August 19, 2015

T R A V E L | Aruba

After a short break in my T R A V E L series, we're back! This week I'm pumped to have Amber sharing about her honeymoon in Aruba! 

Bon Bini, friends!

When it came time to plan our honeymoon, we knew we wanted to go to a foreign country that had the beautiful beaches of course, but was also dense in different sights to see. After lots and lots of research, we decided on the beautiful country of Aruba. We visited Aruba in October and it turned out to be the perfect destination that time of year. Aruba sits right below the hurricane belt and has an average temperature of 82 degrees year round with the constant breeze from trade winds so we knew we would get our sunny vacation with near-perfect weather!

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Aruba is such a unique island. It is considered a desert island because of the dry, arid climate so it really is such a neat sight. One minute you are seeing the beautiful, white sandy beaches and then, the next, you are seeing a catus-strewn landscape with wind-bent divi-divi trees and iguanas at every turn. I honestly did not expect how unique and absolutely beautiful Aruba was going to be. It is definitely not your average Caribbean Island!

Because we visited Aruba on our honeymoon, we did an all inclusive package at The Occidental Grand resort. We had all of our meals and drinks paid for so we didn't venture around the island much to scout out the local restaurants, but the all inclusive package included 7 restaurants with lots of variety and multiple bars, including a swim-up pool bar, that we enjoyed all week long. We have never done an all-inclusive package before and it ended up being amazing! It really allowed for more of a relaxing vacation.

We spent most of our days relaxing around the resort and really enjoying all that the resort had to offer. We spent our days relaxing on the beach, enjoying lunch at the pool-side restaurant, playing games at the pool (we won $50 in bingo!), and we spent our nights seeing shows at the resort, eating fancy dinners, and having some fun in the casino. We were also able to have an amazing couples massage right on the beach (which I highly recommend). We loved walking along the beach during the day. The water was filled with beautiful sail boats and the beach had rock jettys in the water that you could walk along. I am a frequent Myrtle Beach goer so it was so neat getting to see a beach with these. 

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One of our favorite things we did was take an ATV tour of the island. If you don't mind getting a little dirty, do it! Aruba is only 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across so because the island is so small, you are able to see a huge majority of the island's major attractions on the ATV. Not to mention, it was such a fun way to tour the island! The terrain is quite rocky and full of dirt so prepare for a rough ride! While riding along on the rocky terrain, you get a beautiful view of the water crashing into the rocks and it is truly a one of a kind sight. I honestly cannot stress enough how FUN this tour was! It lasted 4 hours and we saw so much!  

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During the tour, we rode to the Alto Vista Chapel. It is so beautiful and was the first Catholic church built in Aruba in 1750. It is a beautiful yellow color and is surrounded by the countryside and is a must see! We also got to spend a lot of time at the Ayo Rock Formation and the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins. They allow you to climb on the Ayo Rock Formation and the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins which allows for an even better experience. At the top of the Ayo Rock Formation, you get a 360 degree view of the island and it is breathtaking! We also rode to Aruba's famous Natural Pool and took a break in the local shop there to get a drink and rest. The Natural Pool was in an area that was so beautiful and I could have soaked up the beauty there all day. To finish the tour, we rode to the California Light House and then took a dip in the water at Eagle Beach to wash off all of the dirt!  We still talk about about our ATV tour and it was an experience we will never forget.

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|Alto Vista Chapel|

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|Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins|

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|The view from the top of the Ayo Rock Formations|

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|the Natural Pool| 

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|Eagle Beach|

One neat fact about Aruba -- they make their own beer called Balashi Beer. It is sold pretty much everywhere on the island and it's definitely worth at least sampling it once because it is local and it is made from the island's water. It's not your average Bud light! Also of note: you can tour the Balashi Brewery if you're interested!
We are already looking forward to going back for a future anniversary trip because we loved Aruba so much! It was the perfect honeymoon destination!

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