We just returned from our third trip to Aruba. We had a great time.
The flight down on AA from Miami was scheduled to arrive in Aruba 9:40 pm. There was a mechanical issue that delayed our departure and we arrived at 11 pm. Apparently, if we had been just a few minutes later, we would have been diverted to Curacao as Aruba has a curfew on flights (according to flight attendant anyway). The return flight also had a mechanical issue and we were delayed 45 minutes. Luckily we had adequate time for our connecting flight. The joys of travel! Fortunately we had been upgraded to first class on both flights thanks to the many miles I fly every year. The start and end of the trip were not an indication of the actual time spent in Aruba.
The airport was not at all crowded for our departure. We did arrive 3 hours early for our 3:30 pm flight and we were at our gate in just under an hour.
We again stayed at the Radisson. The hotel grounds are beautiful and the staff knowledgeable, friendly and always helpful. Their palapa reservation system is very good-get in line late afternoon and sign up for your free palapa for the following day. Alternatively, you can reserve in advance for a fee, which is what we did. The charge for front row was $35 per day plus tax. They will have your palapa set up with chairs and towels by 7 am each morning. Well worth the price IMO.
For the second time we booked the junior suite in the Aruba tower. It’s a much larger room-has a sofa, a table and 4 chairs, a chaise lounge in addition to the regular rooms. The downside is it doesn’t have a good view. We found the tradeoff works for us since we’re outside most of the time and enjoy having a larger space to relax at night.
What we didn’t like this time was the number of conventions/large groups there. One very large group was loud and acted as though they were the only people at the resort. They also had a few outdoor functions so much of the pool area by the bar was not available one day and another day they had banquet tables set up all over the beach, ruining the view.
Conventions may be typical for this time of year. Our previous trips were in Oct. and April. We were expecting a less busy week, and that was not the case.
No issues with cruise ship passengers using the resort, unlike others have reported. Perhaps under control now, or due to fewer ships in port this time of year.
One thing we like about the location of the Radisson is how close it is to Bugaloe’s! Most days we walked to Bugaloe for lunch and a few drinks. It’s a very casual restaurant/bar on a pier. Good selection of salads and sandwiches at a reasonable price. Drinks are very good and also reasonably priced.
We also went to Bugaloe three nights to listen to different bands. Always a fun evening.
Though difficult to find, we made it to Zeerovers for lunch one day. What a bargain this meal was-fish, shrimp, fries, plantains and corn cakes for 4 people for $41! Loved the setting right on the water. The food was good, though the fish was a bit over cooked and dry. The shrimp was fabulous though.
We also had lunch at Moomba’s one day. Food and drinks were good.
Dinners were at: Fishes and More-very good; Iguana Cantina-good when you need a Mexican food fix; Amuse Bistro-the best meal of the trip! Really liked that you could order a smaller portion for many entrees. Bingo-very good; Casa Tua-enjoyed the pizza; Smokey Joe’s- just ok food and service wasn’t the best; Barney’s-very good. Also just had light snacks and drinks at the hotel one night.
It was our first time to try Amuse Bistro, Bingos, Barney’s and Smokey Joe’s. Would not go back to Smokey Joe’s, but really enjoyed the other three. There are so many restaurants- we never seem to go to all we would like to try. It’s a good excuse to keep returning!
Appreciate other TA posters tips about Zeerovers, Bingo, Amuse Bistro and Barney’s since we might not have tried any of them otherwise.
We mainly go for the beach and didn’t do any tours. We did rent a car and drive around the island. We explored many of the other beaches, the California light house area, Alto Vista Chapel and Casibari rock formations, which we had not visited before. It was an interesting spot to see. We also spent time on the undeveloped south east coast, which is more rugged.
Another first was visiting the Butterfly garden. I actually went twice-you pay once and can visit as often as you like during your stay. While small, the gardens are pretty and there are so many butterflies. I enjoyed taking pictures there.
The weather was great during our stay. Very hot, but the constant wind makes it wonderful. A couple of days the wind was very strong though and we were pelted by the sand.
Though a small island, there continues to be things to see and do that are new to us each time. Staying on Palm Beach, we don’t have a need to rent a car for the entire time. We can walk to many different restaurants or take a taxi.
We like how casual the island is and not having to dress up for dinner. The number of good restaurants and variety of food is wonderful.
We find the people to be friendly and the island to be safe. We do take normal safety precautions though, as we do anywhere.
It was a great trip and we will return again.
Sorry for the long report-hopefully it is useful to those planning a trip.