Aruba is truly one happy island! I embarked on my 4 day getaway to accompany my dear friend Kaitee on a business trip to drop off her amazing all natural body healing balm to Island Yoga, the biggest yoga studio in the Caribbean!
You might recognize the studio name if you follow Rachel Brathen aka Yoga Girl aka one of my idols when it comes to modern spirituality and following my dreams.
Anyway, Kaitee's company Moon Body Soul got asked to sponsor Island Yoga's retreats and teacher trainings and it's actually cheaper to travel to Aruba than it is to ship things there. Who knew!
When she asked me to come it was a no brainer. We found cheap flights on Copa Airlines using the app Hopper & stayed at a cute and centrally located Air BnB for $44 a night. Dream come true for a quick getaway.
We had 2 priorities- yoga & adventure. My kind of trip!
Yoga in Aruba
Since we were there to deliver to Island Yoga, we obviously spent a good amount of time there, and it was a dream.
They have several daily class offerings with inspiring teachers and a beautiful practice space. We took class in the Luna Shala and it made for a sweaty & invigorating vinyasa practice.
There was a mix of locals and tourists and everyone was so friendly, welcoming and supportive. They also offer SUP classes, and everything was taught in English (everyone speaks English there).
There's also a delicious cafe that we had a few meals at (more below), and a super cute boutique. We spent 5 hours there the first time we went. We couldn't get enough!
We also took advantage of the warm water and took our practice to the beach a lot. Sandy flows and rinsing off in the Caribbean... yes please!
Healthy Eats in Aruba
We were traveling with semi serious dietary needs. Kaitee has a gluten allergy and I've been doing my best to eat vegan recently. It's not easy to eat healthy in Aruba but it can be done!
Nourish Cafe at Island Yoga was our favorite. The coffee was amazing and there's several vegan, gluten free & raw options. We tried the avocado toast, chia seed pudding and several smoothies and juices and all of it was delicious and so fresh. We definitely felt the most nourished after spending time there. Highly recommend!
We also enjoyed a snack at Pura Vita cafe. It's located in a gym called Body Tech so it's tough to find (like a lot of places in Aruba)!
Our first night we had a nice dinner out at Mexicado in the Hyatt. We had the cevicheand veggie fajitas. I definitely broke the vegan streak with delicious fish several times on this trip. When in the Caribbean!
Our last night, we ate at Yemanja Woodfire Grill and indulged in delicious Caribbean fish dishes.
Last but not least, we had heard great things about Linda's Dutch pancakes and Linda did not disappoint. They've had gluten free options for 10 years and I'm guessing they've been bomb since they opened. I created my own Nutella mango pancake and it was phenomenal. The staff was really nice too :)
We also had a quick wrap at Garden Fresh Cafe located in Palm Beach.
Adventure in Aruba
There's so much of it to be found! We went with pretty much no plan but notes of things we'd read to check out.
Our first day we hit Palm Beach to grab lunch, a welcome margarita, and to get our first look at the Caribbean blue sea. We played in the water and practiced yoga until the sun began to go down.
Then we chased sunset all the way to California Lighthouse at the very northern tip of the island, where the scenery turns from calm and serene to windy, wild desert. It was the first time we both felt we fell in love with the island a bit.
On our first full day, we intended to grab a quick coffee and go to this spectacular cave in Arikok national park, all the way across the island. Google maps proved to be unreliable and we ended up trying three different coffee shops that weren't where the map said or even close and even one closed at 9am on a Sunday lol. We even saw a Starbucks and didn't go because we wanted to support local. We also got stuck in election week traffic. There's bumpin' parades in the street and music and flags for the two main parties everywhere. It was super interesting but without the aforementioned coffee we were slightly less enthusiastic about it in the moment.
Finally we got to an espresso bar and floated around in the sea to reset mentally. We even got super up close and personal with a pelican.
Armed with more info from locals, we made it to the cave in the afternoon.
You have to go to the visitors center to pick up a wristband, otherwise you risk getting a ticket. You can get to the cave by either car or ATV, which looked fun! If the road feels dodgy it's because... but that's where it starts to get fun! Be careful driving and be sure to be to the visitor center by 4pm & have lots of water.
Theres an interesting island legend about the Quadiriki cave. An indian chief's daughter was believed to be a descendant of the god of the sun, adored by all of the men in her tribe 🌞 eventually she fell for a foreigner named "white feather" and for that was held captive by her father in this cave, never to be seen again. After death, her soul escaped through this hole in the cave to be reunited with the god of the sun 🖤
I was mesmerized by how grounding and calming and stoic the energy was underneath the earth and covered by rocks. The sunlight was at a perfect angle and it was a truly magical experience.
We finished the day with a sunset snorkel session and it was beautiful and clear! I miss the warm tropical water every day ❤️
Our next day we were tipped off to a secret natural pool next to abandoned gold mine ruins. It was epic! The gold mine ruins were similar in material and architecture to some of what we saw in Peru. I was fascinated.
To find the secret natural pool, look toward the sea from the gold mine for two poles sticking up off the cliff. It's a ladder and you crawl down through a bunch of huge rocks with the sea crashing wildly beneath and ahead of you. After crawling over mossy rocks, you see purple algae and the most calm turquoise water blocked off from the wind and sea. It was an amazing meditation spot. But beware of massive crabs near sun down!
One adventure we were looking forward to but didn't go on was to Flamingo Beach. If you have seen this and want to do it on your trip to Aruba, go to the Renaissance hotel. You boat over to flamingo island and it is around $100. Next time!
Best Beaches in Aruba
We made it our mission to hit all of the main beaches. Palm Beach and Eagle Beach on the east side are touristy but beautiful, calm, and easy to grab a bite or rent any water equipment.
We loved Arashi Beach further north where it is a little more abandoned, and there's snorkeling at Boca Catalina nearby.
Our last day we went to Baby Beach all the way at the south part of the island. The beautiful reef rock formations about a hundred yards out from shore made for some of the clearest water we got to see.
Getting Around Aruba
We rented a car as we knew we were going to want to venture the entire stretch of the island whenever we felt like it. We found a great deal, and there's only a few spots you can't go with car rentals- down to the natural pool in Arikok park being one of them.
Google maps wasn't super reliable as a lot of businesses aren't registered and many addresses are duplicated or slightly off. I've shared locations of the places above that we mentioned but your best bet is asking locals where things are and making friends!
Shout out to my best friend, amazing photographer & goddess creator, Kaitee. Check out her all natural self love body care line Moon Body Soul 🖤