Natural Pool, Druif Beach, Eagle Beach, California Lighthouse, Helicopter
Our trip to Aruba March 8-15 2016
We left for the airport at 2:30am (58 degrees in Michigan) with an hour drive there and our flight leaving at 5:30am. We flew for the first time on Southwest and it was great. From Grand Rapids to Baltimore, then to Aruba. We had just enough time between flights to grab breakfast. We arrived in Aruba and as we stood waiting for our luggage realized that maybe someone else grabbed my bag. The bag left on the conveyor looked a little like mine so we talked to an employee and he went outside and came back with my luggage. He was going to take the other bag out to the guy but his boss said no he would have to come and get it. I'm glad that was resolved quickly! We got in line for a taxi, which was a new system for us and awesome! So much better organized than the chaos of our last visits. Traffic downtown was busy but it gave my mom time to see some things as we drove through (her first visit, our third). Registration at the Divi for my mom's room went very smooth. We got settled in our rooms and talking to my in-laws found out my father-in-law had to visit the ER the day after they arrived the week before. They had a great experience and luckily it wasn't anything serious. They were in and out within 4 hours. An hour later we found out that my brother-in-law had a heart attack here at home. He was being taken care of by my co-workers so I wasn't too worried but it added a little stress to our day waiting to hear how he was doing. Happy to report he's doing great!!
That evening we went to the members party and my mom won a free BBQ meal at Seabreeze for that evening which made it easy to decide where to go for dinner.
We took a lot of walks on the beach and spent a great amount of time at the pool(s). We took the bus a few times downtown to wander and one day we went on the Atlantis Submarine. DH and I had been on it before but it was one thing my mom really wanted to do. We relaxed more than usual but it was only one week and our first two times were two weeks. We don't think we'll ever go less than 10 days; 7 just isn't enough but it's better than nothing!!
We noticed the helicopter tour was at the harbor downtown. When we inquired on the cost it seemed quite a bit higher than what we paid in the past. $260 for the island tour (per person) and I'm pretty sure it was $140 when we went back in 2010. I know prices go up but we couldn't justify that when we've gone twice before.
We walked to Ling and Sons a couple times for snack and breakfast foods. One night we made dinner in. There are so many places we wanted to go but a night in was welcomed.
Restaurants we ate at:
The Cove at Alhambra Casino - was actually pretty good. And it was a lucky night for me winning $100.
Twist of Flavors - Not overly impressed. I had a grilled chicken sandwich that was overcooked. Someone else had the fettucini alfredo and said that was ok but a little bland.
Madame Jeanette - Always the best as far as I'm concerned. I had the Burgerloin (thanks again for the recommendation Andrea!) and it was excellent.
BeniHana - Very good food. My mom claimed her steak was better there than what she had at Madame Jeanette's.
Mulligan's - Our food was ok. We had a server that didn't seem to be having a good night and if we asked for anything we got an eyeroll and deep sigh. We had to grab another server to get more water. Not impressed but the atmosphere made up for it. We watched frogs hopping around out on the green. What can I say we're easily amused. lol
We had a couple of snacks and one breakfast at the Tiki Tiki Cafe. Everything there was good!
Our flight home didn't leave until 2:30pm so it was nice to not have a rushed morning. We enjoyed breakfast with the in-laws on their balcony and had time to catch a taxi and make it to the airport without any problems. Flight to Baltimore was great and we made it into Grand Rapids just before the rain. We watched the lightening off in the distance for the last 1/2 hour of the flight. When we walked out of the airport to get our car it was pouring rain. When DH pulled up to pick up our luggage it started hailing! Welcome home - Michigan, where you can't predict the weather one second to the next.
Well you definitely got off to a hectic start but I'm glad your inlaws recovered okay. It can be unnerving when your away and someone gets sick! You were also very lucky to get your luggage back so quickly. We tried Twist of Flavors on a recent trip and thought the food was somewhat bland. Like you, we always love Madame Janette though. Glad your vacation turned out well!
Thanks for your trip report, Laura. How lucky you caught it in time when someone mistakenly took your bag at the airport. The health issues of your relatives must have been scary, glad, everyone is ok.
Interesting info about the helicopter! When I wanted to take a flight in 2009 or 2010, it was very expensive as I would have been the only person flying and he would have charged me the double price. I cannot remember the exact amount and it would only have been a 30 min flight.
Did you notice lots of changes in Aruba since your last visit in 2010 compared to now?
Glad you had a great vacation and thanks again for taking the time and writing about it.
Thank you for the report. Glad to hear your brother in law is okay. A couple of years ago on our flight down I noticed a woman get on with the exact (and I mean exact) same carry on as Maggie's. I made sure to be the first to the carousel on that trip. Walks on the beach and pool time seem like a great way to relax since this trip wasn't as long as what you are used to having.
Great report. I am glad your father-inlaw is doing much better. Interesting to know the helicopter tour is back in business, I did not realize that. If I did not hate heights so much I would think that would be a great way to see the island.
Pelican Pier at sunset with a bucket of Brights!
Sunsets at Bunker Bar
LG Smith Steakhouse, Windows on Aruba,
Glad your trip was nice, I agree once you are used to 10 or more days it would be hard for a shorter visit. I am glad you caught you luggage in time, although my luggage stands out and is very unique I always make sure I check the tag. I wish more travelers would be more careful and double check their name tags, it only takes a matter of seconds for what could end up to be way too much valuable vacation trying to fix the mix-up. We ate at Windows on Aruba once and watched the frogs hopping around at dusk. At first we had to ask what was jumping all around, couldn't figure it out Glad to hear everyone is doing fine after the health scares. Thanks for your report.
Thanks for sharing your latest trip experience with us, it sounded like a fun, relaxing time. Thankfully I've never had a problem with someone picking up my luggage by mistake because it looks like their own. Mostly because when I arrive on Aruba it's always been at a time when their are very few flights arriving(late afternoon/early evening/late night) and also because I have a key chain attached to my luggage in the shape of a red football jersey with the words "Soca Warriors Germany 2006." I attached another key chain to it for my third trip to Aruba in early 2014, it was in the shape of a Surfboard with the words "I Love Aruba" written on it. Both key chains made it to Aruba okay, on my way home the surfboard broke off somewhere between Curacao and T&T. I plan to look for a replacement key chain on my next trip.
Thank you for sharing! So sorry for all the medical issues but glad the family members are better. Wow on the luggage mix up! That could have been bad and glad you didn't waste anymore of your precious time on it.