arrived in aruba via airtran on feb 6th. was renting a car and used alamo. while i've luck with alamo in the past, the car they gave me was a piece of junk. was a mitsubishi with 60k miles on it. the clerk from alamo did a walk around with me of the car to mark damage and had to mark all four sides, both bumpers, and even the top! key fob didn't work either. on the plus side, it didn't run too bad if you could tolerate the squeaking brakes.
we stayed at a condo called the aruba pearl, which had great reviews on trip advisor. it is located near eagle beach, just down from the screaming eagle restaurant. we really enjoyed the pearl. it was a 1400 sq ft condo with two big bedrooms with two full baths. the staff was very friendly and we met some very nice people there. they also have two swimming pools.
you could walk to eagle beach from the pearl in about 4 or 5 minutes. i originally thought this might be a pain but it wasn't a problem at all.
the main purpose of this vacation was just to relax and enjoy the beach, which we did. the water was a little cool to start but after being in it for a minute or two it was fine.
we went on two excursions. first, on saturday the 9th, we went snorkeling with aruba bob. the entire staff was outstanding and we enjoyed the scenery. with aruba bob, you use a little fan type thing to help propel you through the water. i'm a poor swimmer so i appreciated the help. we also rode horses with the gold mine ranch. they came and picked us up and dropped us back off. the guide was very nice and we rode past the gold mine fort and the baby bridge. both of our horses were well behaved and we enjoyed ourselves.
the dining was just so so in my opinion. my wife needs to eat a gluten free diet and i had made plans to visit some restaurants that could accomodate her but we ended up being too tired to make a big deal out of dinner and just ate at some places where we knew she could find something. we ate at both smokey joes and iguana joes which we both enjoyed. she especially liked the pink iguana drink. we ate at texas de brazil one night and was pretty disappointed. the food was okay but after seeing the bill, we thought it was overpriced.
we did do some gambling. i'm a big las vegas fan and we killed some time in some of the casinos. several of them offered some free play through a magazine we picked up. the radisson offered the best. they gave each of us 25 in free slot play, a 10 match play, and a 20 match play. i won 179 off my free slot play on a penny machine. my wife did great on the penny machines, cashing out 3 different times for 150+.
overall we had a great trip. the weather was fantastic as was the beaches.
i would give the pearl a big thumbs up with an asterisk. i'm not sure if i would want to stay there without a car. it wasn't too far to the beach but getting to restaurants and shops would have been a problem. on the plus side, the bus runs right by so maybe that would make things okay.
this was trip two for us, i hope to take several more.
Pelican Pier at sunset with a bucket of Brights!
Sunsets at Bunker Bar
LG Smith Steakhouse, Windows on Aruba,
Enjoyed your report, I am a fan of the penny slots like your wife and it is nice that she was able to cash out a few times If you stay at the Pearl again the bus is a great way and priced very nice to get around town if you do not want to rent a car. Welcome home.
dining wasn't all bad, just some not so great meals. we weren't real adventurous when it came to eating. first night was the hard rock because we had been up since 4 am and just wanted something. we went to linda's since they had gluten free pizza. my wife said it was pretty good. i had a regualar pizza which i thought was just so so. my wife wanted seafood one night so we went to fishes and more. she got the grouper. i swear her filet was 1/8 inch thick. add in the expensive meal at texas de brazil and i guess thats where the disappointment came in.
the pearl had some smallish chairs we could use but they were just chairs, not loungers. we carried them down a couple of days but rented the others. funny story, one day that we were going to rent we ended up walking a bit too far and ended up by the costa linda. we were hoping to rent some chairs but couldn't find where. guess they don't rent them. anyways, asked a guy sitting there if anyone was using these two chairs. now i realize they are only for costa linda guests but i just wanted to sit down. he said no, go ahead but some older lady with rabbit ears probably 30 feet away piped up that "if you are not a guest you can't use those chairs". my wife was horrified, i just laughed it off. she talked about that for days.
we really weren't looking for much shade. we are from ohio so could obviously use some sun. didn't really get burnt. if we had got to the beach early, we could have used one of those shade huts. we just got into the water when we were hot.
we were completely satisfied with the pearl but am not sure if we will go that route next time for a couple of reasons. firstly because of the beach chair situation. it's nice to walk out, grab a chair and a towel and enjoy the day. the other reason would just be location. it wasn't a big inconvenience driving up the beach but still a bit of a inconvenience.
anyways, had a great trip. much too short for me. wife missed our granddaughters and was ready to come home.
Thanks Todd for the report. I love hearing about others trips to Aruba. Do you and your wife ride horses reguarly or was this a first time? The horse trip is something I have not done and have always wanted to give it a try although I have been to the places they visit. I am just wondering if it is for "novice' folks. If you go again come on here and try to plan beforehand where you will eat. I am glad you had a nice time.
diann, we have only rode horses 4 or 5 times but have done it both times we were in aruba. i would consider us both novices. both times we have rode horses in aruba the ride went along the coast with the fort and the bridge. its quite a bit different than the beach side. they asked us prior to the ride about our experience with horses so they could fine tune what kind of ride we would have. hope this helps.
Sounds like a nice relaxing vacation. Sorry you had some disappointments with meals. Fishes 'n More is best on a tue night with the early bird special available all night. It's not world class dining.... but relatively inexpensive with some entertainment and some people watching. Texas de Brazil is best enjoyed with a discount coupon. We found a 15% coupon (tip from Andrea J) last summer in the jewelry store, Kay's I think, on the ground level. Even with the 15% it was expensive.... but the experience is worth it to us and we go most years.
Thanks for the great trip report. Reading your report makes me want to be there now! We also enjoyed snorkeling with Arubabob. I did not have a great experience with horseback riding, but everyone else seems to.