Vacation Recap: Aruba

The prettiest embellished dress ever

My kids started back up at school this week, which means summer is officially over in my house. However, we were able to squeeze in a pretty amazing vacation right before we dove right back into the routine. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be upset to end summer with a trip to Aruba again next year. I’m going to do my best to not have this post go on forever, but here is my Aruba vacation recap.

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Chambray maxi dress, straw bag (it folds flat for travel which is AMAZING) (C/O Boston Proper)

Our journey to Aruba

I’ll admit the journey down to Aruba was pretty terrible. We left Phoenix on a Tuesday morning and were expecting to connect in Miami, then land in Aruba before dinnertime. However, we ended up circling the Miami airport for over an hour due to weather, only to end up landing in Tampa to refuel our plane. After sitting on the plane waiting for gas for a couple more hours, we took off for Miami, and then found out our flight to Aruba was cancelled.

The next available flight to Aruba out of Miami wasn’t available until Thursday, so we ended up taking a flight up to Charlotte on late Tuesday evening. We made it safe and sound (the most important part), but our bags sure didn’t. The saving grace was the fact we have good friends who live a mere 15 minutes away from the Charlotte airport. Gotta love friends who don’t hesitate to offer up a bed and some pajamas at 1am.

Jumpsuit (C/O Boston Proper), sandals

I wore this adorable tie dye jumpsuit from Boston Proper on the airplane, which basically felt like I was traveling in pajamas. I easily could have worn it again for a second day in a row and not complained, but I’ll fully admit that airplanes always make me feel dirty. A quick shower and an early morning Target run made us all feel so much better before we headed right back to the airport Wednesday morning.

Ombre one piece swimsuit, straw hat

Thankfully, we had better travel luck on Wednesday. Our flight was uneventful and we made it down to the beach before sunset. The beaches and water in Aruba might seriously be the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Perfect white sand with crystal clear water. The rock piers help keep seaweed and other sea creatures away from the resort areas, which basically means it is my kind of beach. Let’s just say I forgot about the travel issues the second my feet hit the sand.

Maxi skirt (C/O Boston Proper), plain black t-shirt, straw hat, Tory Burch flip flops

Where we stayed

Exact leopard print pj’s still not yet available online. However, they are insanely soft and available in solid colors here, other prints here and here, as well as similar styles here and here.

If anyone watched my Instagram Stories, then you already know we booked this one super last minute. We are always last minute with our travels, but this is the first time we booked an international resort the night before we left the country. My husband was hoping to change our travel dates based on his work schedule, which is why we were so late with our arrangements.

Similar to spring break in Mexico, we decided we would really prefer a condo over a traditional hotel room. Our kids are obviously getting older and are past the nap stage, but they still go to bed a few hours before us. Plus, we were trying to watch the costs so the full kitchen allowed us to eat most breakfasts and lunches in our room.

Taken at the Divi beach. The prettiest embellished maxi dress ever (C/O Boston Proper), straw bag

Our plan originally was to stay at the Divi Phoenix for two nights and then move over to the Blue Residences for the rest of our trip. Since we ended up staying in Charlotte because of our flight issues, we only stayed at the Divi for one night before switching properties. We would have stayed at the Blue Residences the entire time, but it wasn’t available for the first night because we waited so long to book.

This tiered floral maxi is a must have for any beach trip

Taken at the Blue Residences pool. Tiered floral maxi skirt, yellow ruffle swimsuit

Honestly, both were fantastic. The Divi felt like your traditional beach resort with a bunch of restaurants, pools, and an absolutely gorgeous beach. It’s a little more convenient, a little louder and a little more crowded.

The Blue Residences are privately owned modern condos that are brand new, have unobstructed ocean views, and are in pristine shape. There is a small road between the property and the beach, but it is really a non-issue since there are no other buildings in the way. The restaurant is only open a couple of hours each day, so you’ll definitely need to hit up the grocery store. It’s much more quiet and low key though, which we apparently love at this stage of life.

Tie dye sweatshirt, black tank top, tie dye shorts, black hat

What we did

Honestly, we didn’t do a lot. We slept, swam in the ocean, chilled by the pool and ate as many meals outside as possible. I love it when my #ootd is a swimsuit on vacation.

One shoulder color block swimsuit, black and white tie front swimsuit, yellow ruffle swimsuit, black pom pom swimsuit (runs small so order up), pink ruffle swimsuit


White eyelet tassel dress, straw bag, gold sandals, hat, tassel earrings

The main town in Aruba is called Oranjestad, which is also where the cruise ship docks are located. If anyone visited Aruba on a cruise, this is where you were. Oranjestad has all the high-end shopping, souvenir shops, a ton of restaurants and a whole lot of other stuff going on. We took the bus over to check it out, which was a lot of fun. We tried a few cute beach bars and my kids picked out stuffed turtles.

Jolly Pirates

Similar t-shirts here and here, jean shorts, straw Tory Burch bag, hat

My favorite activity from our time on the island was the Jolly Pirates boat cruise. Yes, the boat does look like a pirate ship, but the pirate theme was minimal.

It was basically a cool boat trip where we cruised around the island and stopped at three different spots for snorkeling. It had an open bar, included lunch and the views were just amazing. I loved how kid-friendly it was – even Kenzie snorkeled and she’s only 5. I took a million videos, but failed to take any good pictures while on the boat. You’ll have to settle with this picture of me by the giant steering wheel before we boarded.

Rented an ATV

A lot of people recommended this to us so we can go check out the entire island. There are a lot of natural pools, ruins, natural bridges and beaches where you can only get to on an unpaved road.

Yes, we checked out the safety requirements and kids over the age of 5 are able to ride in the back seat. They couldn’t have been more excited about the open air and ability to really see the entire island. I’ll admit though, it is BUMPY. Like really, really bumpy. If you get car sick from that type of thing, this isn’t the activity for you. However, we had a great time minus a few bumps.

Baby Beach

Gingham one piece

I’ve visited a lot of beaches in my lifetime and Baby Beach may have been the prettiest I’ve ever seen. The water honestly looked like something out of a movie. So clear and the prettiest shade of blue ever. After doing the off road part of our ATV ride, we drove it over to the south side of the island to visit Baby Beach. We only stayed an hour or two, but I’d absolutely go back and stay longer because it was GORGEOUS.

Coke graphic tee (similar here), jean shorts, hat , earrings

Final thoughts

So I know what you are thinking. Would I go back to Aruba? 100% YES. YES YES YES. The only other Caribbean island I’ve visited before was Jamaica and I liked Aruba a billion times better than Jamaica. We had the best weather I’ve ever had on a vacation in Aruba, it’s clean, safe, easy to communicate, they use US Dollars and we absolutely had a wonderful time.

Women’s striped tassel dress, kids striped tassel dress (both C/O Chicwish)

Amazon dresses – black button front dress and tie dye tunic dress

Who has been to Aruba before? Any tips or thoughts you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments below!

Interested in past travel posts? Click here to check out more!