Yes, yes, we made it back safety and I am JUST getting the white beach sand out of my contact lenses. Aruba was amazing, y’all. No doubt about that! Before we catch the travel bug again lemme spill some tea about some of the things I learned about the “One Happy Island” of Aruba!!!
1) Aruba is a fantastic vacation destination for your first time out of the United States.
The rich culture, the delicious food, the steel drums, the beautiful clear BLUE water, the cool Carribean air! I could go on and on about how this island is so stunning! Aruba thrives on tourism therefore the hospitality is over the top. I’m sure room service came like 4 times a day. Everyone is accommodating and there are LOTS of creative ways to get free Pina Colada’s. Also (for you young bucks in need of a ‘Senior Trip’) the legal drinking age is 18. Almost everyone speaks English and Aruba is noted to be one of the safest places in the Carribean. They are surprisingly (US) Americanized- we even saw a few Crossfit gyms- and the locals enjoy teaching visitors all about the island’s history, language, and landscape. We stayed at the Brickell Bay Boutique Hotel and even though I was skeptical at first (because 1) I didn’t believe we won a vacation and 2) boutique hotels are sketchy even in the US sometimes so this was risky) it was a great decision and I have already written reviews on their friendly staff.
2) My wife looks like a local.
Aruba boasts about its diverse culture and 70+ nationalities. My wife was approached several times by Aruban folk speaking their language, Papiamento (which is like a mash-up of Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, with a Carribean Accent) and we had to say “Nah, we’re from the States.” (we sound all basic :/) Luckily almost everyone speaks two or three languages there so you can whip out some high school Spanish if you ever get stuck. After a long talk with our hotel bartender we decided that Tarah needed to pretend to be from Curacao and whisper her few Spanish words around so we can get some ol’ local discounts. To learn a little bit more about Aruba’s culture we attended the Bon Bini Festival. The festival was a little showcase of the folklore, music, dance, and food of the island. They also threw some Carnival celebration in there.
3) Scuba diving is overrated (and expensive) so SeaTrek instead.
The highlight of our trip was SeaTrek! We visited an attraction called De Palm Island- and all-inclusive mini-amusement park with ziplining, water parks, banana boat rides, and you guessed it….DRANKS! During our SeaTrek adventure a 50lb breathing helmet was lowered onto our shoulders and we were able to walk around the bottom of the ocean, touch fish (and sea spiders, and sea urchins, and other creepy crawling thangs with science names, ok!) Tarah was scary and didn’t touch anything LOL, but it was amazing…..AND I only got half of my hair wet. YASS. I also did some Airjump stuff and rode on a very crazy banana boat. De Palm Island was awesome!
4) “Black people don’t get sunburns”=MYTH
When I tell you I came back feeling like BBQ chicken! My skin is burnt up!!! While I am drenching myself in Vitamin E oil and shea butter I am reminded of how beautiful the beaches are in Aruba. According to some fun facts given at our ABC off-road tour of the island the sand on their beaches are made of dead coral reef, and since it does not absorb heat it does not burn your feet. WIN. We also visited the islands caves packed with coral reef (which is sharp AF) and I swam in a cave. I can check that off of my bucket list!
5. People think the United States of America is a crazy place to be.
It's one thing to watch the news at home, but when your sitting in a desert paradise and the locals are watching US news asking us about the #BlackLivesMatter movement and whether we feel safe going home…. LAWD JESUS. SMH. Let me take myself home girl! Now that we are back in the US real life hit us so hard! UGH. We can’t live in paradise for forever and while I love sand, sun, and fun its time to get ready to pack up for our move to Ohia in just a few weeks.
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