Sorry, this is a bit overdue... Our trip encompassed Christmas and New Years. Whew! Hubby, 18 year old daughter, 16 year old son, and I arrived Christmas Eve. Our reservations were at the Holiday Inn, a place DH and I have stayed on many previous occasions. We keep saying we want to try the low rise area sometime and after learning of the "Vegas" style nightlife now abundant across from the high rises, we may be headed there next. However, it is still quiet on the beach side at night, but the vast number of people visiting the mall, restaurants and bars make it difficult for the guests of the Holiday Inn to find parking. We did rent a jeep for 6 days and the kids loved it (even though the 6'3" son and 5'11" daughter had a grand time getting in and out of the back seat). We visited the lighthouse. Wow, they have vendors there now selling drinks and snacks. We tried driving up the rough side of the coast, but couldn't find the "road". We made it to Baby Beach which now has chair, umbrella, etc. for rent and what looked like a snack shop that we didn't get to. Loved the water there as it was so clear we didn't need snorkel gear to see what was below the water. The kids had swim goggles that worked great. The once clear waters at the high rise area are now murky due to all of the ski boats, jet skis, motor boats that stir up the sand.
New Year's Eve! Wow! We started out driving up to the lighthouse about 10:00 as so many people said that you can see so many of the fireworks from there. We didn't stay long as it got a little crazy with people throwing firecrackers and small fireworks at close range. We ended up back at our hotel on the beach and can say it was quite a fun experience seeing the flurry of activity as it got closer to midnight. The fireworks completely surrounded us. My daughter counted 10 different "displays" at one point. And they lasted at least 1/2 hour.
Food was great everywhere. The kids' favorite was Tortuga, which I believe is at the Aruba Beach Club. DH and I still love Ruinas Del Mar at the Hyatt. The waiter overheard us talking that it was our anniversary and had the chef prepare a plate that had "Happy Anniversary" written in chocolate surrounding a delicious piece of chocolate cake.
Basically, the trip was a great, great Christmas present to the kids. They've already asked about going back. We hope to, but the 18 year old will be depleting the expendable income with the cost of college. I knew that would be expensive, but had no idea...
Lastly, have great casino stories that I'll share another time. I'll just say that lady luck was on our side.
OK, The casinos: Night 1. Hubby goes to the casino at our hotel, HI. In the morning tells me he's up a couple hundred or so but I really need to go play the "kitty" game (I'm a cat lover). So, Night 2, hubby and I go to the HI casino and he sits me at the kitty game at which you can get 15 free spins if three of the special bonus symbols comes up. I'm the most unlucky person at slots, so I was thrilled when I hit the "bonus" and am thrilled to get 15 free spins!!! During the free spins, I hit the bonus again, then again, then again, again, again. I ended up with 150 free spins. At the end of the 150 I was up almost $400 (playing at 50 cents a spin). During the time I was watching my free spins, hubby was playing the machine next to me and on one spin his screen filled almost completely with wilds, taking him to almost $400 ahead. Another evening we decided to try the casino at the Marriott. I was ready to call it a night and sat down at a machine to waste away my last $50. Hubby takes a seat a few machines away. My $50 was gone in 10 minutes, his $20 was up to about $100. At which point I say, "you're up, let's go". He can't tear himself away. As I was literally falling asleep in the chair next to him, he says "go get an attendant". His machine wouldn't pay out the $1100.00 he had won. His winning ways continued as he was up a few hundred on one other occasion at the HI.
Not the "we can retire" type of winnings, but enough that we took most of our spending money home, get the son a pricey pair of sunglasses and the daughter a beautiful watch. And, hubby and I had a bunch of laughs and a fun time.
Eagle Beach, Baby Beach, Arashi Beach Tierra Del Sol golf course
[QUOTE=AUA1989;240248] Loved the water there as it was so clear we didn't need snorkel gear to see what was below the water. The kids had swim goggles that worked great. The once clear waters at the high rise area are now murky due to all of the ski boats, jet skis, motor boats that stir up the sand.
I think there is more going on in the water at the north end of palm beach than jet skis etc. We stayed at the surf club 4 years ago and noticed the water in front of it looked dirty and had an odor. The bottom even felt a little slimey. You could not see your knees in the water. The next year we stayed a few nights at the westin and the water there was quite clear so I decided to walk to the north end and see how it was. I went into the ocean in front of each resort. The further north I got, the less visibility. I could easily see my feet at westin but could not see my knees at holiday inn or marriotts complex. Did still feel slimey at marriott. I think the problem has to do with all the new building put up by marriott not boats or jet skis. I think the Aruban government should do some testing and find out, or maybe they know and dont want to tick off marriott.