Morning All! I wanted to post this while it's still fresh in my mind. We departed from boston on 3/31 on American Airlines. Flights were great, we arrived right on time, whisked through customs and were in our room at the Westin inside an hour. We took a cab from the airport to the Westin, and were upgraded to an ocean view room. Cab was 25.00 to the Westin. We unpacked, and went for a nice hike down by the low rise hotels to stretch out from our flight. The first night we ate at Salt and Pepper, which we really enjoyed. We didn't make reservations for any of the nights, NEVER had a wait for a table. Diner at S/P ran us about 70.00 including 2 drinks each.
The following AM we packed up our backpack cooler with cocktails (we had brought crystal light packets and bought liquor at the duty free in JFK, saved us a TON of money) and headed to the beach. Stayed there for the AM until it got too hot, then we took the bus along with our snorkeling gear to Malmok for the afternoon. Saw lots of fish at Malmok, it's a nice place to snorkel. Came back to hang at the pool at the Westin, and that night we dined at Texas de Brazil. I had signed up for the email club, so we had a free dinner. Texas de Brazil is the shiznit. We just love it there. The white sangria is the bomb!
Next morning we were up early, we had rented a Jeep Wrangler from American Car Rental. I'm not saying don't rent from them, but let's just say our jeep was FILTHY when we got it, and after a day of 4 wheeling it was worse. The worst part was the inside of the doors had grease or oil all over them, so our knees and elbows were covered with grease that scrubbing with soap and a washcloth couldn't even remove. I'm surprised the jeep didn't fall apart on the way to the natural pool. And it was a manual, which made the trip to the NAt Pool an experience to say the least. We brought all our gear, fishing stuff, snorkeling stuff. After we left the Natural Bridge area, we started meandering, and found a cove about 1/4 mile from the Nat Bridge, that had a small shallow pool. The beach was deserted. We fished in the little pool there and caught some fish and had a little picnic (we had gone to the grocery store that AM prior to heading off in the jeep). Very nice. We snorkeled at the Natural Pool (my boyfriend lost the jeep keys there, had to go back snorkeling after he realized they fell out of his pocket. He wrestled with a parrot fish to get them back!) We returned to the hotel late in the afternoon, exhausted and filthy, took a nap, then ventured out to find some local food. We found a restaurant called "Cafe Capri". The menu was in Spanish, none of the staff spoke English, so we winged it, and had some of the best food of the week there. And CHEAP. We spent 40.00 including tip for the 2 of us, including cocktails.
I highly recommend Cafe Capri.
Next day we did a time share presentation at the new Divi High Rise, and that afternoon rented a hobie cat on the beach, enjoyed our cocktails, and ate dinner at Smokey Joe's. Again no wait for a table, very good food. Sangria not as good as Texas de Brazil, but still tasty. We got the combo for 2, and I think dinner ran about 80.00 including the pitcher of Sangria. Not bad.
Saturday night we did the Kuku Kunuku party bus.
From our time share presentation, we selected the Kuku Kunuku as our "free gift". It was a 20.00 add/collect over and above our certificate, but well worth it. We really enjoyed the Kuku. Great dinner, lots of fun people, good value for the money. It's geared towards the younger crowd, but the older folks enjoyed it just as much. Dinner is simple, but served in an actual home, which is gorgeous, and worth every penny to see. 3 stops at bars, and you get the first drink at every bar included. Kuku is 59.00 per person. I think it's worth it, and tons of fun.
Sunday we rented a small car from HErtz and drove to the California Lighthouse, and then down to San Nicholas, but stumbled on Baby Beach by accident. We weren't impressed. Given it was Sunday, it was locals day, and very busy. We ventured a bit farther up the coast to Rodgers Cove, which was quiet, and very pretty. We snorkeled there, then ventured back to the hotel area, and again stopped at Cafe Capri for lunch (again, excellent food. 2 drinks each and burgers/fries for 25.00 total. Spent the afternoon at the pool, then we took the car back to Arashi for some evening fishing and cocktails. The tide was out, and the locals were out clamming/crabbing, the pelicans were all feasting on the low tide pools, we didn't catch anything, but it was great, and then we sat on the beach and watched the sunset.
Our flight back on Monday left at 2:15pm, we hung out at the pool after packing, and the airport was pretty quiet, customs/immigration was a breeze and our flight was on time back to Boston.
Westin: We really loved it. Great proximity to the restaurants, not crowded at all. The staff couldn't do enough for you, and were all very pleasant. We only ate one meal at the Westin, which was lunch in the Terrace Grill. We only drank at happy hour, which is now from 4-6pm with live music, and bar games. Fun. the room was beautiful, nice balcony and view over the water. We never had to reserve or pay for a Palapa, tipped the beach boy for chairs and that was it. The pool was crystal clean, the resort itself was spotless. We stayed at the Marriott 2 years ago, and we much preferred the Westin over the Marriott. Like I said we only ate one lunch at the hotel, I knew it would be expensive. EAch morning we walked to get iced coffee from either the Dunkin Donuts near Smokey Joes or the one on the beach by the Radisson. We don't eat breakfast, and most days we skipped lunch and only ate dinner. We're not big eaters, but we drink alot, which made the liquor we bought at duty free all the more of a bargain. You can bring in one liter per person to Aruba, I brought vodka and mixed it with crystal light lemonade, my boyfriend bought coconut rum and mixed it with cranberry crystal light.
American Car Rental: I'd avoid them. Other companies were about the same price, and the jeeps were in much better shape. Although pickup and delivery was right on time, and because we had kind of a beat up vehicle, we weren't too worried about beating the crap out of it on the 4 wheeling trails.
A word to the wise. Unless you have an ATV/dirtbike or a 4 wheel drive Jeep, you really can't do the Natural Pool. And it's almost impossible to find, unless you've been there before. Even with the Jeep we bottomed out a few times. Fun, best day we had, but a pretty hairy ride.
Kuku Kunuku: I highly recommend it, if you're sociable and like to drink. If you're not a drinker, it's not worth it.
Texas de Brazil: We ate there twice. Can't say enough good things about this place. we loved it.
We had a fabulous trip. Feel free to ask me any questions.