My girlfriends and I read that Aruba has more sunny days than any other island in the Caribbean, so in the middle of the bitter Boston Winter, we decided to head down to Aruba for a respite from the snow.
Upon arrival to the island, sunny skies, blue waters, and warm temperaturas greeted our group. The landscape was stunning, but the warm hospitality of the locals and the wide array of daytime activities and nightlife offerings were a pleasant surprise and wound up being the highlight of our trip. When we booked our Zurfers exchange, we simply pictured lounging on a beach for the duration of our getaway (which actually would have been fine with us). However, when we discovered all of the offerings that Aruba boasted, we were excited to partake. Of course, there was plenty of lounging on the beach, but we also made sure to check out these great offerings:
Unbeknownst to us, gambling is a major attraction for Aruba. We learned that the island’s first casino first opened in 1959 and became one of the island’s major attractions. For our first night, we decided to hit the blackjack tables and discovered over a dozen casinos around the island to choose from. We checked out the Stellaris Casino at the Marriott, which was a great venue and the perfect way to start the night.
Following the casino, we decided to barhop around the various seaside bars, which were perfect for affordable cocktails, great views, a lovely Caribbean vibe, and live salsa music.
During the day, we spent the morning lounging at the beach and headed over to The Arikok National Park in the afternoon. This stunning area on the East coast of the island is a protected región and we spent the afternoon exploring the park’s caves before hiking the Jamonta hill, where we were able to take in the hilltop views from the highest point on the island.
Even though the attraction was marketed to families, my friends and I are crazy animal lovers and couldn’t pass up the chance to interact with some amazing species. After doing some research, we were pleased to learn that Philip’s Animal Garden is a non-profit organization that focuses on rescuing exotic animals on Aruba and the region. Once we learned that, we immediately headed over and were able to visit exotic cats, Shetland ponies, potbelly pigs, red kangaroos, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, and monkeys. It was by far one of our most memorable experiences.
Because our trip was just a weekend escape, we were sad to have to go back to the cold after two short days. Our visit to Aruba left us wanting more time to explore the island. During our vacation, we learned about the amazing Summer Festival held on the island during the last week of June. With a specialized focus on the world’s biggest Latin talent, past lineups have included Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, and Gilberto Santa Rosa. With the convenient journey from the states to Aruba, we’ve already planned on visiting during the summer to attend the festival and have already begun booking our next Zurfers Aruba exchange.