We’ve covered some amazing locations in our honeymoon destination series (Tulum, Jamaica, Maldives, St. Lucia, etc) but today’s featured location has easily worked its way to the top of our list. Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot for your destination wedding, honeymoon, babymoon, vow renewal or just a romantic anniversary trip, you have GOT to consider the absolutely magical island of Aruba. If you followed along on our insta stories, then you know we had the amazing opportunity to check out everything the One Happy Island has to offer first hand (peep our highlights if you missed it!) Keep reading for all the important details like what to do, where to stay and most importantly where to eat 😉 below:
Planning your trip
Caribbean islands are always a natural pick when considering a romantic trip, but they come with a few variables you typically need to plan around. Luckily, Aruba is very unique in that there is literally no bad time to visit. Here are a few major bonus points that put Aruba above the rest:
- Aruba is outside the hurricane belt, so no need to worry about not traveling during the tumultuous times of the year or having trip anxiety due to unforeseen weather complications.
- Speaking of, the weather is perfect. We were there in August. I know what you’re thinking, August in the Caribbean, are you nuts?! But Aruba is pretty much the same temperature all year round. And it has these glorious trade winds that keep you cool all day on the beach.
- No mosquitos. We’ve been eaten alive in other tropial destinations, but those magical trade winds kept us bite free, which is wonderful because we all know that bites are not a cute look on your honeymoon.
- Low humidity. Ladies who’ve been on Caribbean trips before know that you can spend hours on your hair for dinner and the minute you step outside it turns into a giant frizzball, Not in Aruba my friends! It’s actually a desert landscape and the humidity is quite low, so we never had a bad hair day #blessings.
- The water is 100% drinkable – such a bonus! No need to worry about drinking bottled water or if the salad is sketchy, Aruba has some of the best water in the world.
- The dollar is widely accepted, almost everyone speaks English and we felt 100% safe and welcomed by everyone on the island our entire time on the trip. We had a car rental (highly recommended) and easily drove all over the island popping in and out of spots that caught our eye.
Where We Stayed – Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort
The island has two major sections: the high rise section on Palm Beach and the low-rise section on Eagle Beach. We were lucky to experience both, starting with the Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort on Palm Beach. Here are the details on the Divi:
- Palm Beach is where the most action & night life are on the island. If you’re looking to live it up, hit the clubs and casinos and enjoy nightlife, we definitely recommend this part of the island.
- Our room had a beautiful view of the whole resort. It was a one bedroom suite with two bathrooms (note: two bathrooms = happy marriage) and we loved having a full kitchen to cook breakfast and lunch. We enjoyed happy hour cocktails on our beautiful balcony and watched the sunset almost nightly.
Where We Stayed – Manchebo Beach Resort
Our second stop was at Manchebo Beach Resort located on Eagle Beach, which is considered the #4 beach in the world. And it is very clear why. The beach is HUGE with the whitest, softest sand and the bluest water that is hard to believe isn’t an instagram filter. This resort was very laid back with a focus on health and relaxation. There was free yoga every sunrise and sunset and the palapas were nicely spaced out. If you’re looking to curl up with a book and sink those toes into the sand, this is your spot.
Where to eat
Ah, my favorite part of every review. My Type A personality stalked TripAdvisor and various forums to make sure we hit the very best restaurants while on island. We didn’t have one bad meal and the fish was so fresh everywhere that we’re still dreaming about it. Here are the spots you can’t miss:
- Wilhelmina: Our absolute top pick. The setting is almost like a dream, in a roofless backyard where you can gaze at the stars drinking a gorgeous cabernet served at the absolute perfect temperature (anyone else go crazy when red wine is brought lukewarm?) The service was impeccable and the food was one of our top culinary experiences to date. Get the ceviche, lobster bisque and lady steak & thank me later.
- Pinchos: Watch the sunset while dining on the pier and enjoying the local catch of the day. We loved the king fish (local to the island) and the salmon. A really lovely location.
- Quinta Del Carmen: So nice we ate here twice. The restaurant is huge with a dining experience specifically designed for romance. Think twinkling lights, courtyard seating and light Sinatra playing in the background. Come for the ambiance, stay for the pina colada shrimp.
- Passions on the Beach: While you’re in Aruba, you need to be sure to have at least one dinner with your toes in the sand. Passions is a perfect choice, with live music and the sound of crashing waves creating the perfect dinner vibe.
What to do
We were on island for about a week and found it to be the perfect amount of time to balance relaxation with a bit of adventure. Here are some activities to check out when you’re not working on your tan:
- Palm Beach nightlife: Walk around and soak up the energy of this fun downtown area. We loved looking at the vendor shops and singing along at the Sopranos piano bar. We also stopped at the casino at the Ritz Carlton and really enjoyed hitting the tables and then walking around their beautiful property. All in all a great night out.
- Flamingo Beach: sadly we didn’t make it to this, but if you search for it on insta, you’ll see just how picture perfect this spot is. Where else can you hang out with beautiful pink flamingos on the beach? Definitely worth a visit and on our bucket list for our next visit.
- UTV tour with De Palm Tours: Such a highlight and hands down our favorite activity. Brandon and I had such an amazing time with De Palm tours. They were helpful, hilarious and made it the best day ever. We hopped in a UTV and off-roaded to look at the incredible beauty of the island, including the natural bridge and Arikok National Park.
- Natural Pools: The most breathtaking part of our UTV tour was the stop at the Natural Pools in Arikok National Park. This natural cove surrounded by crashing waves was truly one of the most incredible things we’ve ever seen. Clear, blue/green water so gorgeous you felt like you were in a fish tank. There were tons of colorful fish and coral beneath the surface. We climbed up to a higher pool and (although I am such a chicken) jumped off into the natural pool for such an exhilarating moment. We’ll never forget this experience.
Renew your vows
The highlight of our trip was the incredible opportunity to take part in the Caribbean’s largest vow renewal ceremony on Eagle Beach. Coming into this experience I didn’t know what to expect: with hundreds of couples renewing their vows at the same time, would it still feel intimate? Personal? The answer is 100 times YES. It was so much more than I ever expected. It’s as if the love of all 500+ couples elevated all of the emotions to the next level. We both cried and found so much beauty in recommitting our love. Because “I Do” isn’t just a promise – it’s a verb. Something you work on and celebrate every single day. After the very special ceremony we danced and cocktailed with the other couples as we watched one of the most breathtaking sunsets we’d ever seen. Brandon and I reflected on this unreal moment and decided that renewing our vows is something we want to make a yearly tradition. It’s a chance to take a moment and think about the beauty of commitment, marriage and celebrating the love the will last a lifetime. And if we can make it back to Aruba for this new tradition, you bet we sure will 🙂 A million thanks to Aruba Tourism and The Z!mmerman Agency for this truly amazing experience. If you have any other question about Aruba, shoot us a comment or DM – we’d love to talk about it!