Local Aruba Sights

Sure, Aruba has beautiful beaches.

And fabulous pools to play in.


But there’s also places like this where the locals pack in nightly after work.

And on Friday nights the place is so full that it’s standing room only.  Well, it’s always standing room only here.

But that doesn’t stop the locals from enjoying their cold Balashi beer, the local island brew.  I’m ot a beer fan so couldn’t tell you what it tastes like.  I’m more of a champagne or wine fan, yes.

But the guy working the counter loves beer, and apparently loves his job, and gave me a big Thumbs Up when he saw my camera come out.

There are also little “lottery” and gambling huts.  Not sure what they gamble on but they are everywhere.

And apparently gambling and beer go well together given the signs: It’s all about the beer.

And the irony of this: Where Greatness is Found

With the bars on the windows. 

Everyone’s definition of Greatness is different, though.  To each her own.

And here’s Local Greatness to me: the local Raisin Bread Pudding that I adore!

Cubed and freezer-chilled.  The best way to enjoy it for me.

From my last post about Career Fantasy & Doing What you Want, thank you for the amazing comments.  I was blown away with lovely, inspiring, and thoughtful comments from all of you in my inbox.

Some of you are doing what you want, some of you aren’t, and it was great to hear about what your fantasy is, and how that’s meshing with your current reality.

Keep the comments coming and I hope you have time to read over some of the great comments on the post.  Thank you everyone, including new readers and delurkers, for sharing.

One other thing I wanted to share is that I have a post up on Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s site today.   As I had mentioned before, it’s a new contributing gig that I have and am so excited about it.

It fits right in with everything I had mentioned earlier today: writing, photography, food, recipes.  Yes, all the elements.


1. When you travel, do you enjoy getting off the beaten path and venturing outside of typical “touristy” things to do?

I own my home here in Aruba and yes, I have ventured well off the beaten path here.  After coming here for a decade, there’s very little I haven’t seen, done, or tried, but I haven’t seen it all.  You never can.  I haven’t seen it all in San Diego, either.

But as beautiful as they are, there’s only so much beach time and chaise lounge laying that one can do, year in, year out, before you need to mix it up a bit!

Plus, seeing how the locals live, where they shop, what and where they eat, this is a wonderful thing about traveling for me.  The exploration and discovery about people, cultures, places, that are new.

Not to mention, I lived in Myrtle Beach for a few years and no offense to anyone who enjoys things like Alligator Alley, Nascar Cafes, or having shrimp flipped in the air tableside at hibachi-style restaurants, well, I had my fill of “touristy” things while I lived there and so enjoy doing things other than that when I travel.

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done on vacation or while traveling?

When I was in Costa Rica for a month, ten years ago, getting my first 200 hour yoga teacher training certification, I went zip-lining over the rainforest canopy.  That was pretty cool!

And all the snorkeling and Scuba diving that Scott and I have done together has been so beautiful to see, too!

P.S. Thanks for the entries on the Business Cards Giveaway.  Hope you enter because you never know when you need cards, even just for networking.

37 comments on “Local Aruba Sights”

  1. Hi Averie! I am still reading your blog every day. But I must tell you, I think the guy that was smiling at your camera is also in the picture of the 2nd bar “where greatness is found” picture on the very left looking through the red bars! too funny. let me know if you see it..
    :D I am glad you are enjoying your trip.

  2. ahhh, travels…another one of my fave topics!! I definitely go off the beaten path when I travel! There are times when I need a tourist guide but 99% of the time, I love doing my own thang! Coolest things I’ve done:
    1. hiking Machu Pichu, ’03
    2. roadtrip from Guaymas to Zacatecas in Mexico in a tiny car (like Geo Metro) with 4 of us in it! 10 hrs!, ’01.
    3. visiting Halong Bay, Vietnam ’04
    4. jumping off 7 sisters (7 waterfalls down) in Grenada, an island in the Caribbean (3 times! ’06-’08)
    5. meeting my hunk of burnin love while doing clinical rotations in Winchester, UK ’08
    6. seeing petronas tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ’04
    7. living large in NYC with Tejas during our 4th yr of medical school! 09-10. :)

    • thanks for the awesome comments in the last half hour!

      your other one about what you want to do career-wise, you are amazing and I know you will one day accomplish everything on that list!

      and what an awesome amt of traveling you’ve done and stellar things you’ve seen and done. I love your #5…hunk of burnin love….. CLASSIC :)

  3. niiice! If I’m outside of the U.S., then I like to go where the locals are~touristy places are great and all, but I’m very big on culture and immersing myself in it, so I like that more :D

  4. I love to travel, but I don’t like just being a “tourist”. When I went to China for study abroad, we hiked through the Quinling Mountains looking for wild pandas and takin, and then in Chengdu we cleaned panda enclosures for the shelter for pandas left without a home after the earthquake in Wolong. We even got to hand-feed them. A panda licked my fingers!

  5. I’m a huge fan of going off the beaten path. That’s where the best things to see are anyways :D I know from living here, it’s a fairly hot spot in the summer, we have people from all over Canada and the US visit. And it’s annoying and they do touristy things and generally bother the locals. It’s so much nicer when they just do what the locals do. I haven’t been on that many amazing trips but we once went to Mexico when I was younger and we rented a car and drove waaaay out of town. It was so interesting to get away from all the tourist stuff :D

  6. I love traveling! Here are some of my most memorable experiences:
    When I was in France my friend and I stayed with our French friend in her flat in Paris for a month, it was amazing! We spent a weekend in Normandy in a huge house with all of her cousins and also went kayaking in caves in Bretagne among other things! It was definitely the best trip I’ve ever been on!
    When I was on a cruise to the Bahamas with my dad’s side of the family, my cousins and I sung with a band in a bar! Bohemian Rhapsody and Hotel California are two of the songs I vividly remember singing. My mom always says she had to pretend to be mad that we were out until 3:00am (I was only 15) but that deep down she knew the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I am my mother’s daughter!

  7. Averie! I didn’t respond to this morning’s post… so, my dream job is to become a Dentist of all things, and I am working towards that goal now! I have a suggestion: maybe you could try to recreate this awesome raisin bread deliciousness for us…. any idea what is in in? That would be great blog entry, perhaps you could ask the baker how it’s made :) I want to try some!!
    Enjoy the Aruba sunshine!!!

    • dentist, awesome!

      i can guarantee: tons of butter, eggs, sugar, flour, raisins. I could probably make it at home. I need an oven that’s in F not C. And also a house that’s not already 85F before I turn on the oven, i.e. no heavy duty baking here :)

  8. I love hearing all about your vacation, I am living vicariously through you :)

  9. haha, that balashi man photo is funny! we brought home my brother some balashi one year, but i’m not a beer drinker, either, so couldn’t tell you if it’s good or not!
    in aruba, we have not ventured far from the palm beach area, although one year we did hike to the lighthouse and back – that was awesome. there are AMAZING houses near there!
    in colorado, florida and in moab utah, on vacations, i loved trying to fit in like a non-tourist. just grocery shopping, exploring neighbourhoods…touristy stuff bores me pretty fast.
    thanks for the array of aruba photos – keep ’em coming! :)

    • I used to walk almost from our house to the lighthouse and back! before skylar! it’s probably a good 5 mile walk each way. It took me a longgggg time. Ok, not that i did it often, but have done it. Used to also use the main road in front of the marriott and going up toward the lighthouse as our walking path, but now we go the other way, toward the low rise hotels and eagle beach b/c it’s safer with a stroller.

  10. Love those beer images/advertisements!!

  11. Congrats on the contributing recipe! It looks great!

  12. Honestly I haven’t done much traveling so usually when I do, it is only the touristy stuff!

    I saw your Marcus Sam. post (from your post on facebook I think) — very cool that you are doing that Averie!

  13. Hi Averie,

    I am a regular reader of your blog and I wanted to come out of the mist and say hi! The Aruba photos remind me of when I went to Aruba; such an amazing place. And that raisin bread pudding looks awesomely addictive.

    I read a lot of blogs, but your blog is always my favorite to visit. You always “tell it where it’s at” without pretense. Thanks for keeping it real!! We need more of that in general society!!

  14. Fun pictures, what a cool bar. Too funny on the bars.

    1. Yes, I’ve had my share of touristy type attractions and prefer a more real experience. I dig the new show Off Limits on the Travel channel.
    2. Snowboarding, snorkeling, eating, and stumbling into clothing optional bars.

  15. What fun!!! I wish I could go to Aruba!!!

  16. I just wanted to say that I love how you bring your daughter everywhere.

  17. About 3 years ago I went on the most amazing surf trip to Costa Rica and ended up discovering yoga for the first time there in Malpais! A truly life changing experience.. It was like a kind of eat, pray, love trip for me :)

    • i did my 1st yoga teacher training 10 yrs ago in C.R. and it was a life changing experience for me. set me on the path of yoga. which wasnt just yoga on the mat, but yoga off the mat, too, for a lifetime! it was an E.P.L. trip for me too!

  18. Balashi! Man, I loved that stuff when I was in Aruba! <3

    I don't mind touristy things if they're what gives a certain city, country, whatever, it's sense of place. I work in DC and totally get why people flock to the monuments, but I don't understand why they go to Hard Rock Cafe or Madame Taussauds. Having said that, I can't think of anywhere that I've gone too far off the beaten path. I do try my hardest to dine at smaller local restaurants when I'm traveling. That's part of the experience!

    Oh, I also loved the uber-touristy kukoo kunuku party bus in Aruba. :) We met some VERY interesting people on our bus and it sticks out as one of my best vacation memories ever!

    • balashi! haha!

      ok there’s a hard rock now on palm beach across the street from the radisson/hyatt and even tho the economy sucks and most restaurants here arent crowded b/c american tourism is wayyy down…the hard rock still gets busy. *insert headshake* :)

      but yes the kuku kunuku bus…scott and i had a blast on it about 5 yrs ago and it still drives by and honks and we see it daily and just LAUGH our butts off at everyo even skylar laughs at them. lol

  19. Your vacay pics look like wall art! Seriously I want to go on vacation with you! BTW, I thought of you today as I made your vegan caramels! Had to use macadamia nuts though since pine nuts gave me that awful “pine mouth” once and now I gag at the sight of them….

    • you are welcome to come here ANYTIME (no kids, no hubs, girls trip only!!) seriously. I have been trying to recruit ppl and no one thinks im serious!

      wall art. I blush. thank you :)

      mac nuts worked??! YAY! I will make a note of that the next time i post about them, thanks my dear for lmk!

  20. I always venture off the beaten path! I’ve take a lot of cool hikes, sail boats, bar-hops, and chances at hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Once in Sorrento I ended up riding on the back of some guy’s vespa down the the water and sitting on the dock talking all night. Stupid? Probably (I was very young and naive). One helluva memory? For sure. :)

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  22. I tend to feel safer when I do touristy things, probably because there are so many extra people around. Especially if I’m somewhere where I have never been and/or don’t speak the language.

    Going to Switzerland was my favorite traveling experience, the beauty of the alps can’t be beat!

  23. We definitely like to get out of the touristy areas and take in the sites the locals enjoy.
    While in Barbados we go out to the paintball field and play for the day. Always get in some snorkelling over ship wrecks and swim with the turtles too.
    While in the UK, we usually rent a car (not in London though) and drive around. Stopping where we want, and checking out the local pubs and shops.
    While in Bali, we hired a driver for the day and had him give us a guided tour. We got to see a temple that is off the beaten path, and the surrounding area was filled with monkeys.

  24. The coolest thing I have done on vacation is probably zip-lining into fresh water caves in Mexico, scuba diving in Mexico and Cuba, and swimming with dolphins.

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