Sorry for delay on this-Christmas came too quick this year!
Our vacation started on Nov 29 in Boston as we use park stay and fly. We always have early flights (5:30 am) and doing this gives us a couple more hours of sleep. We use Embassy Suites at Logan. The price is reasonable their shuttle service is always prompt, and our car is always warming up and waiting for us when we get back. The shuttle will also bring you over to the T stop of the Blue line and pick you up.
Our flight from Boston left on time. We had a short layover at Dulles-about an hour. That flight also left on time and we got into Aruba early by 15 minutes or so. No issues with lines or waiting for luggage. We did have to wait a bit for Hans from Tropic but not his fault. as always Hans was excellent and has us on our way ASAP. We also had no wait to check in at Lacabana. We were in our room, unpacked, changed and on our way to Super Foods by 3 pm. We got the usual stuff there - chips, some soda, cheese, and 2 cases of beer! We ended up having some drinks at The Pelican Pier and dinner at Smokey Joes. I was not starving so I head the grilled shrimp with a side of rice. Brian had the ribs/chicken combo. We were joking about Brian having the fruity drink and me the beer with the waiter. I am not sure if that was why but he brought me out a free dessert-flan-yummy!
Our room was great. We rented from an owner again this year. Housekeeping was excellent. She even left us a sweet note on our last day. We did check out the casino every night for about a 1/2 hour either before dinner or after. No big winner here. . The little store on site was closed most of that week but reopened that Friday.
Our whole week was beach, swim, beer/drinks and deciding where to have dinner . The weather was PERFECT all week! We had some raindrops one day for about 2 minutes while the sun was out and then a quick shower on our way to the airport when we were leaving.
I will share my experience with the pharmacy by Super Foods. I felt a cold sore coming on (I neglected to put on lip balm with sunscreen the first two days) Thursday so I went over to the pharmacy. They sold me a medication I normally have to get a prescription for in the US. It was also only $6 compared to $15 in the states. That was a nice surprise.
The beach at Lacabana was great as usual. The security staff were tagging palapas where no one was showing up. That is fine with me. We never had an issue getting one every day. The water was good that week but we did hear it was really rough the prior week. We also had BEAUTIFUL sunsets! Pretty much every day we headed up to the pool to take advantaged of the happy hour drinks and then to the room to shower and change. Then we would grab another drink at the pool bar and head to the beach for sunset. The resort looks great with all the renovations and upkeep. It was not overly crowded the week we were there.
We did go to Arashi beach one day. I find the water is so much clearer there than on Eagle beach by Lacabana. We rented loungers for $5 each. You can have them until 5 pm. There was also a snack truck there. Brian got a shaved ice. I did feel like this beach was much more crowded this year than it has been in the past.
Another day we went to Baby Beach. We got there early so not many people there. We also rented loungers there for $8 each. It was quiet and relaxing there. And again, the water is so clear there. It was the first time we saw rougher water there. I am wondering if the barrier is breaking down or if it was just the weather that day. But rough at Baby Beach is still pretty calm. . On our way out we stopped at the Reef Bar at the dive shop. We were talking to one of the owners and he showed us the work they are doing in the empty building attached to the dive center. They will be opening up the end that faces Baby Beach and it will be a casual bar/restaurant. He thought it might be done by next summer (I think). I cannot wait to see it finished next year.
One afternoon we checked out The Ritz. The entrance is a bit odd as it has no windows and the entrance is hidden by the over hang. I personally thought the lobby was beautiful. When you walk in the whole wall on the opposite side is windows overlooking the pools with a fabulous view of the ocean. We stopped into the casino. It was very quiet but it was early. It was great because it was not smokey nor did it smell like smoke!
We also checked out the Marriott casino one night. I had heard about a machine there that was more forgiving than most. Yep the infamous Buffalo slot machine. It was a good one! I left up $50! But overall for the week the machines won .
The day we went to Baby Beach we stopped at the West Deck on our way back. We loved it. The drinks were big and good. The food was really good as well. We just got apps-wings and a fried chicken app. There was a slaw with them that was really good! It was fun to watch the planes come in as well. We would have gone back but we ran out of time and we spaced it or we would have gone there before going to the airport on the day we left.
For dinners we went to our usual spots-Madame Janette's, Smokey Joes, Pizza Bobs at the Tropicana, Matthews and Iguana Joes. The only new spots for us was Las Ramblas at Lacabana and Daniels. Madame Janette's was spot on per usual. We both really enjoyed Las Ramblas. I got their grouper and it was really good. I also got grouper at Matthews which I also really liked. Brian got steak at Madame Janette's (I cannot recall what I got there) and Las Ramblas and ribs at Smokey Joes and Matthews. We both got beef at Daniels. We both thought the meal at Daniels was good and the service was really good. I also grabbed us lunch one day at the truck on the beach by Lacabana. $7 I think and it fed both of us. The Pizza Bobs location at The Tropicana was great. We ate there twice-once for dinner and once for lunch. It was even better because we had leftover pizza which I got to eat cold on the beach! I got a salad there for the day we had lunch that was really good.
We spent the days on the beach with people we have met over the past 3 years and also do the sunset with them and it is always filled with laughter and ooh and ahhs over the sunset.
I saw an ad for the Aruba charm and wanted it for a necklace. I got confused and thought it was Kay's that carried it. So we went in and then we were told it was not them. I pulled out the ad-yep, it was Kristen's. We ended up looking around and we bought a multi stone diamond ring. They also cleaned my other ring. Brian loved that he got beers while we waited . We did end up going to Kristen's for the charm as well.
We keep saying every year we need to stay longer than a week as we never get to the restaurants we want to try and the week always goes by too fast.
Our flight back on Saturday was leaving at 4:50 so we told Hans we would drop off the car at 1:30. We were met right on time. We cannot say how much we enjoy renting from Tropic.
The lines at the airline counters was not bad but the rest was very painful. It took us just about an hour and 1/2 to get through. US Customs had a lot of lines open so that went ok. We did have a scare as the plane we were leaving on came in late so in order to fly back out we had to push back from our gate on time or the flight would be cancelled due to the flight crew schedules. We did it but at one point I thought we would not and even the flight crew was not hopeful. That was good because the next day there were weather issues on the east coast.
Once again we had a great vacation with great weather, lots of laughs, lots of relaxing, cold drinks and great meals! What more could you ask for.
I apologize for the length and hope no one dozed off . Happy New Year!!
Thanks for your report, it sounds like you had a great time! We know what you mean about staying longer. The first time we stayed for 2 weeks we never looked back. Even 2 weeks isn't long enough, but you don't feel rushed to squeeze in everything and every place in 5 days (it seems our first and last days are too consumed with getting to and leaving the island). Can't wait to get my hands on that Buffalo machine next year!