We returned to Aruba for our 20th anniversary, and were on the island at the beginning of April. We had made various other trips throughout the years, but hadn't been to Aruba for about 10 years.
What a change. I hate to say it, but the "ugly americans" have taken over. We witnessed many rude people, mainly Americans. Maybe that is why the native Arubans didn't seem to be as friendly as in years past. Everyone from bartenders to beach staff to cab drivers seemed less enthusiastic that we were there.
We love the variety of restaurants on the island, and seeing so many American chain restaurants was disappointing. The Ruinas del Mar at the Hyatt was fabulous as always and the wait staff wonderful. Scala was great as well, although sitting on the balcony overlooking what seemed like the vegas strip wasn't what we expected. When we walked the beach at night, we had often wondered where all the people were. That was our answer, at the mall and driving the "strip". Also, the Pirate's Nest was a great place we had dinner. Wonderful prawns dish!!
We finally did meet a great cab driver, although it was our last night there. He was so nice we called him for our ride to the airport the next day. That's when we found out we were charged too much for our cab ride to the Holiday Inn from the airport when we arrived in Aruba. The charge back to the airport was $20 cheaper.
The state of the shops we used to love on the backstreets of downtown was also sad.
Don't get me wrong, we had a great, relaxing vacation and had some luck at the casinos (it's always a great feeling when 1/2 way through your vacation you still have the same amount of money that you started with). Sitting on the beach sun-up til sundown is exactly what we wanted to do!!!