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Thread: Three weeks in Paradise

  1. #1
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    Three weeks in Paradise

    Just returned from 3 weeks in Aruba at Casa del Mar. We normally stay for 2 weeks, but I think 3 weeks will be the norm from now on! We own week 20 in the Ambassador (1 bedroom unit) and rent weeks 18 & 19 in the Presidential (2 bedroom units). This was our first stay in the Ambassador and it was ok for just me and hubby. I will reserve judgement until the bathroom project is complete. The resort looks great. We were honored by the Aruba Tourism Authority during our stay for coming to Aruba for 10 years in a row. It was actually our 11th year in a row, we came last July when the borders opened to the US, but they were not doing the ceremonies due to COVID. This was our 14th trip to Aruba and I can’t imagine vacationing anywhere else. The Island is pretty much getting back to normal with the exception of downtown. I’m assuming once the cruise ships return with passengers in June or July that it will be busier in that area. Most of the huts for souvenir shopping were open, but many of the businesses in the Royal Plaza (big pink building) were not open, including our favorite Iguana Joe’s. They did open another location in the high rise section, but it’s just not the same. Another highlight of my vacation was meeting Andrea and Paul. I recognized them when we were having dinner and went and introduced myself. Andrea is like my “James Patterson” of the forums. I read every word, along with posts from many other regulars. I have tried to do the live trip reports in the past, but I just never seem to stick with it. So a big thank you to all that do give live trip reviews.

    The trip down on SW was fine. We fly out of PVD with a stop in BWI. The plane was full and everyone had their masks on. Arrival took a while through customs. It was much better and more organized than our trip last July. They held us upstairs before going down to immigrations and then people were given a couple of colored cards to indicate if testing was needed to be done at the airport, or if you tested at home. One card was for leaving the airport and the other card was for your timeshare/hotel. They did not x-ray bags when leaving the airport upon arrival, as they did in July.

    I pre-ordered some basic grocery items and beer through Patty at the Casa del Mar mini market. She is great! All of my items where in the room upon arrival and I even had some cold beers in the fridge ready to go. The first week was just me in the 2 bedroom unit. I was originally planning a girl’s week to celebrate a friend who made it through cancer, but she ended up needing some additional surgery so we put it off until next year. She is doing great now and already looking forward to celebrating next year! I felt totally safe being there for a week on my own, as I knew I would have my time share family there with me, thanks Linda and Wendy! My husband and his friend Billy came in the 2nd week. Billy left the following Saturday and then it was just me and hubby for the last week.

    We multiple times ate at our usual favorites: Matthew’s, Ricardo’s, Chalet Swiss, Elliotti’s, Santo’s, M’s Crepe’s, The Cove at Alhambra, Twist of Flavor, Pizza Bob’s, Madam Jeanette’s, Oak, Amuse BBQ, Smokey Joe’s, Casa Tua and of course Dunkin’ Donuts for my coffee rolls after losing at the casino! We tried 3 new places this year, they were Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar, Sole Mare and Terraza. We absolutely loved Terraza and it will be on our must go to list from now on.

    We didn’t do any tours this trip, but did spend a day at Reflexions Beach Bar, which is always great. We didn’t rent a car, just did taxi’s for all of our travels. We didn’t have much luck at the casinos, but had a lot of fun and usually played for a couple of hours with the money we took with us. My new favorite machine is called “Frogged Up” and it was at the Windcreek Casino in the Renaissance Plaza. Linda and I had a blast playing those machines! My husband and I also enjoyed an evening watching Amy Sorinio perform at the Renaissance Market Place. She is a fantastic singer and a must see for us when we are in Aruba.

    The trip home on SW was good with no issues or delays. We had a 2:45 departure and left the resort at 11am. It took almost 2 hours to get through everything, which was probably the longest we have ever experienced. We did the VIP room for the 1st time and it was well worth it. We are already talking about next year’s trip and trying to get a bunch of family and friends to come down with us.
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  2. #2
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    it was so nice meeting you too.

    how was the beach area over at the CDM/ABC area?
    I never got over there this visit.
    We were too busy being slugs.

    Thank you so much for sharing your time with us here
    AIDTM THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind?

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  3. #3
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    Hi Pam, thanks for the post. Where are you from (as I don’t recognize the PVD airport code)? Too bad you have to make a stop to get to Aruba. I guess we are spoiled being in the NJ/NYC area with lots of direct flight choices.
    how nice to spend 3 weeks in Aruba! We have been happy to extend our annual family “week” trip to 8 nights but we’ve started thinking about how nice it would be for some “alone time” after the kids and grandkids leave on future trips. We are going back in July with our family.
    We will try out a couple of your recommendations of restaurants. I haven’t heard of some of them but we are always looking for a new place or 2 to try each trip.
    very nice that you got honored by Aruba tourism for your loyalty of returning each year. That’s awesome. My 9 year old granddaughter might be up for an honor as this will be her 10th visit to Aruba this July LOL.
    Brian

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    The beach area at CDM was awesome. This was the first year in many that it didn't get wiped out from the waves. They built another jetty going out between CDM/Divi side that I think really helped. We had rough surf a couple of days where I wouldn't go in, waves too big for me.
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  5. #5
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    We live in RI, PVD is for TF Green Airport, which is about a 20 minute drive for me. No direct flights to Aruba from PVD. We can fly direct out of BOS, which is only about an hour drive, but it usually involves getting up at 3am and the drive home sucks.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member ArubaAce's Avatar
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    Very Nice trip. Thanks for sharing.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for sharing your experiences! Really enjoyed reading your report!
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  8. #8
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    Hi PamnPaul,
    I'm originally from Rhode Island (Newport). I live in the Albany, NY area now but I still travel home to RI often. Aruba reminds me a bit of Aquidneck Island (where Newport is located) because the islands are approximately the same size. I think that is why Aruba always feels like home to me whenever I visit. Thanks so much for your trip report. My husband and I will be traveling to Aruba next week so the details you provided were very helpful as we begin our final trip preparations.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member bhoffdhoff's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great trip report! Congrats on being honored by the Aruban Tourism Authority!
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  10. #10
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    Thanks so much for trip report.
    Sean and Susan
    [Countdown=12/01/2013 2:30 AM;]I'm finally there]Count down:[/Countdown]
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