My family and I went on a trip to Aruba in the beginning of June as a delayed graduation gift for me! It was my favorite trip we've ever been on, and we travel a lot. Traveling requirements for entry to Aruba can be found here. You will need to fill out the travel application form the week of travel, and include your Covid Test results which have to be taken 3 days and 4 hours prior to your entry date to Aruba. To get back to the US, our hotel did onsite testing three days before leaving.
Where we stayed: Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino
I’ve had a lot of questions about where we stayed in Aruba and if it was all-inclusive. We stayed at The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino. It is not all-inclusive and honestly, I don’t recommend staying at one because there are so many amazing restaurants and attractions to try all around the island.
What we loved about the Resort:
Location: The Hyatt Regency is only a 20 minute drive from the airport (The Queen Beatrix International Airport).
The resort is located on Aruba’s famous Palm Beach. I think this is the best place to be in Aruba because you have a beautiful beach, and it is in the perfect location right near many restaurants and shopping markets in the streets behind the oceanfront resorts.
Amenities: Our favorite part about the resort is the Trankilo Pool which is their adults-only pool. Our first day we rented one of the cabanas at The Trankilo Pool. It costs $250/day. This includes a cabana for a day, direct pool access, towels, a fully stocked refrigerator with non-alcoholic beverages, an ice machine, food service, a TV where you can listen to music, and even outlets in case you want to get some work done by the pool. Keep in mind, you cannot book the cabanas prior to your stay at The Hyatt so when you arrive and check-in, you can stop by the towel hut at the Trankilo pool to check availability. The Hyatt also has an "activity pool" that features a swim-up bar and grill, two-story waterslide, water features, & pool volleyball.
The Rooms: We booked the 2 Queen Beds Resort View with Full Balcony room and loved it.
The Food: The food here was very good! Our room came with breakfast for two guests everyday at Ruinas Del Mar. It was buffet style and it was delicious. Everyday they had fresh fruit cups, make sure to ask for extra pineapple! If you have lunch by the pool, I wouldn't recommend the salads, but I thought the pizza was amazing! For dinner our first night we went to Ruinas Del Mar and ate in the open-air courtyard. On their website it says to email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations, but we made reservations the day we arrived and we were fine.
The Spa: The ZoiA Spa is right at The Hyatt Regency. They offer a full menu of services that give the option of having an indoor or outdoor service. My mom received a 60 minute outdoor massage in one of the cabanas at the Trankilo Pool and absolutely loved it. It was definitely a highlight of her trip.
Casino: Down the lobby is a casino that offers 13 gaming tables, 148 slot machines, and 13 video poker machines. The slots are open from 10:00 am to 1:00 am daily. Table games are available from 4:00 pm to 1:00 am daily. It definitely kept my dad entertained and the legal age to gamble in Aruba is 18.
Things to do:
Flamingo Island: By FAR our favorite thing we did on our trip to Aruba. Click here for the full blog post on that with all of the information you need!
Snorkel Sail: Another favorite excursion was snorkeling with sea turtles. We used the company Red Sail Aruba which was a company located right on our beach at the Hyatt Regency. It was so convenient because we were able to walk right out to our beach and get on the boat. We chose the Antilla Snorkel Sail. It was only 3 hours (2:00pm-5:00pm). The price for adults was $65.00 and the price for children ages 5-11 was $29.00. This 3 hour excursion includes an open bar featuring soda's and cocktails, snacks, snorkeling equipment and instruction where you get to discover the Antilla Ship Wreck, swim with tropical fish and if you get lucky, swim with sea turtles like we did! If you can, try to bring a Go-Pro or some kind of underwater camera.
Jet Skiing: On our last day my dad and I went jet skiing. We used the same company Red Sail Aruba. They brought us on a boat from our beach and took us to Eagle Beach where there are tons of jet skiers everywhere. They give you 30 minutes to ride around and we had so much fun.
Car Rental: I would highly recommend renting a car to explore the island of Aruba. They do have taxis available everywhere, but it's nice to be able to go out on your own. You will feel very safe exploring Aruba!
Unfortunately, we didn't have time to experience the places listed below, but they were on my list because I've heard so many great things about them.
Renaissance Mall- There isn't too much shopping to do in Aruba, but if you are looking for some high end stores, The Renaissance Hotel has a mall connected to it with stores like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Tag Heuer, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Chopard, David Yurman, Rolex and Cartier.
Markets: There is a flea market area set up in the streets behind the Hyatt Regency that is walking distance. They have so much to offer and have lots of souvenir options. They also have many designer dupes. You can bargain on everything, and the prices are great.
Restaurants for Dinner:
Ruinas del Mar: (Ruins by the Sea) at Hyatt: MUST ORDER- 16oz COWGIRL RIBEYE (Seasonal vegetables, crispy Caribbean potato with garlic, parmesan, red wine demi). *Inside The Hyatt Regency
Flying Fishbone: You get to eat with your feet in the water if you make the reservation early enough. I recommend making your reservation at 5:30 because you will get to enjoy the restaurant in the day light and watch the sunset. They even put blue lights inside the water so it looks like the ocean is lit up blue when it gets dark out.
Atardi Restaurant: (located at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino on the beach) MUST ORDER: BLACKENED MAHI MAHI (Mahi Mahi, aja blanco pur~e.tomatoes, olive-basil-salt, roasted pepper sauce) & SHORT RIBS (22-haur stow-cooked short rib, roasted pumpkin puree, almond puree, caramelized baby onions. herbs crust, short rib rus). The portion was small of the Short Ribs so I would recommend getting an appetizer to start.
Pinchos Grill & Bar: Beautiful view, especially if you make your reservation around 6:30 because you can watch the sunset right over the water. Our waiter gave us bread to throw in the water and you should've seen all of the hungry fish!
Gianni’s Ristorante Italiano: MUST ORDER-Spaghetti al Formaggio Parmigaiano (It is their show-stopping spaghetti with San Marzano sauce & basil, tossed in Whiskey flambéed wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at your table). *Walking distance from The Hyatt Regency
Azia Restaurant & Lounge: MUST ORDER- The Aruba Rocks (Certified Angus Beef® tenderloin, wasabi garlic chive butter served on hot stone). *Walking distance from The Hyatt Regency
The Old Man & The Sea Restaurant: I saved the best for last! First of all, this restaurant is like being in a dream. It is located at The Aruba Ocean Villas Resort. There are only 7 tables on the beach, plus an overwater gazebo (the gazebo is only open to hotel guests). They have a steel drum player performing live music all night, while you enjoy a delicious three-course meal. (À la carte is only available to guests of the hotel). There is also a beautiful cocktail bar right on the beach.
Restaurants for Lunch:
Eduardo’s Beach Shack: (Açaí bowls) MUST ORDER- The Pineapple Bowl (choice of açaí or pitaya bowl served in a pineapple, topped with fresh fruit and shaved coconut.) You have to preorder/prepay for these pineapple bowls because they are limited and so popular. Make sure to stop by Eduardo's Beach Shack a few days before you want it.
Rum Reef: We didn't get a chance to go to this restaurant, but it is highly recommended for lunch. Rum Reef is a bar/lounge that is located right on Baby Beach. Make sure to wear a bathing suit because they have an infinity pool, all customers of Rum Reef can enjoy the pool and terrace complimentary. Keep in mind, The Rum Reef is for adults only.
What I packed:
Everything I wore on the trip is linked on my LIKETOKNOW.it!