Saturday, May 10, 2014

Aruba - Part 3


After breakfast at the Palm Restaurant (which had finally reopened - Yay!), we took off in the rental car armed with two maps and some general instructions from Google. The people who said that there aren’t many street signs in Aruba weren’t kidding! We pretty much had to guess what roads we were on. But we only had to turn around three times, so I thought we did pretty well. :-)  It’s a small island – you can’t stay lost for very long.

Our first stop was the Casibari Rock Formations, a pile of gigantic boulders rising up from the flat landscape. The Aruban government had added walking paths and gardens around the rocks, giving the area a peaceful feel, especially since Ron and I were the only ones there at that hour of the morning. At the top of the rocks, we had a great view of Hooiberg, Aruba’s second highest peak. But the wind up there – EEK! I was too afraid to stand up so I took my pictures sitting down on the rocks.

Casibari Rock Formations

Friday, May 9, 2014

Aruba - Part 2

Jolly Pirate ship


Monday was our Sail, Snorkel, Swim and Swing tour with the Jolly Pirates. We met at Moomba Beach (about a 10 minute walk from our hotel) at 8:30 to check in. The tour included an open-bar but before we even got on the boat, some people had cups of beer with them. At 8:30! I thought, “This should be an interesting day.” :-)

We sailed north along the coast to our first snorkel spot, the Antilla shipwreck, a German freighter that sank during WWII. There was a strong current and choppy waves at the site so I decided not to snorkel. But Ron got in and said it would have made a better scuba dive.  He could just see the outline of the ship, sitting 60 feet below the surface.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Aruba - One Happy (Windy) Island

When we started researching Aruba we had a hard time deciding where to stay. We love all-inclusive resorts but everyone on Trip Advisor said not to go AI. They said that Aruba has so many good restaurants to choose from and the AIs in Aruba aren’t like the mega-resorts in Mexico and Jamaica. But I didn’t want to have to worry about where we were going to eat breakfast or whether or not I should order that dessert. At an AI, it’s all covered. So we chose the Occidental Grand on Palm Beach.

We knew the Occidental wouldn’t be Sandals and it wasn’t. But it turned out to be very nice, if a little dated. The hotel was U-shaped with a tower of rooms on each side and the lobby and restaurants in between. In the middle of the U was the pool with rock formations, waterfalls and a swim-up pool bar. I liked the rock formations a lot and so did a family of iguanas that came out every morning to sun themselves.

Our room was on the third floor facing the pool. It had a comfortable king-sized bed and a small balcony where we could see a little bit of the ocean over the waving palm trees. My only complaint was that the balcony door was impossible to close from the outside so if we went out on the balcony, we had to leave it open.

Occidental Grand Aruba