Today, we decided to head south. We knew a cruise ship was in port today so to avoid bustling downtown, we took Route 4 toward Pos Chiquito to catch Route 1 again. One of the things on our to-do list during this trip was to check out Bright Bakery in Paradera. Found it, easy enough, but they were closed due to the holiday. This is a serious holiday in Aruba, folks. Most everyone was closed including both SuperFood and Lings. (No free coffee today. )
So, while in Pos Chiquito, we took the turn-off to head over to Mangel Halto. Another item on our to-do list. Found it easily. No diving at Mangel Halto at this time, just viewing. It was nice, larger than we thought, several way, mostly difficult, to get to the water. Looks like through the mangroves would be the easiest way. We'll probably give this a dive-shot one day. We'll see.
While in the Mangel Halto area, we saw some divers walking across the road in full scuba-garb. That caught our attention, always eager to find new dive spots. We drove to where they were coming from and found the most intriguing cove. Looking at a map we're GUESSING it could be Isla de Oro, just east of Mangel Halto. There were homes around it, like a lagoon. Sweet! Here's a pic.
Here, we came across an super-sweet, elderly local woman. Looked like this was a morning ritual for her, swimming alone in that lagoon. Quick to make friends like ever other Aruban we've met, she came up to us, give us a little history, that this "lagoon" was owned by "rich people and government" for the people who live in Pos Chiquito to enjoy. She was also pointing out the homes surrounding the lagoon advising that there were two rentals and offered to walk us over to show them to us. We, politely, declined. We had ground to cover.
We, then, continued south toward Seroe Colorado. For those who don't know, Seroe Colorado is on the extreme southeast tip of the island. There's a big red anchor at the end of the road. The right takes you to Baby Beach, the left takes you off-road, into the desert and around the island. When we continue on a north/northwesterly route, now along the windward side of the island, you'll have the Caribbean on your right and the prison on your left. You'll see a line of several gigantic wind turbines ahead. "Technically", it's in the prohibited area where, at times, live ammo is said to be used. "Technically", we didn't take our jeep through the gate. "Technically", we MAY have found a wider gap in some of the boulder-fence and gotten through. It's only, really, about 10-15 to get from gate to gate, if you "technically" drive through the prohibited zone.
After this prohibited zone, you exit by the caves. We didn't stop this time, we've been to each, several times already. Next, Boca Prins, a very special memorable place for us. Always stopped, every trip, quick cocktail. After all, it is the ONLY bar/restaurant in the middle of the desert, technically, Arikok National Park. Like a desert oasis. Amazingly, the place was packed. Appeared to be all locals, enjoying their holiday off, having lunch. After sucking down our drinks, we continue on through Arikok Natural Park toward Cochi Natural Pool.
Trekking through the park toward the pool, the routes, surprisingly, seemed to be a little bit more of a challenge than usual. We even saw some of the locals having a hard time and getting stuck in spots. NOTEABLE: Again, for those who haven't yet attempted to get to Conchi, heed the warnings of people when they tell you, you must have a 4x4 to continue on from a particular spot. Looks like a big spaceship. It's a tough ride, fun for the adventurous, not for every one. Very jarring. But worth it at the end. Conchi Natural Pool.
The pool was loaded with locals having get-togethers. Carrying down all their provisions, food, coolers, swim toys. Definitely a local's holiday! DH swears they added more steps to get down to the pool. Either than or he's getting older. There's probably about 100 steps, at the least, from where you park to the pool, itself. We made one drink at the jeep and carried our Aruba dogs down for lunch. One of our special traditions is to make Aruba dogs. Robert butterflies and grills two long, skinny hot dogs each and serves them in a Bright Bakery roll, also toasted on the grill. A generous portion of gouda cheese tops in, and a squirt of mustard. YUM. So we stayed for an hour, ate our lunch, drank our drinks & swam/snorkeled in the pool.
Since everything else was closed, we headed back to the resort, showered, cleaned-up, had a few more cocktails and left for dinner and a little gambling. Our resort's casino is Alhambra Casino in the low-rise area. The restaurant in the casino, The Cove, is a regular place for us as well. The grouper sandwich is to-die-for. And there's never a wait. Fresh, hot food to your table within 10 minutes of sitting down. They definitely don't go lightly on the fish. Check this out. Yes, the onion rings are good too.
Now on to blackjack. Played three shoes and realized, the house was on fiyah! Got up and ended our night. Another time Alhambra... A bit of an earlier night again but still trying to catch up on our sleep.
Tomorrow, snorkeling our favorite spots, Boca Catalina/Catalina Cove, Arashi, Malmok. Sounds like a GoPro day to us.
Playing catch-up with our postings as we’ve been experiencing some spotty wi-fi in our resort.
Spent the day at our favorite snorkel spot, Catalina Cove today. Saw the usual underwater life with a bonus large puffer fish. We also took this time to check out our different GoPro underwater filters. Looks like magenta’s the winner.
Back at the resort, preparing to grill some dinner tonight. We should warn you that we’ve been starving ourselves of carbs pretty much for the last six months, our last trip to Aruba, so let the viewer be warned, we’re coming up on some foodie photos.
First, if you recall, we mentioned the slavinken that Robert grilled up on day 1. Here’s a photo of those little bacon-wrapped beef/pork packages of sausagy deliciousness. They’re on the grill with our angus burgers. Was a meaty first night. Ate them with some olive/feta cheese salad we picked up at Super Food.
Secondly, we’re going to show you the grouper sandwiches we ate at Alhambra Casino’s restaurant, The Cove, mentioned in Day 2. We ran out of photo allowance.
Tonight, we’ll be feasting on some of the prime filet we brought from home (5 lbs.)
Picked up some more slavinken to accompany it. Alongside, onion potatoes we like to pick up from La Granja while we’re here. There’s two on Aruba that we know of. Both comparable. One in town, a little more challenging to get to and the other in Savaneta, right off Route 1. The place with the big marlin on the building.
So that’s it for now. 85 miles clocked on the jeep as of now and, boy, is it filthy! Sign of good times. Tonight, rum, steaks, more slavinken, tunes & hot tub. Tomorrow, Aruba cheesesteaks, our way. You’ll see these gems. Where we eat them, we’ll figure it out eventually. Bon nochi!
I have a question/s and it is totally none of my business. That being said.........Did you really leave the kids with mom?
How old are the kids and where do they like to vacation?
No worries, no secret, not too personal at all.
Back in 2009, our 15th wedding anniversary, our kids also became teenagers and with the gracious help from Robert's mom, my amazing mother-in-law, we started vacationing sans kids. They'd stay with their grandma. At this time, we were cruising and began the profile Leavethekidswithmom for Cruise Critic. We carried the profile name over for this forum. Our kids at the time? Two teenagers, boys, 19-months apart. See why we started traviling sans kids? Now they're, 20 and just 22.
Our 22 year old just recently moved to Colorado Springs, CO (from Florida) so I'd consider him "still vacationing". Our youngest just went to visit him for a week. His heart is now set on moving. We may have lost both kids to CO.
We love traveling with our son but next year we may do another trip without him. We went away and left our son with Grandma when he was three and that was a little stressful to be honest- but only because we live outside of Boston and it was the day of the bombing an we were far from home. He will be staying with Grandma next summer for a short trip and we may go away then without him but only time will tell.
glad you're having a great time....jealous!!!
We actually used to do the same...jump in jeep, travel around and find new spots and new places to eat (not tourist places)...but Dh has gotten lazy and likes hanging by the pools or on balcony in our room. I do quite a bit without him but I usually have a bunch of family &/or friends along and have to keep them entertained, so I still do the travel around thing!!! something always unexpected happens....
Keep us up on the rest of your trip, can't wait to hear about it !!!