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Thread: Burghboy Aruba 2014 8/23 - 9/2

  1. #11
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    I am interested in hearing about your rental house!

    You may have posted about it, but i cannot seem to find.

    Please on your next chapter, can you tell us about the house?

    Was your experience with your car rental good?

  2. #12
    Senior Member burghboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    I am interested in hearing about your rental house!

    You may have posted about it, but i cannot seem to find.

    Please on your next chapter, can you tell us about the house?

    Was your experience with your car rental good?
    Andrea I'll do one better. I'll respond right now. Our rental house is a little home near Palm I guess you could say directly back from Playa Linda. It's in a small neighborhood behind Wendy's/Bavaria. We found the owner on VRBO back in March. She happens to only live a few hours from us which upped the comfort level with renting a house sight unseen.

    Its a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. Full kitchen and comfortable furniture in the living room. Nothing fancy but we aren't fancy people so it feels like home. No pool but it does have some outside space to eat and what not. Also we have a great rapport with the woman who owns it so as it stands it just seems like the perfect place for us. If you have any specific questions I would be more than happy to answer those as well.

    In the past we've rented a house in Rooi Santo that had a pool but we realized we didn't use it enough to justify the extra expense. Not to mention if you get a rain storm the pool gets taken over by the flying insects that emerge after the storm, can get messy. Our first time down we rented a condo at Oceania which was super nice. It had a rooftop jacuzzi and a killer view of Eagle Beach. The problem is we rented it just as the owner was in the process of selling it and the new owner almost doubled the rent on the place. I love the complex but on principle I can't justify spending twice as much.

    As far as the car rental goes. On each trip we have rented from Royal. It started because on our first trip we didn't know you had to reserve jeeps far in advance. Two days before we were set to leave I tried to get a four door jeep. Every rental agency in Aruba told us they couldn't help us until we got to Royal. They put us in a jeep and were super nice. Since they we have been loyal customers.

    This time, our fourth trip down, the car wasn't exactly up to their normal standards. Now one thing about Royal is their jeeps look pretty beat up but that works for us. We don't want something super nice since we like to do a bit of off-roading. However this time the radio didn't work. That isn't a big deal although I do like listening to the music on the island. When the AC didn't work I didn't like how the guy (a different person than we usually deal with) more or less brushed us off. The AC was never right on the car it would cut in and out and one time wouldn't turn off even though the car was off and the key out of the ignition.

    When we finally turned it in the guy (the normal guy we deal with) was actually kind of rude when I told him they should check it out before renting it back out. So even though I have had great experiences with them in the past they no longer have my loyalty. Its not that I wouldn't rent from them again but from here on out they have to earn my loyalty back. I'm a free agent. So if any of you have any suggestions I'm all ears.
    Last edited by burghboy; 09-08-2014 at 07:25 PM.

  3. #13
    Senior Member burghboy's Avatar
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    Wednesday - Today was a bit different than our normal day. Instead of going to the beach we decided to utilize our jeep and hit the North side of the island. The plan was to eat a hearty breakfast so I cooked bacon, eggs and orange juice along with bagels. This was a great way to start the day.

    So we packed up a lunch of crackers, cheese and some sliced meats. Also fruits, plenty of water and a bottle of wine. The plan was to have a picnic on one of those north shore beaches that no one ever uses. Didn’t end up happening but a solid plan nonetheless.

    First things first. The other day I had noticed a small bird attacking the driver side mirror on the jeep. He would stare at himself in the mirror for a couple of seconds, fight the mirror and then hop on top of it to poop. The little guy would do it over and over again. Well today when I went out to pack the car he was at it again. I guess he was territorial and thought he was protecting his turf from an intruder… not very bright.

    So I packed up the car and we departed. Something was wrong, the car had no air conditioning. This just wouldn’t do, so we made our way to Royal to try to trade in our jeep for another. Of course the AC kicks in just as we pull into Royal. We explain to him what happened and he gives us some bogus reason for it but it was working and they had no more jeeps available at that time so we kept it. Hit the gas station to put 50 dollars in the tank and met the nicest older Aruban gentleman ever. Only spoke to him for the length of time it takes to fill up a tank but he made such an impression I’ll probably never forget him. Wish I had my camera handy.

    Now we were off to explore the other side of the island. We wanted to transition over as close to Arikok as possible but had no idea where we were going. With a full tank of gas, plenty of food and water and good company I figured getting lost wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

    We made our way across the interior of the island and somehow ended up an entrance to the road to the natural pool. We had never been to the natural pool before and wouldn’t this trip either but it’s in the list for the next trip. We turned around just in time to see a group of four wheelers exiting that area. I figured when all else fails, follow the tour group. I had no idea where they were heading but figured it must be someplace someone would pay to see so off we went. I feel kind of bad saying that since people had actually paid to go on that tour but its not like we went on their exact tour. We were only following them until things seemed familiar. It actually became kind of a game trying to stay far enough back that they wouldn’t notice us following. We felt like FBI agents trying to tail Tony Soprano, close enough to keep up, but not so close as to be “made”.

    Eventually we saw the gold smelting ruins and then knew exactly where we were. From that point we would ditch the group and proceed up the coast until we came to an area full of wishing rocks. Maggie built a nice sized stack of rocks and then we walked toward the cliff to take pictures. When we turned around to walk back neither of us had any clue which stack of wishing rocks was hers so she had to build another one. This time I built one as well.

    We’d make our way up the north side of the island stopping to take photos along the way. One thing we noticed was how many beach shacks there were along the way. It seems like the number increased since the last time we were there. Also some of them seemed like they were built by people that knew what they were doing. Solid foundation, actual walls and cutouts for windows. One even had an outhouse and what appeared to be a makeshift shower next to it. Does anyone know who builds these huts and for what purpose?

    The drive was a lot more tame than I remember as far as the terrain goes. But what was not tame was the jeep that approached us from the opposite direction as we neared Alto Vista Chapel. They beeped and we did the smile and wave thing and I didn’t notice but she swears one of the guys in the back had a very large gun. We speculated about goat hunting and laugh off all sorts of theories on what they could be up to but in the end we didn’t really think much of it.

    We didn’t think much of it until we got further up the trail past the chapel and saw a huge rock (like 15 feet tall) with words written on it. Being from the East Coast of the United States we see overpasses with all manner of things written so by itself it would have just been an out of place reminder of home. The problem is 10 minutes earlier she saw a guy with firearm.

    We tried to get closer to the rock to take pictures just because it would at the very least be an interesting story. That’s when I saw a huge bee/ant hybrid that looked like it could kill you with one sting. At that point I couldn’t care less about firearms, traffickers or much anything other than getting the heck out of there. Onward and and upward towards the lighthouse we would continue until we got to Arashi beach. It started to drizzle when we got there so we decided to have our picnic in the car. Once the rain stopped we enjoyed the beach and water with some locals.

    Back to the house to shower change and head out for the night. We went back to Fermin’s that night. Once again it was empty. This time no waitress at all but a guy who I guess was the owner helped us. He didn’t really speak English but it wasn’t much of an inconvenience. We got another bucket of Balashi. She decided to order a burger and I got the ribs and chicken combo. Once again the ribs were fantastic. The chicken decent but perhaps a little too smokey. Maggie’s burger was described by her as possibly the worst burger in Aruba but the little doggie that watched us eat seemed to enjoy it. Still the entire meal cost us slightly more than a bucket of beer would have cost on Palm so it was worth it just to try other parts of their menu. I would still go back but only for the ribs, the beer and the atmosphere.

    Just as we did the last time we went to Moomba’s. On the way there we saw a huge group of people watching monitors or something. At first I thought it was karaoke so we made our way in and became part of the group. It took about 10 minutes before we realized we had just crashed a private party. If I had gotten the impression it was an open bar I probably would have stayed but since that didn’t seem to be the case we continued onto Moomba’s. It was a pretty quiet night there so we didn’t stay all that long (only until happy hour ended). We hung around on the beach for a while afterwards just taking in the fresh air but all in all it was a pretty quiet night.


  4. #14
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    Awesome!
    Thanks for taking the time to tell us all about it.

    In year's past, Paul and I used to ride horses in that very neighborhood where you rented.
    Seriously!

    It makes lots of sense not renting a place with the pool.
    It suits your needs and allows you to visit many beaches.
    I like your style.

    Does the beach house include sand chairs?
    What do you do for shade on the beaches?

    Your story about Royal is one i have heard before.
    There is no reason for rudeness.

    Thank you so much for your reply...your story...and your time!
    Quote Originally Posted by burghboy View Post
    Andrea I'll do one better. I'll respond right now. Our rental house is a little home near Palm I guess you could say directly back from Playa Linda. It's in a small neighborhood behind Wendy's/Bavaria. We found the owner on VRBO back in March. She happens to only live a few hours from us which upped the comfort level with renting a house sight unseen.

    Its a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. Full kitchen and comfortable furniture in the living room. Nothing fancy but we aren't fancy people so it feels like home. No pool but it does have some outside space to eat and what not. Also we have a great rapport with the woman who owns it so as it stands it just seems like the perfect place for us. If you have any specific questions I would be more than happy to answer those as well.

    In the past we've rented a house in Rooi Santo that had a pool but we realized we didn't use it enough to justify the extra expense. Not to mention if you get a rain storm the pool gets taken over by the flying insects that emerge after the storm, can get messy. Our first time down we rented a condo at Oceania which was super nice. It had a rooftop jacuzzi and a killer view of Eagle Beach. The problem is we rented it just as the owner was in the process of selling it and the new owner almost doubled the rent on the place. I love the complex but on principle I can't justify spending twice as much.

    As far as the car rental goes. On each trip we have rented from Royal. It started because on our first trip we didn't know you had to reserve jeeps far in advance. Two days before we were set to leave I tried to get a four door jeep. Every rental agency in Aruba told us they couldn't help us until we got to Royal. They put us in a jeep and were super nice. Since they we have been loyal customers.

    This time, our fourth trip down, the car wasn't exactly up to their normal standards. Now one thing about Royal is their jeeps look pretty beat up but that works for us. We don't want something super nice since we like to do a bit of off-roading. However this time the radio didn't work. That isn't a big deal although I do like listening to the music on the island. When the AC didn't work I didn't like how the guy (a different person than we usually deal with) more or less brushed us off. The AC was never right on the car it would cut in and out and one time wouldn't turn off even though the car was off and the key out of the ignition.

    When we finally turned it in the guy (the normal guy we deal with) was actually kind of rude when I told him they should check it out before renting it back out. So even though I have had great experiences with them in the past they no longer have my loyalty. Its not that I wouldn't rent from them again but from here on out they have to earn my loyalty back. I'm a free agent. So if any of you have any suggestions I'm all ears.

  5. #15
    Senior Member burghboy's Avatar
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    You are very welcome.

    The house does have chairs, coolers and some beach toys that we never have used. As far as shade we just use hats, a UV shirt and the highest SPF I can find. This year that was 50 for my body and 100 for my face. I think the UV shirt is rated somewhere around 50 as well. Oh and trips to Bugaloe and Scott's Brats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    Awesome!
    Thanks for taking the time to tell us all about it.

    In year's past, Paul and I used to ride horses in that very neighborhood where you rented.
    Seriously!

    It makes lots of sense not renting a place with the pool.
    It suits your needs and allows you to visit many beaches.
    I like your style.

    Does the beach house include sand chairs?
    What do you do for shade on the beaches?

    Your story about Royal is one i have heard before.
    There is no reason for rudeness.

    Thank you so much for your reply...your story...and your time!

  6. #16
    Senior Member burghboy's Avatar
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    Palm Beach, Arashi Beach and Manchebo Beach
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    Thursday - Woke up at our normal time and decided to hit Linda’s Pancakes for breakfast. Being the adventurous types we are, we both had plain pancakes. Last time I was there I had the gouda and mushroom and it was enough to feed a small village so I figured this time I would go light. It was delicious as usual. I couldn’t get the wifi to work at Linda’s which was frustrating. Our rental doesn’t have wifi and I am okay with not being able to access the internet but for some reason things change when I am someplace where I should be able to access it but can’t. So much of happiness is about managing expectations.

    Today would be another Palm beach day as I can’t go more than a couple of days without Scott’s Brats when in Aruba. Same deal as before, being beach bums and floating on our papasans most of the day. Today we saw another family that had papasans too. Ours are both blue. They had papasans in multiple colors. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t at least a slight bit of jealousy on my part.

    This time at Scott’s I got the Doc’s Brat. Wasn’t sure how peanut butter, cream cheese and jalapenos would work on a brat but I actually liked it. Leslie gave me some grief for wearing my Pittsburgh Steelers hat but it was all in good fun. I found out the story behind the Doc’s Brat and we talked about baseball a bit. Love that place.

    Today when returned home from the beach that bird was waiting for us. We pull in and there he was sitting on the driveway gate, arms crossed, foot tapping wondering we were had been. Before we had even unpacked the car he was back at it, beating up the mirror.

    Quick shower and change and then back out the door. We had planned on going to the Sultan (another SanNic recommendation) but then decided to switch things up and head down to Marina Pirata. Today was the first day I realized my phones GPS worked even though I didn’t have internet connectivity. Learn something new each day. Probably could have found it no matter what, but this made things super easy.

    Was super excited to finally see the other side of the bridge. On our next trip we plan to explore that area a lot more. I want to snorkel at Mango Halto and see the mangroves and such. Can’t wait to start researching what else there is to do down there. If anyone has suggestions I would love to hear them.

    Even with GPS we managed to screw up the last turn going to Marina Pirata. As we turned left when we shouldn’t have someone beeped at us. We figured they knew where we were headed since why else would a tourist be in that area that time of day. As we get to the dead end we see a Marina Pirata truck pass by and assume that must have been who tried to get our attention. So we backtrack a bit and finally we reach our destination.

    Just as we are making our way into the restaurant a couple of guys are bringing in what looks to be a four foot long sea monster. Not certain what kind of fish it was but I’m thinking I just saw the catch of the day.

    When the host asked if we had reservations my throat tightened as I knew we didn’t think to take care of that little detail. Funny thing is he then ended up seating us right on the corner of the dock in what may have been the best seat in the house. Truthfully the restaurant was relatively empty that night so no one “needed” a reservation but I can imagine during the high season how packed it can get.

    We were seated just before the sun started to set and for the next half hour we were treated to a scene that can only be described as spectacular. For dinner I order the Shore Platter and she order the Garlic Shrimp. I loved my dinner and she also enjoyed hers but although she didn’t think her portion was large enough (shrimp never is), they nearly had to roll me out of that place. We couldn’t even finish the pan bati we had ordered but had a lot of fun feeding it to the fish. When the sun goes down and they turn the dock lights on you get huge swarms of fish just waiting for the workers to clear the tables which they do by tossing the scraps into the ocean.

    We took lots of great pictures that night. I would recommend Marina Pirata as one of the top romantic dining options I’ve been to in Aruba but next time I think we will Zeerover a try. She isn’t a huge seafood eater so I try to be fair and not go too seafood heavy on any one trip.

    That was probably the fanciest place we ate this trip but even then the bill wasn’t too much. I think total we paid maybe 85 dollars including tip. Seems like the more accustomed we get to Aruba the cheaper it becomes, not a bad thing at all.

    On our way out of the restaurant a guy calls over to us. He then approaches us and lets us know that he was the guy in the truck that saw us. Was pretty cool that he took that much notice to not only know what we looked like but thought to approach us nearly two hours later. We chatted for a bit and he told us how the way we went was the old way to come there. I was able to use that as cover when the reality is I screwed up lol.

    Next we made the drive back up to Palm in record time and went into the Arawak Garden area to hang out for a bit. We went to Salt and Pepper for some sangria and nachos. We ordered the Nachos and they weren’t very good at all (not recommended) at this point Maggie was starting to give up.

    Salt and Pepper’s happy hour specials aren’t nearly as special as they once were so after our pitcher of Sangria we went back to the rental for music and paper football. She beat me again but this time the score was really close. Only a matter of time.


  7. #17
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing. Your reports are in such great detail and I enjoy reading from the perspective of someone who stays in a house and rents a car. That is not something we do, so its interesting hearing how our experiences, differ yet are still somewhat the same. We love our beach days and have had many good nights at Moomba and meals at Scott's Brats.

    Thanks for sharing your experience at BWI. I want to do the Sheraton, but Jon says he is used to waking up at 2am for work so he can just drive us in the morning. We are in northern VA, about 1.5 hours from BWI too. I'm a little nervous about the flooding in the long term parking lot last month, but that's a topic for another day. I guess it was an anomaly with a record rainfall. Anyway, we are flying back to BWI on the nonstop with Southwest - just curious, did you pay for early bird check in to get those 2 exit row seats?
    Not sure when, but we will be back

  8. #18
    Senior Member burghboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traceyd14 View Post
    Thanks for sharing. Your reports are in such great detail and I enjoy reading from the perspective of someone who stays in a house and rents a car. That is not something we do, so its interesting hearing how our experiences, differ yet are still somewhat the same. We love our beach days and have had many good nights at Moomba and meals at Scott's Brats.

    Thanks for sharing your experience at BWI. I want to do the Sheraton, but Jon says he is used to waking up at 2am for work so he can just drive us in the morning. We are in northern VA, about 1.5 hours from BWI too. I'm a little nervous about the flooding in the long term parking lot last month, but that's a topic for another day. I guess it was an anomaly with a record rainfall. Anyway, we are flying back to BWI on the nonstop with Southwest - just curious, did you pay for early bird check in to get those 2 exit row seats?
    I'm glad to be able to share things from our perspective. We have always rented but sometimes wonder what an all-inclusive or timeshare would be like. Its just that we stumbled onto our house and would probably need it to not be available before we went in another direction.

    We are 1.5 hours in the opposite direction. We are actually closer to Philadelphia International but we like BWI better and it is usually a bit cheaper. We did pay for early bird check-in but I ended up not even using it for the first leg of the journey. If you care about where you sit I do recommend using the early bird. I noticed something quite a few people did which kind of upset me. One person in a group must have done the early bird because they would then save seats for the rest of their party.

    On the last leg of our trip from MCO back up to BWI This happened for the exit row across the aisle from us but one aisle back. I also noticed pairs of people taking an aisle and window seat and putting a bag in the center to dissuade people from sitting in those seats. They ended up having to eventually give up their saved seats but not before undoubtedly inconveniencing someone. I fume when I see people do stuff like that.

  9. #19
    Senior Member burghboy's Avatar
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    Friday

    Today I made bacon, eggs and toasted a baguette with cream cheese for breakfast. We packed a lunch and headed down to Baby Beach. On the way down we wanted to see if we could find the Tia Rosa food truck. It wasn’t very hard to find at all. The plan was to hit it on the way back up but by the time we came back around it was closed. Our loss.

    There was a lot of construction down by Baby so we couldn’t park right by the beach. Instead we had to walk maybe a hundred yards to the beach. Baby Beach was beautiful as usual. One interesting thing that did happen is at one point we were in the water about chest deep and all the sudden a couple hundred fish went airborne and landed all around us. It was freaky, scary and extremely cool all at the same time.

    We didn’t stay at baby as long as we normally do because we wanted to explore the neighborhoods above baby. I guess those neighborhoods were built for the people who worked at the refinery years ago but now a lot of them are being renovated and flipped. If Maggie had her choice this is the area of the island where she would chose to live. A little out of the way for me but if they built the area up just a bit I would be okay with that. Actually who am I kidding if it meant I was living in Aruba I would live at the refinery itself.

    As I stated earlier the plan of stopping at Tia Rosa wouldn’t come to fruition so instead we had dinner at the rental. We made huge salads with all the trimmings and garlic bread. Coming from a bonafide carnivore all I can say is that was the best salad I have ever had.

    We then headed into Palm for some shopping and a late night at Moomba’s. We went souvenir shopping but didn’t actually pick anything up. Instead we noted what it was that we wanted and by “we” I mean “she” to pick up later this trip.

    The people we watched at Moomba’s were in rare form tonight. It was a mix of local guys looking to hook up with vacationers and older gentlemen being escorted by women young enough to be their daughters. The best was a guy who was out by himself standing in the same spot, milking the same beer for about an hour. I guess he was just there to stare at the rear end of the blonde bartender in the too short shorts. 2 hours and three beers? I think there should be a rule that if you are If you are going to ogle the workers you should at least throw some business their way. The only thing creepier than a creep is a cheap creep.

    There was also a young woman that kept begging to get up on the bar to dance. They wouldn’t allow it but up until at least midnight when we left she was still intent on fighting the good fight. The place got super busy around 11pm but we got out of there somewhere between 12 and 12:30 and it was still just picking up.

    Saturday through Tuesday to be continued at a later date

  10. #20
    Senior Member arubacandy's Avatar
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    Love reading your trip reports. Sounds like we have a few things in common, love Scott's Brats and I could also live at the refinery if it meant living in Aruba !! 3 more weeks till I'm back in Aruba .

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