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Best Hotels in Aruba
There are some great places to stay in Aruba, with the options of hotels in the Downtown area, hotel row along the beach or Air BnB. We decided to stay in hotels but a few friends we met while diving, were loving their Air BnB’s, but they weren’t right on the beach like we were! Hotel row had every hotel you could think of at all price points (Hyatt, Hilton, Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Holiday Inn) located right on the beach.
All of them had casinos and you could walk from one to another. I’m used to Vegas casinos which you cannot compare to Aruba casinos. The casinos played the American dollar with the options of slots in different denominations as well as tables including 3 card poker, black jack, roulette, etc. There wasn’t a fee to enter or anything, and all the casinos seemed to have a players card option. If you play long enough you can get free drinks! On the slots there was an option to order drinks once you hit the threshold.
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, Spa & Casino! Located mid beach of hotel row, it is the perfect place to spend your days at the beach and is walking distance to almost everything! The rooms were so nice, hard wood floors and super spacious! The pool was huge, complete with a water slide, volleyball net and swim up bar to get your drink on!
Read our full HOTEL REVIEW here: Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, Spa & Casino
Getting To and From the Aruba Airport
It’s a $25 flat rate to get from the airport to the high rise hotels or $18 to get to the Downtown hotels. Here is a link to handy chart for taxi rates for getting around Aruba: Taxi Fares in Aruba
Things to do in Aruba
UTV Tour - Around Aruba Tours
Or book through Viator tours: Aruba UTV Tour
Booking: We took a 4 hour UTV Tour around the island with Around Aruba Tours. It was $180 for the 2 of us. The Hyatt Regency concierge was able to book the afternoon tour for us. They also offer ATV tours and Jeep tours too! Note: An ATV is for one person, the UTVs hold 2-4 people. The driver should be at least 18 years old with a valid driving license while the minimum age for the passengers is set at 6 years.
Scuba Diving with Aqua Windies
Address: Dr. Horacio E. Oduber blvd 4, Eagle Beach, Aruba
There is so much to see underwater in Aruba! Not only are there ship wrecks to see, there are airplanes below! We went with Aqua Windies Dive Shop, who had very experienced divers giving us a chance to see some fish in the most vibrant coral reefs!
See our Scuba in Aruba Airplane Wreck dive here:
Restaurants and Where to Eat in Aruba
BREAKFAST IN ARUBA
Dushi Bagels & Burgers
Address: J. E. Irausquin Blvd #87 Noord, Aruba
Cuisine type: Bagels, Breakfast, Burgers, Sandwiches | Price Range: $7-$12
Looking for the perfect breakfast spot in Aruba? Dushi bagels is your spot! The price was right for our meals and the service was quick. There was a bit of a wait so we just ate at the bar. They also offer to go options if you’re in a hurry! There was an extensive menu of great American breakfast food options, we enjoyed a breakfast burrito with ham, french toast, and delicious hash browns.
Breakfast at a Dutch Pancake House - Diana’s Pancake Place
Address: J.E. Irausquin Blvd 370, Noord, Aruba
Website: Facebook Page
Cuisine type: Dutch | Price Range: under $15
Diana’s Pancake House is located by hotel row and across from the Hyatt, above the I Love Aruba store. Dutch pancakes are served as one pancake on a large plate with whatever ingredients you desire from the menu. The pancakes were bigger than my face! I went with the Hawaiian (ham, cheese, and pineapple) and Josh had the Apple Cinnamon. They were good, but we weren’t planning on going back every morning.
LUNCH/DINNER IN ARUBA
The Pelican Nest Seafood & Grill Bar
Address: On Pelican Pier, J.E. Irausquin Blvd 237, Noord, Aruba
Cuisine type: Caribbean, Seafood, Sandwiches | Price Range: $20 - $30
The Pelican Nest was built over the water with gorgeous aqua water views one all sides! Most specialty dishes are fish centered. We had a late lunch and had a delicious chicken sandwich and happy hour drinks in the bar!
Smokey Joe’s Island Grill
Address: J.E. Irausquin Blvd 87, Noord, Aruba
Cuisine type: American, International | Price Range: $20 - $30
On Tuesday and Thursday you can get all you can eat ribs! They claim they are “the best ribs in the Caribbean.” The ribs were actually really good, and we got some chicken wings as well. The service was really slow, but we weren’t in a rush, just hungry! Most of the food was American cuisine and very filling!
I saw the Pink Iguana drink on the menu and it was everything I wanted. It was like a Miami vice or lava flow, filled with coconut cream, rum and strawberries! For dessert, we tried the OREO SURPRISE with fried oreos and vanilla ice cream. Nothing was left behind.
Salt and Pepper
Address: J.E. Irausquin Blvd 370-A, Noord, Aruba
Cuisine type: Spanish, Tapas | Price Range: $10 - $20
Salt and Pepper shakers were everywhere! They had different salt and pepper shakers at every table and the walls inside had shelves and shelves of shakers. They even offer free sangria for those who bring a set for them to keep! Spanish tapas were the specialty here, perfect for any amount in your party! We ordered 7 items and ate it all! Our faves: meatballs, chicken wings, fried brie
We also enjoyed a delicious breakfast here with many American breakfast options (coffee was great too).
Sunset Grille at the Hilton Aruba
Address: J.E. Irausquin Blvd 81, Noord, Aruba
We made a reservation about a month in advance at Sunset Grille, located in the Hilton Aruba Resort among the various hotels along the beach. We sat outside to enjoy the sunset while at the Sunset Grille! I had a mouth watering Filet Mignon and Josh ordered the Cowboy Bone-in Rib Eye. For sides, we tried the Garlic mashed potatoes and Gouda Cheese Croquettes. The croquettes were little balls of cheese and potato heaven. SO GOOD.
Driftwood Restaurant - Downtown Aruba
Address: Driftwood Building, Klipstraat 12, Oranjestad, Aruba
Cuisine type: Aruban, Caribbean, Seafood | Price Range: $25 - $35
This place was so charming! The walls were plastered with driftwood and it felt like a being on a ship with steering wheels as lamps (minus the sea sickness)! I ordered the chicken with tropical citrus sauce and wish I had the recipe for that sauce! Josh tried the Aruban meal - fresh catch of the day with potato and veggies. Although the presentation of the meal was underwhelming, the food quality was spectacular. For dessert, we ordered the Brownie a la mode and it was perfection!
Ice Cream in Aruba - Gelatissimo Palm Beach
Address: J.E. Irausquin Blvd 345, Noord, Aruba
Website: Gianni’s Gelatissimo
We went exploring inland where we saw shops and restaurants on our drive in. Of course we had to find some ice cream and we came across some delicious gelato at Gelatissimo! They had any flavor of gelato you could imagine. There was something for everyone to enjoy. I went with a waffle cone trying the Stracciatella (chocolate chip) and Nutella (chocolate hazelnut).
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