It’s hard to believe our Aruba trip came and went. We planned this vacation 2 years ago when we lived in Arizona; Penny was only 6 months old. I remember thinking, Penny will be 2 years old when we take this trip, she will need a passport, oh crap she is going to need her own plane ticket! Nevertheless, the day finally came! The weeks before were a little anxious for me trying to do everything in my power to be fully prepared to be gone for a week and make sure Penny would be set. Making sure we were fully prepared for the flight was probably our biggest concern. But she was amazing!
We took a morning flight which caused us to be at the airport bright and early at 6:30 in the morning, 3 hours before our flight. Wayyyy before Penny is used to waking up! But an early flight combined with Penny running around the airport before boarding equaled a sleeping tot for the majority of the flight. Penny literally woke up 12 minutes before landing, it was magical. I was able to watch 27 dresses plus the first three episodes of the show “Younger” which I’ve been dying to watch! And OMG it was right up my alley, funny! It was the perfect scenario to calm my hot mess nerves.
Once we arrived in Aruba, it was such a smooth process. Penny ate some snacks I packed for her while we went through customs, We picked up the car we rented across the street from the airport and headed to our resort. We stayed at Costa Linda Resort and we had a beautiful 3 bedroom suite that we shared with our friends. By the time we got to our room Penny wanted to explore! So Ben stayed with her while I went with our friends to the supermarket to load up for the week. We went to Lin’s and Sons which reminded me of the Supermarkets back in Arizona, Ginormous! This is where we spent most of our money which we were totally fine with. It also made it more flexible with Penny to have her go-to’s on hand.
The whole gang went out to dinner the first night and it was a total — “Yes! This day finally came, we are here!” kind of celebratory dinner. Our friends Jackie and Christian had also just gotten married a few weeks before and this was their honeymoon. Funny enough, Ben and I didn’t have a honeymoon and kept referring to this trip as our honeymoon/one year anniversary celebration, HA! That night we went to dinner at Texas De Brazil. The food was delicious! It’s a flat price per person kind of place and all you can eat buffet. Hello, seconds. Hello, thirds!
We spent the next few days hanging out at the resort which had plenty of activities. We were steps away from the beach and a swimming pool with a separate pool just for kids. The resort also has a full bar + restaurant right next to the pool. I was so happy to see that Costa Linda Resort was definitely a family friendly place. They had games along the sand where they also had lawn chairs with big umbrellas for shade. Which was where we resided most of our stay. We were right in front of a shuffle board court — which was right next to a big pirate ship + swings for Penny to play with — which was 20 feet away from the restaurant if we wanted to order anything from the bar!
Our resort also had complimentary kayaking that we took full advantage of! We were really set up in a way where if we wanted to stay at the resort all day, we totally could! However, since we had rented a car for the week we decided to explore beyond the our resort. Penny’s godmother Katie, who is a zumba instructor and a dance teacher in Brooklyn found a moonlight yoga class with Island Yoga for us! Which was one of my favorite things we did that week. It was so beautiful to flow on my towel and have moments where I was literally staring directly at the most mesmerizing stars! It was such a peaceful experience.
On another day we decided to go out and explore the south side of the island and hit Baby Beach. This beach is known for its low tide and shallow water. It was also a great place to go snorkeling because of all the tropical fish and coral you get to see. Ben and our friends went and came back so excited and giddy about all they saw down there! Some of them went back and saw sea turtles! Real sea turtles! Like in Finding Nemo! I stayed with Penny and even though Ben and I took turns doing some stuff this wasn’t something I felt comfortable doing since I am not that confident in the water. Not confident meaning, I cant swim! Penny and I hung back and played with her beach toys and made sand castles that she found hilarious to tumble as soon as I would build another tower! We also went to the beach grill which was The Flintstones themed and she just so happened to be wearing a matching cheetah print bathing suit, HA! It was beyond perfect since they had a giant Dino next to a replica of the Flintstones car outside. Penny hopped in and needless to say we took a thousand pictures!
Penny absolutely loved being in the water. It was the first place she wanted to go when she woke up in the morning, plus multiple times throughout the day. She spent a great amount time in the water with her daddy and Uncle LJ who was working with her swimming and paddling with her feet. I never learned how to swim and can get a little anxious in the water because of it. I’m glad to see Penny so comfortable and happy when she sees any form of water. It has made Ben and I decide to put her in swimming classes this fall so she can continue to learn and feel more confident.
Overall, our trip was so amazing! Don’t get me wrong there are always challenges when traveling with kids, from disrupted sleep schedules to tantrums and beyond. We are the only ones in our group of friends with a kid so of course there were things Ben and I couldn’t do with Penny but there were also so many things that we did that she had an absolute ball doing. She was so excited to wake up everyday and just walk on the sand and throw rocks in the water. She wasn’t crazy about going kayaking but she was able to do that with us. After Penny went to bed at night we were also able to spend time with our friends that we don’t see often enough. We talked and play games like Cards Against Humanity and Heads up that made us just laugh hysterically. We brought our Fuji Max Camera and took pictures all week that we placed in a bowl which was such a fun way to capture the moment. Unlike taking a picture with your iPhone that you can snap the same moment 5 times until you like the picture! The film is NOT cheap so if I didn’t like my double chin in a picture well it was too damn bad!
Aruba treated us so well. Everyone was so friendly and always in a great mood. I loved hearing the locals speak in their language of Papiamento and able to understand it since it’s somewhat similar to Spanish. I felt right at home! The weather was beyond perfect, warm with a nice breeze. Above all it was the best place to be able to not only have a fun time with Penny but also our friends. 2 years of planning and waiting finally came and we were so happy with every moment of it!
Some fun pictures below!