We will be staying for one evening at the HI before checking in to the Surf Club for 2 weeks. I was surprised to hear about the guaranteed palapas for platinum members, definitely gonna use that. Thanks for your daily trip reports, they make lunch time so much better!
Jolly Pirate Day! Hubby, daughter and son took morning sail. I am getting more land-sick after each time I am on a boat, so I opted to stay on land. I drove to the beach area near where the boat anchored for their third stop for snorkeling and the rope swing. It was so close I got great pics from the shore.
They returned to the hotel about 1:30 and we decided to get out of the sun for a bit and head downtown to wander about and shop. We walked, drooled at Columbian Emeralds and bought the usual Aruba tshirts. Daughter bought an Alex and Ani bracelet, and from Brad's trip report, it seems the "in" thing.
Andrea, I found a charm that fits my Pandora bracelet. I found it at Artistic while looking for a palm tree pendant. The sales lady insisted that it would fit my bracelet, but I didn't have it with me to try so I told her we'd be back later in the week. I did go back with my bracelet and it did indeed fit. It does not screw on; the hole is big enough that it just slips on. It is stamped 925 and she did say it is silver. She was a very nice sales lady and GAVE me a silver palm tree pendant because I went back like I said I would. Not the best pics, but it will give you an idea of what it's like.
Dinner was at our newest favorite, Ricardo's at the Aruba Beach Club. We had no reservations, but after 10 minutes or so at the bar, we had a table. Hubby and daughter had lobster pasta; simply awesome they said!! Son had surf and turf and was equally as awesome. I had the all you can eat ribs, which were very good as well. DH and DD went into Alhambra to maybe do a little gambling, but came out after only about 10 minutes. There was a slot tournament and the place was crazy busy.
Posting a day at a time makes one savor the experiences...
Fantastic reports !! and yes....as I have been "advised" by my wife and daughter......Alex and Ani are the "in" things... Good thing I got the girls along to keep me up to date on all that is "in"...lol
Whew, we had a whirlwind weekend so I'm behind; but, here's more to our story:
Tuesday June, 10th we decided to try DePalm Island. It's roughly $100pp, but it includes many things. You can choose to be picked up by DePalm to be transferred to their boat shuttle (which may add a little to the cost), or, as we did, drive to their boat launch that takes you to the island. The cost included drinks all day (I'm thinking DH and I hit our $100 right there and DD, who is old enough to drink on the island sampled some concoctions), breakfast buffet, lunch buffet and snack bar all day (food was ok, nothing spectacular), as much snorkeling as you would like to do, beach chairs with plenty of palapas for shade, play area with water slides, a volleyball court (kids and I played a little and it just made me realize how out of shape I am), basketball court and as many banana boat rides as you want. There is an extra fee for a couple things, in which we did not partake.
The snorkeling was great at DePalm, although the water is a little rough if you snorkel off their dock. There were many parrot fish, sergeant majors, crab and a long silvery fish that I followed for a while that had I known was a barracuda would have sent me back to shore in a heartbeat. Yikes. You can also snorkel in their man made lagoons.
They kick everyone off the island between 5:00 and 5:30 and by the time we got back to the hotel it was a quick Sbarro pizza night and a little more donating at the casino. We crashed pretty early as the next day was island adventure day.
Wednesday, June 11 was adventure day. We had the jeep packed with drink, snacks and lunch, and we headed to Bushiribana ruins. Of course, we took the long way and drove the kids along the coast to see the wickedly beautiful sea on the other side of the island. Mother nature did not disappoint and the waves were violently crashing on the rocky shore. We spent quite a bit of time stopping and photographing and videoing along the way.
The kids enjoyed Bushiribana once we got there, and they had a good time climbing around the rocks. I, for the first time, looked at it in amazement wondering how such a structure was built in the early 1800s. How did it all get there, how did they get the stone that high? It's in the middle of nowhere. Again, we took lots of pictures and continued on our way.
We next hit the Natural Ex-Bridge. I thought we had seen it since it's collapse, but I guess not because I had no recollection of that site. Although it collapsed, it is still a site to see.. And, there is a smaller bridge closer to the building, in which there is a small fee for use of the restroom, heehee. DS created a rock cairn up high on the collapsed bridge. We'll see if it's still there on our next trip.
DH, who didn't listen the night before when I said there is an entry fee for Arikok Park, continued on to, you guessed it, Arikok Park. We wouldn't have minded paying a small fee, but when they told us $10pp, DH mumbled something under his breath and we left. Again, a small fee per car maybe.
We put DS in the front seat to have the experience of being navigator on the Aruban back roads. He even had a map, hahaha. He got us where we were going, eventually. We landed at Baby Beach in the afternoon, had our picnic lunch and Balashis under the sea grape bushes that line the back of the beach and of course swam in the calm, warm, clear. We didn't have snorkel equipment, but the kids had goggles, which were good enough. And, you don't have to take underwater pics of just fish, we got some cool pics of the kids under the water.
After leaving Baby Beach, we headed to Casibari rock formations. From the top of the rocks, you get a nice view and again we took lots of pics. It's nicely kept up and it looked like the restaurant/bar at that location was setting up for some type of music event. I've not heard anything about the place; has anyone else?
It was getting late, and we offered to take the kids to Hooiberg even though neither of us adults were going to climb to the top. I think I remember you need to be in great shape to climb over the 500 steps to the top and no one wanted to do that, so we headed back to the hotel.
We had dinner on Pelican Pier. Everything was great and service equally as good. Gambling started to turn around; we ended up back at the hotel with same amount of money we had when we left for dinner. That's a win in my book.
I think I may print all of these posts when I'm done and will have enough for a small journal of our trip.
Yes Jacki, amazing family time with kids that will soon be off on their own. So glad they still want to hang out with us.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 12, 13, 14 were all basically the same, get up, walk the beach, set up camp for the day, eat, drink Balashi, Amstel, Malibu/Coke, dinner, gamble a little, sleep, repeat.
Thursday my daughter and I did sneak downtown for a little while so I could get the Biachi charm that fit my Pandora bracelet. We shopped a little more, had lunch at Iguana Joe's and we stopped in the Crystal Casino (she was trying to win enough to buy a pair of nice sunglasses). We were up about $50 after about 20 minutes, but were anxious to get back to the beach so we cashed in. We didn't have enough for the sunglasses, but it was a start. Dinner was Ruinas del Mar at the Hyatt for me and hubby, and the kids went to TGIFriday. We love Ruinas. The lobster is always the best I've ever had and the appetizer was a baked brie with honey and walnuts. Baked brie is one of my favorite things, and I've never had it with honey and walnuts. It was amazing. We stopped in a the Hyatt casino and left with a little extra in our pocket. Again, nothing to write home about, but winning back the cost of dinner is a big win.
Friday's beach day was uneventful except for the Holland soccer game. Moomba's erected bleachers on the beach and a large screen on which they were showing the game. We could hear the play by play at the Holiday Inn. Our son and I walked down to check out the craziness and we were lost in a sea of orange shirts. I guess world cup soccer there is like the superbowl here. We're not soccer fans, but when in Rome......
We took the kids to Buccaneer for dinner as they had never been there. They enjoyed the atmostphere, even at 17 and 19. The food was fine, nothing out of this world, but the service was great and atmosphere interesting as always.
After dinner, I told hubby I would take our son back to the hotel and he could take our daughter gambling as she is old enough, our son is only 17. We headed back, but DH didn't turn toward the HI; he decided we should take our son with us. I was leary, but he went right in, sat at a machine with not a word from anyone. I played blackjack and tried to explain the nuances to DD. I guess I shouldn't have worried about our son being there, I had kids younger than him at my table. After about 2 hours, son was up $50 (a fortune to a 17 year old), daughter was up $100 (go get those sunglasses) and I was up $175. Hubby was even. One happy family.
Saturday, our last full day, found me glued to the beach. In the morning the other guests on the beach were treated to a helicopter show. We figured it was a military exercise, but a helicopter circled a number of times, extracted someone out of the water near the Jolly Pirate launch, circled again and then put the person back into the water. It was quite the spectacle. Other than that, I did not leave the beach until after sunset.
The kids picked Ricardos again for dinner, and I did not disappoint. Someone again had lobster pasta, I had the best ever coconut-pineapple shrimp!! And again the service was top notch.
We went back to the hotel to try to cram everything back in our suitcases as we had to head home Sunday.