Honestly, I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve been a broke backpacker. I used to eat bags of chips for dinner and share meals at McDonalds when I had a bit of extra cash. Who doesn’t love a good struggle?
I’ve been reflecting lately on how, as humans, we tend to seek out uncomfortable situations. We push our boundaries with a game of truth and dare as kids, we fluster our way through awkward first dates, challenge ourselves with new careers, and even jump out of planes just for the thrill of it. We love adventure. We love the unknown. We love that “holy crap what the hell am I doing” feeling.
If it’s adventure you’re looking for, you need to think outside the box. As tourism and the digital nomad lifestyle continue to grow, it becomes pretty obvious where the hot spots are. While I fully believe that every place has something to be proud of and something worth seeing, sometimes it’s nice to explore beyond what everyone else is doing. Consider skipping the typical stag party destinations, the overhyped commercialized areas, and the all inclusive resorts. Seek out your own adventure! You might be surprised with what you can find.
I recently went to Aruba, a place that’s well known for luxurious beach resorts, and explored the island in a way that took me all around, introduced me to locals and travellers, and left me in dire need of a weeks worth of sleep. There’s so much to do! I stayed at Sunset Beach Studios which was perfectly located. Close enough to the excitement of the high rise area, and far enough away to enjoy peaceful sunsets on the beach.
Aruba may be small, but it has a lot to offer! Here are just a few things I kept myself busy with on this little slice of paradise.
TAKE A BIKE
I love telling people that I’m from a small island but Aruba is 21 miles long and that’s just so adorable. I can’t compete with that. Since the island is so small, renting a bike was the perfect way to explore the north shore and lighthouse. The bike ride was an overwhelming amount of beauty from passing through cactuses to taking in amazing views from the lighthouse. I would recommend not kicking a cactus. I accidentally did just that and yes, it hurts as much as you’d think.
The lighthouse is also a great spot to stop for pictures, fresh coconuts, and a brief chat with a parrot.
Shameless brag alert! I was pretty good at wind surfing. By pretty good, I mean I went back and forth 20 feet a few times without falling off and I only walked away with one really big bruise on my shin. Not too shabby.
Snorkelling has quickly become one of my very favorite activities. Being underwater, seeing the fish and coral, it’s all so calming. Just try not to listen to your breathing too much. It gets a little Darth Vader-ish after a while.
My snorkel adventure didn’t stop at just snorkelling though, it was a party boat with lots of people and all you can drink Aruba Aribas. I’m actually pretty sure they call that all inclusive, not all you can drink. Potato potato.
In addition to the activities I tried out (and loved) you can also go kite surfing, scuba diving, jet skiing, sailing, stand up paddle boarding, parasailing, submarine adventuring, fishing, kayaking, speedboating, aaaaaand wake boarding.
I hope you read that as if it was being said in one long winded breath because that’s exactly how I thought it.
Now hold up while I geek out for a minute. The MS Antilla is the largest shipwreck dive in the Caribbean. It is covered by tube sponges and coral formations and while snorkelling over top of it, I looked down at the sea life and scuba divers and had one of those “this is a big big world” moments. It was honestly one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Highly recommend.
LIFE’S A BEACH
I mean, come on. Look at it.
How can you not enjoy those beaches?
LOOK AT IT!
With the desert landscapes, white sandy beaches, and enough adventurous activities to keep you entertained for days, Aruba is definitely more than a typical resort destination. Do yourself a favor in Aruba, get out and explore! Check out the amazing street art, eat where the locals eat, and get a few bruises along the way.
The adventure is worth it.