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Aruba Nights Island Guide
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Thread: Tell About Your First Trip to Aruba

  1. #1
    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    Tell About Your First Trip to Aruba

    Everything has been so depressing lately, so I thought it would be nice to think about our first trips to Aruba. It may be been done before, but it is fun to remember.

    Our first trip was December 2007. We exchanged a timeshare to the Ren. Our boys were 15 and 16. We spent a lot of time on Renaissance Island and an iguana tried to climb onto my lounger with me. My family said they never knew I could move that fast. We rented a jeep for a few days and drove all over the island-lighthouse, north side, Baby Beach, etc. My older one had his driver's permit and my husband let him drive a little on the north side and my younger one was pissed because he couldn't do that. We did the submarine which was okay. We went to the ostrich farm and Stu and one of the boys ate ostrich burgers-just so wrong in my opinion. We were supposed to go on a catamaran for a sunset cruise but another boat rammed it the evening before while it was docked and damaged it, so they had to cancel. We walked around downtown and shopped. We also did a timeshare presentation at the Marriott because we had already fallen in love with the island. The price was too much and it was much so crowded. The boys roamed the resort and got something to eat while we were at the presentation. They even said it was too crowded, but really enjoyed watching the girls in bikinis. Some time during that week, we fell hopelessly in love with the island.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Our first visit was in 2009. I was so excited. Tom had finally agreed to go to the doctor and get Valium so he could fly. It had been 25 years so this vacation was a long time coming!! We stayed at the Divi AI in a 2nd floor room in the Veranda building. During the day, we never left the beach unless it was to sit at the bar and even then we were still on the beach. The color of the ocean amazed me. I floated for hours enjoying the pelicans that were diving nearby. They didn’t care if they came right in next to you. It was fascinating.

    Most meals we just went to the buffet or the pizza bar. When at the buffet, Yaldo was our server. What a character he was. He was always happy and laughing. He would bring us drinks two at the time even when we would say no more. I remember discreetly pouring out a glass of wine in the bushes when no one was looking because it was just too much. Tom always jokes that he had to tip him extra so he would stop serving us!!

    That trip we never left the resort we were just so content.

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  3. #3
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    Our first trip was in 1979 as a Pre and Post Bonaire Scuba trip.
    We only had 2 full days...and we stayed somewhere up on Palm Beach. It may have been the HI or what is now the Hilton.
    It was an Arthur Frommer tour and we were on a charter out of JFK.



    My most vivid memories are: I bought a pretty little cloth doll from a lady at the airport, bought a pretty gold signet ring at Spritzer and Furhman.
    We took a lull in Aruba during our son's infant/toddler and preschool years...returning back as fixed week owners at Laabana.

    Our dear son is now 34, married with kids....husband and I are now retired and we were to have gone on our 52nd trip April 30. We usually stay for 2 weeks - 16 days.

    Aruba sets the bar very high so there most everywhere else we go is never quite good enough.


    ​In a world where you can be anything, be kind!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member TEAMARUBA's Avatar
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    January 1983, one week after Christmas break, first real vacation with family. Parents agreed to let me miss a week of school, senior year, no biggie. Flew down on Guy America......cannot go there right now, quite an experience for my first flight. Stayed at the Holiday Inn and let me tell you, the island was COMPLETELY different at that time.The goat bars in front of all the hotels was quite a sight, they were everywhere. Weather was perfect, sun and breeze was plentiful. Hit the old reliable's, El Gaucho's, Buccaneer. Considering it was first trip outside of the NY metro area, I can safely say they put that bar up real high, nothing has compared since. Funny thing now is after we bounced around from low-rise to hi-rise we are now booking a lot more at the Holiday Inn. I know I mentioned this before but the bartender at the Holiday Inn in 1983 sent us a drink menu after we left, let's just say we were pretty good friends by the end of the trip. Gonna contact my 'IT' guy (oldest son) and show it to you guys, found it after all these years. Currently have one trip in the que for July 1st., not sure if that is going to happen, hoping everyone stays well out there !!!!! BON BINI' !!!!!!!!!!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member TEAMARUBA's Avatar
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    Andrea, I am crying at the high bar comment!!
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  6. #6
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    Since 1980, and throughout the many changes, we still love going downtown in Oranjestad.
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    Oh Robin! And Lisa, Peg, Walt, Andrea and everyone else,

    I never get tired of telling this tale. Fair warning though; I am unable to make a long story short. I usually end up making a long story longer. Lisa, I think you know this already!

    Ok, lets get going.

    Let's start with that blank, vacant stare.

    My first trip was in June 1980. We'll back up to when I first started planning this trip. I had heard about Aruba several years earlier and the sing-songy name kind of stuck with me. Anyway, in early 1980 I wrote to the Aruba tourist office in Toronto. Six weeks later a big envelope arrived, packed with brochures.
    Brochures are great but of course I had to get there.

    When I told my travel agent where I wanted to go. He stared at me with an blank, vacant look that said (silently), 'I think there's atlas around here somewhere'. Timbuctu or Timbucthree would have been easier to find, I'm sure he thought.


    Once he saw I was serious, he made the appropriate air arrangements. So, in June 1980, after my CPA exams were finished, it was Northwest Airlines to Miami, then Eastern Airlines from Miami into Aruba. At that time Eastern was the only American carrier into Aruba and no Canadian airlines going there at all.


    And I'm there.

    Accommodation was at Manchebo Beach Resort. There were four or five low-rise hotels in the Manchebo area. The high-rise area had four hotels, The Holiday Inn, The Americana, The Concord and one other who's name escapes me. The hospitaal (Not a mispell. Next time you're driving by, look up!) was the largest building on the island.

    Manchebo was, at that time, owned by the same family who owned Talk of the Town. ToTT was home to Aruba's special occasion restaurant. Their dress code, at least for men was simple and strictly enforced. No jacket, no tie, no dinner!


    Looking back

    I had a wonderful time in Aruba back then. Great food, lots of sunshine, friendly people, and just that feeling of being safe, secure, comfortable and actually made to feel that you are welcome there.

    And now

    In the 40 years since my first trip I have been back many, many times. Yes there have been lots of changes, a much discussed theme here on the forum. As I have said here on so many occasions, it is not for Canadians or Americans to demand that Aruba stay in a time-warp so we can enjoy it's colonial charm. For Dutch people, that's different; it's their place!

    Still, all the things which make Aruba, well, Aruba and which continue to draw us back, time and time again are still there is abundance.


    What I'd really like to do is invite you to Sunset Beach Studios. We'd sit in the palapa by the pool, and I could regale you about this. The forum is great but listening to me live is much more, well, you know...

    Have a great day everyone.


    Glenn
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Aruba4ever's Avatar
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    Our first trip was almost 25 years ago for our honeymoon. We stayed at the Hyatt for 10 nights and LOVED every second of it. We fell in love with Aruba long ago and have returned 31 times and counting and we are looking forward to trip 32 when all settles down. We toured rented a jeep, toured the island, did a sunset cruise and lounged on the beach all week. Our most memorable meal was at Ruinas Del Mar...the service was incredible as was the food. I remember exactly what i had as well. It was also not uncommon for us to be on the beach from 9am-6pm- we have relaxed are crazy quest for the darkest tan we could get, lol. Times have changed but we love Aruba more than ever and boy do i miss her.

  8. #8
    Senior Member LisaGrn's Avatar
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    Glenn, you crazy dude! I love your stories! Which is exactly why I'm not going to read it until tonight when I get home so I have something to look forward to. And post my own "1st visit" story.


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  9. #9
    Senior Member LisaGrn's Avatar
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    I'm way behind all of you on discovering Aruba! My first visit was in 2015. I wanted to go somewhere to celebrate my 60th (which tells you what is happening this year! Ugh!). One of my good friends was up for it so I did most of the planning. We splurged! Stayed on the concierge floor at the Marriott Stellaris. We went horseback riding, out to dinner every night (Flying Fishbone, Two Fools and a Bull when it was still Fred and Paulie [that was the birthday dinner], Quinta del Carmen, Atardi [then Simply Fish] twice, etc.), but mostly laid under a palapa and swam in the ocean). Had a wonderful time, stayed for a week, and loved it so much, we went back the next year for 10 days. Even more restaurants, Blue Melody snorkeling trip, I did a glass bead-making class one day, and more laying on the beach. Had some challenges with my friend that trip so that is why I decided to go by myself last year and stay at the much more peaceful Manchebo. Best decision I ever made and now I'm addicted to the island and Manchebo!

    Fun story about the 2nd dinner in 2016 at Two Fools (I know, this is supposed to be about our 1st trip, but this is a really nice story!). Paulie still owned it but Fred had left to start his own place and Bas was the new chef. When Paulie greeted the guests that night, he pointed at me and said "Do I ever have a surprise for you!" I couldn't imagine what it was and he just kept teasing me all through the cocktail portion. We finally sat down and there was an envelope at my place with my name on it. It was a card from a business colleague of mine back in Connecticut. I had told him about my impending trip and how much I was looking forward to going back to Two Fools. Well, he apparently looked up their phone number, called Paulie, and gave him his credit card info to pay for both our dinners, plus all the wine we could drink, the tip and even the taxi ride back to the Marriott! Paulie went out and bought a card and Ray (my friend) dictated a lovely note that Paulie wrote out and put at my place (I still have it). It was such a lovely and unexpected treat, pretty unbelievable actually since i'm sure many of you know Two Fools wasn't and still isn't cheap. And it saved me a lot of money (hence, the 2nd Aruba jewelry purchase that year!).

    See, Glenn, I'm no good at short stories either! LOL!


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LisaGrn View Post
    I'm way behind all of you on discovering Aruba! My first visit was in 2015. I wanted to go somewhere to celebrate my 60th (which tells you what is happening this year! Ugh!). One of my good friends was up for it so I did most of the planning. We splurged! Stayed on the concierge floor at the Marriott Stellaris. We went horseback riding, out to dinner every night (Flying Fishbone, Two Fools and a Bull when it was still Fred and Paulie [that was the birthday dinner], Quinta del Carmen, Atardi [then Simply Fish] twice, etc.), but mostly laid under a palapa and swam in the ocean). Had a wonderful time, stayed for a week, and loved it so much, we went back the next year for 10 days. Even more restaurants, Blue Melody snorkeling trip, I did a glass bead-making class one day, and more laying on the beach. Had some challenges with my friend that trip so that is why I decided to go by myself last year and stay at the much more peaceful Manchebo. Best decision I ever made and now I'm addicted to the island and Manchebo!

    Fun story about the 2nd dinner in 2016 at Two Fools (I know, this is supposed to be about our 1st trip, but this is a really nice story!). Paulie still owned it but Fred had left to start his own place and Bas was the new chef. When Paulie greeted the guests that night, he pointed at me and said "Do I ever have a surprise for you!" I couldn't imagine what it was and he just kept teasing me all through the cocktail portion. We finally sat down and there was an envelope at my place with my name on it. It was a card from a business colleague of mine back in Connecticut. I had told him about my impending trip and how much I was looking forward to going back to Two Fools. Well, he apparently looked up their phone number, called Paulie, and gave him his credit card info to pay for both our dinners, plus all the wine we could drink, the tip and even the taxi ride back to the Marriott! Paulie went out and bought a card and Ray (my friend) dictated a lovely note that Paulie wrote out and put at my place (I still have it). It was such a lovely and unexpected treat, pretty unbelievable actually since i'm sure many of you know Two Fools wasn't and still isn't cheap. And it saved me a lot of money (hence, the 2nd Aruba jewelry purchase that year!).

    See, Glenn, I'm no good at short stories either! LOL!
    Congratulations Lisa on turning the big 65 this year. It’s the big 65 for me on Sunday. It will be a very quiet celebration but that’s OK. My husband informed me the card and gift will have to wait because he’s afraid to go out. We were supposed to celebrate his birthday on March 18th in Aruba at Manchebo. It was going to be his first time in Aruba and I had planned so much but that’s OK (I’m saying that a lot lately). My first time in Aruba was 2011 with a friend who had a timeshare. We went every year with another couple. I fell in love with Aruba that first year. This year I planned a trip for my husband and I. I just don’t know when to reschedule right now. Airfare is crazy high (United Business Class) right now for dates in the Fall. We’ll see.
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