travel advice


Our family and my 13-year-old niece recently stayed a week at Barcelo Aruba resort on beautiful Palm Beach. This area is known for its spectacular soft sand, turquoise waters, beautiful resorts, and a wealth of dining and shopping venues within walking distance. We fell in love with the beaches, the weather, and the atmosphere here. However, after a couple of days of sun and sand, we wanted to see what else Aruba had to offer. What better way to explore a 19-mile long island with a diverse landscape than in a Jeep?  When adventure calls, you rent a Jeep and go exploring.  If you think of yourself as an adventurous person and find yourself in Aruba, do it. It was definitely the highlight of our trip. This part of our trip was unanimously everyone’s favorite. Despite the lack of road signs and rocky terrain, we found it safe and fairly easy to get around this beautiful island. They drive on the right side of the road as we do and follow most of the same traffic laws. We never felt unsafe anywhere we went. I hope our photo journey below will help you plan your own adventure next time you find yourself in Aruba.


We rented a Jeep to tour the rocky North Eastern coast of Aruba and the Arikok National Park. Best decision we made! Aruba was made to be seen in a Jeep.


Our first stop was a morning shopping trip and tour of downtown Oranjestad. We loved this cute little Dutch town with luxury shops and markets.


Second stop was snorkeling at Arashi Beach. This was our niece Dani’s first snorkeling experience! Great coral reefs and beautiful calm water.
Second stop was California Lighthouse (built in 1916) on the Northeast coast. It was named for the steamship California, which was wrecked nearby on September 23, 1891.

Our group in front of the California Lighthouse
The girls loved sticking their heads out of the top of the Jeep and driving along the coastline.

Volcanic crater-like rock all along the Eastern coastline
Giant waves crashed along the shoreline

Rows and rows of Rock Stacks or “Cairns” were all along the coastline. Tourists make a rock stack and make a wish.
The girls wanted to make their own rock stack

A balancing rock we found while driving along the coastline
Alto Vista Chapel, also known as “Pilgrim’s Church”, was originally consecrated in 1750, rebuilt in 1952.

Inside Alto Vista Chapel
Dozens of these little coves can be found driving on the Eastern coast of Aruba
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It is hard to put into words what this view was like. It was breathtaking and scary at the same time with the intense wind and crashing waves. Another person could not be found as far as we looked.

Bushiribana Ruins was the next stop that day. The Aruba Island Gold Mining Company built the Bushiribana smelter in 1825 to extract gold from the ore that was being mined in the nearby hills of Ceru Plat; it operated for ten years. Today is a tourist stop along the trail to Arikok Park and the Natural Pool.

We started our second day in our Jeep at the Ayo Rock Formations. These were really cool. We walked through the caves, climbed on top of the giant formations, and even saw some cave drawings.

Jason and I at the Ayo rock formations.

Rock climbing is their favorite so Dani and Taylor loved this area.
“Circle of Life” demonstration on their own Pride rock
Primitive Cave drawings found in Ayo Rock formations. The Arawak people were the earliest settlers on the island. They used to visit Ayo Rock Formations so that they could hear incoming thunderstorms closing in on the island of Aruba. They also carved paintings in rocks called petroglyphs while performing religious rites.
Our next stop was the Natural Pool. We arrived at the entrance to the Natural pool planning on hiking to the pool. We were told that a Jeep can get down there just fine and the hike would be over an hour and pretty difficult. We made the decision to try to go by Jeep. This was the most intense part of the trip. Driving on the extremely rocky roads in a Jeep to get to the tall staircase down to the Natural pool was quite the trek. Jason was really anxious that our tire would rupture or we would get stuck. Luckily we did arrive safely and the Jeep did remarkably well. The end result was as shown in this picture. An incredible Natural pool filled with fish and sea life. Lots of other people were jumping off rocks into the pool below, snorkeling, and relaxing in the cool water. I was the only one in our group who got in. It was definitely difficult to get in and out and there were a lot of crabs everywhere waiting to bite your toes. Once in a lifetime experience though.

We stopped for lunch at a hidden gem right in Arikok National Park- Boca Prins Bar and Restaurant
We loved the authentic Aruban Cuisine. Pictured above is Keshi Yena which is made from Gouda cheese covering spicy chicken, caesar salad, and Fried Plantains. We also enjoyed Pan Bati which is sort of a smashed bread that looks like a pancake that is common here. 


We finished our 2nd Jeep day at Baby Beach on the southern tip of Aruba. We snorkeled and relaxed at this tranquil beach where a lot of locals come to hang out.
travel advice

WHY CHOOSE ARUBA? A Travel Agent’s guide to why we chose Aruba as our next vacation spot

I count myself lucky. As a travel consultant, I get a lot of opportunities to travel and see the world. I spend my days helping others find the right destination and hotel for their travel style and needs. However, every year I am faced with a challenge. Where should I take my own family vacation? I will freely admit, my family is a bit spoiled. We have seen and done a lot over the years.

Where do you take a teen who is well traveled and not easily impressed? This year, after a lot of deliberation we settled on the ‘Happy Island’ of Aruba. Here are 9 reasons why you should also consider Aruba for your next vacation:


1.) Great Weather all year round

It is 82 degrees and mostly sunny year round with a steady breeze from the trade winds. Rain is scarce here and lots of sunshine.


2.) It is outside of the Hurricane Belt

You can rest easy traveling to Aruba during the typical Caribbean Hurricane Season. Aruba is just north of South America and this area avoids the path of most hurricanes.


3.) Beaches

The west coast of Aruba has world-famous Eagle and Palm Beaches. Turquoise water and white sand for miles.


4.) Diverse Landscape

Adventure travelers will love the diverse landscape with cactus-studded desert landscapes, rocky coastlines, and soft white sandy beaches to enjoy.


5.) Safety

I get this question asked all of the time. Is this island safe? Yes. Aruba is one of those islands you can feel comfortable walking around off property, renting a jeep, or catching the bus. Most locals will speak English and there is a lot of shopping and restaurants to get out and try.


6.) Hassle-free Caribbean Vacation

Yes, you will need to get a passport and some areas will require two planes to get there. However, there are currently about 10 US cities that offer nonstop flights to Aruba and new nonstop flights from US cities are springing up all of the time. Also, you get the advantage of going through US Customs in the Aruba Airport on your way home. It does not get much easier than that.


7.) Family-Friendly Hotels

Aruba is very welcoming to both young and old. Families can easily reconnect and enjoy time together on this beautiful island. There are a wealth of family friendly hotels that are designed to make sure the whole family is happy.



The Dutch island of Aruba is not only a pristine beach destination but a place full of culinary delights! Enjoy fresh seafood, pan bati (pancake-like bread), Balashi beer, and Keshi Yena (spicy meat, usually chicken, covered in gouda cheese). Yum! You can easily dine around the island of Aruba and get international cuisine as well as classic Aruban cuisine. Eating out can be a little pricey here at times so be sure to do some research to find how to eat on a budget.


9.) Aruban Hospitality

Tourism is Aruba’s heart and soul. You will find most businesses in Aruba love tourists and greet you with welcoming arms. The island’s 110,000 inhabitants are made up of a broad international mixture of well-educated people and warm hospitality.