Aruba is one of those places that I always knew I would visit and it was just a matter of time. It turned out to be the second to last stop of my Fit In Paradise tour (which was last week). I had been dying to go here ever since my sister raved about her vacation to the Dutch Caribbean island. I also have many friends who have stayed at the Aruba Marriott and had only heard positive things. I couldn’t wait for my turn to experience its beauty.
Since Rachel my videographer had a wedding in PA, my friend Lucie came along to help me with video on the trip. We arrived on a Jet Blue direct flight from Boston, the first direct flight of the #FitInParadise tour! Even though we arrived around 12:30, my room was ready. I put on my swim suit and headed down to the beach.
Hello, paradise! The beach was huge and there were two pools to choose from at our hotel. An adult pool which was more relaxing and a larger one complete with a swim up bar, waterfall and volleyball net. We opted for the actual beach considering how inviting it appeared. Since the start of the Fit In Paradise tours, we’ve been going to most of the resorts during their off season. Despite being the end of August, the hotel was at 90% capacity! The beach was packed and everyone was totally enjoying the perfect weather. Aruba, although in the Caribbean, is below the typical hurricane path. I used it as an opportunity to send Nick a bump shot of us at 21 weeks.
After swimming for a bit, I paid a visit to the gym. These trips are not vacation for me. I do have to work and I consider my training work especially when I have 13.1 miles to run in October and a growing baby in my belly. I’m not looking for a PR, but I just don’t want to lose any endurance that I’ve built. I ran on the treadmill for 3 miles, alternating between 5.0 mph for 2 minutes and a 7.0 mph for 1 minute. I watched European soccer on the TV which seemed to be everywhere in the Caribbean. It helped beat my boredom. I also did 3 sets of 60-second forearm planks.
After my workout, it was time to meet with the Marriott team, take a property tour and go over what we would be doing on site. First we picked out a location for our fitness shoot. Then we chatted with the chefs and trainers to ask about healthy activities and offerings at the resort. These meetings help me create the tip sheets that will go in each room as well as menu specials at the restaurants featuring healthy cocktails and food items.
At the conclusion of our meetings, Lucie and I had dinner at La Vista enjoying the International Buffet and watching the Carnival show.
I was surprised at how many healthy options there were for both of us. Lucie is a pescatarian and I’m obviously pregnant. The veggie offerings which we both started with were my favorite. The seafood was delicious as well. A buffet with shrimp cocktail and crab will always get a gold star in my heart. I of course did not take a picture. The show lasted 30 minutes and was very entertaining. The dancers were fantastic. The kids took pictures with the performers after.
First thing Tuesday morning, we shot a 10 minute booty workout by the adult pool. It took us over an hour and I decided that was my workout for the day. My legs were tired and I was proud of myself for running the day before. We enjoyed brunch immediately after.
For our lifestyle video in Aruba, we decided to shoot a What I Eat In A Day video. I think you guys will love this one. I was pleasantly pleased that there were fresh juices/smoothies and homemade granola to enjoy.
At the Marriott time share property next door, there was even a juice bar but since we are supposed to stick to the resort that is part of the Marriott Resort collection, we did not get to taste any but we did walk by. If you are staying along High Rise hotels, you can probably walk to it on the beach in front of the Marriott Shore Club.
After breakfast, we decided we needed to work up an appetite for our next shoot location which would be lunch on the beach. We rented a palapa for $30 for the day, which allowed us to swim and relax and the beach without worrying about our stuff. The temperature difference in the shade was drastically different. I would recommend renting a palapa the day before you want to use it because they book up quickly but can be reserved. Chairs without shade are free, as are the chairs and umbrellas by the pools.
Being fairly new to the Caribbean ocean, I was still amazed at how crystal clear and bright blue the ocean was – and how warm! Coming from New England, I’m not used to this naturally. We go in the water to cool off and get out. I could stay in the ocean all day here.
We hydrated with fresh coconut water on the beach. You can add alcohol to these!
We enjoyed fish tacos on the beach for lunch sitting under our palapa. I didn’t take a picture but we did shoot video. They were filling and yummy. served with grilled fish.
Later, I had a spa appointment for a massage at the Mandara Spa. It was special for pregnant ladies so I was nervous it would be overly gentle but it was just as amazing as my regular ones. I loved the spa atmosphere. It was calming, cool and included snacks in the relaxation room. Like many of the other resort spas, you have access to many spa amenities if you pay for a treatment but you can also use them by paying a small fee. This usually includes in a cold and hot tub, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi/whirl pool and relaxation room. My masseuse was wonderful and I started to doze off in the middle it was so nice!
My masseuse knew exactly what she was doing with a pregnant lady on the table and I felt very comfortable the entire time, even almost falling asleep. My nose gets crazy stuffed up whenever I’m on my belly though. I had special pillows to accommodate the bump in both positions.
For our last night in paradise, Lucie and I had a romantic dinner on the beach at Simply Fish, located on the resort. The menu looked delicious but the scenery was the real scene stealer. You literally ate with your toes in the sand.
Our table was less than 40 yards from the water’s edge. There was a musician playing his guitar and singing while guests watched the sunset.
I’m in the baggy clothes stage right now. Even though I’m 21 weeks pregnant, I don’t really look it. Tight clothes leave me cringing, wondering if people are asking if I’m “getting fat or pregnant.” I feel like the loose clothes hide it but I’m starting to rethink my theory. If you are a fit lady who has given birth, when did you start to embrace maternity clothes and showing off your bump?
I wanted to order fish that was local so I chose the Caribbean lobster tail which came with “new potatoes” and asparagus. Clearly these “new potatoes” are french fries which is fine, I totally enjoyed them, but part of the Fit In Paradise program is recommending healthy dining options. I thought the potatoes would be roasted rather than fried. This type of meal would be slightly changed for the “Fit Menu” for a less greasy starchy side like black quinoa which Lucie got with her grouper. Grouper is higher on the mercury index which is a moderation fish for me right now.
We did order dessert, and we did include it in the WIEIAD video. The only things not on here that I ate this day were the nuts I had waiting for my spa treatment and a Lara Bar in the afternoon.
We had an early morning flight to Curacao on Wednesday so I got up and went for a 3 mile easy run along the beach. The sand was hard so it wasn’t too bad. My average pace was an 11 minute/mile though.
I enjoyed the breakfast buffet quickly before checking out of my room one last time. I can’t get enough of the fresh fruit. The toast was also pretty hearty. The stuff on top of my omelet was papaya hot sauce from Aruba that was amazing! I wish I had bought a bottle to bring back to the states.
And then just like that we were off to the 8th Fit In Paradise resort!
The Aruba Marriott Resort felt like the largest resort of the collection that I’ve visited but it was not room wise – Puerto Vallarta was. The beach was just huge and the water inviting. It felt like a great resort to bring your family or even have a destination wedding since there are so many things to do. We didn’t do any water sports but there were many water activities going on including tubing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, jet skis and more. I hear the food in Aruba is also outstanding but we stayed on the property. It was also the most fit resort we visited in regards to number of people coming and going into the fitness center. We weren’t able to partake in any of the fitness classes but they sounded perfect like sunrise yoga, aqua Zumba, Merengue and more. You could easily do Aruba as a healthy retreat but if you wanted to let loose, you can easily do that too!
Have you been to Aruba? Did you love it as much as I did?