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Thread: Tell us of your FIRST visit?

  1. #1
    Aruba since 1979
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Tell us of your FIRST visit?

    When it was.
    Where did you stay?
    What kind of tours/activities?

    My first was in January of 1978 or 79.
    It was a very brief stay over.
    Our final destination was Bonaire for SCUBA.

    We overnighted in Aruba pre and post Bonaire and it was an Arthur Frommer travel group.

    Everyone on the plane was supposed to be staying at Talk of the Town, but a few of us were assigned to the Palm Beach Area.
    We were at what we now know as the Radisson (my husband insists we were at the Holiday Inn, but i dont think so )

    We spent a few hours on the beach, probably drank to excess, and then were at the airport the next day to head off to Bonaire.
    Same thing on the way overnight in Aruba.

    Although we liked Bonaire and Loved the diving, we felt Aruba was a place that we had to return to!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member cindyo's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Reniassance Island & Surf Club Lazy River
    First visit 1997
    stayed at Rennaissance with our 2 daughters, 4&5
    booked Tripp thru travel agent, Liberty Travel on a charter Trans Am left at 5 am
    Fell in love wth Aruba that minute we got to the hotel
    subsequently purchased a timeshare next visit week 15 on my daughters 6th birthday. She would tell PE ople she got a TS for her birthday. Still own that unit and week( and it's not hers... Tehe)
    family followed us and now own 23 weeks amongst us at Renn
    We've sold and bought many units and have moved down the street to Surf
    I picture us with grandkids and son in laws visiting someday together

  3. #3
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Eagle Beach, Glitz Casino, Manchebo Beach Resort
    Guess I'm a relative Newbie....

    First chose Aruba for 2002. Married prior year and wanted a beach vacation. I researched like crazy before selecting Aruba for the beaches, dining and casinos. I owned every guide I could find.... Frommers and etc... finally decided on Aruba because a woman I worked with went to the Wyndham every year and endorsed Aruba heavily.

    I narrowed it down to the Hyatt and Radisson and chose the Hyatt while I was on the phone booking with AAA. We loved the Hyatt and the beach and especially the open lobby for coffee and muffins every morning before the beach and then cocktails in the evening..... great lobby for people watching.

    Did well at the Hyatt Casino a couple of nights and treated myself to a nice Rado which I still wear. Treated DW to a cute Aaron Basha ladybuy ring too. Did some minor shopping downtown... but the focus was on the beach. Had a couple of nice happy hours at Piet's Pier Beach Bar. Also did a sunset sail on the Ali Kai.

    Our standout restaurant choices were Pago Pago and the Sunset Grille. We also really liked Salt and Pepper for lunch. We dined at El Gaucho our first night without a reservation, did get scowled at, but got seated in an almost empty dining room at 6 PM. I remember the lights kept flickering and going out and had to depend on candle light to order and eat.

    We kept with the Hyatt for our first three years and have stayed at the Radisson since. Our new adventure will be the Amsterdam Manor this summer.

    I am an Aruba Junkie....!

  4. #4
    Senior Member AndyM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Paradise Beach Villas Eagle Beach
    After a divorce and all the attendant issues, I emerged in 1999 to meet a terrific woman with whom I now share my life. After about a year together, we decided on a winter vacation to a warm locale. She had more experience with Caribbean locations and had some negative comments about other locations. We ended up selecting Aruba and went there for the first time in 2000.

    We bought a vacation package including a charter flight and a week at the Manchebo. Near the end of the week, we were on Manchebo beach enjoying the sun when we were approached by a sales guy from Paradise Beach. We went for the presentation and free breakfast, bought our first week of timeshare and the rest is history. We now have two weeks of prime time Aruba each year. Couldn't be happier!

    Let me add: That year we walked a lot to restaurants. We dined at Le Dome (no gone), French Steakhouse and El Gaucho. I'm sure there were others but can't remember them.
    Last edited by AndyM; 04-10-2015 at 12:35 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    palm beach, mangel halto for snorkling
    Back in 1997, I took the family to Aruba for the first time. We stayed at the Marriott Stellaris on points. We have been back anywhere from 1 to 4 times a year since. This summer will be my 47th trip back. I now spend 7 months a year there so I call it my home. We now own at the Surf Club but I have stayed in about every timeshare in Aruba. Once we found Aruba, we decided that we were done looking for places to go. Now we just call it home!!! We rented a jeep the first several years and toured a lot on our own. We did the submarine and we use to pay $5 each to take the boat over to DePalm Island. We took the kids almost everyday to snorkel. Maybe that's what gave me the snorkel bug!!!! Aruba is the best place we have ever found.
    Snorkel Mangel Halto, day or night with a waterscooter. Check out our website. E-mail Stuart at or call Stuart local: 745-7459 Or visit: 50th trip Dec 11, 2017

  6. #6
    Senior Member arubabob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Eagle Beach, Baby Beach, Arashi Beach Tierra Del Sol golf course
    We have a timeshare unit in Las Vegas that we bought in 1994. We had traded it for Disney in 1995 and decided to do a Caribbean trip in 1996. we had several options available through RCI. St Martin had a couple that we were really interested in but the dates were not what we wanted. We ended up trading into the Aruba Beach Club because of the dates and the beach photos. We were not disappointed. we flew in on American and arrived at 8:30 in the evening. Back then you walked across the tarmac from the plane to the administration building. You could feel the warmth and humidity as soon as they opened the planes door. You knew you had arrived. We took a cab to ABC and checked in. Everyone was so friendly too. We did not rent a car for this trip which was a mistake but have every time since. Our first meal on Aruba was breakfast at the Sea Gull restaurant(now Matthews) at Casa Del Mar. That breakfast, sitting by the ocean, watching the sugar thieves and iguanas is a big part of what made us decide to visit Aruba every year. We walked to the Pueblo grocery store after breakfast and loaded up on food for the week. Took a cab back to ABC. We ate dinner at Sea Gull the second night and I ordered the lobster. When my dinner came there was a large lobster tail and a half lobster tail on my plate. The waiter explained to me that since the tails were a little small that day, they had given me an extra half to make up for it. It was like 2 pounds of tail. No where else would this happen except Aruba. We also ate at El Gaucho and Chalet suiss. We are going for our 18th trip in May.

  7. #7
    Senior Member danadog56's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    everywhere and anywhere
    Went on a cruise in '96 with Aruba being the last port-of-call. We rented a jeep, toured the tourist side of the island and were so impressed that nobody chased us around to buy jewelry or have our hair braided that Dh and I put it on the vacation list for the next year. I worked with a doctor that owned several weeks at ABC and so went for a week the next February and fell in love with the island as my foot hit the tarmac at the OLD airport !!!! First words out of my mouth to Dh were...if we get approached by a TS seller, we are buying !! We were and we did !!!!! I have purchased several more TS' since and would buy much more if I didn't have to listen to Dh give me a lecture about it.....but since my job doesn't give me the luxury of vacationing more that a few weeks a year I don't push the issue too much....but there will come a day when I am free (hopefully sooner than later..) to vacation as much as I want and may at that point buy a few more weeks somewhere.
    I have been to a few other islands but found I felt like I was "home" when in Aruba. We feel safe there, don't feel like we have to watch every move we make and most importantly don't feel we are prisoners at our resort unlike other islands where you can't leave the resort compound for fear of something happening

  8. #8
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Under a palapa on Palm beach
    Our first trip was scheduled during my spring break from community college classes in 2011. We planned for a Sunday to Friday visit at Holiday Inn as all-inclusive guests Because AI there was not much more than just a room at the Radisson that had been recommended to us. Even though it wasn't very long ago, our financial position was not what it is today and we were on a tight budget, so i wanted to make sure we had food and drinks taken care of. Neither of us had ever been out if the USA before and didn't know what to expect.

    While planning I found this forum and really started to learn a lot. We decided to add a few days to the beginning of our trip so we would get a full week. Our add on nights ended up being at Tropicana because Holiday Inn was full and Tropicana was a great deal. We have changed plans like that on a few trips adding on nights and paying flight change fees like dummies, but it is always worth it. Now I try just to book the right number of nights from the start.

    It turns out our first weekend was the Grande Carnival parade and the atmosphere was electric.

    The first day at Tropicana I remember thinking what have we gotten ourselves into? The hotel seemed isolated and I remember paying way too much for just a little bit of food that wasn't very good. I also remember the sticker shock of the cost of Gatorade and snacks at a nearby convenience store. That first night made me nervous that I really didn't know if this was the right place for us. We did enjoy beautiful Eagle Beach, the swim up bar, and iguanas at our patio door. Knowing what I know now I would stay there again, but it may not be my first choice.

    Saturday was our first adventure. We took the bus to Jolly Pirates and that's where my love affair with Aruba began. We checked our the area around Holiday Inn and felt much more at ease, it was more what we were looking for. Taking the bus was easy and we met our first friendly Arubans. Jolly Pirates was a blast! We both felt so much better after our first full day. We ended up coming back to Palm Beach and having dinner at Iguana Cantina and just enjoying the Palm Beach atmosphere.

    We moved to Holiday Inn on Sunday. We watched some of the parade on TV with the nicest bartender telling us all about Aruban traditions. The first trip being all inclusive inclusive, I don't remember leaving the resort much. We were at Moomba for a post Carnival beach PARTY on that Sunday night. We did an Abc full day Jeep tour to explore the island and we loved every place we saw including the Natural pool and Baby Beach. Something that stood out to us was that everyone we met was a return visitor, not just a few visits but 5, 10, 25 years. We knew there had to be something to this. I made a friend in the palapa line and every day he would tell me more and more about the island. We were hooked!

    In a lot of ways our 2nd trip was really like a first trip all over again once we found out about pier bars and great dining. It was our first without all inclusive and it was a totally different experience.
    Last edited by Traceyd14; 04-10-2015 at 08:27 PM. Reason: spelling and grammar fixes from tablet typing

  9. #9
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Any beach!!
    DH's first trip was in 1973 when the Divi Divi was the only hotel. I was living a different life at that time but won't bore you with the details. When we got married in 1982 he had pretty much decided he was afraid of flying and it wasn't until 2009 that we had our first trip to Aruba. We stayed at the Divi which was also our first experience with an all inclusive. I remember thinking how spectacular the beach was and spent most of the day in the water. We only left the resort once and that was to go downtown so I could go shopping while I left DH at the Paddock. We continue to go to the Divi but these days we add on a few nights at the end of our stay and try a new resort. Last trip it was the Radisson. I think the Divi will always be part of iur vacation plan.

  10. #10
    Senior Member WaltVB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Legends Iguana Joe's, Surf Club
    Our first trip to Aruba was in 2006. We were at a stage in our lives where work was all consuming and we needed a break. We flew first class on US Air and stayed at the Ren Marina all on points. Friends had been the year earlier and raved about the island, so we decided to see for ourselves. Well, we only went for a week, but knew that we would be back and for longer. We took the bus to San Nicolas and Palm Beach and knew this is the place for vacations to come. Long story short, we bought a timeshare that first trip at Surf Club when the last building was still under construction. We have been going every year for at least two weeks. This year we are doing two weeks at the Surf, and adding two days at the Holiday Inn at the beginning of our stay.

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