May 13, 2021 marked our nine year anniversary. Normally nine years may not be the “quintessential year” to celebrate an anniversary but after the past year of parenting, and the fact that we haven’t had an anniversary trip since the birth of our boys, we decided this would be our year to take a trip. After enlisting the help of my good friend Google Flights, we scored a flight deal for less than $300 per person to Aruba. I will forever be grateful to Google Flights for enabling our anniversary trip to Aruba; it was filled with some of the best things to do.
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Aruba Anniversary Hotel
Before kids, my husband and I would find the most romantic hotels for our anniversary trip. I’m talking outdoor showers, private pools, and breathtaking views. After kids, this priority got exchanged for more spacious, family-friendly lodging.
So when planning this trip, I initially looked at the “big box” resorts – all of which offered very nice accommodations, with many locations beachfront. However, I still felt like the “wow factor” I was looking for was missing. After a pretty extensive search, I finally came across a beautiful boutique hotel with almost perfect reviews.
The Boardwalk Boutique Hotel is literally a tropical oasis. The landscape is filled with greenery and the vibe is completely serene. So much that a feeling of relaxation and zen immediately consumes you upon entering the grounds. In addition, it offers a variety of unique casitas – from one with a clawfoot tub overlooking a 360 degree balcony to another with a private plunge pool. Both casitas were so gorgeous that we ended up staying two nights in each.
We loved staying in both casitas, but the casita with the private plunge pool has a special place in my heart. First, it was absolutely beautiful – both spacious and surrounded with greenery – creating a wonderful private tropical oasis with your very own pool. The icing on the cake was when I discovered they offered a floating breakfast with their food and beverage partner, Eduardo’s Beach Shack.
We ordered the floating breakfast the day of our actual anniversary, which made the perfect start to our day celebrating our love in Aruba. It did not disappoint. It was not only picturesque but the food was very delicious and healthy. And for $58, it was worth every penny.
Boardwalk Boutique Aruba Location
Although it’s not located directly on Eagle Beach, a beach area with private palapas (beach chair with an “umbrella” made out of palm leaves) and beach service is available across the street for Boardwalk guests only. The walk itself took less than five minutes and was very simple – literally you just walk across the street. Initially, I was a bit concerned about not staying directly on the beach, but after reading a few reviews my concerns subsided. And they were correct, it wasn’t a problem at all. Honestly, the majority of the beachfront hotels are set far back from the beach itself and pretty large. Therefore, it would probably take most beachfront guests about the same amount of time to get from their room to the beach.
Anniversary Vacation Dinner With a Private Chef
One of the perks of staying at Boardwalk Boutique Hotel is that most casitas have a kitchen, making it the perfect location for a romantic private chef anniversary dinner during our Aruba trip. The hotel recommended Barbulet Concierge to schedule our private chef. We chose Chef Makaveli. I literally could not have envisioned a better dinner. The ambiance of The Boardwalk and the deliciously fresh food of the chef made the perfect combination.
The flavor of the ceviche and the freshness of the red snapper entree made both my husband and my heart happy. We literally couldn’t stop talking about how delicious this meal was.
Did you even take a trip to Aruba if you didn’t go see the flamingos? Despite not being native to the Aruba, Flamingo Island is more or less a tourist right of passage. Aruba Flamingo Island is owned by the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Spa. Therefore, it is exclusive to their guests. However, they do offer a limited supply of day passes for $125, which includes a meal. The tickets sell out quickly so I would recommend purchasing them in advance, here.
Getting a day pass was the strategy we were going to use until I discovered De Palm Island.
De Palm Island Aruba
Similar to the Renaissance’s Flamingo Island, De Palm Island is home to about ten beautiful flamingos. All guests have access to them but during a specific time. The exceptions are those who purchase premium seating or beach cabanas. The flamingos are free to roam around that area. This gives the individuals unlimited exposure to the flamingos. We opted for the premium seating which was $49 per person. It’s in a private area with a waitstaff. As travel returns and more and more people start to visit Aruba again, I would recommend this area if you prefer not to be amongst the crowd. If you’re in a large group, a beach cabana may be a good option. They start at about $300 and can fit up to 10 people.
What persuaded me to go with De Palm Island (vs Renaissance) was the entire package. The $109 general admission fee includes roundtrip transportation, unlimited banana boat rides, snorkeling, waterslides (which would be perfect for the kiddos), food and beverage, and so much more. When food is included I always have low expectations, but to my pleasant surprise, the food was actually tasty. In fact, there were two food areas – one buffett with very fresh chicken, fish, rice, and veggies, while the other area had hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries.
But what truly won me over to De Palm Island was the Sea Trek experience. It’s an underwater helmet walk for an additional $49 per person. I can’t stress enough that it is an experience of a lifetime.
The thought of being able to walk on the ocean floor for almost thirty minutes without any diving experience is mind-blowing. Before entering the ocean, a seventy pound helmet (which is almost undetectable underwater) is placed on your shoulders. It literally does all of the work for you. You simply have to walk, keep your head upright, and breathe regularly. In fact, there is a rail to hold onto as two divers escort you through the experience.
Personally, I felt like it was an underwater photoshoot. They have various “scenes” – including a “wrecked” airplane, school bus, and military vehicle. The guide would place various sea creatures in your hands to get an up close and personal experience, while the underwater photographer captures the memories.
Honestly, this experience was the highlight of my trip. Luckily, Sea Trek is in other countries. Simply Google Sea Trek and the name of the country you will be visiting to see if it’s located there.
Aruba Anniversary Catamaran Tour
Aruba has some, if not the clearest, water that I’ve seen. The water is literally turquoise and clear, allowing you to see straight to the bottom. Therefore, a catamaran ride was a must do for our anniversary trip to Aruba. Plus with water this beautiful, it’s one of the best things to do in Aruba. There are an array of companies that offer catamaran rides, from a champagne brunch to a snorkeling tour, or a sunset cruise.
For us, our needs were simple. We just wanted a catamaran tour company that had a nice catamaran, amazing reviews, and allowed us to enjoy the beautiful water. The Arusun did not disappoint. For $50 per person, we experienced a well-maintained catamaran with friendly staff and tasty drinks and wraps. For us, a two and a half hour trip with two snorkeling stops was perfect. If you’re looking for a quality experience that’s flexible to fit into your Aruba itinerary, then this is the right catamaran tour for you. They offer two tours daily – one at 9:30AM and the other at 1PM.
Aruba Anniversary Trip Crystal Kayak Rental
I don’t know what’s more delightful than seeing the bottom of the ocean floor as you kayak across it. The Crystal Kayaks at Island Cabana Aruba are 100% clear offering you the opportunity to explore the ocean from the comfort of your kayak. We didn’t personally see any fish, but it was still absolutely breathtaking nonetheless. And for $30 for two people to kayak for one hour, it was well worth the investment and made for a wonderful experience.
Overall, Aruba far exceeded my expectations. I honestly thought we would sit at the beach most of the time but there were so many unique activities available. The clarity and beauty of their water would’ve made this anniversary trip to Aruba worth it.
Learn more about how to find amazing activities on your next vacation, here.