at a leisurely pace.
Hopefully you can take an early flight Friday and make it to Aruba by dinner on Friday night. Drop off your bags (or bring them with you if you must) and head straight to Zeerover’s for some of the best seafood you’ll ever have. Caught fresh, cooked fresh and dining with an ocean view. It’s the perfect spot for sunset. If you can’t get to Aruba in time for dinner, make this a priority for dinner one of the other nights you’re on the island. It is definitely a great way to kick off the weekend.
Saturday All Day Tour
Set your alarm for EARLY Saturday. There is no time to be wasted. If you like adventure and want to see some of the island you need to do the all day Jeep Safari tour. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. You can rent your own vehicles or join a group tour. We opted for the full day excursion with ABC Tours Aruba. The Jeeps took us to a variety of stops throughout the island. My favorite stops included the natural pool in Arikok Natural Park, and San Nicholas for a swim and snorkel session at Baby Beach. Other stops along the way include The Natural Bridge, California Lighthouse, Bushiribana Goldmine, Alto Vista Chapel. If this is too much adventure for your weekend getaway, you can opt for a half day tour, like the one we did with El Tours Aruba.
This full day excursion will wear you out. You’ll get home around 6pm, and might be lucky enough to catch the sunset. This was the only night we missed it in Aruba. You’ll definitely want to get in a shower before heading out to dinner. There are several amazing restaurants on the island. I’ll have more about that coming soon, but if you’re a planner try for a reservation at Papiamento. Gasparito, Fishes & More, and Yemanja are other great options for dinner.
If you have any energy left over after the full day tour, check out Soprano’s Piano Bar, but be ready for the Manhattan priced drinks! It will be true sticker shock after some of the great deals we had already experienced on the island.
Sunday Snorkeling/Beach Time
You might be exhausted after a full day of sun and adventure, but I highly recommend getting out on the water. Find yourself a half day sail & snorkel trip to visit one of Aruba’s dive sites and get a good look at the island from the water. These trips are about 3 hours long and leave from various points along Palm Beach. Once you’ve done your snorkel and sail, it is time to find a lunch and then just sit on the beach and relax. If you visited Baby Beach on the all day tour, you’ll likely want to stay closer to the resort area for your final beach time. I loved Eagle Beach, but found Palm Beach to be quite crowded and chaotic. You could also go up North to check out Malmok or Arashi beaches. One other thing to squeeze into the itinerary would be a trip to Linda’s Pancake House. I can’t even tell you how amazing they were!
Where to Stay:
There are many high-rise hotels along the SouthWest coast of Aruba. For a more affordable option, I chose to rent an apartment via AIRBNB. The apartments I rented were designed as vacations rentals. Both were immaculately decorated and very affordable.
The first rental was located near Palm Beach. It had about 6 units. Ours was equipped with a private bathroom, a kitchen, and private garden area. The complex also had a small communal pool, but we did not have time to use it. This apartment was near a few restaurants, technically walking distance to the beach and other restaurants. We often opted to take a taxi for speed and safety.
The second rental was in Oranjestad, near the famous Radisson Hotel and Crusie Ship Port. This apartment was known as Lagoon Studios. There were 5 or 6 small apartments, each with a private bathroom. Some of the larger studios also offered a kitchen for the guests to use.
A full post on where to stay in Aruba is coming soon. Check back for an update!
Final Thoughts for a Weekend Guide to Aruba
Just a little tip, you clear customs in Aruba, so be sure to get to the airport early. And unfortunately, the Mobile Passport App does not work in Aruba, so everyone queues together.
Hopefully if you make it to Aruba, you can stay longer than just a weekend. If not, you know exactly what to do to make the most of your short time on the island. Feel free to email me with any questions you have about your trip to Aruba.