Aruba Journals

Aruba - Tropical Desert

A July 2003 trip to Aruba by lawyerjay

Palm Beach Photo, Aruba, Caribbean More Photos
Quote: Relax without being bored in Aruba. Tropical climate with ocean breezes, beautifully developed yet has room to explore. Something for everyone and every taste.

Aruba - Tropical Desert

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Overview

Palm Beach Photo, Aruba, Caribbean
Quote:
For beautiful beaches, populated and secluded, go to Aruba. Palm/Eagle beaches adjacent to hotels are hubs for people and activities. Great snorkeling off Boca Catalina and Baby Beach. Quiet and seclusion and natural beauty along east coast. Uncrowded casinos for nightlife after dinner in Orangestad or any of the many hotel restaurants. Island is big enough to explore and small enough to feel like you have seen it all. See the Natural Bridge, jeep or ATV along the dirt roads of the east coast for dramatic scenery, explore the Arikok National Park and caves at south end of island.Quick Tips: Big debates before going are whether to rent a car or utilize all-inclusive options. Although there are...Read More

Raddison

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Hotel

Bell hop Photo, Aruba, Caribbean
Quote:
Bumped from Allegro to Radisson was pure luck and best thing that could have happened (see comments this report about Allegro). Initial skepticism quickly dissolved to exhuberation. Hotel was recently renovated and is set on beautifully maintained property adjacent to beach lush with palm trees. Talking tropical birds and iguanas running all over enhance character of hotel. Free form pools meander across property with more than ample pool side lounges. Sloped, zero entry pools permit placing chair in water and reclining. Hotel room with king-size bed, seating area, ample space in bathroom, terrace overlooking garden were well-maintained, clean and nicely furnished. Staff was most courteous and...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2003

Occidental Allegro Aruba

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Hotel

Quote:
Best Things Nearby:Palm Beach during the day, casinos at night, snorkeling at Boca Catalina.Best Things About the Resort:Caruso's restaurant for very good meal, but tough to get a reservation. Staff does reasonably good amateur show each night -- dancing and acrobats.Resort Experience:Upon arrival at 5pm, registration was swarming with people waiting to check in. After 45 minutes, we finally reached registration clerk who then began dividing her time between myself and another guest trying to check in. She either knew little about procedure or was very new or both. Despite presenting my RCI confirmation (make sure you have it or they will turn you away), she ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 28, 2003

Pago Pago

Restaurant

Scorpion Love Potion Photo, Aruba, Caribbean
Quote:
Delectable food in a well-appointed restaurant with soft piano music in the background. Picked up a coupon in the local guidebook for a free Passion Scorpion, which was a huge rum-based drink that we shared. While everything on the menu sounded wonderful, we started with crab cakes (said to be the most popular choice) and the lobster bisque for starters. The two crab cakes were served over a cole slaw on top of pita bread that and the bisque came under a puffed pastry. Both were as good as they looked. Main courses were macadamia crusted grouper and duck. Again, the presentation was exquisite and both totally satisfied the pallate. The duck was crispy despite a fruity sauce. Can't comment on de...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 28, 2003

Baby Beach & Boca Catalina

Attraction | "Baby Beach & Boca Catalina"

Boca Catalina Photo, Aruba, Caribbean
Quote:
No need to take snorkeling boats on Aruba as the snorkeling is readily accessible right from the beach at both locations and boat trips take you to Boca Catalina anyway. Baby beach at south end of island is extremely calm within the lagoon and provides sufficient snorkeling for beginner. Go through channel and there are long and wide coral reefs with abundant fish. Need to exercise care however, since waves can bounce you around and coral is not deep at all. Bathroom and snack bar available. At the north end of island is Boca Catalina (someone also called this Malmok Beach, but best I could discern that Boca is the beach just south of Arashi). It is easily visible by noting all the snorkel trips...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2003

Aruba Casinos

Attraction

Quote:
This definitely is not Las Vegas or Atlantic City, but fun nonetheless. Managed to visit all the casinos, if only to stick my head in at some, and as one would expect, each has its own character. Only significant difference is that all do NOT have craps and house rules for craps varies among those that do have the game. Generally minimum $5 bet, but Hyatt requires same minimum for proposition bets, while Alhambra and Excelsior will permit $1 and $2 proposition bets, respectively. Did not play at Wyndham, Marriott, or Crystal, but told they have craps there too. Alhambra has $.50 minimum for craps between 7 and 9pm. Blackjack and craps dealers are not to talkative or friendly however. In fact, s...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2003

Away from the beaches

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Story/Tip

Natural bridge Photo, Aruba, Caribbean
Quote:
Personally, no trip to Aruba is complete without a tour of the east side of the island. This is the undeveloped, natural part of the island where paved roads will not be found. Pick up a map and drive the dirt roads along the coast from the California Lighthouse to the Natural Bridge. The scenery is spectacular with the ocean cutting into the rocks and the waves sending sprays high into the air on one side and the dry, cactus filled, uninhabited land on the other side. Along the route, stop at the Alto Vista Chapel, a quaint, colorful chapel overlooking the ocean, and then continue along the dirt road to the Natural Bridge. Along the way I stopped often to photograph the different secluded bea...Read More