Whenever I’m exploring a new place, I always go out of my way to try to get a local’s point of view. Whether by posting up in a casual spot by myself until I can strike conversation with someone insightful or crowd-sourcing through friends of friends before I get there, I’m always gathering word-of-mouth recommendations (leave me tips!). Through a nice combination of both, I found myself led to Baby Beach and Rodger’s Beach in Aruba.

On my way to the beaches I was directed to Zeerover’s for some authentic local fried-in-a-basket Aruban lunch, and while it’s unfortunate for me that they’re closed on Mondays, I snapped some photos out back and one of the hosts referred me to Charlie’s up the road. Perfect.

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Now, I was definitely in the suburbs. I’m so glad I ended up here because it gave me a truer sense of Aruba, but driving around with my big fat “Hertz” rental sticker I’m also so glad I didn’t have any valuables in the car. The area didn’t seem alarmingly dangerous, but it’s never good to be that blatantly disclosed as an outsider, especially in my newfound role of solo traveler! (Lauren was on the island, but at work.)


Charlie’s is a dive-y locals’ spot. Junk hanging over every inch of the walls, Papiamento (local language – mix of Dutch, Spanish and English) being spoken at the bar and a signature “Honeymoon Sauce” served with my mahi soup and Balashi (Aruban beer). Great pitstop.

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I pulled over next for a side-of-the-road boutique – Le Topaz Accessories – and made this woman’s day by buying out an entire set of necklaces for my fam for $10 U.S. Also, handmade maxi: $20. We were equally pleased with each other. It is worth the price of your car rental just to go see Ingris alone. I’ll say it again: Go see Ingris.

When you’re done, you can spend hours walking around Baby Beach thinking about it!

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Apparently this “used to be much nicer” before Hurricane Ivan passed nearby in 2004, but I certainly didn’t notice any damage. Quiet moments along these shores were some of my favorite all week!


Around the corner at Rodger’s Beach, I showed up just in time to witness a fisherman’s family celebrating his catch of the day (at least 4 feet by the looks of it) and snap a golden hour sunset with the refinery backdrop so strategically hidden from the High-Rise side of town.

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My iPhone battery was around 1% from obsessive capturing of the day, and by some lucky grace it revived enough juice to catch this last turn of events on my way back to the hotel:


While at first I thought these guys escaped from someone’s fence, a passer-by let me know that wild donkeys are native to Lago Heights and Seroe Colorado, that there’s been talk of enclosing them as a guest attraction, and that he’s happy they still roam safely through the streets for now.

Local’s day success.

Have you guys had a local experience on the road that made your trip?