Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao

Table of Contents

After a few years of green and wet tropical destinations, we thought we’d try more dry and desert-like islands. We also looked forward to experiencing Dutch-influenced islands rather than English or Spanish. And we enjoy snorkeling from shore, which is possible on all three islands. 

All three islands gave us what we were looking for. Bonaire was beautiful though there isn’t much to do if you don’t scuba dive. Still glad we went. We liked the beaches on Aruba though it seemed the most crowded, perhaps because of where we stayed. We loved Curaçao and I can see returning and spending even longer. 

Food and Beverage $36 per day*

Average per person per day. We ate out no more than once per day, with a drink with dinner. The rest we bought from the supermarket.

Lodging $78-$144 per night

Curaçao was the least expensive (and most spacious) at $78 per night. The two places we stayed on Aruba were the most expensive, with the Dorado Eagle Beach topping out at $144.

Transportation $1,200 per person

Includes flights between islands, a rental car on each island, fuel, and the odd taxi.

Entertainment $185 per person

This covered national park fees for each island plus the new tourist tax for Bonaire, which is $75 per person.

* Costs in US dollars at time of trip

Days 1-6: Aruba

Activities

  • Going to the beach
  • Hiking at Arikok National Park
  • Snorkeling

The Plan: Aruba has a reputation for great beaches, which we will be ready for mid-winter. 

The Reality: We did like the long, white sand beaches on Aruba. They weren’t as good for snorkeling as we’d hoped. We didn’t see anything worth getting our gear out for. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and the destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Days 7-14: Bonaire

Activities

  • Going to the beach
  • Driving around Hiking at Washington-Slagbaai National Park
  • Other hiking?
  • Snorkeling

The Plan: We like to snorkel from the beach and we heard Bonaire has lots of places where you can do this, so snorkeling is our focus here. However, we can’t miss a park with an interesting name like Washington-Slagbaai either! 

The Reality: We didn’t end up snorkeling since we didn’t want to deal with the rocky entries and there wasn’t much hiking in the park but it was interesting to drive around the park and the whole island is beautiful. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and the destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Days 15-25: Curaçao

Activities

  • Going to the beach
  • Driving around Hiking at Christoffel National Park
  • Other hiking?
  • Snorkeling
  • Exploring Willemstad

The Plan: Like Bonaire, it sounds like Curaçao has lots of options for beach snorkeling, and more sandy beaches. So snorkeling will be a focus here too. We also look forward to colorful buildings in Willemstad.  

The Reality: Hey, we finally ended up snorkeling! We enjoyed that plus Willemstad and the beaches in general. We were too lazy to hike. 

Related Posts: The first post describes daily activities and the destination. Other posts cover anything that generated lots of photos!

Days 26-28: Aruba

Activities

  • Going to the beach

The Plan: We’d originally planned to fly back from Curaçao but it ended up working better to fly round-trip from Aruba. So we’ll spend three days near the beach before heading home. 

The Reality: That’s just what we did! 

Resources

I planned this trip so long ago — we originally planned to go here in January 2020 and it got delayed due to COVID — that I can’t remember what I used for a resource. I think it was Lonely Planet Caribbean Islands?  

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We ended up with three ornaments from this trip. One was planned: we sought out the flamingo ornament. One was spur of the moment: The license plate fragment was for sale at the rental car office. And one was free: The change purse? Wallet? Small bag? Was a gift at a restaurant.