Aruba Journals

Bon Bini! Welcome to Aruba - One Happy Island

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A September 2004 trip to Aruba by Carmen

Aruba Photo, Aruba, Caribbean More Photos
Quote: Ask a local what the weather will be in Aruba, they’ll answer "Same as yesterday, same as tomorrow." Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt, so the weather won’t be affected. It’s also known as "one happy island" - the locals are wonderful, and everyone is happy to be there.

Bon Bini! Welcome to Aruba - One Happy Island

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Overview

Aruba Photo, Aruba, Caribbean
Quote:
The best thing to do in Aruba is just enjoy the sunshine on the beach. My favorite day started very early (we had to reserve a hut on the beach) and consisted of lounging on the beach until mid-afternoon. I also really enjoyed my snorkeling tour on the Jolly Pirates sailboat. The first stop was a bit challenging, but the other two stops yielded some great fish-spotting. And the water is so warm! I also enjoyed my visit to the Butterfly Farm, which provided some nice photos. However, my favorite thing of all - on all three days we were there - was gathering with others on the beach to watch the spectacular sunsets. Aruba r...Read More
Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino Photo, Palm Beach, Aruba
Quote:
I’ve never stayed in a hotel where the staff was falling all over themselves to make sure that you enjoyed your stay until the Aruba Marriott. At the edge of the high-rise hotel section of Palm Beach, this four-star hotel takes the “one happy island” approach seriously. Upon check-in, we were served an ice-cold tropical drink (something with mango in it). I requested and received an upgrade to an ocean view room (for this, you’d want to be above the fourth floor.) And what a view it was! (see photos) Our room was large, with two double beds (with tropical comforters), a seating area, desk, TV armoire, closet with a safe, robes, slippers and hangers, and a HUGE bathroom with two s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 9, 2004

Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino
LG SMITH BLVD
Palm Beach, Aruba
297-58-69000

El Gaucho Argentine Grill

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Restaurant | "El Gaucho (Argentine Grill)"

Quote:
During our cab ride from the airport to our hotel, we got chatty with the cab driver to learn about the island and possibly some good restaurant choices. Knowing that Aruba was very close to Argentina – a country famous for its beef – I asked the driver where the best steak on the island could be had. Without hesitation, he replied "El Gaucho." He said it’s the most popular restaurant on the island, and we’d need a reservation. He also told us that they don’t even need to advertise, most people find them on word of mouth. When we got to the hotel, I asked the concierge to help us make a reservation. (This was a Thursday). The only time available was 6pm that day, which would mean we’d m...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 9, 2004

El Gaucho Argentine Grill
Wilhelminastraat 80
Oranjestad, Aruba
+297-582-3677

MooMba Beach

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Restaurant | "MooMba"

Quote:
The main goal for dinner our first night in Aruba was to eat on the beach and watch the sunset. Only a 10-minute walk from our hotel was a beachside bar and restaurant called MooMba. The bar and restaurant are separate, each with its own tables and tiki-hut-like shelter, and each had outdoor beach seating. We chose the beach seating, with only slight concern about the sand blowing into our food and drinks (Aruba’s winds are pretty strong). The wicker chairs made us feel like we were going to be carried on someone’s shoulders and worshipped. I found the menu rather limited, and chose a plate of nachos with spicy ground beef, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, etc. They were tasty, but so sp...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 9, 2004

MooMba Beach
Je Irausquin Blvd 230
Oranjestad, Aruba
+297-586-5365

Champions Sports Bar

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Restaurant | "Champions"

Quote:
By the last night the two of us were pooped from a long afternoon of snorkeling and were just craving a good old hamburger. Plus, we didn’t want to have to take a cab anywhere to get it. Therefore, we decided that Champions, located in the Aruba Marriott Surf Club next door (the time-share part of our property) was the best bet. We were seated right away – even at 7:30 it wasn’t terribly crowded, and our very handsome waiter took our order quickly. Each of us got our cheeseburger and fries and were very happy when the food arrived. The cheeseburger turned out to be a double cheeseburger, and I could only finish half of it, but the fries were extra good. Or, maybe we were just hungry. I ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 9, 2004

Champions Sports Bar
Aruba Marriott Resort
Palm Beach, Aruba
(800) 223-6388

Iguana Joe's Caribbean Bar & Grill

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Restaurant | "Iguana Joe's Caribbean Bar & Grill"

Iguana Joe's Caribbean Bar & Grill Photo, Aruba, Caribbean
Quote:
Probably the cheapest meal that we ate when in Aruba, our late lunch at Iguana Joes was both filling, and didn’t break the bank. Located in downtown Oranjestad in the Royal Plaza shopping area (upstairs), Iguana Joes immediately captures your attention with its brightly painted chairs, tables and walls, and its open-air seating lets you take in the sights and sounds of downtown while providing shade and sustenance. We both ordered cheese quesadillas, which came with a tortilla shell full of sour cream, guacamole and salsa. It didn’t look like much when it came on the plate, but it was more than enough to fill us up. Or, it could’ve been all the free drink refills that fil...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 9, 2004

Iguana Joe's Caribbean Bar & Grill
Royal Plaza Mall
Oranjestad, Aruba
(297) 583-9373

Jolly Pirates

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Attraction | "Jolly Pirates snorkel cruise"

Jolly Pirates Photo, Oranjestad, Aruba
Quote:
I booked the "Something’s Fishy" snorkel tour (a three-hour version of their half-day tour) using their web site - www.jollypirates.com - a few days before my vacation. A friend recommended it, and it was praised on many of the Aruba bulletin boards. The tour was $30 per person, but booking online earned you a 15% discount. (However, if you get the Aruba guides at the hotels or airport, there’s a $10 coupon in there). The giant sailboat (which is also motorized) was captained by Julio and crew – all very friendly, funny, and really into their jobs. J There was an open bar, and snorkeling gear (including life-jackets) was provided. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 9, 2004

Jolly Pirates
21 Emanstraat
Oranjestad, Aruba
(297) 586-8107

Butterfly Farm

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Attraction

Butterfly Farm Photo, Aruba, Caribbean
Quote:
In my research, I kept reading about Aruba’s Butterfly Farm. The reviews were mixed on the message boards, but my mom (a retired 4th grade teacher) really wanted to visit so we scheduled an hour one morning to take a $6 cab ride down the beach and see the butterflies. I had read that the best time to visit was early in the morning (opens at 9am) – maybe the butterflies are more active then? If for no other reason, the sun isn’t directly overhead so you’re only sweating to death instead of sweating and frying in the sun. Admission is a steep $12 per person (and good for repeat visits throughout your stay), and of course you enter and exit through the gift shop (which I thought had...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 9, 2004

Butterfly Farm

Palm Beach, Aruba