We've been back home for a week now...our first trip to Aruba exceeded our expections in every way!!! I gained so much helpful information from this forum that I want to thank everyone for sharing their experiences, tips, etc. I've been reliving our trip by writing a very long trip report...I thought I'd share it with you as I am one that loves reading reports from paradise from other travelers. Hope this all works...I'm going to include pictures as well!
We recently returned from our first trip to Aruba. I did not have any idea of where we were headed…I just wanted a tropical island with a gorgeous beach to celebrate my birthday and our 35th wedding anniversary. I picked Aruba based on the recommendation of a friend that had spent some time on the island during a cruise ship port/dock. The fact that the island is located outside the hurricane belt also factored into my decision to pick Aruba. We have travelled to Mexico and the Dominican Republic…Mexico both in the Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta…Punta Cana in the Dominican. Aruba falls a bit below the radar from the Midwest/St. Louis because we don’t have any direct flights and they can be quite expensive. We also always travel All Inclusive…it’s just the most relaxing vacation on earth in our opinion. We always do excursions and tours off the resorts and plan meals, etc. off the resorts to truly experience the local culture. I chose the Divi All Inclusive based on reviews from various websites. The location out of the high rise area on a gorgeous beach was most appealing to me. The closer we can be to the beach…the better! I chose our tours and off resort activities based on reviews from this website and trip advisor as I researched Aruba…Here we go for my first installment!
We had an overnight connection from St. Louis to Aruba…leaving on Monday, May 31 and arriving in Miami at 9:30pm…we had an hour delay waiting for our luggage, then moved on to the airport Marriott for the night. The Marriott was only a 10 minute shuttle from the airport. Since the 31st was actually my birthday…we had a celebratory drink before bedtime and made the arrangements to be at the airport by 9:00 am for our 11:00 flight to Aruba! All of the research done prior to the trip made me sooooo excited to finally be on the way to island. We were a bit delayed out of Miami…but FINALLY made it to Aruba by 2:30 pm on Tues., June 1. I had booked a transfer along with the hotel reservation prior to knowing about Bully. The transfer was with DePalm and it was fine. We were the second stop from the airport and the driver was quite informative and entertaining! It was probably only 20 minutes before we arrived at the Divi once we left the airport. When we departed the bus at the Divi where we were welcomed by Eduardo…we were immediately in love and endeared to Aruba and the Aruban people! Eduardo told us he had never met anyone from as far “West” as St. Louis!
A week or so before we left for our trip, my husband emailed the Divi informing them that we would be celebrating my birthday on our arrival and asked for a bottle of wine or champagne and a reservation at the Red Parrot for the evening of our arrival. Both requests were graciously fulfilled. Check in was totally stress free and quick! We were directed to the activities/reservation desk to get our reservation for the Red Parrot and we also were able to get a reservation for the next night. We chose the Italian Paparazzi at the Tamarijn. We were taken to our ocean view room…Vista II room 515…it was absolutely perfect! The balcony overlooked the gorgeous beach and there was a beautiful gift of wine, glasses and a sweet card welcoming us to the Divi. The room was spotlessly clean and had all the amenities described here and on the Divi website. There was plenty of drawer/closet space and we loved the double sinks and large vanity in the bathroom. We quickly unpacked…threw on our suits and were on the beach by 3:00! We wandered around the resort, checked out our digs for the next 7 days and immediately had no doubts or hesitation about our decision to choose Aruba for our special celebration vacation! Here are a few pics from our first day.