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Thread: Cheating on our first love (Aruba)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    Cheating on our first love (Aruba)

    Jon and I just got back from a 10 year trek through the Florida Keys. We started the trip alone, landing in Miami late at night and staying at the Courtyard Marriott near the airport - highly recommend for a 1 night stay near the airport. Went on to Key Largo for our first day and got with Amoray Dive Center - they have a smaller number of reviews, but booking last minute we took a chance. What a great operation! They have a charming little hotel and the staff is top notch - reminded me of how people treat you in Aruba. Jon went diving and I snorkeled at the Christ of the Abyss statue and Horseshoe Reef. We enjoyed Key Largo and will likely go back for a short weekend trip sometime.

    Next we travelled down to Key West and bar hopped with the best of them. Key West is all that we expected. We stayed at the Best Western Hibiscus. I had low expectations and was pleasantly surprised by our room. We were a block off Duval, not far from the Southernmost Point. This place is great if you are on a budget - no resort fee and no parking fee.

    After a few days of travelling just the two of us, we made our way to Hawk Cay Resort in Duck Key - between Marathon and Islamorada. It is a nice resort but kind of in the middle of nowhere, having to drive 20-30 minutes to do anything off the resort. Food options in the evenings were limited unless you wanted a pricey resort dinner, and only had a small party trying to sit together. That's not really our style on vacation, we are day drinkers and $50 round trip taxi rides add up quickly. Lucky for us we were part of a family group of 14 so we could make our own party. Some highlights included a bocce ball tournament, a comedy improv skit show, a night of singing and dancing by the lagoon, and a fishing charter. We chose to do a reef fishing trip and had no regrets - we caught our limit of mangrove snapper and a bunch of yellow tails. Others in our group caught many mahi. We had about 30lbs of fish packed and shipped home. We will go back to Islamorada at some point.

    They weather felt very Aruba-like. Hot and humid but a steady breeze. Jon learned kayaking is not for him. Robbie's Marina was a fun stop to feed the tarpon and a few people really enjoyed the experience with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center. Overall I would say Hawk's Cay is a bit over-rated and overpriced and I probably would not go back but the group we went with made it a memorable experience that will stay with me always.

    Flew home out of Ft. Lauderdale and I have to say it was one of the most relaxing airports I have every flown out of. It was not crowded on a Saturday and everything went smoothly.
    The best trip is the next trip. Anxiously waiting to book something.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Tracey, you weren’t really gone for 10 years we’re you?

    We haven’t been to the keys in years but loved it there. Hawks Cay is where we stayed for the bulk of the trip and we enjoyed it. However, we had also driven to the keys so we had a car. Back then there was a place close by called Grassy Key Dairy Bar. It was the best! So laid back and fun you could hang there for hours. Unfortunately, I think they’re gone now. A victim of one of the hurricanes. Does Hawk Cay still have the dolphin lagoon! I used to go down to see them in the morning and they would race around and do flips when they heard you coming.

    Another place you would have gotten a kick of was the No Name Bar. It was on Big Pine Key. Crazy spot where they found their own entertainment racing dildos on the bar! (Andrea feel free to delete if you think it inappropriate.)

    The one thing about this pandemic is it tends to make you look more at vacation spots here at home. Glad you had fun.
    Last edited by Pegmeister; 07-18-2021 at 01:15 PM.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pegmeister View Post
    Tracey, you weren’t really gone for 10 years we’re you?

    We haven’t been to the keys in years but loved it there. Hawks Cay is where we stayed for the bulk of the trip and we enjoyed it. However, we had also driven .
    oops...10 days I'm so tired it feels like I've been busy for years...LOL.

    We almost stopped at No Name, but Jon was ready to get to Key West so we skipped it.

    Hawks Cay does still have the Dolphin experience but they were booked the entire time we were there so our group went to the Dolphin Research Center to do it. Only 8 people could be in a group so Jon and I sat that one out. The pictures and videos were awesome so maybe next time. I did go down and watch the dolphins at the resort. I also saw a manatee for the first time in person.

    Yes, you are right about looking more at spots here at home. Until the US stops the return testing, we do not plan on leaving the country. We do not have jobs where we can take spur of the moment extended time were we to test positive.
    The best trip is the next trip. Anxiously waiting to book something.
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  4. #4
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    hahaha 10years

    I loved reading your report here and being the photos on FB

    welcome home.

    I am glad Elsa was kind to us all. (at least here in FLA)
    THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind?
    Karma...It is pronounced "HaHaHaHa"
    SIDTM

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    The manatees are amazing. We were in Key Largo at a resort bar. I decided to walked over to their dock when I saw one with her calf. She came right over like she wanted to be petted.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pegmeister View Post
    The manatees are amazing. We were in Key Largo at a resort bar. I decided to walked over to their dock when I saw one with her calf. She came right over like she wanted to be petted.
    They love fresh water - a fisherman was cleaning his boat and giving one drinks from the hose, the manatee was loving it.
    The best trip is the next trip. Anxiously waiting to book something.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Aruba4ever's Avatar
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    Glad you guys had fun. 10 years would be the trip of a lifetime!
    Trip 33 begins on July 15.








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  8. #8
    Aruba since 1979
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    we have snorkeled with them and it was amazing.

    i
    Quote Originally Posted by Traceyd14 View Post
    They love fresh water - a fisherman was cleaning his boat and giving one drinks from the hose, the manatee was loving it.
    THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind?
    Karma...It is pronounced "HaHaHaHa"
    SIDTM

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  9. #9
    Senior Member brady bear's Avatar
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    Love the keys.. its a nice place with lots to do
    Thanks for sharing.
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  10. #10
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    Hi Tracey,

    Sounds like you had a really super time in the keys.

    We would like to head there sometime, probably during a February when we still have snow and it is bitterly cold up here. Would you mind if we asked you more about it, closer to the time? Driving times, neat restaurants and fun stops along the way; that kind of thing.

    Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday,


    Glenn
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