Hello All! This was our first trip to Aruba and it was amazing! We got really lucky right from the beginning because none of our flights were delayed, even though we got there on the day the strikes were supposed to start back up again. A couple that we talked to later on in the week that arrived on that Tuesday, the 8th said that their flight from Boston was diverted to Curacao for about 4 hours or so until they could land in Aruba.
But anyways, we got through the airport fairly quickly and Bully was waiting outside to pick us up. He was great, answered all of our questions and was very nice. So we arrived at the Tam about 3:30 or so and even though I was so exhausted (7 hours of flying time plus no sleep the night before) we had to hit the beach right away. We were supposed to be in room 1205 but when we got to the room there was already someone there, it was a family that was checking in at the same time we were, so that was interesting, they kept apologizing, but it was no big deal, just a little delay. We ended up in 1319 which shares a wall with the pizza place! At first I thought it would be a problem with all the noise since itís also a bar that stays open till 1am playing music, but actually we only heard music one night but with the air conditioner running it was no problem.
Monday -So that first day we just swam and took pictures and sat on the beach. The waves were pretty big, I donít have that much to compare it to, living in Kansas and all, but they almost pushed me down a few times. We didnít mind it to much though; it made it more fun if anything. That night we ate the buffet which was good but I made sure to make reservations for the other restaurants as soon as I got there (thanks to all your suggestions) I was so tired that night but my Kansas Jayhawks were playing in the NCAA championship game so I managed to take a nap but wake up for the last 10 minutes or so (the best part) Of course the rest of the week we wore our KU t-shirts!
Tuesday - We didn't have anything planned so we woke up early to have breakfast (which was yummy) and then we were just beach bums most of the day. We did walk down the beach to explore the Divi and then farther down to Bucuti and all the other low rise hotels so I could see what everyone is always talking about and all the beaches were beautiful! I loved seeing all the iguanas, I took lots of pictures of them. It was cool to see where they block off areas where sea turtles had nested. We ate at Palm Grill that night and it was very good. It was probably my favorite of all the restaurants just because itís something different!
Wednesday - we had our Jeep tour with ABC tours. They were running about 20 minutes late, but we weren't in any hurry. I could see how it can be hard to be exactly on time since they pick everyone up at their hotels. Our tour guide, Ivo, was awesome; at every stop he would tell us history about the island and its culture. Our favorite part was the Natural pool, getting there was fun too, I really did not think we were going to make it, I was sure our jeep was going to tip over, it was so rocky! My husband loves to snorkel so he loved the pool, he saw all kinds of fish and a few eels, and there were crabs everywhere! I was really glad we did the tour. I know everyone says rent your own jeep but since it was our first time it was just nice going through a tour company that knew where they were going and it seemed like it was the safe way to go. Plus, there were so many turns and side roads that Iím sure even with a map, these places would be hard to find. We ate at Paparazzi that night which was really good also, I had the best lasagna Iíve ever had! With the piano player and the beautiful furniture, it is probably the fanciest restaurant there. After dinner, we decided to try the pool at the Dutch village for a late night swim at it was so nice and warm. We weren't even sure we could be there, but we were only ones in there so it was nice to have a whole big pool to ourselves.
Thursday was husband's 27th birthday and we had our sailing trip on the Tranquilo. This was the first time we had been to the high rise area so I'm glad I got to see it but I think I like our area at the Tam better. The water was a lot calmer there, no waves at all, so I guess it would be better for people who like the calmer water but we didn't mind the waves at the Tam. The sailing trip was amazing, it was so relaxing and we only had 3 other passengers on the boat with us so we could roam around easily. Captain Anthony was great as was the other crew member (Greg ,I think) The snorkeling part at the reef was a lot of fun, my husband had a great time doing the drift snorkel, he saw a barracuda and lots of colorful fish. We took an underwater camera and got some great pictures of the coral. A few months back I had asked Anthony if he could have a birthday cake for him after lunch and he was glad to, it was a really good cake, and he was very surprised. I had told Anthony I would pay him for the cake but he didn't even charge me, of course we tipped well!! We will definitely take this sailing trip again when we come back! That night we ate at the Red Parrot right at sunset and we had a front row seat for it out on the patio - it was so beautiful! The food was pretty good; not my favorite, but my husband loved it. He couldn't decide between two of the meals so the waiter didn't even hesitate to offer giving him a combination of both the entree's he wanted, so that was nice. After that we hit up the bar, they make the drinks extremely strong. I wanted a Southern Comfort and Coke and It was about 75% SoCo. I wasn't complaining but it was still surprising that donít try to make the drinks weak. We took a moonlit stroll on the beach over to the Divi and back and it was a wonderful end to the night.
Friday was our last full day and we had plans to do the Jolly pirates sunset sail. Someone from jolly pirates called us at our hotel and said that they had to repair the engine on the boat so they had to cancel sail and gave me a refund to my credit card over the phone. I was a little disappointed but I was happy they took the time to call everyone instead of letting us get all the way there and have to turn back. I will definitely book with them the next time we go! We decided to go downtown and do some souvenir shopping. We saw some people striking right outside the parliament building, so that was interesting. I have a picture of it, just follow the link to my pictures and it should be towards the end. When we were there they weren't doing much, there was music playing at seemed more like a party than a strike, but they did have signs and people were honking as they drove by. The rest of the day we just swam and tried to recover from our sunburns (2 bottles of sunscreen was not enough!) We had dinner at Ginger that night, and it was very good also.
Saturday Ė Our flight wasnít leaving until 3:00 so we woke up early for breakfast at the buffet and then decided to finally try the kayaking before we had to leave for the airport at noon. It was fun but I think I like relaxing on the beach a lot better! We finished packing up our stuff and made sure to grab lunch at the pizza place before we left. All week my husband insisted on having the ĎTuttií pizza for lunch which has mushrooms, jalapenos, ham and pineapple on it (Ewww). So he is definitely going to miss that. We made it to the airport a little after noon and it was packed!! The line for United airlines wrapped all around the inside of the building. It moved quicker than I though and was well organized. I have only flown out the country two other times and I donít remember everything taking so long, but its probably just since you go through US customs there instead of in the U.S. We finally made it to the gate at about 2:15 or so. The flight was delayed about 10 or 15 minutes. The pilot said it was because the firefighters were on strike so they couldnít refuel the plane with passengers onboard. That was the only time we felt the effects of any strike. We made it to D.C. and the back home to K.C. by about 11:30 at night.
Overall it was an amazing trip and we canít wait to go back. The food was great. The beach and the water was great, basically everything we want in a relaxing vacation. Next time we might try to go to a few of the other beaches and snorkeling spots. We definitely will do the Tranquilo sail again also. We might stay at the Divi just because the beach seems a little bigger, and just to try something different, and itís a little cheaper I think. I like that there are a few more pools over there and thatís what we liked to do at night. Here is the link to my pictures , there are a lot of themĖ Enjoy!
The beach, Boca Prins & just about anywhere with my husband!
Hello, it sounds like you had a great first time in sunny Aruba! That is all we can all ask for!! It is soooo too bad that you didn't get to go on the Jolly Pirate snorkel trip. My husband and I were there in August 07 for our honeymoon and took the day trip snorkeling. We loved it! I had been to Aruba before with my family and while sunning on the beach, watched the ship from the shore. So he and I decided to sign up for the trip. Although we were burnt to a crisp after, 6 hrs in the sun, open bar, good food, nice people and lots of fish, we really had a great time. That was great of the company to call and tell you that they were doing repairs prior to your arrival, also to give you your money back.
And if and when you go back to Aruba, and it does have that kind of hold on anyone that visits, you should DEFINATELY rebook.