Our family of 5 embarked on our 14th trip to Aruba on Thursday, March 26. We flew United out of Newark leaving at 10:40 am and arrived in Aruba at 3:30 pm. The flight was easy and uneventful, other than the woman traveling alone who managed to drink an entire bottle of Tito's Vodka that she purchased in Duty free. I am not sure how she consumed that amount and was not vomiting or dead! She was reprimanded by the flight attendant, but when she got a little slurry and sassy at him he backed off and told her to have a nice vacation with a big smile. Obviously he was trying to prevent a huge scene.
We flew through immigration and had to wait about 10 minutes for our luggage, then it was into a cab and off to the Hyatt for our first night. We rented a week at Costa Linda starting on Friday, but decided it would be fun to visit our former Aruban base for a day and see old friends. We arrived at the Hyatt at 4:30 and were immediately checked in. It was a nice surprise that we were upgraded to the Sunset Suite with a full balcony, given Regency Club access and were offered a late 2pm check out. We quickly changed and hit the pool for swimming and a margarita. After about an hour, we headed up for complimentary hors d'oeuvres on the 9th floor, then showered, changed and headed to Smokey Joe's. Family tradition dictates that we always eat there on our first night. I will go into dinner details in a separate post in the culinary section on another day. After a long day it was early to bed and then early rising to wait in the infamous line. My husband went down around 5:30 am and was 2nd in line. I met him there at 6:45 since we thought hut assignments began at 7 am. We found out though that they recently changed start time to 7;30 am. After getting our pool spot set up, we hit the fitness center which has moved since our last visit. It was a nice center with plenty of equipment and they even have a separate spinning room now. We enjoyed the continental breakfast on the 9th floor and then spent the entire day at the pool/beach. The kids made great use of the water slide and went on a tube ride with Delphi sports. We ordered lunch from the pool bar and played bingo, 2 of the kids won free smoothies. I had checked us out of the room at 2 and put our bags in storage, then around 4 we decided to get a cab and head to our new Aruba home, Costa Linda.
On the way we decided to stop at Mio store and activate our data devices which we purchased last year. We figured at the time that even though you have to pay for 30 days of data, the cost is not much more than the wifi at CL and is much faster. Of course they changed the policy, you now pay for the calendar month now, no longer 30 days. Since we were there from march 26 to april 3 we would have to purchase a full month for march, and then return 4 days later and reactivate for April. It was ridiculous that we would need to pay for 2 months ($180) for one week of internet. We ended up just getting CL wifi cards. The wifi is very spotty though and worked well only in the early morn and late evening. Not a big deal, it was nice to actually put the electronics down and not look at them. I actually went 2 or 3 days without checking email, facebook, etc. at all! It's very freeing.
We picked up our rental car Saturday morning from Avis at CL, the lady was late, of course, no biggie, but gave us a bit of attitude at first. Once she warmed up to us her attitude was better and she even apologized for her initial behavior. The car we got was a Kia Rio, it appeared from the outside to be in decent shape. we discovered though that the brakes needed work and the AC was not very reliable. When we returned it, we did get spoken to about the amount of sand we got in the car, and were going to be charged $50 extra, but when we reminded her that we did tell her the AC was not working and she never followed up we should not have to pay the cost. She relented and let us off the hook.
The remainder of our trip was fairly predictable. We set up at the pool every morning, since that is where our kids like to be all day. Luckily we made friends with a very nice man who was traveling alone and let us share his beach hut with him when we needed a change of scenery. Most days we just spent around the pool and beach, ordered lunch from the pool bar and then hit happy hour before showering and heading for dinner. After dinner and gelato we went to bed, no nightlife for us since we were up at 5 or 6 am every day. Twice we went snorkeling at Boca Catalina and went on the Jolly pirates afternoon snorkel sail cruise. We go every year and never get tired of it. So much fun and a lot of great people every time. We had a 4;25 pm flight home on Good Friday. Got to the airport at 1 because we knew it would be a busy travel day. It took 2 hours to get to our gate. Long lines, but they went quicker than the last time we traveled on that day. Flight left on time and we arrived back in Newark on time. Today was our first day back to reality, and it was a bit tough. Of course planning our next trip is making it more bearable. I will try to post some restaurant reviews later this week!