7 Ways to Spend A Momcation In Aruba
Updated: May 29, 2020
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As moms, it can seem as though our job is never done-- there is always something to do to take care of our families. However, every once in a while, we just need to step away, recharge and do something just for us. When it comes to taking a relaxing, yet fulfilling momcation, Aruba is the perfect destination. With everything from snorkeling in crystal clear waters to taking adventurous jeep rides through the rugged desert, Aruba provides its visitors the opportunity to witness beautiful sunsets, meet a variety of people, step out of their comfort zone, and have the time of their lives. Here’s how I treated myself to a well-deserved momcation in sunny Aruba.
As a busy, working mom, it comes as no surprise that things can often feel a bit monotonous and exhausting. Between the everyday juggle between work, mom duties, and attempting to have a social life, it’s needless to say that a little “momcation” is due every once in a while, whether traveling solo or with a group of friends.
So, I did it. I booked a ticket for one, reserved an affordable rental car at Wheels2Go Car Rental just outside of the airport, and took some well-needed time off for myself to enjoy a beautiful island with white sand beaches, average year-round sunny temperatures of 80-90 degrees, and a friendly atmosphere. Here are seven ways I spent a momcation in Aruba:
1. Relaxing on white sand beaches:
Aruba is home to 17 beaches, and I was able to spend my time on three of them: Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, and Flamingo Beach. Each beach has a completely different vibe, but all have an unparalleled beauty of its own which makes way for the perfect opportunity to relax: Located in the high-rise hotel zone, Palm Beach is one of the busiest beaches and has several beach bars and restaurants for having a tropical drink or bite to eat, being social amongst locals and tourists, and experiencing one of Aruba’s most popular stretches of sand. Located in the low-rise hotel zone and away from the crowds, Eagle Beach is ideal for slowing things down a bit, participating in water sports at a lower rate, and enjoying a quieter, more open beach with less foot traffic. On Flamingo Beach (a beach on the Renaissance Aruba private island), there’s the opportunity to feed flamingos, lay back in a hammock, and cool off in crystal clear waters that one could easily mistake for a pool from photos alone. This was by far one of my favorite ways to relax and enjoy a few great photo ops with the resident flamingos.
2. Sailing on a Champagne Breakfast and Lunch Catamaran Cruise:
A champagne breakfast and lunch catamaran cruise was a great way to start one of my days on the island. On this 4.5 hour cruise, I spent the morning and afternoon aboard a catamaran with delicious food, a bottomless bar, a fantastic crew, and a great group of other tourists who were also ready to eat well, drink well, socialize, and experience a few of Aruba’s most popular snorkeling sites. I had an absolute blast enjoying the sights of the beautiful blue Caribbean waters and sounds of the music playing from the boat while attempting to snorkel for the first time. Although I was a first-timer, the crew was absolutely excellent in helping me as well as other first-timers to feel comfortable and ensure that the experience was worth our while. They were very patient as they taught us techniques such as how to relax our bodies and allow ourselves to breathe while under the water. They also offered to swim with and guide us using a lifesaver so that we did not have to worry so much about swimming and instead could just relax and enjoy the underwater view, including the various species of fish and the S.S. Antilla shipwreck!
3. Exploring the nightlife on a party bus:
Although I initially questioned whether it would be too much of a party for a mom in her mid-thirties, I don’t regret one bit signing up for Aruba’s Dinner and Nightlife tour. I had more fun than I ever expected on this colorful party bus, which drives its adult tourists around to a few of Aruba’s most popular local bars in a brightly decorated school bus equipped with maracas to shake and sing along to the music. The tour kicked off with a champagne toast on the beach while witnessing Aruba’s gorgeous sunset. It later featured a delicious outdoor seated barbecue dinner at the Casibari Café, which had delicious food options for both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike including barbeque chicken, ribs, rice, and grilled veggies. Each of the five local bars that we hopped around to offered a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, music, and lots of dancing. By the end of the night, a bus full of strangers turned into a bus full of friends after interacting through all of the icebreakers and line dancing kicked off by the party host, bus driver, and bar staff.
4. Adventuring to the other side of the island:
Aruba is so much more than just white sand beaches. What most people don’t know is that the other side of the island is mostly desert; however, it still packs plenty of historic sites, beautiful scenery, and places to explore. By taking a half-day Natural Bridge and Natural Pool 4x4 Jeep Tour to the desert side of Aruba, I was able to see these sights in person. During the tour, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and got in touch with my adventurous side as I climbed across rugged terrain, jumped of off 8-foot high rocks into water, took an adrenaline-pumping, bumpy ride across the desert and down VERY steep, rocky hills, and snorkeled in a natural pool. I was also able to explore a few of the more scenic sights, such as stacked rock formations, the remains of a natural bridge, and a former gold mine.
5. Indulging in delicious food and drink:
Aruba has several food options, from your typical American fast-food restaurants, to fancy five-star cuisines. While many of my meals were covered as a part of the tours, I did have the opportunity to try a few of the most popular restaurants:
Pelican Pier on Palm Beach was my “go-to” place to indulge in tasty bites and enjoy happy hour while people-watching and engaging with its friendly and engaging staff, who always provided excellent service and ensured that you enjoyed both your meal and your overall experience. With its setting on a pier that stretches out into the beautiful blue waters (and where you can jump off the pier into the water if you dare), I not only enjoyed the food, but the views up and down the coastline. I enjoyed many of Aruba’s breathtaking sunsets while dining at Pelican Pier.
Considering that Aruba is a Dutch Caribbean island, it was only right to give Dutch pancakes a try for the very first time while there. One morning, I made a stop at the award-winning Dutch Pancakehouse to give them a try. They were quite different than the pancakes that I’m used to in that they were thin, flat and covered in a variety of fruits and powdered sugar, but they were absolutely delicious and left me craving them again the following day.
My absolute favorite meal was the chef’s table dining experience at Fred Restaurant. Ranked as the #1 restaurant in Aruba, this 5-course dining experience not only serves delicious food and wine, but creates a unique “dinner party” atmosphere that encourages other diners to mingle and get to know each other as well as the chef and the host by having a pre-dinner sparkling wine “reception” on the rooftop while preparing for the first course, and by giving guests the opportunity to chat again during short breaks between courses. I was absolutely blown away by every single dish on the menu that was served, which is left undisclosed until the night of the dinner and varies with each seating. With only one seating per weeknight with a maximum of 16 guests per seating, I certainly felt as though I was treating myself to the VIP experience that I deserved.
6. Enjoying Aruba’s Picturesque Sunsets:
Aruba has some of the most beautiful sunsets, and the long stretches of beach always allow for a flawless, unobstructed view. In the evenings, I would kick off my sandals, take a slow walk along the shoreline, and watch as the sun disappeared behind the ocean. Nothing was more relaxing at that moment than to feel the soft, white sand under my feet while admiring the various shades of orange, red, and pink clouds in the sky.
7. Visiting the California Lighthouse:
One evening before calling it a night, I hopped in my rental car and drove the dark and windy road up to the California Lighthouse. Although I had missed viewing the sunset from the lighthouse as many tourists and locals do, simply witnessing the breathtaking views of Aruba and the sparking stars from atop of the hill made me realized just how blessed I was to be there.
By the time I had reached the end of my trip, it was clear that considering the number of things to do for all ages and interests in Aruba, it was the right destination choice for a momcation. Having had the opportunity to relax, socialize, and be adventurous in one complete trip, I was more than ready to head back home to my son. Mission accomplished.
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