Many of my regular readers know that the boyfriend and i take a nice long vacation every year, and last year was no exception. Some of our travels lend to be more go, go, go type vacations, and some are more leisurely. Usually, we try and alternate years, and last year (after my father passed away in late summer 2011) there was a real need to escape and not think too much about itinerary. Somewhere relaxing. It was a complete no brainer about where we would go, since for the last 20 years my father had been vacationing in Aruba. He always told my brother and i how he can't wait for us to experience the island for ourselves, and this felt like paying tribute to my dad and keeping up the tradition of my family continuing this Aruba travel. Armed with recommedations of restaurants from my stepmom, i set about seeing what else the island had to offer. Eating great food and sitting by the pool holds appeal for us, but we both like to explore and get to know the place we were vacationing. I'm also really thrifty, so seeing what deals and steals are out there is of great importance. What we found and experienced truly was getting to know the whole island. We went to beaches that usually only locals frequent, we went to a crazy bar that many repeat vacationers have never heard of, and we went to a weekly festival that, when asking what time it started, staff thought we were referring to a completely different festival because they hadn't heard of this one. Like the people in this video, Aruba is a place where people return time and time again. I wholeheartedly believe it's because the island feels safe and is so user friendly. You don't have to rent a car, but if you do driving is on the same side of the road as us even though it's a Dutch island. You don't have to worry about going out of the "resort" area. You don't have to be embarrassed about rocking a floppy hat, which i proudly did! As i write this, my stepmom is there enjoying her vacation, and my brother and his fiance are going next year on their honeymoon. I can absolutely see us going back again in a few years when we need another relaxing and easy vacation. If you are thinking about going to Aruba, visit Aruba.com, but i'll also glady offer recommendations or answer any questions. Ask away!