Aruba: One happy island

Hey girl hey! I’m here to share my travel experiences with you. I grew up in a small village in the south of the Netherlands, which has always been too small for me. On my nineteenth I went London for an internship where I lived in a hostel. I was so fascinated by all the people I met who where traveling the world, I wanted to be just like them. Now -10 years later- I’ve been to over 40 countries and currently looking for a new home in South America. My biggest dream is to start my own hostel. In this blog I will tell you about my adventures in Aruba! – XOXO Kris

Aruba: One happy island

For an internship I lived on Aruba for six months. I had the best group of friends here and we had the most amazing adventures together. During my travels I realized that not a lot of people know where Aruba is located or they never heard of it. The Island is located off the coast of Venezuela and  used to be one of the Dutch colonies, the strategic location was perfect for the Dutch ships. The island was later used as a base for the slave trade of Africans. Now Aruba is part of the Dutch Kingdom but has it’s own government and laws. Aruba has known many different inhabiters, which leads to many spoken languages on the Island. Most Arubans speak Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish and English. Now, tourism is one of Aruba’s biggest incomes; every year 1,2 million tourists visit this small Island.

My apartment for six months was a tiny tiny space, I bet the whole apartment is the size of your living room. But with such good weather, who needs to be inside? The duplex had more of these tiny apartments and they where all filled with Dutchies staying for around 6 months. I met a girl when checking in, we became instant best friends. The next day we did a booze cruise with some other ladies from the duplex and a new group of friends was born.

One thing you cannot live without on Aruba is a car. The roads are not made for walking or riding a bike, stray dogs are aggressive and the drivers don’t always pay attention. The cops don’t have tests to check if someone has been drinking, which results in drunk drivers. The public transport, as far as I know, only takes you from north to south. It does not take you to places you want to go. So get yourself a car. Me and my new BFF got a car together, a Suzuki Jimny. My all time favorite car; the windows didn’t close, it started shaking over 80km/h and had no music. Man, what did I love that car (for real).

Beach please! Aruba has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen! It has left me forever spoiled and when I see a new beach I think ‘yeah it’s ok’. Because nothing compares to the beaches on Aruba. All the beaches are public and free, so you can enjoy it to the max. My favorite beach is Manchebo beach with pearly white sand and the sea is just perfect. The hotel beds are a bit further back so the beach front is empty. During happy hour you can buy some nice cocktails or fruit juices on the beach. Because the fruit is expensive, sometimes you don’t get real fruit juice in Aruba but sugar juice instead.
On Sundays, me and my friends would hang out a lot at Surfside Beach. This is close to the airport and you see the planes land. The water is calm and during happy hour the beach club is affordable.

When going to Arashi beach don’t forget your snorkels, you don’t have to go far to see the colorful fishes. The beach is quite relaxed, it’s not always filled with people. Baby beach was a bit further from the apartment so we didn’t go that often. This made every time we went a bit special as it is one of my favorite beaches. The water is really shallow and calm so you can just chillax in the water. An airbed is perfect here because you can’t drift off into the sea. Because of the shallow water you see a lot of families with small kids enjoying the water.

Mangel Halto is a special beach, there are a lot of trees and if you walk into the mangroves it feels like you are locked off from the world. The water is great for snorkeling and diving. My boss knew a lady who rents out peddle boards, so me and my family went paddle boarding here. It was so much fun, the calm water makes is easy and the surroundings are to pretty. If you like playing around and having some fun go to palm island. It is a private Island, you pay around 100$ for a day at this all inclusive Island. There is a Banana boat, slides, games, dance lessons, food and alcohol.

Aruba is ,like most islands, quite expensive. Barely anything grows on the Island itself, so everything is imported. Going out for lunch and dinner everyday does not make your wallet very happy. Only the beach is free on Aruba, so if you don’t like baking in the sun, Aruba is not for you. There are other activities, but to me they are just crazy expensive. There are plenty of countries where you can do exactly the same for way less. What I would recommend is taking a boat tour; we took the Jolly Pitates boat. Basically you just go swimming, snorkeling and drinking. If you don’t drink alcohol, I think it is to expensive to take this tour. My boss invited me on a catamaran trip, this was much more adult and calm. It was beautiful sailing on the sea during a sunset.

During Christmas time my family came and visited me. My college told me about a bus tour that passes by all the decorated roundabouts. Every single roundabout in Aruba is covered with Christmas decorations, lights, Christmas trees, sleds and of course Santa. We got on the bus and were happy that this was a truly local thing. We saw the passengers drag cool-boxes filled with liquor into the bus. Music was playing loud and the alcohol was flowing. At every roundabout, the bus drove round a couple a times but we soon discovered the bus ride was just an excuse to drink a lot. Even the bus driver got handed a cup or two (6), which later resulted in a funny accident.

We made a stop at the most decorated house in Aruba, the whole house was covered in lights. The proud owners let everyone have a look inside. The kitchen had the resemblance of a toy train store during Christmas time. In the garden there was a massive plane taking up almost the entire garden. I guess if you don’t have winter you have to do something else to get that Christmas feeling. Heading back, the bus driver was slightly buzzed or flat out drunk. He took a wrong turn and had to turn the bus around on some sandy road. He was backing up when we all heard a bang and shatter. He didn’t see a sign and drove right into it, breaking the back window. This didn’t seem to bother anyone, he just kept on driving. We got back safe and sound, and a head full of new crazy memories.


Top 3 Activities

Beach time 

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Boat tour 

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Top 3 Restaurants


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De suikertuin

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Madame Janette

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Moomba (on Sunday) price icon

South Beach Bar

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The Mill (after party)

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Travalas Friendly        

Travalas friendly

Favorite travel quote

‘Never stop doing things for the first time’

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