Divi links, pool, beach, lighthouse, Arikok National Park, etc.
My trip report 3/30-4/13
This Aruba trip marked my 12th trip, my husband's 11th trip, my Mom's 6th trip and my Daughter's 5th trip. I already provided detailed restaurant reviews in the appropriate section of this forum.
Jet Blue flight out of JFK left about 20 minutes late due to what looked like faulty fire extinguishers that needed to be replaced. Thsi resulted in us getting into Aruba about 10-15 minutes after scheduled arrival. I thought we would make up some time in the air but apparently we didn't. Oh well, not a huge delay but we usually arrive earlier than expected. Quick through immigration and baggage. Picked up our rental car from Amigo which always seems like a slower than necessary process. This was our 4th or 5th time using Amigo and I think that we will try someplace else next year. The first 2 years were wonderful but the past 2 times have not been great experiences. Last year they gave us a very beat up car that sounded like it was going to stall any minute. We exchanged the next day (but only after going through quite a bit of hassle). This year I specifically asked for a newer car in good condition. We were given what looked to be a new car; however, it was also just recently in an accident and the front fender was being held together by a screw. It also overheated one day and so we had to keep a pitcher of water with us to fill the radiator. The staff at the airport location is not really the friendliest (surprising) and it's always such a slow process to get our car even if we are the only ones waiting. Anyway, I'm not here to bash anyone, I just want to share my experience and I think we are going to try a new company next year.
So, off to the Divi Golf and Beach Resort to our Golf Villa. Check in was very quick. Mom unpacked and settled in to our studio and I unpacked for DH, DD and myself and we settled into our adjacent 1-bedroom. It was starting to get late so we ran up to Ling and Sons just to get some essentials. By the time we got back it was 7:30pm. Hubby ran down to Mulligans to pick up some food but it was so packed that he ended up leaving and bringing home Wendy's instead lol. We were so hungry we didn't complain. We ate our fast food and colored Easter eggs (the Easter bunny was coming tomorrow and DD (age 4) was very excited that he knew we were in Aruba. Everyone was exhausted so we all turned in by 9:45pm!!
Late start since DD had to find her Easter eggs and open up her basket. We also had to call maintenance for a few things (someone actually stole the DVD cable off our bedroom player).They came very quickly and replaced the cable and a light bulb and we were all set to begin our day. Due to the time, we knew we were never going to get an umbrella at the pool so we headed to the beach instead. DD had fun playing with her new princess sand castle toys. The water was perfect as always. This is my serenity. I love to wade in the warm crystal clear water and look out over the horizon. I feel like I could stay there forever. It is the most peaceful place I know and it's what I look forward to most each year. Stayed a few hours and then grabbed a quick lunch at Pizza Bob's. Showered and cleaned up and then took a short drive before we headed back to get ready for dinner (Easter dinner at El Gaucho). I turned in with my daughter but DH decided to go up to Alhambra and make a deposit. One of many he has made over the years which I'm sure helped contribute to the beautiful rennovations they have made lol.
My wonderful Mom got up at 6:30am to put our towls down by the pool to ensure we got an umbrella. We headed down around 9:30am. So nice and peaceful at that time. Just a few people out relaxing or reading their books. Stayed for about 4 hours. DD was waterlogged lol. We had given her 6 swim lessons at our local YMCA prior to the trip where she swam with a styrofoam square on her back. We bought her something equivalent for this trip and she swam her little heart out. Picked up lunch at Mulligans. We were very tired from the sun so we just hung around the timeshare for the rest of the afternoon and cooked dinner in. Watched TV, played cards and relaxed.
We had our Divi members meeting that morning which now comes with a complimentary breakfast that you have along with your assigned rep. Very nice conversation. The Aruban people are just so lovely. Slathered on the sunscreen and off to the beach again. Dinner that night was at Bavaria. After dinner we dropped Mom and DD back to timeshare and hubby and I headed out to the Radisson for some gambling. We split up. Hubby went off and played some slots and some roulette and didn't win on either but his name was called at the midnight drawing for a $50.00 slot credit. I played 3-card poker. I sat at a table with a father and son team who were betting LARGE amounts of money on both the ante and pair plus. They were losing ALOT of money. I sat there for about an hour and bet the minimum. I hit not one but TWO straight flushes in about 45 minutes time. My insides were screaming but I played it cool. I knew they would be none too pleased to see me screaming with my meager winnings ($200.00 on one because the dealer didn't qualify and $250.00 on the other when she did qualify) given the fact that they would have won very large amounts of cash based on how heavily they were betting. Can't believe my hubby wasn't around to see this. Between him and the pair next to me, it took all the fun out of winning :-(
Lazy Lazy day. Got back to timeshare around 2:30am the previous day so I was tired and a bit hungover :-) Headed out to check out the new Superfood. VERY NICE. I love all the Dutch foods. Picked up more groceries, watched a movie and grabbed Pizza Bob's for lunch. Only ate a bit because we had early dinner reservations at Driftwood. I actually took a nap!! I never nap during the day - especially on vacation. Shows that I'm getting old and can't handle staying out late anymore :-) Showered and headed to dinner. Whqat a pain in the neck navigating downtown is now that the new trolley was built. There are several streets closed. Made our reservation by about 30 seconds. Luckily, since it was early the place was still pretty empty. After dinner went straight back to timeshare, watched a bit more TV and sleeping by 10:00pm!!
FINALLY, an early start for us. No late night, no hangovers so we were all up early and re-energized. Headed to the donkey sanctuary. Spent about 1.5 hours there. Brought a bag of carrots and a bag of apples with us. Bought up some souveniers and made our yearly donation. Something really special about that place and the volunteers. On the way back we stopped at Palm Beach Refreshments, a local place for lunch. Stopped at Rum store on the way back and back to Superfood because they were out of milk yesterday and were getting in a new stock today. Afer lunch we headed to the beach for a few hours. So relaxing. Ohm.... lol. Went back to timeshare, showered and headed to Gianni's for dinner. After dinner we walked around a bit and did some for souvenier shopping at the kiosks around there and in front of the Hard Rock. Back to timeshare. I watched some TV and hubby headed off to make another donation to the Alhambra.
Pool day. Then off to the rooftop jacuzzi. I know alot of people on here are opposed to the jacuzzi's and the bacteria, etc. Our jacuzzi is private to only the 3rd floor. 1 jacuzzi for every 3 units and we own 2 out of the 3 units. We NEVER see anyone in those jacuzzi's. We take the top off and make it cool down to 95 degrees and we all go in to relax (including DD who brings her "bath toys" in there with her). I did check her body to make sure she didn't have any cuts or open sores though. She loved it and wanted to go back every day. We've been home almost two weeks and no one got ill. That evening was Date night for hubby and I. We went to Windows on Aruba to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. After dinner we headed to Alhambra. After a shaky start, hubby went on a tear at roulette and we came home about $500.00 richer. Yea. Reciprocity for the previous donations made to them by DH!!!
This was a travel day for most (a Saturday) so there was no problem getting an umbrella at the pool without having to get up at the crack of dawn. Spent about 3-4 hours at the pool then back up to roof-top jacuzzi. Took a ride into town and picked up Chinese food for dinner from Hung Paradise. Early night.
Slept in but DH put towels down by the pool at 7:50. Week 14 is alot more laid back than week 13 at our timeshare and there is less of a frenzy to get down at dawn to put the towels down. Less people this week because most of the kids are back to school. Hung out at pool for a good part of the day. Ate some leftovers for lunch. Headed up to jacuzzi. Showered and barbequed burgers for dinner. Watched a movie. Another early night.
My DD is obsessed with the pool and rooftop jacuzzi and it's now getting harder to get her to agree to go back to the beach :-( So, off to the pool we go. Same deal as always. Pool for a few hours, up to the jacuzzi to play. I ran back to Superfood (I'm obsessed lol) for a few items. Dinner at Chalet Suisse. DH ran to the casino for a few hours. Made a small donation and then came back to timeshare in time to catch the final NCAA game (the team he picked in his work pool won). Yea!!!!
Mommy and Me day. Every year my Mom and I do a full day of shopping which starts with breakfast at Linda's pancakes and hubby hangs out with DD. We got back to timeshare mid-afternoon so we were actually able to get in about 1.5 hours at the beach. Yea, DD finally agreed to give the beach another go even though she can't swim in the ocean with her styrofoam "bubble" lol. Another date night for hubby and me so we picked up some food for Mom and DD and he and I headed to Madame Janette's for dinner. Alhambra after dinner. Not a good night for either of us. Oh well, can't win em' all.
Drove around the northwest part of the island and took pictures near Arashi. There was a firetruck parked near where the Jolly Pirates docks for one of their snorkel sites so we got out and DH took a picture with the truck (he is a NYC firefighter) then we headed to Phillips Animal Garden for the afternoon. What a wonderful place. I hightly recommend it. Our guide, Boo Boo, was awesome. You can tell the animals are very well taken care of. On the way back, we stopped at Scott's Brats for lunch (actually, we parked across the street and hubby ran behind Playa Linda to pick up lunch). It was SOOO hot from the animal garden (really needed to go earlier in the morning) we were all so hot - even DD so we chose to stay in the air conditioned car and let hubby run to get us lunch. Next year we will pay them a proper visit!!! I really think the sun affected us because we all took another NAP! Woke up, showered and refreshed and headed to Barney's for dinner. DD wanted Dunkin Donuts for dessert so we skipped dessert and Barney's and headed to the D&D at Alhambra and walked around the new bazaar for a bit.
Pool add day. Last date night for hubby and me. Went to Barefoot (one of our favorites) and then into town to try our luck at the Seaport casino. I like the vibe there. Lots of locals and very laid back. Casino waitresses so friendly. Didn't win but not a total loss and we had fun.
Last full day at our beautiful home away from home. Late start because I'm neurotic and started packing lol. My DD is looking forward to going home. She loved our trip but she is a little girl who misses her toys, her school and her friends and teachers. We've had a fabulous vacation and as much as I will miss this wonderful place and as much as I do not look forward to returning to work, I do miss my house, my bed and just the overall comfort of being in your own home. Going to lay by the pool on our final day and take it all in. We did this until about 4:00ish. Hubby paid our bill and ran to Aruhiba to buy a few Aruban hand-rolled cigars for some of his friends from work. We all shwoered and headed downtown to our final family dinner at Yemanja. Headed back to do some final packing. Need to get a good night's sleep for a long travel day tomorrow (well, seems long when traveling with a 4 year old).
Our Jet Blue flight scheduled to depart at 12:10pm. My routine every year is to check and then double check both rooms to make sure nothing got left behind and then just before we leave the rooms for the final time, I go out onto one of the balconies and look out at the ocean. I take it all in again. I smile. Then we leave. It's around 8:45am. We gas up the car and head to the airport. We leave the car in the lot since Amigo folks are never in by 9:00am. We go through all security checks, customs, etc. We board the plane. We always get our seats on the left side so we can see the island and we approach and take off. I look out the window and see the island becoming smaller. I should be sad but I'm not. I silently thank God. He has blessed me with a good life. I have a loving a caring family, I have a good job, I am surrounded by people who love me and I have something wonderful to look forward to every year. And so the countdown begins. 50 more weeks...
Wonderful trip report with wonderful detail... I especially liked your closing couple of sentences:
"I should be sad but I'm not. I silently thank God. He has blessed me with a good life. I have a loving a caring family, I have a good job, I am surrounded by people who love me and I have something wonderful to look forward to every year. And so the countdown begins. 50 more weeks..."
Great sentiment! Thanks for taking the time to share it all with us!
Well.....first of all thanks for sharing (the good and the bad). I really like the way you did not let the initial hiccups put you in a negative mood, but instead you turned it around and were blessed with a great time and enjoying your family. Hopefully the memories have 50 weeks of staying power cause I know you will be counting down