A May 2005 trip
to Aruba by nltigger
Quote: My husband and I honeymooned on the tropical island of Aruba for 1 week in a luxurious condo.
The Aruba Beach Club's looks are deceiving from the Internet site. We had received the timeshare as a wedding gift and were pleasantly surprised when we arrived. Our suite was on the second floor overlooking the two pools, with beautifully manicured gardens and a hotel swim-up bar just below. Daily towel service was available, but there's never a cool towel in Aruba. Daily activities were available, even though we chose not to participate. The only activity we did splurge on was a couple's massage, for an extra but affordable fee at our resort's spa.
Taxi service is readily available at all times through the concierge. We chose not to rent a car/jeep because we felt it was not necessary.
We were able to buy groceries for breakfast and lunch and cook small meals in our full kitchen. Since everything is imported, the market near our resort was rather expensive ($5 for a half-gallon of milk-- but be sure to get the pasteurized American kind or you'll taste some strange milk with your cereal). We enjoyed drinks on our private patio. At lunchtime we came in from the beach to cool off in our fully A/C suite. For dinner we splurged and ate out at superb restaurants throughout the island. The resort's restaurant was not that great, surprisingly, but there are plenty of others within walking distance. You'll always find seafood on the menus and some exotic, spicy dishes!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 4, 2006
Aruba Beach Club
J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 53
Hotel | "Aruba Beach Club Private Beach"
Attraction | "Go Latin"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 4, 2006
Let's Go Latin!
We walked the plank and drank "pirate's brew" aboard the half-day sailing cruise on the high seas. The captains dropped us off at three locations to snorkel: coves, a sunken shipwreck (The Antilla), and along the coral reef. Depending on your skill level and whether or not you had snorkeled before, there was a spot for everyone. Tropical fish swam in schools around you, but it was hard to capture good pictures with a cheap disposable camera.
One word of caution: if you have never snorkeled before (like us), you may want to take your time near the sunken ship since it is in deep, rough waters. I preferred to float around the beautiful coral reefs and coves, where the water was much calmer. Guides are nearby at all times to assist you, so have no fear.
I highly recommend having a good underwater camera to capture the essence of the tropical waters. It was like floating in paradise, so tranquil and serene. The underwater cameras that we used only produced 10 decent pictures, so it is worth it to buy a good model.
We sunbathed on the ship's deck all day and tried to reapply sunscreen as much as possible without frying. It is also a first-come, first-serve basis for getting a prime location on the deck to lie down. It was a little stiff and sore on the back and bottom, I must say, but the "pirate's" music and booze kept us alive and distracted from the pain!
Before heading back to land, everyone had the opportunity to swing from the ship's rope into the sea for a large dunk. The "pirates" of the boat demonstrated their stunts and gymnastics ability while everyone watched in amazement. Everyone has the opportunity to swing off the rope and plunge into the serene bay below, but we were both a little scared to take the risk. People of all ages, young and old, and all nationalities boarded the ship, and we had a great morning/afternoon together.
Heading back, we were caught in storm, but it had passed by the time we docked; storms blow in and out quickly in Aruba because of the trade winds, which makes your activities much more enjoyable.
Overall, it was an amazing first snorkeling experience for my husband and I. I had done research online prior to going for the best snorkeling cruise with entertainment, and booked our reservation online before arriving to receive a discount for early reservation--and it was worth every penny! We paid $40/per person for a half-day snorkeling retreat on the high seas, which included all you could drink and eat. I would recommend this snorkeling trip to any beginner and any honeymoon couple looking for a half-day adventure!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 5, 2006
Aruba offered endless possibilities for sightseeing, especially on the northeast side of the island, like indulgent pleasures and thrilling adventures in a Jeep. It is a small island, but it has natural beauty with well-worn footprints of international explorers and many honeymooners.
We hit the back roads on a guided tour in our private rented Jeep and definitely tasted the sand and dust in our mouths. We had no A/C or a working radio, but the sights were worth the ride. We toured the natural bridges and were amazed at the natural formations. They are truly breathtaking. Beginning about 1 million years ago, limestone formations developed cracks through which fresh water passed and dissolved the rocks, ultimately creating the natural bridges. We splashed down around by the biggest natural bridge and felt the crashing waves wash up against us.
Next we visited the oldest and most sacred Catholic chapel, Alto Vista Chapel, on the island, still used today for special ceremonies. It lies on top of a hill overlooking the island and miles abroad. The Stations of the Cross lead the way up, while the "Our Father" lead you down.
Overlooking Aruba stands the California Lighthouse, made completely from natural stones found on the island. We drove along the beautiful seaside cliffs that are occasionally visited by fishermen. We climbed through the Gold Mine Ruins and felt the history beneath our feet. We built our own wishing cairn among the millions of others with hopes that our dreams would come true. Next, we headed into the caves to hear the fruit bats surround us, but also to see the ancient cave drawings along the ceiling.
Last, our journey ended at Baby Beach, the most beautiful beach we have ever experienced. You can literally walk out over 1 mile and still only be up to your knees in the ocean. It is like floating in a large bathtub. It is clear azure water. The pristine ivory beach and cooling trade winds left us with wonderful memories of that journey.
Main Street was bustling with activity: small market-type shops to explore for souvenirs and one jewelry store after another. High-end retailers shared the same street with market vendors. However, we only ended up bargaining with a vendor on the sale of T-shirts.
Downtown was extremely clean and well maintained. The back alleyways and side streets can be a little scary when you stray off the main streets at night. It was exciting to stroll along the boardwalk and dream of owning our own boat someday. It was an experience of their Aruban culture.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 5, 2006
We toasted to our last night of our honeymoon at the most-sought-after restaurant in Aruba, the Flying Fishbone. Reservations must be made prior to or immediately after arriving to assure a dinner seating. Reservations are booked weeks in advance. All hotels and resorts can assist with making reservations for you.
We ate by the water's edge. We kicked off our sandals and feasted on lobster tails, accompanied by a bottle of wine. It is exquisite dining that is highly recommended by anyone who has visited Aruba. It is best at sunset, even though we had 8pm reservations. We gazed up at the night sky and could actually see Venezuela in the far distance because it was such a clear night.
We had taken a taxi to the restaurant, which also waited for us until we were done with dinner. It is a rather long distance from the resort area (30 minutes without traffic) but definitely worth the fare and travel time. It was worth holding out all week to experience the fine feast, even though it was our most expensive meal. I would recommend this fine restaurant to anyone visiting the island, but be sure to make reservations prior to arriving or as soon as you arrive. Check out their website at http://www.flyingfishbone.com.
Shaker Heights, Ohio