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Aruba | One Happy Island

Last week I went to Aruba with my best friend Carina and it was exactly what I needed. When I think of going on a trip, my first thought is pretty much always Europe. But knowing that my bestie could only do a 4 day weekend and we both wanted something low-key, we decided to do a beach vacation and go to Aruba. 

It was seriously what the doctor ordered–for both of us! From the minute we landed, I could immediately feel the heat but also feel all the stress I'd been feeling lately get replaced with excitement. We landed late afternoon so once we got dropped off at Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort, we freshened up, had ourselves a drink (it was complimentary!) and went in search of food and sunshine. 

Day 1

Views from our hotel / food from Passions Beach Bar & Lounge / first selfie of the trip!
Amsterdam Manor was perfect! Neither of us like big crowds so we purposely went for a smaller resort. Our room was right next to both restaurants but it never got too loud and best of all, the beach was literally across the street. So after we grabbed some bar food and drinks (their coconut shrimp and beef poutine were delicious) for a couple hours, we headed over to the beach. As guests, there were complimentary beach chairs for us to use and by that time the sun was starting to set, so we just walked a bit, admired the viewed and laid out on the chairs alternating between talking, reading and sitting in comfortable silence. 

the view the beach on our first night
Day 2
Even though we technically only had 2.5 days on Aruba, we knew we wanted to book one excursion to see more of the island beyond our resort and it was totally the right choice. It was also a good call to choose the half day one given our limited time. We went with Aruba Natural Pool Safari hosted by De Palm Tours. The tour guides were funny and personable and made sure we had a great time, which we did. We made stops at the Natural Pool, Natural Bridge, Alto Vista Chapel and California Lighthouse. But the Natural Pool was definitely my favorite part. It's a trek to make it down to the pool but once you do, I felt like I was in Ariel's grotto (except I can't swim so while Carina went out into the waters, I sat on the rocks about halfway in). 

About midway through the tour, we were taking a small break and our tour guide came up to me and said, "Every time I looked back at you during the drive you had this big smile on your face, you looked so happy." And I really did feel that way. Even though the drive was bumpy, dusty (the guides kept telling us Aruba isn't a tropical island and they weren't kidding!), and my hair was one giant knot by the end of it – I couldn't help being in awe of seeing a place so different from my every day life and just taking it all in. 


on the jeep / Natural Pool / Natural Bridge, Alto Vista Chapel / California Lighthouse
one of the many shots I took of the Natural Pool
At first Carina was like why do you want to take a picture in front of this billboard when the bridge is over there and I said, one original natural bridge collapsed and two, TRUST ME. This ended up being her favorite picture from the day!

After the tour, we still had a lot a bit of time so we spent the rest of the day at the beach just laying out, going into the water and reading. Then we ended the night with dinner at Mango's Restaurant.

Mango's Restaurant / at Eagle Beach

Day 3
Ah, our last full day in Aruba. It really crept on us too quickly but it was such a lovely day. We started off by going to Spa del Sol at Mancebo Beach Resort and it was the best massage ever. Not so much because of the massage itself (although it was great) but because of the atmosphere. We each had a private hut right out on the beach. The sound of the waves behind me and the sun shining in was just so peaceful. I swear I am forever spoiled by that massage experience.

After that, we explored the downtown area aka it was shopping day! We first got coffee at Santos Coffee with Soul, shopped for souvenirs, ate some more and went right back out on the beach for a couple more hours of sun. Their beaches are really breathtaking. Just so blue and the water is so warm. Plus I haven't mentioned this yet but the weather was amazing! Even though it's hot and sunny, there was a near-constant breeze which made it so nice.

We knew we wanted to end the vacation with a fancy-ish dinner so we made a reservation at Flying Fishbone. It was a half an hour from our resort but well worth it. You can literally eat in the water or on the sand (we chose the latter). The service was great and the food even better. It was a beautiful experience to eat dinner while watching the sunset.

Spa del Sol / Santos Coffee with Soul / Iguana Restaurant / more beach time

Last night at Flying Fishbone!

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So that was our trip! Our "real" last day we couldn't do much except order room service for breakfast and head over to the airport so I don't have anything to share from that. But as you can see, we loved visiting Aruba and I could see myself going back again but definitely for a longer period of time! 

Have you been to Aruba before and did you love it as much as I did?

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