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Thread: Our first Aruba trip and Family Vacation!

  1. #1
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    Our first Aruba trip and Family Vacation!

    I apologize I took long since I was determined to write this as soon as I came back but I got a horrible flu the second day back home. I'm recovering and I'm well enough to report back of the Happy Island known as Aruba. Sorry if this is long so warning, its long!

    My family and I traveled between July 16-20 so we were there 5 days 4 nights and stayed at the Tamarijn.

    The trip to Aruba was eventful. We caught attention with our summer hats and from the moment we arrived to LaGuardia, a young lady helped us get checked in and register our luggage. The flight from the previous night was canceled so the airport was hectic to say the least but she made sure to get a wheelchair for my grandmother and we were on our gate in a short time waiting to go to Atlanta. When she found out we were going to Aruba she raved about the island. She told us how beautiful it was and the kind people that will make us feel welcome. Her feedback brought up our spirits.

    There was turbulence which made my grandmother uneasy but we had not slept the night before so we all fell asleep. When we arrived to Atlanta they were already waiting for my grandmother and we were taken to our gate on a cart.

    We boarded on our plane and that is when we all grew excited. We took pictures of each other and since there was no one next to my sister and I, we fell asleep on seats like a bed.

    The pilot announced when we were ten minutes away from the island. Since my sister were on the left side of the plane we received a beautiful view of the island. Its a shame my camera can't be used in the plane, I would have loved a shot of it. The island looked almost white with a light blue aura surrounding it.

    We arrived, received help from a young man to get our luggage, waited for my parents to pass through immigration and immediately met with Ivan who was ahead of everyone in the crowd as if waiting for a family member.

    He greeted us and it was surprising to hear him as well as the young man who helped us speak very good Spanish. As we drove to the Tamarijn in his air condition car, he had a conversation with my dad about the island and how people Aruba have to learn a number of a language. He gave a little bit of info about Papiamento and in less than 15 minutes we were at the Tamarijn.

    I have to say this, the entrance to the Tamarijn is nice and maybe I've lived in New York for long but it was not worn down at all. I have read so many reviews about how it looks dirty and worn down but to us it looked like a regular entrance to a hotel.

    The woman a the front desk spoke to my father and I in Spanish about everything in the hotel. My mother and grandmother after an 8 hour flight were a little grumpy to say the least especially when they took too long to get our luggage. But then came Francis. He was the manager at the hotel and quickly got a golf cart to come get our luggage. He spoke of the golden rule "If you're not eating or drinking, you're wasting money!" He quickly cheered up my mom and grandmother and we were quickly in our renovated room in the 19th block. The rooms are nice and the air conditioner worked very good.

    My mommy joked that I was an expert before arriving because she put the towel on the floor and took a shower with no problem. But my grandmother was eager for a shower in her room and I didn't have time to run in and put a towel so there was water all over the first day. We put the towel to dry up and problem solved (my grandmother was reluctant but saw that there was enough towels to go around). We put on sunscreen and went to the Pizza Tutti for lunch and midway found out that my dad had forgotten the key and the doors lock when you close them.

    I went quickly to the front desk to explain and problem solved. My dad bought a waterproof case where he kept the room keys and money so we were okay.

    As we waited and Edwin, a bartender gave my grandmother a pina colada quickly even though the place was packed in all that it was our turn to order which I think was a nice gesture. I have heard so much rave about the brown lady and I have to say I fell in love. The tutti pizza and mexican fries was so good. Its not NY pizza but its delicious in its own way. I like to think of it as tamales which made from where I come from is different from other Latin American countries but it does not make it any less delicious.

    After that we raced to get our towels at the hut and went for a swim. Tip: The beach in front of the 19 block has holes so I would walk and then sink suddenly from one step. I can swim but it was a bit dangerous for my grandmother but we walked past the bunker bar and the beach was different. There wasn't rocks in the water and if there were it was very flat. I still recommend water shoes although the daredevil of my sister and my dad swam barefoot. Not me. lol

    The beach is beautiful! I instantly fell in love with the water. My mom commented how the water was the color of the sky. Its like a turquoise blue and the ads on the MTA are right. The water was ahhhh degrees. It was so nice. There were waves but not enough to throw us off. It is windy but I was able to walk around with my summer hat when I wanted to. I just had to hold on to it whenever a sudden blast of wind would come. I did feel the sand as I walked up to the palapas but it may have just been my sister and I being drama queens because there were kids who screams with joy whenever there was a gush of wind.

    My dad and I loved having the bunker bar close for any time we were tired of swimming and just wanted to rest on the lounge chairs. Since nothing was available for that night, we ate at the buffet. My mother was shocked to see how nice the cunucu looked with table clothes, cloth napkins and how people were drinking wine. I was shocked to find mussels in wine sauce. I served up one huge plate and placed it in the center as everyone else got what they individually wanted. Our waitress was a very nice woman from the Philippines who noticed we had just arrived that night. We had a nice conversation and she was very attentive which spoiled my dad who worked in a hotel usually cooking so it was nice to see him as well as my mom being served for once. But the long flight and the wine made us sleepy so we headed to bed at 10 to wake up early for a nice beach swim.

    Day 2

    My sister and I woke up at 6 to reserve our chairs but found out that our neighbors were all of the "young-old" age who wanted to sleep in on vacation so they did not really reserve although they did start to reserve after 7 the second day we were there but we didn't have to wake up at crazy early hours.

    I went with my sister to do our reservations at the Paparazzi for the last night and went to swim at the beach before breakfast. I put on a coverup that looks like a dress and went to eat breakfast with my family. The day was spent taking pictures, swimming at the beach, come for lunch, and continue swimming. I went to have some drinks with my dad before dinner.

    This time we had reservations early at the Red Parrot. Our waiter was Edgar as well as another tall gentleman who I was not able to catch his name was very attentive. At one point my family was laughing because he (he jest) believed that I was 14 asking for a tequila sunrise. He asked for ID and I was not sure if he was serious or not. My whole family was insisting that I was 23 (I have been told before that I look younger than 18) but my sister caught the wink he gave my parents.

    Tip: If you have a 5:30 reservation ask to be seated inside. It wasn't an overbearing of flies but we did have to return our drink and a soup when tiny flies fell on it while we were eating. It wasn't enough to ruin our dinner and it was nice to have a sunset dinner. They seem to suddenly disappear within a half an hour or so. The food was delicious and it was the first time my sister and I ate escargot on a dare. It was actually very good! Even the bread was so soft. Everyone enjoyed their food and even took our request to make a smaller portion for my grandmother since she would not have been able to eat everything. After taking a family picture at the bridge, Edgar pretended to drop the camera (not the water proof one!) which almost gave my sister a heart attack but we had yet another good laugh.

    They were having a market at the Divi and we bought a few things for our selves and to take back to our friends.

    My dad and sister wanted to go out the next day so they made reservation for a sightseeing tour. I went to swim in the pool with my sister at night after. They were having a karaoke night so it was nice to hear people sing while I swam around with my sister. It was funny swimming with disco lights on the pool but we had to turn in at 10 otherwise we would not be able to wake up to have a big breakfast and go to our tour.

    Day 3

    Our sightseeing tour was fun. We had a chance to really get to know the island. Gino was very informative with a great sense of humor. We saw many known places like the lighthouse, butterfly farm, natural bridge, the Beverly hills of Aruba, a chapel where my family gave thanks for the save trip and being in an island where we didn't know anyone yet everyone was so kind to us and other places. We did not dare get off at downtown where some people did to venture out to see the malls and instead went back to the hotel to have lunch 30 minutes before lunch was over. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach. I joined my dad at the bunker bar while my sister and my mother sunbathed and my grandmother enjoyed the view from the palapa with her favorite pizza there, the magherita.

    We all went to swim as a family but went back out when my grandmother started experiencing cramps. We ate dinner again at the buffet which we enjoyed. We had a reservation to the Palm grill but when my mother found out she would have to grill her own food we went early to cancel so someone else can have the spot. We went for a night swim again and went to sleep.

    I have to say this. My sister and I are usually chatterboxes where we talk and talk all night until we pass out. But I realized in Aruba, we showered, put on our pajamas and would knock out the moment our head touched the pillow. My grandmother though couldn't sleep easily since she's not use to sleeping anywhere but her own bed enjoyed sitting in the balcony and watched the waves until she got sleepy.


    Day 4

    My sister woke up a bit sad this day saying that we were leaving tomorrow. She actually begged my dad to find a way to extend the trip which made me a bit sad to see how she really enjoyed it. Time flew by but he promised if we come back we'll stay longer which cheered her up. I went out as routine for my morning swim with my family, breakfast, lunch, swim some more, the only difference this time was that we went to the Paparazzi. The Cesar salad was different but very delicious. We all ordered different things just like in the red parrot from pasta, steak and seafood and we all enjoyed our meal. We asked for champagne and made a toast for our last night. There was another Carnival dance at the buffet section but it has never been my thing. I was impressed by the outfits and took a few pictures. My sister and I joked that the person speaking was more excited and danced better than the girls. My mother and grandmother enjoyed it so they went to see the show again while my father, sister and I went to see how the casino was. My dad did not have much luck but his daughter did, my sister made $20 more from her one $1 and I made $15 more from my $5. We didn't stay long since the smoke was burning our throats after a while but had fun nonetheless.

    We spent the last night by the poolside and then went to bed.

    Last day

    The water was very angry that day and we had to go almost by the 1 block to find somewhat calm waters for our early morning swim. We had breakfast and our waiter gave us a farewell. (He noticed our early check in bracelets). We came to our rooms to hear the horrible news of what had happened in Colorado. Having family-friends there we were worried but were told the good news over an email to not worry. I went to the Pizza Tutti past 11 to order pizzas for all of on the road. Ivan picked us up at 12:30.

    He gave us a warm goodbye telling us that Aruba was our second home and to come back real soon. We headed to the airport, I did the check in, the luggage registration and went through the headache of having to go back to New York. As soon as we hit Atlanta, cellphones and ipads were on communicating to everyone. We arrived to New York at midnight and finally went to sleep at 3am after watching some of the pictures of the tv having enjoyed our lovely vacation with very nice tans and a bottle of aloe since my sister got a sunburn from a moment she forgot to put sunscreen.

    Now I loved the Tamarijn (LOVED!) but I'll mention some of the things I did not like.

    The internet is not the best. I was able to send emails but that's where it ended. I had to resize my pictures so they can go through and I couldn't video chat with anyone.

    If you're within my age range, you're going to have a hard time finding someone your age. I rarely saw someone between the ages of 18-25. My mom said she saw a young man with his sibling but every guy I saw was young (as their wristband was a different color). I saw one girl about my age but she was busy flirty with one of the funmakers so I wasn't going to interfere. I did socialize with a lot of the people there but they were mostly in their late 30s early 40s although it was very enjoyable talking to them especially since they were from England. I always enjoyed talking to people from other countries. The teenagers were mostly playing pool which I am horrible in and even though my mom pushed for me to socialize with them, it felt awkward talking to someone who was almost 7 years younger.

    But it did not ruin my fun but I was a bit attached to my sister. The last day I saw a group of young adults my age but they were visiting the beach since none of them had wristbands.

    But these are minor things for me. I would recommend finding a different hotel is wifi is a priority. It made me sad to see a couple whose vacation was being ruined (their words) because the internet was not working for them and they needed it for their job.

    PS I think I saw Arubalisa while I was there! I was swimming in the pool so I wasn't going to scream to get her attention since it would have been awkward but she was with an older woman who was on the wheelchair. I wasn't sure if it was her but she did look very familiar.

    My opinion about Aruba? Una Isla Feliz! <3
    Last edited by bksalvadorean417; 08-03-2012 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Mixed up the month
    Una Isla Feliz!

  2. #2
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thank you for your wonderful report!

    your dates were in july right?

    that WAS arubalisa with her 99 yr old grandmother!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Happy to hear you enjoyed Aruba and the Tamarijn.

    ...and yes, more than likely that was my grandmother and I.

  4. #4
    Member skipper's Avatar
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    Nice report. I think the highrise area would have had more people in your age group. I love the lowrise area because it is more for people my age (& I think better beaches).
    I love to see peoples reaction the first time they visit the island...
    I talked a friend of mine into going a few years ago. He loved it and I relived it through his eyes. We were planning on going together in the future, alas he became ill and succumbed to his disease.
    This year I am going with someone new. I intend to do & relive all the things I have been taking for granted.
    Again, thanks for your post.

  5. #5
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    my condolences on the loss of your friend


    i too think that maybe the hi rise would have been good for this young member to have tried.

    my husband and i love the lo rise area (eagle and druif beaches)but, if we were in our 20s, palm beach/hi rise would be the way we'd probably go.

    Quote Originally Posted by skipper View Post
    Nice report. I think the highrise area would have had more people in your age group. I love the lowrise area because it is more for people my age (& I think better beaches).
    I love to see peoples reaction the first time they visit the island...
    I talked a friend of mine into going a few years ago. He loved it and I relived it through his eyes. We were planning on going together in the future, alas he became ill and succumbed to his disease.
    This year I am going with someone new. I intend to do & relive all the things I have been taking for granted.
    Again, thanks for your post.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Wonderful detail in your report. Thank you for taking the time. I loved it!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea J. View Post
    thank you for your wonderful report!

    your dates were in july right?

    that WAS arubalisa with her 99 yr old grandmother!
    Great! Had I been sure, I would have at least thanked her for all the advice which made this trip very enjoyable but I'm terribly shy.

    Happy to hear you enjoyed Aruba and the Tamarijn.

    ...and yes, more than likely that was my grandmother and I.
    I did. The staff is very kind and helpful.

    Nice report. I think the highrise area would have had more people in your age group. I love the lowrise area because it is more for people my age (& I think better beaches).
    I love to see peoples reaction the first time they visit the island...
    I talked a friend of mine into going a few years ago. He loved it and I relived it through his eyes. We were planning on going together in the future, alas he became ill and succumbed to his disease.
    This year I am going with someone new. I intend to do & relive all the things I have been taking for granted.
    Again, thanks for your post.
    I couldn't complain. My family joked often that it was as if we had our own private beach. Since its my first time I don't know much of the difference but I did hear a lot people mention they felt like sardines something I would not have liked. I guess next time I'll bring a friend along.

    My condolences as well. I loved seeing my parents and grandmother's reaction. It was like seeing a little kid at a candy store for the first time. I was always happy and easily impressed. I hope you and your friend you're taking along have a blast. Take a picture and if possible have left side seating. It was an amazing sight and we didn't even land and we were already impressed.

    my husband and i love the lo rise area (eagle and druif beaches)but, if we were in our 20s, palm beach/hi rise would be the way we'd probably go.
    If my family and I go back one day, I'd ask them to spend at least one day at the hi-rise area to get a feel of it. But I loved Druif beach, the waves were fun especially when my sister and I got on the floaters. The water was somewhat deep without having to go really deep. It was like a ride although my dad kept swimming over and pulling us to shore

    We also knew how deep to go thanks to our tour guide. So we maintained a good distance from the dark blue water.

    Wonderful detail in your report. Thank you for taking the time. I loved it!
    You welcome! I was worried it'd be too long. Lol
    Una Isla Feliz!

  8. #8
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    Great report! Thank you!
    My favorite part: "The water was ahhhh degrees." Perfect!

  9. #9
    Senior Member WaltVB's Avatar
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    Thanks for your report. I too loved "ahhhh degrees". I hope you get to return many times. I didn't think your report was too long at all.

  10. #10
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    Great report! 5 days is a little quick.We have done 7,10 and 14 during our 12 trips.We liked 10-enough to really relax but not to many to become spoiled! Hope you get at least a week when you come again.

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