One Happy Honeymoon: Aruba Travel Guide
Ladies and gentlemen, I am home from my honeymoon, which can only mean one thing – I’m a MARRIED woman!! Yes, after 8 years together, nearly 3 years engaged, a postponement and a freaking pandemic my husband (HUSBAND!) and I finally had the wedding we have been waiting for. And boy oh boy was it worth every single second it took to get us there. When I say it was a magical dream, it truly was, and one I cannot wait to share more of once I have those precious photos that you and I are so anxious to see.
But today I’m here to talk about the next best thing to the wedding day, the honeymoon! There is truly no sweeter feeling than celebrating the most beautiful day of your life, filled with the people you love the most and then immediately jetting off on the most fabulous trip with your new spouse. Andrew and I have been together for nearly a decade, but the joy, love, and excitement exuding from us both, you would have sworn we just met. We were so overwhelmed with emotion and absolutely exhausted, but the happiest we have ever been in our lives together.
I know for many couples, taking on the responsibility of planning a wedding AND a honeymoon at the same time is just too much, but if you are able to leave quickly after I promise you will not regret it. We were married on a Friday, came home on Saturday afternoon, and were at the airport by 4:45am on Sunday morning. It was quick, it was overwhelming at times, but it was such a thrill. I know when we look back years from now, the memories of grabbing our bags and calling our parents to say goodbye at the airport (just like in the movies) will be ones we tell our grandkids about one day.
You may or may not have known that we barely told anyone where we were going on our honeymoon. Back in 2019 we booked a fabulous multi-week, multi-country European vacation for our original 2020 wedding date. We knew we wanted to save money to go for longer, so we booked it through a travel company that was NON-refundable (never again). Then the pandemic hit, we postponed our wedding, and we lost nearly everything we paid for that trip. Travel insurance wasn’t valid based on the non-refundable terms – basically we made a really bad travel investment and learned a huge lesson.
For months we gave up on what to do and with most of Europe in lockdown at the time we were planning, we decided to completely switch gears. But trust me when I say, Europe is still on the list for the next few years 😊
With Europe off the table, we wanted tropical, but tropical and late summer don’t always mix – CC: hurricane season. But do you know one of the best tropical locations outside of the hurricane belt, ARUBA! So that is how we chose the destination, along with hearing really amazing things about the island and that they were allowing tourists during COVID as long as you have a negative test within 72 hours of departure.
Where We Stayed
Andrew and I knew we wanted our honeymoon to be romantic, relaxing, and a bit luxurious. After all we waited a very long time for this trip and didn’t take a true vacation for a few years so we could make this one happen.
Every time I searched honeymoon resorts in Aruba, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort popped up. Bucuti & Tara, the Caribbean’s #1 resort for romance, is an adults-only resort located on Aruba’s stunning Eagle Beach. Unlike the high-rise mega hotels in Aruba’s north-end, this property is intimate. With only around 100 suites & guest rooms combined, this resort was built for couples.
Not only is the property stunning, immaculately clean, and impeccably taken care of, the amenities offered to guests are immeasurable. Guests are greeted with cold towels and glasses of champagne upon arrival, the resort offers world class romantic dining experiences, every couple has access to a personal concierge who helps arrange VIP airport transportation and exclusive excursions (more on those later), award winning hospitality, and the most fabulous breakfast we have ever eaten, included with your room rate.
In addition to all of that, Bucuti & Tara knows how to make a honeymoon special. They gifted us a special bottle of champagne, chocolates, cheese and crackers, along with helped Andrew gift me roses and rose petals in the room upon arrival.
Exploring the Island
I’ll be honest, we were so tired from the wedding and travel that we didn’t leave the resort for 2 days. We soaked in our first few days as newlyweds laying on the beach, having margaritas delivered to our chairs, and enjoying romantic dinners on the pristine white sand.
But when we did finally feel rested enough to explore, we did just that! The first excursion we did was actually a photoshoot! If you’re on my blog, you already know how much I adore photos and I knew this special trip needed to be captured. I am still waiting to get those photos back, but we certainly explored during our session. We shot at the rugged lava rocks near the lighthouse, the white sand dunes and back down on the beach! It was so fun to drive around with the photographer and see places that were less touristy on the island.
Monforte III Luxury Cruise
Bucuti & Tara offers several exclusive excursions for guests to take advantage of, one of their best being the Spanish Lagoon boat trip aboard the Monforte III. This 5-hour excursion was truly one of the best moments of our entire trip, and probably the happiest I’ve ever seen Andrew and I!
We, along with 14 other couples, cruised down Aruba’s South Coast aboard the 115ft wooden schooner. Our tickets included welcome glasses of champagne, an open bar (never had so many margaritas in my life), plenty of room to lounge, a snorkel experience in the Mangel Halto reef, rope swinging off the boat, and an amazing lunch from their grill. To make the VIP experience even sweeter, the crew were some of the nicest and helpful individuals we’ve ever met! 20/10, 5 stars and an experience I would absolutely recommend if visiting Aruba.
Note: While we booked this excursion through our resort, the Monforte III does offer luxury cruises to the public. Please visit their website to learn more: www.monfortecruise.com.
Renaissance Private Island & Spa Cove
While our honeymoon was indeed a secret, one of my sweet Instagram followers actually guessed Aruba based on my clues and the fact that she too honeymooned on the island. It ended up being a good secret to share with her because she gave us SO many recommendations, one of which being the amazing spa experience at the Renaissance Private Island, aka Flamingo Beach. This private island is reserved for those who stay at the Renaissance Hotel, however they do offer day tickets and special offers, like the spa package we selected.
The island is famous for their flamingos, more on them soon, but it also has an amazing spa cove. When we booked this experience, I honestly didn’t realize what we were getting. This experience is equivalent to the most fabulous 1:1 date on the Bachelor tv show.
We prefer an earlier start to our day, so we selected the Caribbean Morning Spa Package. We had to arrive at the Renaissance Hotel and check-in to the resort spa by 8:00am. Next, we caught the water taxi, right from the hotel lobby and took a quick 8-minute ride directly to the island. We had about 15 minutes to snap some photos with the flamingos (they are friendliest in the morning so highly recommend going early), before heading to our private spa oasis.
Once inside the spa cove, we got ready for our 50-min massages right next to the ocean, which was incredible. However, the best part of the package, in our opinion, was the 90 mins post-massage that we got to spend in the cove. We enjoyed sipping a bottle of champagne, eating a delicious fruit platter, lounging in the chairs and hammock, and spending quality time with each other.
Flamingo Beach & Iguana Beach
If the spa experience wasn’t enough, we still had a full afternoon to hang out with the beautiful animals of the island: flamingos & iguanas. Both are incredibly sweet and gentle animals, but those iguanas seemed to love me the most lol.
This is the one experience I saw the most while researching Aruba and it truly did not disappoint. Just make sure to plan out your visit and book tickets in advance! To learn more about the Spa Cove and Private Island, please visit their website.
Pelican Pier Sunset Sail
For our final Bucuti & Tara exclusive experience we took a beautiful Sunset Sail from Pelican Pier. However, my Sea-bands stood no chance against this sailboat. As you’ve read so far, we rode a lot of boats…however I’m a member of the seasick club. I’ve never done well on boats, but I was determined to do these excursions, especially because Andrew was so excited for them! Up until this point I was pumped full of Dramamine and had my Sea-bands glued to my wrists, but that was NO match for this tiny boat and rocky ocean water.
Let’s just say, the most beautiful part of this boat trip was the sunset.
Where We Dined
Aruba has some of the most fabulous food. So much seafood, steak and Caribbean flavor! The first night we enjoyed some sunset champagne and appetizers, but the second night at Bucuti & Tara was the most special of them all when it comes to dining.
Andrew and I booked their Private Dining, a special experience offered by the hotel’s restaurant, Elements. Included in this booking we enjoyed privacy in our own palapa facing the ocean and sunset, a bottle of champagne, and an incredibly delicious 6-course meal.
Bucuti & Tara is not an all-inclusive hotel, and encourages guests to explore the island’s many great restaurants. Our favorite restaurants off-property were:
Barefoot | Elegant Caribbean dining in the sand. We loved the lobster and shrimp dishes.
Bohemian Bar & Restaurant | French cuisine in a secret garden. Get the Truffle Gnocchi.
Azzuro Ristorante Italiano | The best Italian on the island. Make a reservation for 6pm to see the sunset and the live violinist.
The Happiest Honeymoon
Aruba was not our original plan, but it ended up being the best plan. Andrew and I truly could not have wished for a better first week of marriage. We are truly so blessed and grateful that we not only got to finally have our wedding, but also the opportunity to travel after such a stressful engagement and postponement.
They don’t call Aruba “One Happy Island” for nothing! The people on this island are truly the sweetest, nicest, and happiest individuals we have ever met. We cannot say enough good things and would highly recommend this destination to anyone looking for a tropical honeymoon destination.