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A few months ago, the Aruba Tourism Authority held the “Tweet Me to Aruba” Sweepstakes.
I figured I’d try my luck. And did I ever get lucky! To enter, all you had to do was post a sad tweet about why you really need a vacation in sunny Aruba. So I typed a short quip, hit tweet and continued on reading my feed. A few weeks later, I was blown away when I received a direct message on my Twitter account from Aruba Tourism, letting me know I had won. Yup, I really won and I was really going to Aruba!
Choosing my guests was easy since I love to travel with my husband and son, and Aruba is a great family vacation destination! So, for my son’s 9th birthday, we hopped a JetBlue flight direct from JFK to begin our adventure. It was time to turn my “sad tweet” into a happy one on “One Happy Island.”
We arrived in the capital Oranjestad in the early evening and headed north to our hosts at the Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba which is a unique and quaint oasis, nestled just behind the busy big Palm Beach properties. The lush gardens ushered us in as we entered and were shown to our “Casita.”
Instead of a standard hotel room, guests stay in brightly colored, apartment-style accommodations. Our family loved that each Casita had its own kitchenette, private patio, BBQ grill and hammock. Although we didn’t have a chance to use the BBQ grill, our hammock got a lot of use during our stay.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba and the attentive staff made sure we had a memorable time. They even helped celebrate my son’s birthday in a special way – balloons, a “birthday” banner, cake and a delicious breakfast before heading to our reserved shady “palapa” at nearby Palm Beach. A birthday that he’ll never forget.
There are so many gems to experience and explore in Aruba, and we set off to discover as many as we could. We started by driving up the coast past the Palm Beach hotel area to the island’s Northern tip for a stop at the California Lighthouse. The lighthouse offers spectacular views of the island. You can even climb up the stairs to the top and experience a panoramic 360-degree view of paradise.
Our next stop was the Bushiribana Gold Mine Ruins, where we had a fun family trek around the boulders, snapping lots of great pics. Taking in the dramatic ocean views at the slightly higher elevation was amazing. My son checked for pirate treasure. Arg… no gold to be found this time around!
From there, we headed to Arikok National Park, which is a beautiful nature preserve that covers nearly 20% of the island. Aruba is not only a “happy island,” it’s an eco-friendly one, too. Solar panels are noticeable throughout the island and in the southern end of the park there are 10 giant windmills that create energy thanks to the steady trade winds.
The next stop in Arikok was the mysterious, prehistoric Quadirikiri Cave, which is a collection of chambers filled with stunning stalactites and even ancient petroglyphs. We wandered the chambers in search of the bright shafts of sunlight that stream into the caves through the ceiling.
The last stop on our family adventure was Boca Prins Cove. Aruba is world famous for its pristine beaches and this secluded spot took our breath away. It is a small beach located at the bottom of a wooden stairwell, and the beauty of this tucked away spot is immeasurable.
Our family stay in Aruba was incredible. From kid-friendly accommodations to off the-beaten-path adventures to crystal clear waters, we could not have asked formore. A beach vacation that was so much than lovely beaches. Needless to say, my son’s 10th birthday will be very hard to top!
For more info about The Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba, click here.
To learn more about guest blogger, Shnieka, click here.