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Chasing Sun & Flamingos in Aruba

01/02/2019

After the fun days we had, first in Miami and then in Disney's Magic Kingdom, we headed for the final leg of our girls' trip - the island adventure. This year, we've opted for Aruba (last year it was Phuket), which happens to stay out of the hurricanes way, so common for the Caribbean. And even though we only had 3 full days on this very, happy island, we were determined to take the most of it. For our short stay, we've planned to stay in two different hotels. And while the first one was nothing special, but was cost-effective and had a great location near Eagle beach, within walking distance from shops, bars and restaurants, the last night on the island we would spend as closer as possible to the flamingos that made the island so insta famous.

Landed already at night, and some kind of a miracle helped us to rent a car with no reservation. Not that there were no cars available or something. Simply, by the time we grabbed our bags and passed through passport control, almost all rental companies were already closed. So, we picked our car and headed to the first hotel we were going to stay at. Quickly checked in and went for a stroll in the surrounding area. However, we were tired from driving from Orlando to Miami and then flying all the way to Aruba, so went to bed quite early. After all, we had an entire island to discover the following morning.

After breakfast we drove all the way to the southernmost tip of Aruba. We were advised that the area of San Nicolas had the best beaches, so we went straight there. You can't waste time when you don't have much of it. And due to traffic and lack of many roads, getting from A to B apparently was taking way too long than we anticipated. But anyways, it was a beautiful sunny day and we were at a place, that calls itself "one happy island". We were basically in paradise. Parked our vehicle at Roger's beach and went for a swim in the beautiful, turquoise Caribbean sea. But only ten minutes later, it started to rain cats and dogs. We tried to hide under a straw tent that was at the beach, but the rain drops were passing in between the straws, so our best option was to run away. Not that we are afraid of the rain or something.

As we were passing by the near by Baby beach, the rain was already stoping and the skies were getting cleared. It was our chance to experience once again the best beaches on the island, so we parked our car and went to the wet sand. At the beginning we didn't even bother to lay down the beach towels, but the sun soon appeared and we spent some super quality time there, enjoying the ocean and working on the tan lines. Apparently, I need to travel more to the Caribbean, as it's so easy to forget how quickly weather can change there...

We surely didn't want to spend the entire day at one place only, so we headed back North, exploring. After passing by the "Red Anker" a monument, honouring "all seaman", we stoped at Kamini's Kitchen for lunch. The bright, neon-green facade of the restaurant call attention from the road but don't judge by them. The place was clean, food was delicious and had that home made feeling. 

After lunch, we continued North, but as the ocean seemed quite rough on the East side, we sticked to the West coast and found ourselves quite close to our hotel - at Eagle beach. By the time we reached it, the sun was already falling quite low. Temperature was so pleasant, we stayed at the beach even after witnessing the sun shyly kissing the horizon behind the thin clouds. I could say that, beach-wise, this one was my favourite in Aruba.

We wrapped the day and as we wanted to have a proper dinner, it was time for us to get ready. After all, we were three girls, sharing one room, and most importantly - one bathroom. LOL Plus, coming from Portugal, we're always used to have dinner later than almost all vacation spots around the world... We had a delicious sushi dinner just around the corner from our hotel - at Fishes & More. Our entire stay in Aruba was during the week, so we didn't get to experience its night life, but after dinner we went to the near by night club Gusto. To me, it was more of a bar, than a night "club", but what I loved the most about it, was that it had tables outside, on the open air. Not very common for a night club. Cocktails were also yummy, the only down part was that closes at 1 am. Which was not totally bad for us, as we wanted to soak as much sunlight as possible the next day.

After breakfast, we prepared our luggage and left it on storage in the hotel, while we went back to Eagle beach. As I said, my favourite one in Aruba. It was large and calm, there were not too many people, and the sea water was contrasting so perfectly onto the snowy-white sand.

In the early afternoon we took our stuff and drove to the Renaissance Resort. In order to spend some time on its private island with the flamingos, we had to either pay $100 per person to spend the full day there, or be guests of the hotel. As we were three, it was actually more cost-effective for us to book a room and stay there for one night. However, as we were in a hurry to get there asap, we first found ourselves in the wrong hotel. Apparently, there are two resorts with the same name, which kind of function together, but our room was in the other building. So, we had to go back on the road, turn around and finally reach the place we would spend the night. We kind of had a deja vu, as back in Orlando, we had the same confusion, trying to find our hotel around the Disney parks... We checked-in quickly, left the bags in the room and rushed to the hotel's private dock. The flamingos are at the resort's private island, which is reachable only by its private boat (around 10 minutes ride). We got there just before sunset, which was amazing, as the entire beach was completely empty. Well, light was not good for photos, but we got to cuddle with the beautiful, pink birds, go for a swim, sip some cocktails and enjoy the entire place to ourselves before heading back with the last boat.

Next to the Renaissance Resort there is a big market place (the Renaissance Marketplace), with lots of shops, restaurants and some bars (some of them with live music). We had a delicious, open air dinner at Casa Tua Pizzeria, but by the time we finished our meals and wine most of the bars in the surrounding area had closed. Our last chance for some night life experience in this area were the near by casinos, expecting some kind of cabaret experience. We even asked the security if we are allowed to get in wearing jeans LOL The reality inside was completely different from what we expected. There was nothing fancy or extravagant, just countless of addicted gamblers glued to the slot machines...

We haven't bought breakfast with our room, as we saw there were plenty of options at the marketplace outside the resort's doors. We opted for The Dutch Pancakehouse and it was yummy. Short after breakfast we checked out, left the luggage on storage and hopped on the private boat again. The scene on the private island however was completely different from the night before. Today, both beaches were full of people, most of which were trying to call the flamingos with the treats available (special flamingo snacks I guess). It was funny to observe the dynamics - girls in bikini chasing flamingos on a beach. But it was tempting. Soon enough probably we were also being observed and made fun of, but who cares. We came here for the flamingos. I was happy that the night before I was able to feel the softness of their feathers, but today was a beautiful day, the sun was shining perfectly and I wanted to capture the uniqueness of the place... 

After all, it was the perfect day to end this girls' adventure before starting the long series of flights back home.

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