Quickie to Aruba under $1000
Aruba was a a taste of paradise that was oh so sweet. It was a quick flight from Charlotte to Aruba via Miami (American Airlines), with a total flight duration of 4.5 hours. Flights to Aruba are ALWAYS cheap from Miami so if you purchase that flight and find some other means to Miami that is cheaper than directly to Aruba from your hometown, I'm sure you'll save some money. For example: Charlotte to Aruba = ~$950 usd, however, Charlotte to Miami then Miami to Aruba = ~$375 usd. This is probably the cheapest paradise to jump to if you only have a few days to spare, a $1000 max to spend and endless swimsuits to break in. I for one have had my fair share of beach paradises so I was utterly surprised at the chill locals, 20mph constant wind, warm sun, and ice cold drinks. You can enjoy Aruba in 5 days like us and spend $1000 or splurge and spend $5,000. It's a place that you can cater to your own pockets, even with a group.
There's not an ounce of nightlife unless you're in good with the locals. We were so warn out from the sunshine and activities that we ended up closing the nights with a glass of red wine and new episodes of Rick and Morty.
You could easily visit this place once to a few times a year without blowing through any real vacation days. I'm already ready to go back and lay on the sandy beach.
Our main purpose for visiting was to celebrate my best friend's 30th birthday! Her and her husband enjoyed an All- Inclusive experience of Aruba. Check out her review here!
Where did we stay?
We had one goal for this trip, and that was to make the most of every second we had. With that being said, we ended up finding a hidden airBnB gem called Montaño’s resident 5 minutes from the airport, 15-20 minutes from everything all over the island and 10 minutes to the most popular beaches. The cozy spot included access to onsite laundry, a full size kitchen with plenty of cookware, supplies & seasoning, beach chairs, a spacious balcony to watch the sunset, plenty of parking, and a quiet surrounding area. It was extremely clean and had an ice cold AC unit. Each morning we made our scrambled eggs with fried potatoes. Then, we'd pack up sandwiches, water, chips, and beer in the cooler the airBnB let us use. The hosts didn't bother us once and available if we needed anything. There was also a 55" tv with Netflix and Hulu programed for us to enjoy. There's at least a dozen towels to use, beach towels, and an extra warm comforter in the closet. Literally the BEST place we could've found. They definitely should charge more.
What beaches did we visit?
In order of the best!
1. Arashi Beach (Divi Divi Trees): Arashi was perfect for some 3-5 ft surf waves, Divi Divi trees, ice cold drinks, and within walking distance (2-3km) of the California Lighthouse. (Easy Parking).
2. Eagle Beach : This is the staple beach for all visitors. It has the typical beach chairs and umbrellas to rent. There's plenty of space for everyone to sprawl out. (Easy Parking)
3. Mangel Halto (Mangrove Beach): The mangrove trees were deeply rooted and matured with white sand and milky water leading out to the open ocean.
4. Dos Playa: You could only reach this beach via the Arikok National Park. It was listed as a no swim beach...for good reason. It lists at the top for beauty though!
5. Natural Pools: The natural pools were quite dangerous to reach. We lowered into the carved rock beside the gold mine , avoiding putting our backs to the water (I did not follow this rule and almost paid for it).
What excursions did we do?
Surfing: You can rent a board for $20 usd for a half day/ or $35 usd for a full day.
The California Lighthouse: The lighthouse can be seen from the highest points in the middle of the island. The lighthouse is $5 usd per person to go up to the top or free to view from outside. I would advise going during sunset to enjoy the well lit island view and the Italian restaurant for some grub.