On this trip were my husband, our 15 year old son and of course me. This was our 3rd trip to Aruba and to the Costa Linda Beach Resort. We have stayed 2 weeks each time we traveled here. On our first visit we had all of our children and spent every other day on excursions or shopping trips into town. On our second visit, only one of our children came but three friends joined us. Since our friends had not seen the island before, we toured the whole island again and participated in some fun activities. For this trip, we did not go to the other side of the island, did minimal shopping and basically spent the majority of our time on beautiful Eagle Beach.
As a result, this trip report may seem quite boring to some of you.
Flights – We flew AirTran for the first time to Aruba and were very pleased with the overall service. We flew from DAY to BWI to AUA. There was a slight delay on the runway leaving BWI due to the rain from a tropical storm so we landed in Aruba at 12:50 (about 20 minutes late but still early enough to enjoy the day). Our flight back was AUA to ATL to DAY with a slightly early arrival in ATL. Our processing time at AUA from the time we walked in the door to the time we finished up was 1 hr and 15 minutes. We had heard horror stories so we left for the airport early, but we processed very quickly.
Rental Vehicle – We booked a Hyundai Accent from Hans at Tropic and could not have been more pleased. The car had a couple small dents but was in good shape overall for Aruba. The registration process is easy and the paperwork was completed before we even left home. Hans met us inside the airport and the drop off was quick and efficient on our departure day. We will definitely try to reserve him again for our trip in 2014. I know now why he gets such good reviews on the Aruba forums.
Resort – For this visit we exchanged through RCI for our 2 weeks at Costa Linda. We do now own a week at Costa Linda but it is not available for usage until 2014. We were given unit #3001 for both weeks in the middle section of the resort facing the pool and the sea. We had great views and were located very close to the elevators. Because of our early arrival, our rooms were not ready when we arrived but we were able to check in, leave our luggage with a porter and go purchase our groceries. My husband was leery about doing this in the event our room still wouldn’t be ready when we got back but I wanted to use our time wisely. No worries though; our room still wasn’t ready when we got back but one of the porters, Ernesto I believe, took our groceries up and with the cooperation of the housekeeper we were able to drop off our luggage and groceries.
Costa Linda does a great job retaining their staff. It was so nice to walk in and see so many familiar faces and in some instances to be welcomed back by name.
I reviewed Costa Linda on TA in the resorts section in which I described the unit in detail.
My favorite part of Costa Linda is the beach and it did not disappoint this time either. It is well maintained by beach personnel, Anthony, Randy, Robert and Joel. They are wonderful. They place the towels on the chairs in a manner so they do not blow away and arrange the chairs per preference of the guests. There was no difficulty getting a palapa for shade anytime of the day. In fact, I noticed there were front row palapas available still at 8 a.m. I tended to arrive early before sunrise. I like to eat my breakfast, listen to the waves crashing in and enjoy conversations with my palapa neighbor before taking a walk on the beach. Security guards do promptly check you in when you arrive to the palapa. The room number is written down as well as the palapa number. Guests are required to stay at their palapas until 7 a.m. at which time they may leave if they want. A guest may not leave their palapa vacant for more than 2 hours. Their items can be removed if they are away from the area longer and another guest may use the palapa. Upon our first day at the beach we placed a PWC anchor filled with sand in the water and used it to attach our inflatable rafts to. I thoroughly enjoyed floating on top of the beautiful water enjoying the views of the beach and the resort.
We purchased the $80.00 WiFi card from Costa Linda. It was the high speed for 1 month (same price as for 2 weeks). I found it to be slower this time though. My son was still able to play some of his games on the computer though and we were able to do our research and check our emails.
We did participate in some of the activities at the resort including Orientation, the Owners Meeting, Bingo, Zumba, Aqua Zumba and Pool Volleyball. The activities are listed on the white board daily next to the car rental desk and are also listed in the Costa Linda magazine.
I visited the spa, Taste of Heaven, twice to repair three acrylic nails I had put on before I came and do a polish change on my toes. My first visit was on Father’s Day so they invited me to partake in some champagne since they had already opened a bottle. I obliged. ☺ Although pricey, the service was great and the staff friendly.
Activities – Honestly besides shopping in Oranjestad, visiting the Palm Beach area and walking over to some of the nearby resort gift shops, we basically stayed on the beach each day. My son did Jet Ski and we all took turns kayaking at Costa Linda. We went to the Bon Bini festival for the first time at Fort Zoutman in Oranjestad. I enjoyed learning about some of the culture, eating local homemade food and watching the dances performed by the Bon Bini Festival Dance Group. Music was also enjoyed and included steel drums, a cylinder box and soloists. The cost is $5.00 per person and is from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday.
Food and Restaurants (Pizza Bobs, Cuba's Cookin', Madame Janette, Yemanja, Zuzuroh's, Barefoot and Water's Edge at the Costa Linda have been reviewed separately here on TA in appropriate areas)
• We purchased most of our food from Ling and Sons IGA but did visit Superfoods a couple times and Kong Hing once. I prefer Ling and Sons. For my Verkade Dutch candy bars though, Superfoods at $1.14 seemed to be the cheapest. I bring them home to share and to enjoy throughout the year.
• We ate almost all of our breakfasts and lunches at the timeshare unit and most of our dinners. We used a soft-sided cooler to bring our beverages down to the beach each day.
Weather – The temperature of course was consistently in the upper 80’s with a nice breeze coming in from the trade winds. I was very comfortable on the beach and in the water and sometimes too cool. I have been on some Caribbean islands where I felt I was just going to melt but not here unless I was in Oranjestad or walking the Palm Beach area. It was cloudy most days with many bouts of dark clouds. It rained some overnight and a couple mornings very quickly. I even saw beautiful rainbows over the sea on two mornings.
• Pack clothespins to hang up wet clothing or seal bags of potato chips.
• Bring walkie-talkies to converse with other family members while on the beach to the room.
• Bring a soft-sided collapsible cooler for beverages and quick snacks on the beach.
• Bring lots of 1’s and 5’s for tip money. We were pleased overall with the service tendered and definitely showed our appreciation.
• Bring collapsible hampers for dirty laundry. I brought laundry detergent/dryer combo sheets and a stain stick too. Due to luggage constrictions and length of our stay we needed to do laundry one day during our stay.
• If you want to float on a raft, I would suggest purchasing one with a handle that could be attached to a portable anchor. The raft and anchor did not add on much to our luggage weight but certainly added to my happiness. Unanchored rafts may drift you too close to Panama if you are not careful!
Conclusion – We love Aruba and God willing we will be back at least 2 weeks each summer. We enjoy the timeshare resort atmosphere, meeting new people and getting to know people that we had met on previous trips. The beautiful beaches and water, the friendliness of the Arubans and other tourists along with great restaurants and the Costa Linda make Aruba very special for us and a place we now call our home away from home.