ONE HAPPY ISLAND..HILTON ARUBA!

Imagine traveling somewhere and realizing 20 years later that you never left? I know, it’s a crazy idea to think about, but it’s very much the story of the residents in Aruba.

I know you’re here for an itinerary, and I promise if you scroll below you’ll find it. But, in the meantime, let’s talk about the culture in Aruba. You may remember my visit to Curacao a few years ago and how in awe I was by their culture. Well, Aruba is a combination of many different cultures into one. I met the following people in Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, who were so kind to me during my stay, and also have a special story with Aruba. 

A few facts about Aruba: It’s one of the ABC Island’s right on the coast of Venezuela. It’s known for the rich and diverse culture with its native Papimiento language. It’s summer year-round and most people who visit Aruba, go back every year. 

The Bartender: The only born and raised Aruba resident I met during my trip. He had lived all his life on the island, but his upbringing was completely diverse; his parents who are from Curacao and Spain. He spoke Spanish, English, Papimiento (native language), and Dutch. He is a naturalized citizen in all these countries, which means he can travel anywhere he wants. You would never expect this from Aruba, right?

The Server: The sweetest Colombian grandma you’ll ever meet. She has worked at the hotel for more than 28 years, which says a lot about the  She moved to Aruba after a visit from her country. She fell in love with the island and decided to stay there to make a life for herself. She says most people coming to Aruba are in love or looking for it.

The Filipino: The funniest of all, is Joel. A born Filipino who traveled to Aruba for a change in the 80s. He’s been in Aruba for more than 30 years and he has no regrets about it. He claims the island pulls you in… and I agree. It was tough to leave, I tell ya!

What I learned about each of them was was how in the moment they were. That’s the thing about Aruba, how present you are while you’re there. 

ABOUT THE HOTEL

I stayed at the beautiful Hilton Aruba Caribbean and Resort. The entrance to the resort is the door to the Caribbean if there was any. The hotel is located in Aruba’s Palm Beach, which is perfectly located for an evening sunset stroll during your stay. 

The hotel rooms include balcony or terrace, wi-fi, room service, HD TVs, coffee makers, etc.

My favorite part of the stay was all the amenities Hilton Aruba offered. You can enjoy the beach under their famous ‘Palapa’ (pictured below), De Palm Pier for live music and drinks, Eforea spa (which was to die for!), their upscale fitness facility, two incredible pools, and all of their water sports like stand-up paddle — which I enjoyed!

My favorite activities by far were doing yoga early in the morning and meeting Rita the famous hotel bird — she’s even on the gram!

If you’re a spa gal, there are so many treatments to choose from. I’m one for hydration so I went in for a full hydration massage. You can book spa time during your time of arrival and they’re great with accommodations. 

The resort includes a little bit of everything and it’s not a far walk to enjoy playing at the casino, playing tennis or enjoying the bars and spa.

WHERE TO EAT:

But let’s talk about the food… because it’s not a good vacation if the food ain’t right, right?

  • SUNSET GRILLE: if you’re into a daily selection of seafood, this is for you! I loved eating fresh Mahi tacos here.
  • GILLIGAN’S SEAFOOD SHACK: the poolside bar was where you could find me most of the time. They served delicious seafood, sandwiches, and salads… and the best part was their cocktails!
  • LAGUNA: My morning spot was Laguna for sure.  You can either do a buffet style or a la carte. Their waffle station is everything so I’ll suggest you go for the buffet. 
  • MIRA SOLO LOBBY BAR: This outdoor cocktail lounge is open all day. I would brunch here and enjoy their happy hour times before hitting the beach. They have a 2 for 1 option during happy hour and let’s just say I did not shy away from the margaritas.

Getting to the hotel is easy as well. When you exit the airport, you’ll notice there are tons of taxi drivers ready to take you to your destination. They are affordable and safe, so you have nothing to worry about! 

WHAT IS THERE TO DO (OUTSIDE OF THE HOTEL!)

I have 3 things to recommend outside of the hotel, which I know you’ll enjoy:

  • GO BIKE RIDING – there’s downtown Aruba very close to Hilton Aruba, which you can bike ride to or bike all around the side of the beach to enjoy the different areas of Aruba. I liked the restaurants in front of the hotel as well, you can walk or also bike around. 
  • DO A LOCAL EXPERIENCE – I went backroad riding on a Jeep and it was so much fun! I got to experience the other side of the island and even go to beautiful ocean pools! They take you to popular spots in Aruba to take pictures of.
  • GO DANCING! – I loved going out at night and enjoying the nightlife. There’s a bar called South Beach that played a variation of music!

MY RECOMMENDATION:

I would highly recommend this hotel to young couples who want to enjoy a getaway or girlfriends who are celebrating a birthday or an engagement. It’s a lot of fun to travel in a group. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much had I gone on my own.

I hope you enjoyed this guide, can’t wait for you to visit and enjoy Aruba as much as I did.

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