By far my best trip in 6 years of going to Aruba.
Day 1 Saturday: Got in at 12:45 PM from a direct flight out of Dulles. Customs was a breeze and luggage was just coming up as we got to the luggage claim. We were at LaCabana by 1:30, room wasn't ready so we ate lunch at the Islander. John from the bellstaff hooked me up with a good deal from Super Car Rental for the week. That was quick and easy. Off to the grocery storeand back to the room by 3:30. Did some pool time and beach volley ball. Mediocre sunset, actually all week except Friday. See picture in gallery. Iguana Joe's for ribs for dinner. The place was half full at 7:30. That was strange. Awesome food as usual.
Day 2 Sunday: We brought our own snorkel gear this time so we hit the spots past the Marriot before the snorkel trips got there. It was nice and free. Back to LaCabana for bingo and afternoon volley ball. The sun was a little intense. We had Casa Tua pizza that night. Very good.
Day 3 Monday: Pool or Beach, can't remember maybe both. Palapas available all day. More volleyball. Very hot out. First time to MJ's for dinner. It is everything that every one says it is.
Day 4 Tuesday. I hooked up with Kent Gerber prior to making my trip. He was waiting in the lobby to take us, me, my wife and 2 teens, to Mangel Halto. Didn't know what to expect. The best day snorkeling ever! Do yourself a favor and hook up with Kent. What a host he was! We used his underwater sea-doos. That is the only way to snorkel. He took us out in the Spanish Lagoon area. We saw fields of fire coral, hundreds of fish and the sunken fishing boat.
We went back to his place at Club Arias. Very nice place. We relaxed around their pool and we were back at LaCaban for bingo/ volley ball.
We tried the Bon Bini Festival in downtown but we had to get through the gridlock traffic due to Holland advancing in the World Cup. It was a sea of orange. The festival was ok. It had local dancers and music. It had local food for dinner but you had to eat it in your chair, no table. There was one bartender for ~ 100 people. Very slow. Pretty good show though. A lot of people walked out during the show but we stayed for the end. Won't do it again.
Day 5 Wednesday: Snorkeling at Arashi in the morning. It paled in comparison to Kent's trip still it was good to have free snorkeling until the pirate ship showed up. Back to LaCabana and it was overcast the rest of the day. A nice cool change. It felt so good. Great volleyball in the cool sand. Ate at Chalet Suisse for the first and last time. Very overrated IMO. Portions were small. I had the $32 Filet Mignon that came with 5 small chunks of potato with maybe a tablespoon full of veggies. We paid less at MJ's for a lot better food.
Day 6 Thursday: We got another Kent Gerber excursion. Now that we were proficient on his scooters we jump right in and hit it at Mangel Halto. We had a minor incident though. We had just made it through the fire coral when my son started to panic. His life jacket strap seized up in the impellar of the scooter. We cut it real quick . Before that we drifted a little in the current and I had to touch the fire coral to deflect us around it. They call it fire coral for a reason. My hand stung for a while but it was better than getting hit on the chest with it. We hit the coral garden in crystal clear water. The visability was unbelievable. We went back to Club Arias . We left the wife and kids there at the pool and Kent took me back so we could hit the coral garden again.
We took Kent to Charlie's for lunch. Our first time there. It's a nice hole in the wall. A little expensive. It reminds me of some Navy bars I used to frequent. Back to Lacabana for bingo and intense volley ball. We hit Bugaloe for dinner and a very nice sunset. See pic.
Day 7 Friday: We had a downpour in the morning then an awesome rainbow that was right on the beach outside my balcony. See pic. Overcast and rainy all day and we had reservations at Flying Fishbone that night. We were about to cancel but said what the hell, try it. See the awesome sunset pic. Food was incredible. Funny thing though. People were sitting at tables in the water. The water was maybe 6-8" below their seat. The border patrol flew by. Then the waves came in. There were a few people with wet pants where you don't want it. They got pillows to sit on. Then some local water skiers flew by. The people took it well. Will definitely be back.
Day 8 Airport: Horrible as usual. It was shut down for a while because a private plane missed the runway. All incoming flights diverted and nothing outgoing for a few hours. We got out on time. No one was hurt BTW.
It was great to see old friends and make new friends. I play volleyball with the same people every year. I like that. I played with guys from Ecuador and we couldn't understand each other but we had a great time playing and after they offered me a beer or two from their cooler. That was cool. I can't wait until next year. Hopefully we will meet up with Kent again.