The next day (Tues 17th May) we were up early as pelican Tours was picking us up for a round island tour. The bus (An old American school bus converted, they’d also removed the windows) to be perfectly honest our tour guide was kind of rude and we weren’t overly impressed by his supposed “Friendliness” Unfortunately when we got up to the California lighthouse a heavy rain shower blew in, So our photo stop was cut short (Which is a shame) however what irked us was rather than get us out of the rainshower the driver had to stop for nearly 15mins to walk up and down and wipe the seats as he didn’t want his bus to get wet and yet by leaving us out in the open for a longer time it only accomplished in his bus getting more wet, anyway.....
We then went on to Alto Vista Chapel and then drove on to Savenata for our lunchstop, We ended up at this Peruvian place called “La Granja” It definitely wouldn’t have passed health inspections in Australia as the kitchen looked dirty and the floor wasn’t too clean either. However neither of us got sick (Albeit we both had Hep A shots prior) and the chicken and rice they served us whilst pretty bland was edible.
We then went on to Arikok national park and the caves, The caves were pretty spectacular, I never realised too how rugged and deserty in some parts the Caribbean could be. I’d always imagined every island to be lush green. After that we went on to “Baby beach’ and Letitia being a big snorkeler was in her realm! We got there at approximately 2pm and the driver had said to us to be back at3:30pm, Whilst letitia snorkelled (By the way the huge Valero refinery is next door to this beach so the area smells a little unfortunately) There were also quite a few stray dogs we noticed! I decided to walk along the beach as I was a little bit apprehensive about snorkelling next to a refinery. Anyway it got to around 3:10pm and I wandered back to where we had left our towels etc only to hearing beeping and a bit of a carry on so I turn around and there’s our driver frantically motioning for us to get back on the bus, Meanwhile letitia is still in the water! So she gets out, returns her snorkelling gear you can rent at the shack they have and quickly changes and we go running up to the bus. The driver says “Oh don’t worry you’re not late” to which we replied “Well then why were you carrying on?” I mean fair enough the rest of the people on the tour didn’t snorkel but is it really fair to cut the time short for people who do want to snorkel? Anyway he drops us back at the hotel and we decide from then on we won’t use Pelican again nor recommend them so we decide to try “De palm tours” and go to their booking centre next to Riu palace and book a day tour for the Friday to “De Palm Island”. We then headed to the pool and the poolside bar at the Westin and had a drink (we needed it after that tour haha!) and that night had dinner at TGI Fridays (I know how westernised but we wanted something easy!)
The next day (Wednesday 18th may) was a relatively quiet day of relaxing, We wandered down to Paseo Herencia Mall and I bought a ring I really liked as a souvenir at “Sparkles” Jewellery store. The people who run it were very friendly and nice people. After having trouble finding anywhere open for lunch (We guessed they must have siesta time) we ended up at Scala for lunch, To be perfectly honest I can’t remember exactly what I had but the meal was fine! We then went on to the megaplex at palm beach mall and saw a movie “Arthur” the cinemas were nice and spacious and seemed pretty new. My impression was that Palm beach mall is the newest mall in the area, one thing we noticed though was for a weekday (maybe it gets busier on weekends) there were hardly any people there! The shops that we did go into most sales assistants looked bored. That night we had dinner at “Iguana Cantina” a Mexican restaurant in Paseo Herenica, I actually ended up trying their “Mahi Mahi” it just melted into your mouth!
Thursday 19th May – We decided to go into downtown Oranjestad to do some shopping we stood at the bus stop on the Palm beach strip (opposite Senor Frogs) within the space of 15 minutes we literally had 5 people including a woman in a car pull over and try and give us the whole timeshare spiel, even when we said we weren’t interested they still tried to persist..... And I should pre warn people that we did see a lot of timeshare people all over the place! A van like a collectivo pulled up and we got in, The guy charged us $2 US and thats for anywhere on the island! We got dropped off in downtown near the Renaissance, We had originally planned to stay here, So glad we didn’t! There didn’t seem to be as much downtown restaurant wise and I’m guessing after dark it’s a lot quieter, Personally I think palm beach is a better choice. We had lunch at Pizza Hut near the Renaissance mall next to the Del Sol store...It was near that pink building too, Anyway after shopping we headed up towards the Renaissance marina. Here’s a tip if you want to see iguana’s head towards the ocean just beside the Renaissance marina hotel, You’ll see a rocky enclave/coastline and we spotted 50, 60 minimum iguana’s just sitting on the rocks (Just don’t get too close as they get aggressive) After finishing our shopping we took a taxi back to the hotel and after lounging by the pool (it’s a hard life) we had dinner at Amazonia Churascio the Brazilian Restaurant next to the Soprano’s bar opposite the Hard Rock Cafe, The food and service was great!