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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ooh I Want to Take You...to Aruba

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aruba Tourism Authority for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The weather is getting chilly now that fall is here, which means you're either super excited to start wearing boots again or you're longing for the warm days of summer and wishing you were kicking back on the beach somewhere with an umbrella drink in your hand. We never made it to the beach this summer, though we took advantage of plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. The Caribbean is looking pretty good to me right now. Where would I go? Somewhere with culture, great food and crystal clear water. Aruba totally fits all those criteria.

Aside from amazing water activities and the obviously amazing opportunities for working on your tan, there are plenty of other things to do in Aruba that are both fun and budget-friendly.

Aruba Aloe Museum – Aloe is in pretty much every beauty product that is moisturizing, it helps alleviate the ouch of a nasty sunburn and also heals cuts and scrapes. Not only can you take a tour of the factory that processes aloe gel from plants introduced to Aruba in 1840, but you can visit the museum and purchase any number of aloe products. The tours run every 15 minutes and are free.
Butterfly Farm – Nothing is quite as beautiful as a butterfly and when you add into the mix exotic flowers. Put on your brightest colors and take a quick tour of the butterfly farm. After your tour, you can stay as long as you like and return for free anytime during your trip. You can’t beat that, right? On top of it all, you’ll have some awesome pictures.
Animal sanctuaries – If you’re an animal lover then Aruba is a great place to visit. You can visit the Donkey Sanctuary and the Bubali Bird Sanctuary.
  • Before cars came to Aruba, donkeys were brought to the island as a mode of transportation. Now, with no need for these beautiful pack animals, the small herds still surviving on the islands were rounded up in 1997 and brought to the newly opened Donkey Sanctuary, where they would get proper care and nutrition. The preserve is run entirely through donations and “adoptions”. Visit with these adorable creatures, tour the grounds and go home with some donkey-related souvenirs from the gift shop.
  • If bird-watching is on your list of cool things to do, then head over to Bubali Bird Sanctuary, which is within walking distance from the resorts area. More than 80 species of migratory birds call the reserve home and are free to observe.

Arikok National Park – Want to see funky bugs, go hiking and experience a natural pool? Then head to this national park that makes up almost 20% of the island. For just $10 per person, you have an endless amount of things to amaze you. Native plants that you may have never seen before inhabit the park. Many different kinds of rocks can be observed. There are even small, but spectacular beaches along the coastline.

Look for gold – Okay, not really, but you can view the ruins of gold mills on the island that were built by the first prospectors. If you are into history and abandoned places like I am, you will want to make time to visit at least one of these old mills.
Pamper yourself – Though not really cheap, the Body and Soul Spa at Tierra del Sol Resort is full-service and a great way to treat yourself to a luxe spa or salon treatment for the same price as one you would get at home.

Sample the local cuisine – You know I love food, especially trying new ones wherever I go. Aruba is chock full of restaurants and bars that serve up fresh seafood and other delicious entrées. If I were planning a trip there, here are a few of the affordable eateries I’d check out:
  • Charlie’s Bar – This place has character. The outside of the building is adorned with signs and artwork and inside you can order churrasco, Creole calamari, shrimp scampi and pasapalo, plus items you’re probably more accustomed to, like burgers and fresh fish. 
  • Hadicurari – Choose from a huge menu which ranges from the Caribbean or French breakfast to the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. Everything sounds delicious. I’d love to try the grouper sandwich and the fried goat cheese appetizer.
  • MooMba Beach Bar and Restaurant – I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to dine on the beach or eat something from a “Caribbean chic” menu. With items that feature their fresh-caught fish and something called pina colada shrimp, I don’t know how you can go wrong eating here. Also, the name is fun, which I enjoy.
Aruba really is a place that has something for everyone, whether you like to swim in the ocean, dance the night away, learn more about the local history or eat gourmet cuisine. After checking it out for myself, I think I might have to put Aruba closer to the top of my list of places to visit. Learn more about the awesome things to do in Aruba when you visit the Aruba travel page on Aruba.com. What would you do if you were planning a trip to Aruba? 
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