This was our 2nd trip to Aruba and my parent's first trip, here's how it went
(It's kinda long):
Sunday- Arrived just before 2PM, flight was just a little early. Lots of planes were coming in so it took a little while to get through the lines. Baggage took forever as well, but who cares. At least it showed up.
We met up with my parents who had landed a bit before us on a different flight and picked up our rental car and headed to Savaneta's Aruba Beach Chalets.
By the time we had gotten somewhat settled it was almost 4 so we headed over to Zeerover's for some Balashis and made dinner reservations at Flying Fishbone.
We ate dinner on the beach (I love the little sandal holders they have). The service and food were both wonderful. My husband and I both had the Seafood History dish. Everyone enjoyed their dishes. Good meal.
When we got back to our condo unit we decided to explore the property. The building is literally right on the water. There is about 8 feet of man-made beach and then a rock barrier to keep it from being washed away, then BAM ocean.
The only downside is that that area is a bit rocky. We knew that in advance and everyone had water shoes so it was no big deal. The water is also VERY shallow in that area. It's great for a dip, but not much else.
The good thing was our unit was the Deluxe condo with it's own private pool. This was great and I think I wouldn't have had as good a time if we had gotten one of the 5 other non-pool units.
I can't speak for the master bedroom, but the beds in the 2nd bedroom are glorified cots that my husband and I had to push together. They were pretty uncomfortable, but not so much that it took away from our overall vacation experience. The twin 'beds' would probably be okay for kids, but I would recommend bringing your own pillows.
Monday- We went grocery shopping and dined in. Basically a rest and relaxation day.
Tuesday- Husband and I went downtown, walked around and surveyed the shops a bit and had a few beers at the Paddock. We sat in the same spot we did the first time... cheesy, I know.
Another dinner in and another relaxing day of swimming and sunning.
Wednesday- My husband and I went on the Luncheon Snorkel Sail as offered by Red Sail Sports. After waiting almost an hour and having to hear some stupid girl whine and complain and berate her parents about not wanting to EXPLETIVE be there' and to 'give her the EXPLETIVE car keys so she could leave' we set sail.
The trip was cool, but man, there is something to be said for not having to be around other people some times. Maybe it's just me, I don't know.
The shipwreck stop was very crowded as at least 3 other tours were there. Kept getting bumped by people's fins that they weren't paying attention to.
Malmok was the highlight.
We had reservations at Papiamento for dinner at 8, and for some reason my mom requested a dining table inside . The outside is so much nicer, but she was afraid of being hot, then asked the waiter to turn down the air cause she was freezing.
Anyway, the food was great. Husband had the bisque I had the onion soup and we both had the Champagne Casserole. It was good, but a bit salty for our tastes.
My mom had the Mermaid, a 'grilled on stone' entree and enjoyed it and my step dad had the Classic Tournedos and said it was cooked perfectly.
A good dinner out all around.
Thursday- We booked a trip with Madi to see the Natural Pool. THIS WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF OUR TRIP. No joke, and thanks to Windy, I believe, for the recommendation. She picked us 4 up at 9am and we headed out. My mom asked if she could stop some place so she could buy a bottle of water and she took us to a small place near her home that she goes to. My husband and I stayed in the car while Madi and my parents went in. Madi comes out totting a huge watermelon, exclaiming, "I got a good price!". It was for her kids, she gives it to them instead of sodas and we dropped it off at her house. She called out to them with this crazy whistle and they came running to pick it up.
When we reached the pool one small group that had rode horses in was leaving and we had the pool to ourselves for about a half hour. It was beautiful. She instructed us where we could climb the rocks to see a smaller pool "the jacuzzi", and where it was deep enough in the large pool to jump in from the rocks.
Our next stop was just off the trails where she found a giant cactus that was fruiting and helped us gather the fruits of 2 different kinds of cactus to eat. They looked and tasted like kiwi. This was an awesome experience.
After that we headed to the triple natural bridge that is just past the location of the collapsed famous natural bridge. Madi pointed out that below there was a cave and she, my husband and myself climbed down and entered the cave. Madi started squeaking to get the bats to fly around. We exited a different way from the entrance straight into the water. "Wait for the waves to roll out and then step", she instructed.
Next we headed to Andicuri beach where she stopped to show us some crazy deep holes in the rocks. Andicuri was awesome. By far one of the most beautiful beached on the island. The waved are big, but not too big, and great for jumping around. Again, when we showed up only one other person was there. We even got Madi to join us in the water. When we were there a big tour group came through. The guide talked only about the rocks and no one went in the water. How lame. We are so thankful for the total experience Madi provides.
After Andicuri we went to see the rock formations and cave paintings. While we were there Madi explained what different area plants were used for and had us try some. As were were leaving, Madi made a lurching stop as she drove past the Donkey Sanctuary. She made the other cars on the road go around her so she could back up and take us in a bit. She says, "Once I get going showing people things, it's hard to stop. Always another great place to show." So true.
We got back to our condo a little after 1pm and she only charges $30pp we gave her a great tip, and they are booking her for this week again when my step-bro and his GF will be arriving. They made them cancel their other booked tour so the y could book w/ Madi. So worth it.
Another dinner in.
Friday- The husband and I set out to do a little solo snorkeling away from big groups of people. We went to Baby Beach, ( nice beach, but I wasn't too impressed w/ the snorkling) then we trekked over to Magel Halto, only a short distance from our condo. The water was very churned up and had been rising like the tide came in early (it ended up storming later...more about that in a bit). After Magel Halto we went back to Malmok where we had had the best snorkeling from our previous trip. It was great. Best snorkeling so far and of course the husband ended up getting a little crispy on his back from staying in the water too long, but it was worth it.
We ate lunch at a tapas place in the High Rise area, we were pretty pleased. The fried mahi was the highlight.
For dinner we planned to take my parents out to have the bouillabaisse at the Pirate's Nest because we raved about it so much - it was a highlight from our previous trip in 2008. What a disappointment.
We arrived at 8 and were ignored for about 5 or so minutes and then shuffled to the bar area because 'a table had to be fixed up for us'.
The place was not full and at least 3 or so table outside were open, all tables inside open. We waited in the bar lounge area for about 10 minutes while a flustered server had to go talk to the manager who was busy chatting it up with some ladies. She looked annoyed with him.
We waited another 5 minutes before we got seated and then the thunder started.
Just after waiting forever for some service we get our wine brought to us and it starts to rain.
They cranked out the motorized sun shades, but these are obviously not designed to keep rain out and we were getting lightly misted. Then it started pouring. We noticed another couple that had been banished to wait in the lounge for a table were still waiting and had moved to the bar area where they got forgotten about for a while. We ended up moving indoors where it continued to pour like crazy.
After all this I was hoping the food would stand up to it. Not at all. They have drastically changed the bouillabaisse. It was not even very good at all. Gone are the bits of conch and baby octopi and tasty broth. My mom got the giant prawn entree - overcooked. I got the mahi - overcooked. I can't remember what my step-dad got but I did see him pull out 3 or 4 bones from just one bite of his fish. My husband's dish was ok, but he ended up having to trek to the bathroom (just outside of the restaurant) with an umbrella and a key from the manager. The key didn't work the first time and he came back once to ask for another key. And of course as soon as he left our food had arrived. Once he got back from the second trip to the restroom w/ the manager who had to use 2 different keys, his food was cold.
All-in-all, this was the down point of our trip. Will not be going back.
By the time we got home it was 10:13 and we settled in for a movie and bed.
Saturday- We went downtown again and had lunch at the Paddock, then went back to the condo to enjoy our last full day in the sun, surf and pool.
Today it was so clear we could see Venezuela, the first time all week.
Ate dinner in.
Sunday- Last day. We slept in a little before showering and packing up. All flights and luggage were on time.
Only bad part is I had to come home to a cat that was missing. We think she somehow got out as we left for out trip. She's still missing.
Last edited by Andrea J.; 08-20-2010 at 09:38 PM.
Reason: had to edit out the %$# expletive had pm'd request , no reply
I am so very sorry to hear about your cat's disappearance. Do not give up hope! One of our boys, all indoor cats, took an extended four month vacation at one time We were so very grateful to get him back after catching everyone of God's other creatures in our Hav-A-Heart trap
As to Aruba, it sounds like you had a fantastic trip! Photos?
So far I've only uploaded some and only to my Facebook. Here's a public link to the album, there are more pics to come once I develop the underwater camera pictures and when my parents get back I'm sure we'll swap.
Eagle Beach, exploring the "Outback", Madi's tour to the Natural Pool , dinner at Papiamento's
Veraynna, I am so happy that you too found the tour with Madi to be a truly unforgettable experience!!!! It was the highlight of our trip as well!
Isn't she an amazing, wonderful treasure?! Her enthusiasm is so contagious! She took us to the same places, which we would never have found on our own. As we were leaving the Natural Pool, someone was climbing the rocks, and she was doing her unique whistle to get their attention. I'll never forget our day with her!!!!
Papiamento's and the Flying Fishbone are favorite restaurants for us! Sorry you had to sit inside at Papiamento's!
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip -- thanks for sharing!
My cat came home!
And, I was mistaken about what I ate at Flying Fishbones. After reviewing with my husband he informed me I had the duck. It's not that it wasn't memorable, because it was very good. I think I'm just so used to the husband and I ordering the same thing that I forgot.