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Thread: Tuckers' 3rd Anniversary Trip

  1. #11
    Senior Member SuperBunches's Avatar
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    I love the beach (who doesn't?), anywhere that I can snorkel, The Donkey Sanctuary (much to the dismay of my daughter), the lighthouse.
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    Thank you for sharing your trip with us! It sounds great so far. I look forward to the next update.

  2. #12
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    Bucuti Beach Club, Natural Pool, Donkey Farm, Alto Vista Chapel
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    Thanks for all the wishes. The last two days were eventful. I've recorded my notes and think they are ready for posting.

  3. #13
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    Monday, July 29, 2013

    We were up early and took our breakfast out on the balcony. Another beautiful day in Aruba was already beginning. After breakfast, we went down to the beach for a morning of relaxation. The sun was great and we had an Aruba Ariba to quench our thirst after the bar opened.

    Lunch

    After seeing Doin' Time with Dan's video of lunch as Casa Vieja, I just had to try it. I didn't overdo breakfast and we planned on only snacks for dinner, so I was ready. The bandeja paisa platter is a traditional Colombian dish and was great. It consists of steak, a fried egg, chorizo link, chicharron, rice, pasta salad, sliced avocados, Johnny cakes, a fried plantain, and a bowl of beans. I was stuffed. My wife had a much smaller fish platter. She had a rum and coke, while I drank 3 of the little Polar bottles. The whole lunch was $30 and I was going to have no room for dinner.

    Chetos Rum Shop

    We asked around and found a cab driver who knew the place. It is located at Paradera 119 and she knew the owners. We met Melena, who owns the place with her brother. Her parents started the shop nearly 70 years ago. She was amazed that I heard about the place on the Internet. My wife ordered a small bottle of Palmera rum with a cup of ice and a can of Coca-Cola. I had the same without a Coke. We chatted about rum shops and the old days. I bought a bottle of Coecoei from Melena and she gave us our round of drinks on the house. We bid her farewell until next time.

    Super Foods

    We found many exciting rums at the new store. I bought a bottle from Holland and another from Suriname. I had never seen either of these before. The prices on the Havana Club were $7-10 cheaper here than The Market at Alhambra.

    Bucuti

    We made our way back to our room to drop off our pirate booty before heading back down to the beach. I stayed under the hut and read while the wife got more sun. We watched the sun set before heading back up to the room.

    Alhambra

    We were in the casino just long each to pick up our free pull and the $5 match play for roulette. We really were not up for gambling, so we hit the Fusion Wine & Piano Bar. The bartender was great and we saw the 3 folks that sat in front of and behind us on the plane from Philly. That led to us being out later than we had planned, but we were back before midnight.

  4. #14
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    Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    We got up early to have breakfast on our balcony before leaving before 9 for the airport.

    This is our first flight to Curaçao and we were not sure about the lines. It turns out they didn't start check-in for the 11:45 until 9:30 and we waited as the second couple in line. We had to pay $68.50 for departure tax on the DAE flight. After waiting to pay that, we were through Aruban Customs and security in 2 minutes.

    I was immediately disheartened to found out that the DAE 9:00 flight was delaying until 11:00. Now, I am concerned about our time and if it will be affected. We can't get any answers so we wait. Our boarding time was 11:00.

    Duty Free

    They have plenty of the local rums before you go through US Customs. The DAE gate is B, so it is right there.

    Airport

    At 11:15, the 9:00 that was delayed had not yet boarded. I saw a small group arrive by bus and assumed their plane had arrived. Our flight is now showing 12:00. This may be a good sign, but I see the folks on the 9:00 still sitting here. Later, they put our flight up at the gate. I guess they are going to merge the flights.

    Flight

    They did merge the flights and that is probably why the 9:00 was delayed. The flight was full and it was first come first serve for seats. We boarded the bus about 12:15 and made it to Curaçao just before 1:00.

    Cab to Willemstad

    We shared a cab from the airport with a couple that are on the same return flight at 8:00 tonight. Jordys is from South Africa and Natalie is from Australia. They were supposed to be on the Tiara Air tour yesterday, but it was cancelled. They were delayed on the 9:00 until it merged with our flight. We made plans to take a 6:00 cab with the same driver, meeting at the Curaçao sign.

    Lunch

    We were starved and had lunch at Plein Cafe Wilhelmina. I had the local beef stew (Stoba I think) with rice, fried plantains, and salad. My wife had fish and shrimp skewer. Throw in 2 Presidentes and a Bacardi rum punch and lunch came in at $41 plus tip.

    Walking and Shopping

    We explored the city on foot, stopping in many shops and buying some souvenirs. We stopped and tried some Dutch beers that I haven't seen before as well. We got to see the pontoon bridge in action. The restaurants in the sea fort nearest the large Curaçao sign are the best. We would have spent more time there if we would have found it earlier.

    Return Flight

    We all met back up at the sign and took the cab back to the airport. We still want to return one day tour more of the island. We got through customs in about 2 minutes after we paid the $40 departure tax. Of course, the flight was delayed 45 minutes. We stopped by the sports bar there for a broodje kruket, which is a deep fried croquette of beef. The flight made it out of there and we were back in Aruba by 9:30. Customs wasn't bad and we were back at Bucuti by 10:15. It's time for rest tonight for sure.

  5. #15
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    yesterday certainly was a whirlwind!

    so, the additional tax going TO and FROM curacao was $108. That seems outrageous

    while in aruba, did you rent a car for your time there or are you bussing it or cabbing it around?

    thank you again for posting

    Quote Originally Posted by drtucker1 View Post
    Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    We got up early to have breakfast on our balcony before leaving before 9 for the airport.

    This is our first flight to Curaçao and we were not sure about the lines. It turns out they didn't start check-in for the 11:45 until 9:30 and we waited as the second couple in line. We had to pay $68.50 for departure tax on the DAE flight. After waiting to pay that, we were through Aruban Customs and security in 2 minutes.

    I was immediately disheartened to found out that the DAE 9:00 flight was delaying until 11:00. Now, I am concerned about our time and if it will be affected. We can't get any answers so we wait. Our boarding time was 11:00.

    Duty Free

    They have plenty of the local rums before you go through US Customs. The DAE gate is B, so it is right there.

    Airport

    At 11:15, the 9:00 that was delayed had not yet boarded. I saw a small group arrive by bus and assumed their plane had arrived. Our flight is now showing 12:00. This may be a good sign, but I see the folks on the 9:00 still sitting here. Later, they put our flight up at the gate. I guess they are going to merge the flights.

    Flight

    They did merge the flights and that is probably why the 9:00 was delayed. The flight was full and it was first come first serve for seats. We boarded the bus about 12:15 and made it to Curaçao just before 1:00.

    Cab to Willemstad

    We shared a cab from the airport with a couple that are on the same return flight at 8:00 tonight. Jordys is from South Africa and Natalie is from Australia. They were supposed to be on the Tiara Air tour yesterday, but it was cancelled. They were delayed on the 9:00 until it merged with our flight. We made plans to take a 6:00 cab with the same driver, meeting at the Curaçao sign.

    Lunch

    We were starved and had lunch at Plein Cafe Wilhelmina. I had the local beef stew (Stoba I think) with rice, fried plantains, and salad. My wife had fish and shrimp skewer. Throw in 2 Presidentes and a Bacardi rum punch and lunch came in at $41 plus tip.

    Walking and Shopping

    We explored the city on foot, stopping in many shops and buying some souvenirs. We stopped and tried some Dutch beers that I haven't seen before as well. We got to see the pontoon bridge in action. The restaurants in the sea fort nearest the large Curaçao sign are the best. We would have spent more time there if we would have found it earlier.

    Return Flight

    We all met back up at the sign and took the cab back to the airport. We still want to return one day tour more of the island. We got through customs in about 2 minutes after we paid the $40 departure tax. Of course, the flight was delayed 45 minutes. We stopped by the sports bar there for a broodje kruket, which is a deep fried croquette of beef. The flight made it out of there and we were back in Aruba by 9:30. Customs wasn't bad and we were back at Bucuti by 10:15. It's time for rest tonight for sure.

  6. #16
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    DAE doesn't include it in the ticket price but their times are way more convenient. Unfortunately, they are never on time. The hotel staff and every cab driver here tells the same story of delays and cancelled flights as the rule and not the exception. We cab everywhere on Aruba. We plan our day trips well and maximize our time away from Bucuti. Tonight it is a cab ride to Noord, followed by shopping, Caribbean Store rum shop and dinner at 2 Fools and a Bull.

  7. #17
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    The departure tax on DAE was $34.25 times two to Curaçao and $20 times two back to Aruba.

  8. #18
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    Wednesday, July 31, 2013


    Happy Black Tot Day!


    On July 31, 1970, the Royal Navy gave sailors there final rum ration after hundreds of years of the practice. The day is celebrated, or shall I say mourned, in rum circles. So, make sure you consume some Navy proof rum today. I recommend Pusser's or Smith & Cross. If you happen to have a bottle of Black Tot lying around, that will do. I've seen it priced from $700 to $1000 a bottle, so save your pennies.


    Breakfast


    We took our breakfast out on the balcony again. It was going to be another lovely day. Nothing is quite so relaxing as sitting in the sun, looking over the clear blue water, feeling the breeze, and listening to the waves come in. Let's get to the beach!


    Beach


    A lazy day of lounging started later than usual after the exhausting trip to Curaçao. I split up the day by enjoying Brights and Chills at the Sand Bar while chatting with the other guests. Everyone is crazy about Bucuti and Eagle Beach. I made my way back to the room to eat leftover Pizza Bob's. I brought some leftovers and cheese and crackers down for my wife as well. We were eating light before dinner. Around 5:00, it's time to get ready.


    Caribbean Store Rum Shop


    We stopped in next door to 2 Fools and a Bull for a quick drink and a visit. I had Polar and my wife had a rum with ice and a Coca-Cola. Paul, Fool #1, stopped in and greeted us while grabbing a drink himself. He said Fred, Fool #2, was busy finishing up a delightful menu. Paul said they were going to have Mac-n-Cheese with Pizza for us tonight. He left to finish things up and we chatted with the locals. Everyone is fascinated that we frequent the island rum shops and that we were married on Aruba.


    2 Fools and a Bull


    We came last year for the first time and just loved the place. Our party tonight was 11, along with a couple that didn't show. There was a couple from New Jersey and another from Connecticut. Rounding out the crew was an older couple from Long Island with 3 daughters our age. We started out back with drinks and mingling and then moved inside for another great experience. We started with Cornish hen with apple and fig in a sauce that I believe had some stroop in it. Next was a mushroom dish called Foolish Mushrooms that had a wonderful light sauce. I'm not a big fan of mushrooms by themselves, but this was great. After more drinks and mingling, we sat back down to halibut with shrimp with vegetables. It was exquisite! The main course was veal shank with rack of lamb over Asian style vegetables. The meat prepared by the Bull was fabulous! For dessert, we had a triple play of tiramisu, chocolate mousse, and creme brûlée. Afterwards we retired out back for drinks and the staff meeting. Our bill was $245 with probably over 1/3 being the wonderful wine pairing. Paul was very generous with the wine and after dinner drinks. We bid farewell until next year and caught a ride back to Bucuti with the couple from New Jersey around 11:15.

  9. #19
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    Thursday, August 1, 2013


    Breakfast


    We started our day with breakfast on the balcony again. It will be a routine that we soon will be missing. We won't miss all the calories that we usually don't have for breakfast. You have to load up for the beach so lunch doesn't interrupt us so early.


    Beach


    It was a wonderful day at our hut. I think I've done a good job with the sunscreen and don't have any burned areas. After 3+ hours, I pull my chair back into the hut. After that, I managed to grab a little nap before we left to get ready for an afternoon on the town.


    Lunch


    We decided to try El Gaucho for the first time. By the time we got there it was after 2:00. The meat was great and we left very full. It wasn't a cheap lunch, but they certainly give you enough food.


    Limin' with the Locals


    I can never find my way inland downtown. Where are the street signs? We walked around looking for Manuelito's, while taking a look at all the construction still being done on the new trolley tracks and businesses. We finally stopped at Pais Rum Shop for a drink. From there we got directions to Manuelito's. We discussed Aruba and Curaçao with the locals for a bit before finishing our drinks and heading out. We were on Emanstraat, so it was only a couple blocks further to Manuelito's. We stopped in for drinks and enjoyed the coming and going of many locals. At that point, it was nearing 5:30 and we wanted to start headed to San Nicolas for the Carubbean Festival.


    Heading to San Nicolas


    On our way back to the main drag to grab a cab, we decided to stop at Mojito's since it was new to us. It is on the opposite side of the little square there from Iguana Joe's. I can't remember the bar and restaurant that used to be there. The mojitos were great and the bartender came over to our table to shake my hand. "Hey, Tony Soprano! Thanks for coming into me bar!" I told him I was feeling better and laying low for a while. After we finished, we grabbed a cab on the street. We were hoping to stop at the Pos Chiquito Rum Shop on the way. Janice said that was her neighborhood and was surprised we liked going to the local places. Unfortunately, it seemed to close at 6:00. They were clearing out as we pulled up.


    Carubbean Festival


    Janice dropped us at the tourism office and left her number for the return trip. The festival was just starting to get ready, so we walked down to Charlie's Bar. Around 6:30, things started to pick up. The street was packed. There probably weren't 10 other Americans in the whole bunch. There were maybe only 20 Dutch. Everyone seemed to be local or from nearby countries. We made our way back to the food area and stood in line. Patience was a virtue here. We finally got a platter of Curry Goat with rice and peas and salad. I think the lady running the booth was Big Mama from Baby Beach. The food was very good and just $5 for enough to fill both of us up after that big lunch. We made our way back to the stage area and got to enjoy many acts. There was a band playing when we got there. The crowd was packed in pretty good along the street. We saw a 60 year limbo under fire after that and then a dance troupe. Finally, dancers with elaborate costumes with feathers and glitz came out. They made their way out onto the street and down towards Charlie's for pictures. By the time we got to Charlie's it was 9:15 and they were closing. We had to find alternate means of calling Janice. With everything closed, we weren't sure how we were going to do it. The tour bus operator didn't want to use his minutes. Instead of offering him a financial inducement to do so, I remembered one bar seemed to still be open. We weaved our way back through the crowd and came to that bar just before the parade was reaching us. Then we went into the Chesterfield to get a drink and make our call. It became pretty clear what kind of bar this was very quickly. The bartender made our call for us and we took our drinks out to the street. Since we needed to be at the meeting place in 10 minutes, we had to merge in with the band to get past them. We made it to meet Janice in plenty of time and she explained how the girls at the Chesterfield are mostly Colombian and come here for 3 months at a time to work. My wife had just started reading An Island Away this morning and said that those kinds of places figure prominently in the story. We made our way back to Bucuti by 10:15 and were beat from all the walking and sun.

  10. #20
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    terrific report

    and now today is your last full day?

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