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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

10 Most Photogenic Spots in Aruba

Words by Courtney Cox

It's day two of our Destination X: Aruba series! Aruba local, professional wedding photorgapher and overall cool chick, Laura DeCarlo of Laura Dee Photography, is back to share more information about this beautiful island! If you've decided on or are considering this 'happy island' for your destination wedding, Laura is sharing her top 10 spots on the island for wedding photos. Enjoy the beautiful inspiration and read-on for her must-see, romantic spots around Aruba.

Besides our famous white sandy beaches, Aruba also boasts some really stunning must-see spots all around the island! Whenever I host a Wanderlust Workshop here to show how beautiful this Caribbean island is away from the beaches, there are more choices for stunning scenery than I know what to do with. Here are ten of them, from rugged terrain and colorful architecture,to abandoned buildings and secret spots all over. When you get married in Aruba, make sure to visit some (or all!) and capture that epic photo for on top of your mantel!

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1. Historic Oranjestad
Our capital, which the locals call 'playa,' is filled with colorful buildings (preserved and restored) that are painted in the happiest shades of green, red, blue and yellow. Each one makes for a perfect tropical and super Aruban backdrop for some fun wedding photos.

2. Arikok National Park
The island's nature preserve has tons of cool little spots for some kickass photo opportunities, one of them being directly near the Santa Cruz park entrance. Little walkways and tons of cacti, kwihi trees and the occasional bright yellow Kibra Hacha tree make for some wonderful portrait moments.

3. Fisherman's Huts on the North Side
Located near the opposite entrance of Arikok National Park, is a cluster of pretty dang awesome beach shacks. Built by locals using driftwood, leftover pallets and whatever else washed up on shore, these beach huts are a colorful pop of ‘wow’ against the rough seas of the North coastline.

4. The Caves
Aruba boasts a few easily accesible cave systems, with Fontein and Guadirikiri being my favorites. Enough natural light makes its way inside each one to create some stunning photos and Fontein caves are directly next to some pretty rad ruins and a fresh water pond full of fish that will nibble at your toes!

5. San Nicolaas
The second biggest city on Aruba, San Nicolas is full of culture and diversity. It is also home to some really beautiful local artwork adorning tons of buildings and walls along its main street.

6. Seroe Colorado
We've got wild (but friendly) donkeys here. What more do you need?

7. Eagle Beach
Of course, a trip to the beach needs to be made while you're here, and Eagle Beach is one of my favorites. Walk a few hundred yards to the left and encounter miles of white sand. A few hundred yards to your right and rocky coral reefs and mangrove trees create a really interesting backdrop for some must-take photos with your 'dushi' (sweetheart). If you crave an even quieter stretch of sea, also check out Boca Catalina and Malmok a few miles up!

8. Abandoned Awesomeness
One of my very favorite things to do when shooting in Aruba is to go and explore some of the many abandoned cunucu houses and buildings on the island. I know, that sounds weird, but most of these have been empty and worn down by the elements for many decades, over a hundred years, even. Many of them still show layers of vibrantly hued paints, old-timey architecture and little nuggets of sunlight peering through. Combine that with a yard full of overgrown cacti and Watapana trees and you've got yourself one legendary Kodak moment.

9. The Aruban 'Jungle'
Aruba is really dry and arid. Lush tropical forests aren't something you'll ever find here. Instead though, the island is home to an entirely different type of 'jungle.' Drive inland for a mere few hundred yards and come across hills and valleys full of cacti, Divi trees and huge rock formations. Locally known as the 'cunucu' or 'mondi,' some of these Aruban landscapes are ridiculously stunning. One of my favorite spots is Rooi Lamoenchi, which looks like a scene from a movie.

10. Everywhere Else Inbetween!
Aruba is small, but fierce and you should really take some time and explore all of it! There are windy sand dunes, Mars-like, crater-y stretches of coral reefs, goldmine ruins, mangrove forests, tiny islands with friendly flamingoes on 'em, insane bays with ten foot high waves, a natural pool, a natural bridge and so much more! Each one of them makes a really wonderful place to explore and get your portrait-making groove on.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Laura Dee Photography (1st-3rd, 5th, 7th & 13th), Alexsandra Wiciel Photography (6th, 8th-10th) & Ashley Lynn Photography (4th, 11th & 12th)

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