“Bon Bini”…Welcome to Aruba!

Travel

If there’s anything I enjoy just as much as I do fashion, it would have to be traveling, traveling has always held a special place in my heart. I remember hearing about Aruba at a very young age (my parents honeymooned in Aruba) but didn’t really know what an amazing island it actually was. I recently went on a trip to Aruba and had an absolute blast! Of all the places I’ve visited Aruba has definitely landed a spot in my top five destinations. Between the crystal blue water, pretty white sand beaches, friendly locals and perfect weather (which never went higher than 83 degrees with a consistent breeze and no rain) there’s not much to dislike about this island. I’ve been to islands that were super turnt and islands that were more laid back and Aruba was definitely more laid back, depending on what you’re looking for in a vacation. May came super fast as I started planning for this trip back in February, I was packed and ready to go for my 5 night 6 day getaway!

I research EVERYTHING, and this trip was no different…I looked up all the cool things to do while vacationing in Aruba. The one thing that came up repeatedly were the flamingos, after a quick Instagram search and I see why they are so popular. These gorgeous, slightly timid, birds were such a treat to be around. They are sorta shy and won’t come anywhere near you and don’t think about getting to close to them either lol although pretty harmless they’re somewhat introverted. You’re more than welcomed to take photos with them just at a proper distance. Most people go to The Renaissance to see them but we chose De Palm Island, which is an all inclusive type of water park. Although it isn’t actually a hotel it’s more of an activities resort. Included in the cover charge was; transportation to and from your hotel, banana boating, snorkeling, zip lining, a water park (including some really cool slides), open bar, all you can eat Buffet (with really good food), several small picturesque beaches, lounge chairs, live entertainment (with salsa dancing lessons) and the main attraction being the flamingos. I definitely took advantage of all the activities they had to offer. It was about $120 for an all day pass (8 hours) which also included a quick ferry ride from the pier to the actual beach. There were also other excursions you could book (for an additional cost) with one of them being Sea Treking.

Send help! Lol

I wanted to do this so bad, I even paid but couldn’t get past the helmet thingy being on my head lol. I am a huge water person (I’m a water sign) and am not by any means afraid of water but I have a real fear of being claustrophobic…that nearly sent me into a panic attack. I couldn’t get the breathing down to save my life and ended up not doing it 😩 I did try though lol I get an “E” for effort right?

Say hello to my little friend , “Ritmo” lol

Another cool thing I did was horseback riding through the mountains, this was definitely a fun time. I’m no stranger to riding, as I’ve rode them plenty as a child, but this was a completely different experience. They took us on a trail through the mountains and past a beautiful, picture perfect beach. Fun Fact: The horses really enjoy walking on the sand, after walking on the hard trails all day long the soft sand is like a treat for their hooves. They get really excited and will start to act like it lol. My horse in particular started to gallop and nearly took off leaving the rest of the group behind. My horses name was “Ritmo” and boy was he a ball of energy, we were right behind the line leader but he was determined to root the line and be the leader. He wanted to do his own thing and lead the line so bad lol (sounds a lot like myself). In Aruba they don’t allow the horses to actually walk through the water as the tourists complained to much about the waste and the tides can be to strong. They did however take us to Aruba’s Natural Pool which was so serene with stunning views!

The pool is surrounded by volcanic stone circles and rocks, the rugged terrain makes this pool only accessible by 4×4, hiking or my choice of transportation, horseback. It’s one of Aruba’s most sought after natural attractions. All the bumps in the road and at times heavy galloping was well worth it to get to this! My thighs ached for about 3 days afterwards 😩but I’d do it all over again.

My legs felt like jello at this point lol

I did manage to get in a little partying while there, although not the busiest nightlife scene, they did have a crazy fun party bus! The bus (which was an actual yellow school bus with all the windows knocked out) was lively and super lit! It stopped at 4 different bars with about 40-45 minutes in each bar. Cover charge and a free complimentary shot at each location was included in the cost. It was definitely a good time!

Our bus driver “Barbie” was a cool ass chick who definitely stayed energized the entire night lol

Check out my Instagram @Storiesxstyle under highlights “Aruba“ to see all the live footage of the bus! Lol

I love Ceviche , it wasn’t Mexico’s but it was good!
There’s something so calming about the palm trees at night

Overall I would give Aruba a 8/10! I wasn’t at all impressed with the food options which is why I only gave it an 8 because a girls gotta eat lol. I was expecting more of a Caribbean type of cuisine but most of the food was mainly American dishes. The official language of Aruba is, Papiamento & Dutch, although most of them speak several languages including English. It was never hard to communicate with any of the natives. The currency in Aruba is the Aruban Florin but US dollars are accepted just as much. To be completely honest, aside from the homes I saw up in the mountains, Aruba looks really Americanized to me but that’s just my opinion.

Have any of you guys ever been to Aruba? If so what are your thoughts?? I’d definitely visit again, I am already imagining myself being on another island sometime soon. For me if there’s no beach included then is it really even a vacation?? Lol I will say that I did the most activities on this particular trip than I’ve ever done on one single trip. I’m more of a beach bum, I have no problem sunbathing all day long…with a cocktail of course lol. Do you have any travel plans this summer? If so, where are you headed? We’re officially in the countdown to summer! Thanks for stopping by and as always, whatever you do, do it with style.

Xx, Quita

Solo in San Juan

Travel

As a child I was always fascinated with the idea of traveling, I couldn’t believe that there were people that lived in other places outside of the USA. People that didn’t look like me, speak my language or lived the way that I did. As the daughter of a frequent traveler, my mom taught me early on that not only was there more to see in the world but she would see to it that I saw it. I remember going on my first cruise at 14 & since then I’ve been addicted to traveling. There’s something so refreshing and exhilarating about getting on a plane & going to another part of the world. For a long time I wanted to do a solo trip but didn’t build up the courage to do so until February 2016 when I went to Miami , Fl solo. Although it was still within the country, I was still alone and it felt AMAZING! Fast forward a few months to October 2016 & I found myself on my second solo trip in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

So after weeks of research and finally building up the nerve to travel to Puerto Rico alone, I was in my window seat & on my way to San Juan! Although I was really excited my anxiety nearly kept my butt right in Baltimore *crying laughing emoji*. Once landed I hopped into an Uber, checked into my hotel & about 2 hrs later I was sitting on Condado beach (with coconut in hand). I checked the weather religiously before leaving for my trip and all 4 days called for rain the ENTIRE time! I reasoned with mother nature with no luck, it certainly rained the whole time with the exception of my very last day. I even tried to use the weather as a sign from the universe telling me not to go *crying laughing emoji* anything not to follow through with the trip as planned. 

Now I don’t know about you guys but when I think about Old San Juan I think of colorful historic homes & old world architecture. Old charm greeted me at every winding corner, this town is definitely a gem! You could just feel the culture in the air and the friendly smiles on the locals faces. Getting to Old San Juan on the other hand was somewhat of a struggle. As I mentioned before I had been researching things to do while in Puerto Rico and Old San Juan was definitely #1 on that list. My hotel was located in Miramar, which was about a 20-25 minute ride from Old San Juan. I opted for a local shuttle type of bus as opposed to an Uber to get the “full experience” and boy what a mistake. Looking back I can laugh in relief but it didn’t strike me as funny then. When I got onto the bus the bus driver was an older man who looked like he had definitely woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I asked him did he go to OSJ & he mumbled a very unpleasant, Yeah. I watched the doors of the bus close suddenly as I mumbled to myself, shit…please don’t kill me sir. I found a seat near the back of the bus & held my bag very close to my chest, my heart was beating so loud I was sure everyone on the bus could hear it. The bus driver looked sketchy, all the older women on the bus looked sketchy & the bus itself was old, worn & smelled funny…I prayed the entire time. So I end up at this bus terminal type of thing and everyone hopes off the bus as I sat there in confusion. This didn’t look nothing like the Old San Juan I had seen on the internet, you know the place I had extensively researched for the past 2 weeks. I asked the mean old man was this Old San Juan & again he mumbled something in Spanish, asked me for my $1 fare & basically told me to get off of the bus. My heart dropped to my toes, I literally felt like Kevin in Home Alone 2 when he was lost in New York. At this point I’m standing in the middle of a bus station looking like that “obvious” tourist I didn’t want to look like. I took a few deep breaths & gathered my thoughts before I asked an older woman where was Old San Juan & she frowned at me. In a strong Spanish accent she replied, “This is Old San Juan (she even pointed at the ground we were standing on) you’re in Old San Juan. What are you looking for?” My frustration at this particular moment must’ve been written all over my face as I said bluntly, “The colorful buildings”. She pointed me in the direction of a trolley stop & told me, “Wait there, the trolley comes in 10-15 minutes” . 1hr & 2 rain showers later the trolley finally arrives, amen!


So after finally arriving in Old San Juan I stumbled upon Castillo San Felipe del Morro and boy was I happy I did. As I followed the small crowd of people to the citadel I knew I had made the right decision by getting off of the trolley and exploring by foot. The place was absolutely amazing and worth my aching feet lol. The views were stunning and the history behind it was captivating. The fort was originally built in 1539 to protect San Juan from intruders coming over by sea. It wasn’t until 1587 when it’s layout was expanded to the what it is today. I definitely didn’t have this on my to do list but the best moments are rarely ever planned.

One thing I did research was the food in Puerto Rico, I have a funny sensitive kind of stomach and needed to be sure my stomach would survive lol. One dish that came up repeatedly was Monfongo, which is a well known Puerto Rican dish of deep-fried green plantains mashed together with other ingredients such as; chicken, pork & shrimp. It was soooooo good & rich, I needed a nap after eating this! Puerto Rico is also known for their run and although I didn’t get an opportunity to get to the Barcardi rum factory I did however stopped at a cool rooftop bar for an amazing mojito. I remember the bar tender being a very pleasant young man whom I chatted with while he gave me an impromptu Spanish lesson.

On the second to last day of my trip the sun finally decided to show its glory. All days prior to this didn’t allow for much beach frolicking but this particular day was absolutely beautiful. I ended my trip on Isla Verde Beach in Carolina, Puerto Rico on somewhat of a deserted part of the beach. Aside from two other people I had the entire beach to myself, including the really nice beach club attached to it. I couldn’t believe I was the only one there & definitely felt like I owned my own private island *crying laughing emoji*. All in all, my trip was amazing & I would 100% travel there again. Maybe not in October again ( come to find out its there hurricane season which explains the weather) but definitely again. Hope you guys enjoyed this post as traveling is one of my true loves (aside from fashion of course). Thanks for stopping by and as always whatever you do, do it with style.