Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Post Airliners Terror Bombing- Departing Aruba

Our family returned late yesterday afternoon from Aruba.

Delta has always permitted just one carry on as well as well as a "personal item" such as a purse or computer bag.

Security at Reina Beatrix Airport was like I have never seen in 19 visits to the island.

1. When they say get to the airport 3 hours prior to your flight, do it.We stood in line for 20+ minutes just waiting to get

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas in Aruba

Christmas in Aruba...hot, sunny & festive. More Tamarijn Christmas decorations.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Flying to Aruba With Christmas Presents

After dh's and my recent discussion, I thought it a good time to rewrite this post from the end of 2007 when our family spent it's first Christmas in Aruba. Each year when we travel, we pack our gifts, along with wrapping paper, scissors, gift tags and the much need scotch tape in order to wrap our gifts upon arrival at our destination. It is a pain in the neck, but the United States government in the form of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) likes it that way. It is a small price to pay to get our presents to Aruba. Just remember to pack the scissors in the suitcase and not the carry on.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Leaving Aruba -Get There Early

So you are thinking, "Three hours early? Really? You must be joking!" Well, keep thinking that it is a joke and you very well may find yourself missing your next flight home from Aruba.

Departing from Queen Beatrix International Airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Reina Beatrix, it is important to keep in mind that there will be a list of procedures much longer than you are used to when departing on a domestic flight.

Peak days of departure from Aruba are Saturday, Sunday and Friday, in that order, even more so, the Saturday and Sunday prior to, and immediately following holidays such as Christmas and New Years. For these super peak days, add at least an additional half hour to an hour. Peak times at the airport for departure everyday, are 11 am to 4 pm. ...more

Friday, November 6, 2009

How Do I Get to Aruba From ?????

Airline Route Maps

If you are unable to find a non-stop flight to Aruba, you can fly a connecting flight on one of the listed airlines below from one of their "hub" cities. In other words, if you can find a flight to a "hub" you can get to Aruba from there. Others, please add additional hubs you are aware of...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chefs Table Aruba

This past trip, another evening we ate dinner off property at the Chef’s Table. We loved everything we ate here and this restaurant was another hit with us. It was nice that we were given the choice of eating outside in the courtyard or inside in the air conditioning. Again, being summertime and seeing that the courtyard was a bit “close”, even though we were offered a fan for our table, we chose inside dining.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

US Citizens Residing in Aruba & Taxation

This is not good for those US citizens contemplating retirement in Aruba. Even worse of a nightmare for those already there. US citizens / Aruba residents - taxation

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sure Not Everyone Loves Aruba

First impressions are always important. Did our mother's not drill that into our heads?

My first visit to Aruba I hated it and could have cared less if I ever returned. I said, "what the heck is the big fuss all about"? I had parents who went to Aruba for 2 weeks every February and RAVED about this place.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Windows on Aruba

We had difficulty in booking an ala carte restaurant reservation one evening during our June stay at the Tamarijn so chose another option which the Divi/Tamarijn offers. For $30 per person you may have dinner at Windows on Aruba. You are able to order a three course meal off of their “regular” menu. There were I think two surcharges, one was for lobster. At $4 I did not think that was unreasonable. Drinks and alcohol were also not included. A concern for us was the dress code. When the restaurant opened, men were required to wear long pants. Since then it seems that the management has dropped this restriction to entice more diners. It worked for us. Dh no longer travels to Aruba with long pants.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Best Building at Tamarijn Aruba?

Aruba Bound
Buildings are only two stories and yes, all oceanfront. Here is a view from a room in 1300 building. First floor vs. second floor is personal preference. Some like the advantage of being on the ground floor and the ability to walk right out of your room directly on to the beach. Others think the view from the second floor balconies is better as well as enjoy a sense of security. Ground floor rooms all have security bars for the sliders.

For updated information see more about Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive buildings.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Marina Pirata Restaurant Aruba

Aruba Bound
Having a rental car this year, we returned to Marina Pirata after not having been in a few years. With a location in Savaneta, as lovely a setting as it is, the taxi fare from any of the resorts is very expensive. Think in the $50 round trip range.

Marina Pirata to its credit has not changed one single bit and we still love it every bit as much as the first time we had dinner there. Whenever you walk into a restaurant in Aruba and see a bunch of locals dining, you can pretty much be sure it is a diamond in the rough.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Snorkeling Boca Catalina & Catalina Cove Aruba

There is something about this spot that I love. First off the entry is easy at Boca Catalina. Snorkeling here on your own, rather than with an excursion, you can go where you wish and spend as long as you like. The water here is fairly shallow and this trip I saw a good variety of fish as well as sea urchins and various colors of sponges. My favorite, and a very beautiful fish, was a Triggerfish who played “hide and seek”.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Let Us Never Forget 9-11

Aruba Bound
Please pray for our hero's and those they have left behind.

Families of September 11

Iraq & Afghanistan War Heros "Dedicated to our deceased Heroes that have served in Iraq & Afghanistan"

"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Screaming Eagle Restaurant Aruba

Another new favorite for us in Aruba is the Screaming Eagle. Arriving at the Tamarijn later in the afternoon, we figured our chances of being able to get a reservation for an ala carte restaurant on our night of arrival were “slim and none”. At the suggestion of a friend who has similar tastes as dh and I; we decided to try this restaurant. Bully picked us up as we had prearranged, at 8:15 p.m. and as soon as we walked in, we knew we had made the right choice. We were extremely pleased and look forward to returning.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Aruba Donkey Sanctuary

Aruba Bound
The Donkey Sanctuary in Aruba was another fun diversion from the beach for a few hours. The day we were there it was hot and surely dry and dusty, but seeing all those happy donkeys devouring the apples and carrots we had brought for them was priceless. Even more special was being able to meet the two sweet babies Mirna born in February and Roulette born in January.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Our Day on Tranquilo in Aruba

Aruba Bound
Tranquilo Famous South Side Lunch Cruise
This ranks among our top four things to do. Last year we had an enjoyable time on Jolly Pirates and this year it was time to show the kids in our group what “real” sailing was like and some different snorkeling that Aruba had to offer. We had sailed with Captain Anthony in 2006 and hoped that our friends and their children would enjoy it as much as us. At the end I asked for a show of hands from our group of seven and indeed everyone loved it!

Our day started when we greeted Captain Anthony and his mate Gregory on the beach next to the De Palm Pier. Here is where he takes care of the paperwork and then we are off in his dingy to the awaiting sailboat. Once aboard the Captain gives some instructions and Gregory reviews what beverages he has available to serve from the bar. The day we sailed, it seemed the rum punch and Balashi’s were the most popular adult beverages.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Looking Forward to Another Arrival in Aruba

Aruba Bound
I truly feel blessed to be able to experience another Christmas in Aruba.

Link: Arrival in Aruba

Thursday, July 23, 2009

U.S. Customs & Immigration Departing Aruba

People often ask why it is suggested that you arrive at the airport three full hours prior to your flight's departure from Aruba. You need time to clear not only security, but U.S. Customs & US Immigration as well. Through in some time for duty free shopping and additional security, and well, you get the idea.

The good news is that you will only go through U.S. Customs & US Immigration at the airport in Aruba. When your flight arrives in the U.S. you will be deplaning just as you would from any domestic flight in the U.S.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Passions Restaurant at the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort

Passions on the beach at the Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort had been recommended to us by a friend and my parents last year. We thought it would be the perfect spot at which to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was so wonderful last year that we returned again this year for our anniversary.

It is very easy to imagine how beautiful a spot this is watching the sunset over the ocean while sipping your pre-dinner cocktails. We usually end up staying on the beach or at happy hour until at least 6 p.m. so prefer to eat later. Even after dark, with the stars over head and the Aruban tradewinds, this spot is a gem.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why Pictures of Aruba Hotel Bathrooms?

Aruba Bound
Obviously you have seen my pictures of the Radisson including the bathrooms. Now I also have photos of the bathrooms at the Tamarijn. Yes, quite a contrast.

Keep in mind though, there are two schools of thought.

One is as long as it is clean, the amenities of a bathroom are only "window dressing".

The second is, even if it is clean, it will not meet one's standards unless there is marble or granite surrounding you. I simply call it glam and glitz.

My family thinks I'm odd, but like I tell them, "that is what people really want to see".

Monday, June 8, 2009

Restaurants at the Tamarijn & Divi Aruba All Inclusive Resorts

When eating at the Tamarijn, we try to rotate restaurants each night so it does not become boring. We consider ourselves "foodies" and though the food at these resorts is not gourment, you will by no means starve to death. Our family has never eaten dinner at the buffets. It is key that you make your reservations as early in the day as possible, or to be really flexible as to restaurant and time. Overall we have been extremely happy with not only the quality, but the portion sizes.

We have eaten twice at Ginger and twice at the Palm Court Grill and multiple times at the Red Parrot and Paparazzi. My personal favorites were the Caesar Salad at Paparazzi and the Red Parrot, the Dutch Onion Soup at the Red Parrot and the Churasco a Moda at the Red Parrot. This steak was served with a delicious, hint of garlic, creamy "almost" mashed potato as well as tomato vegetable relish and orange soy barbeque sauce. These were spicy, which I have a hard time with, so I ask for them on the side. Special requests like that are never a problem.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Palm Beach Aruba vs. Druif Beach & the Tamarijn Aruba

Dh and I had stayed on Palm Beach over a dozen times before our first stay at a low rise resort, specifically, the Tamarijn. It was also our first all inclusive in Aruba. Hearing a lot of good and bad, truthfully we were not sure what to expect. Honestly it took us a good 4 or 5 days to adjust from the high rise resorts we had stayed in, mainly the Westin and Radisson, to a "plainer" low rise resort. It finally dawned on us, that everything was a tradeoff, and the positives at the Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive far outweighed any negatives. Mainly the oceanfront rooms and a nice family friendly resort with very good (not gourmet though) food.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dining at the Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive

Aruba Bound
Food at the Tamarijn Aruba is very very good. There is always something for everyone, including the children. Breakfast buffet at the Cunucu Terrace opens at 7 a.m.and is more than satisfying. There is a problem if you could not find something to your liking. Offerings included: yogurts, small platter of meats and cheese, chunks of fresh fruit: pineapple, orange, mango, melons, eggs cooked to order, hard boiled eggs, French toast, pancakes, pastries and breads, corned beef hash, scrambled eggs, sausage links, sausage patties, bacon, grilled tomatoes, Dutch potatoes (baked cubed potatoes with onion) and juices: fruit punch, orange, grapefruit, tomato and cranberry among others.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beach at the Tamarijn Aruba

For anyone familiar with the condtion of the Tamarijn's beach the past year and a half plus, these photos will be a nice surprise.

Beach conditions at the Tamarijn, as of mid-March 2009

Tamarijn Beach Photos Buildings 1100 - 1800

Tamarijn Beach Photos Buildings 1900 - 2500

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Getting Ready for Aruba

Our family is getting ready for our June visit to the Tamarijn.

There is not much planned as far as activities go this year. The most exciting thing we will be doing besides lounging beachside is taking the South Side Snorkel Lunch Tour on the Tranquilo.

We did this excursion a few years back and though we could have had better weather, it was a relaxing day of quiet sailing and fantastic snorkeling.

I wrote about our previous sail on Tranquilo here. We are again looking forward to sailing with Captain Anthony. One of our four favorite Aruba excursions. The others being, in no particular order-- the Island helicopter tour, Jolly Pirates & Kini Kini ATV tour.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Day at MoomBa on Palm Beach Aruba

Aruba Bound
For easy access to watersports and a day on the beach you would want Palm Beach.

Where on Palm Beach? There is MoomBa Beach between the Holiday Inn and Marriott Surf Club.

Another suggestion...

I would suggest having the taxi drop you off at the walkway which is the entrance to De Palm Pier. It is located between the Riu and Radisson Resorts.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pros & Cons of Timshare Ownership

In the coming months with the economy being in the situation that it is, there will be a good many "bargains" on timeshares.

This article is as good a summation as any on the pros and cons of timeshare ownership.

Imo, there are a lot of different factor with timeshares and you need to decide which is the right one for you and your family. My dh and I have consdered it a few times ourselves, but in the end, always decided against it. The times of the year during which he can take his vacation are very limited and we would be really locked into just a few weeks.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why Do Airfares Fluctuate?

Below is one of the best explanations I have found regarding airfare pricing as set by the airlines.

Why do airfares fluctuate over time?
"It's called yield management. The airlines have it down to an art form. The objective is to get the most amount of money they can from each flight.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Day At Palm Beach Aruba

Here is a breakdown for our extended family of 10 for a day at Palm Beach.

All of the Frills
2 big umbrellas $20 x 2 = $40
6 chaise lounge rentals $8 x 6= $48 (if the kids want to sit they can use their towels)
4 floats to pass the day away $5 x 4 = $20
Banana boat or tube ride for 4 kids $20 x 4= $80
Lunch (hamburger & soda $22.88 pp at the Radisson) for 10 people = $228.80
One hour rental of a Hobie Cat sailboat = $75
2 taxis for 10 people (2 x $20) roundtrip = $40

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hiking in Aruba

Arikok National Park is a great place for hiking. The Aruban government with the assistance of the European Union has made a series of improvements to the Park.

Aruba Nature Sensitive Hikers offers guided hiking tours. Good if you are not familiar with the park. It is a large area and most cactus and rocks look the same.

No matter where you hike, plan on wearing heavy shoes, bringing water, wearing sunscreen and a hat.

Arikok National Park photos