We arrived on December 15th. Moved through customs fairly quickly since we bring carry on luggage only. Stopped at the duty free kiosk for some libations and went out front to meet our car rental shuttle. We have used the same company for the last three years and they are always there waiting when we come out. This year we stood outside for about 45 minutes and finally someone called them for us and they came. Husband was not a happy camper. We might look at other options next year.
The first week we stayed at Caribbean Palm Village where we own a 2 bedroom corner unit. Some people post bad ratings for this timeshare but we love it there. The rooms are very large and the staff is always very nice. The place is large enough to have nice amenities but small enough to be quiet and somewhat quaint. I rented a beach sand chair from them for the week which gave me the freedom to try out different beaches each day if I so desired. I prefer the quieter locations especially the beach in front of Oceania which is never terribly crowded. Mosquitoes were bad and went through one and a half bottles of Off. Poor son liked to take his laptop down to the pool and skype with his girlfriend back home. He looked like he had chicken pox after one night without spray.
The second week we stayed at LaCabana. The resort was hopping and required one to rise early to secure a pool chair or palapa on the beach. The new casino turned out really nice. The sunken in bar with TVs and big screen is nice. I also like the new stores they put in including the Aruba Aloe store. LaCabana has one design flaw that always bothers me when we stay there. The bedroom is next to the hallway so you get loud people coming and going all night. I came down with the flu the last couple of days (even after having a flu shot) and ended up sleeping on the couch just because it was quieter.
As far as restaurants goes we usually prefer to cook in our unit but did make it to the following:
Busters - watched football and ate light bar food. We like the new location and Rusty was welcoming as always.
Zeerovers - went there twice and left the first time it was so crowded. The second time we stuck it out. The process for ordering is rather painful, order here, pay there and get drinks somewhere else. Food order came out incomplete. We decided this is a good place to go have a few beers and pick up seafood to take back and cook but having everything fried in one big basket was too much fried food for us.
A Taste of Belgium - ate lunch there. Good sandwiches and wraps.
YH Jee's - really good chinese food. We always get two meals out of an order because portions are large.
Amadeus - a first time for us. I had grouper, husband had veal goulash and son had twin tenderloins. All very very good.
Delimar - first time here. It is downtown. Son had beef and shrimp skewers, husband had a beef, pepper, onion dish over fries with rice, I had a shrimp appetizer with side salad. It was very good. Definitely a more local place which we like.
Bingos - I love the salad of the sea, husband had a pasta dish (he thought his portion was rather small), son had chicken satay with fries and salad. All was very tasty but satay portion was largest for the money and son really liked it.
Pizza Bobs - first time there. It was good pizza for what you find in Aruba. Something that meets the pizza craving but not to die for or go out of our way to get. They are opening another location in the Tropicana which will be convenient for those staying at Trop or LaCabana.
Scott's Brats - ate a breakfast burrito there and got to meet Dan (San Nic44) for the book signing. Nice set up they have there and enjoyed our breakfast.
YenYen Chinese Restaurant - husband found this place early on and went there quite a bit for cheap Balashis in the afternoons. He brought home food from there and it was really good. The chicken wings tasted like Popeye's chicken. Yum. The place is very clean and they do a lot of take away food.
Pelican Pier at sunset with a bucket of Brights!
Sunsets at Bunker Bar
LG Smith Steakhouse, Paddock
Nice report. You must tell me your trick for packing, 2 weeks with just carry-ons? I am really embarassed now, need to learn to pack lighter but don't think I could ever get away with just carry-ons (lol)....I am like your son mosquitoes were so bad this year (went in November) I too looked like I had chicken-pox mostly on legs even with bug spray. Thanks for posting and happy to hear you had a great 2 weeks, hopefully you felt better for your flight home.
thank you for the great report.
we all love to read other's stories.
i too like CPV and i do not know why folks give the place a bum rap.
we have always LOVeD the good sized accommodations, cleanliness and attentive staff.
my gripe with LaCabana is the bedroom next to the walkways.........
My secret for packing is having a well organized tote bag along with my carry on suitcase. We take 1 weeks worth of clothes and wash clothes mid-trip. I tend to wear tank tops which take very little space. I wear tennis shoes on the plane, bring a pair of beach flip flops and one pair of neutral sandals that can go with anything. In addition: vacation vault loaded with bike chain (to lock up stuff if palapa has a wide post), splenda, plastic storage bags, and Coolie cups. Also bring spring float papason chair, bubba keg mug, use beach bag as tote, soft cooler, visor, samsung tablet, chargers, 2 swimsuits and 2 coverups, 2 small bottles of sunscreen. Mid trip I buy another bottle and put rest back into small bottles to bring home. You would be surprised how much stuff you can cram into a carryon with a little planning.
My husband saw this in a puddle by the beach. Does anyone know what it is exactly? Our guess was some sort of eel. He got a plastic bag and scooted him back into the ocean and he kept getting stuck on the beach but finally he swam away.
Arashi Beach, Hyatt, Radisson, Shopping, Flea Market, Downtown, Palm Beach, Everything
we go for two weeks and only take carry on. same thing with me, tote bag/purse and a carry on. i pack for one week, wash clothes. but i use the space travel bags which always leaves us tons of room (for those extra shoes & handbags, lol).