De Palm Island, ARUBA
Aruba, a beautiful island with great beaches and nightly entertainment, and if you would like to do something different with your family, I recommend De Palm Island. De Palm Island is Aruba’s only all-inclusive destination, great for families, groups, family reunions and school outings. Searching for a romantic getaway, that may not be the place for you, however you may be able to find a quiet corner on the beach to relax. Fantastic for families as there is so much to do to keep everyone busy, and what I was certainly impressed by was the abundance of lifeguards on duty and plenty of monitors by the water slides. Parents can feel comfortable that there are more eyes checking on their kids for safety purposes.
A short thirty minutes’ drive from the Palm Beach area followed by a short 8 minutes ferry ride and you are in De Palm Island. Great family fun and adventure. The island provides a water slide, snorkeling, sea trekking, face painting, hair braiding, and a full service spa. Breakfast and lunch and snacks is all included in your package. There is a small beach area, lots of cabanas on a first come first serve basis. The staff on duty also organize other activities like beach volleyball, card games and you may just find a partner to share a game of dominoes. There are also lockers available for rent in the event everyone in your party would like to go swimming or snorkeling.
Full day and half day passes to enjoy the De Palm Island facilities are available for purchase.
Overall great for the entire family!!!
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Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort
During our short visit in Aruba, we had the pleasure of staying at the Bucuti Resort on Eagle Beach. What an awe-inspiring experience. We arrived early afternoon and was greeted by Frank, who serves as a security guard, bell captain and concierge. Very outgoing gentleman. We introduced ourselves and he used his faithful radio to inform the front office that the Clarke’s had arrived. He quickly picked up our luggage and escorted us to the front desk where the welcoming team awaited and greeted us with champagne. I felt like a VIP, however everyone is treated like a VIP at Bucuti. Check in was a breeze. Before heading to our room, our photo was taken for the registration form. What a brilliant idea!! Have you ever locked your room key in your room and went for a replacement but had no ID to verify your identity because your pocket book is locked in the room with your keys? Well at Bucuti, if this ever happens, your photograph is on file, so no IDs will be necessary. I was very impressed. Right before we were escorted to our gorgeous room, the manger Deborah came to welcome us and wished us a great stay. Overall a very warm experience at the front desk, great start…..
Nestled on Eagle beach, Bucuti is an adult only hotel and perfect for honeymooners, anniversaries, vow renewals and just two people wanting a beautiful getaway. The hotel is located in the low rise area far from the crowds of Palm Beach area, serene and peaceful. Perfect for a quick escape with that special someone. Rooms are very modern and beautifully appointed with flat screen televisions and mirror televisions in the bathrooms.
Our welcome gift from the hotel was champagne, chocolates, cheese and crackers. The hotel is also very much in tune with recycling and protecting the environment. We were also given two stainless steel water bottles to use during our stay, a keepsake. They think of everything at Bucuti and Tara.
Bucuti and Tara is accessible to fourteen acres of beautiful powder white sand beach, breathtaking views of the sparkling blue-green sea and the stunning sunsets. It definitely felt like paradise. It is such a beautiful beach the turtles use the beach to lay their eggs. Turtle season is during the months of March to October and the Hatchback Turtles come to Eagle beach to lay their eggs.
It takes sixty (60) days for the eggs to hatch. We had the unbelievable experience of being present to witness the hatching. It is an amazing experience to watch the baby turtles crawl towards the water to start their lives. Our afternoon ended with us taking in the spectacular sunset on Eagle beach
We dined at Elements Natural and Organic Dining by sea. With the cool evening breeze, while we watched the stars, the setting was oh so perfect. Elements is part of the Aruba Dining program and there is a special three course menu for diners. The menu at Elements is diverse, at least five items to choose from, for appetizer, entree and dessert. We started with soup and chicken vol au vent, red snapper and pasta and ended with bread pudding and cheesecake. A fabulous meal fit for the VIPs we were.
We spent the balance of our stay relaxing at the hotel and just enjoyed the beach, the food and the pampering we received from management and staff. The owner of Bucuti and Tara, Mr. Biemans even stopped by to say hello.
Bucuti and Tara, beautiful resort, sizzling food and excellent service. Everything you need for the perfect getaway is available at Bucuti and Tara in Aruba
Zee Rover Restaurant
Do you like to experiment with the local cuisine on your travels? If so, you are in for a treat. I mean, this is one of the tastiest ways to get a feel for the personality of your destination. I call it “Tasting the culture”. While in Aruba we decided to find out where the locals eat, and who do you ask for recommendations? The waiters, housekeepers at the hotel or an on patrol officer on the street. We met this wonderful Police Woman who gave us great directions to the place with the best local food on the island. ZeeRover!!!
Zee Rover is located on the east coast of the island in Savaneta. The drive from Palm Beach was approximately thirty minutes and the restaurant was very easy to find because it was bustling on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. It is definitely a favorite spot on the island. Zeerover sits right on the water overlooking the fishing boats in Savaneta, where the vendors sell their fresh catch daily. On arrival we selected our order from the bucket of freshly caught fish and other seafood. You can choose from red snapper, mahi mahi and whatever the catch of the day may be. Side orders includes: shrimp, cornbread and fries. So we appropriately chose a little of everything. Your order is then weighed, seasoned and then taken to the kitchen for preparation. The kitchen is open so you can actually watch your order go through the process of being prepared for your feast. You pay your tab upfront, given a number and then you find yourself a table. You have to visit Zeerover with lots of patience, as the wait is approximately thirty minutes on a busy day. However with the stunning views and the sound of the waves crashing on to the shores, you get into that relaxing mood.
I was concerned that our server would not find our table, as the place was so crowded. However after twenty minutes of chatting with other patrons, there she was strutting down the terrace with our piping hot delicious food. Everything is served with pickled onion, tartar sauce and papaya hot sauce. This was my first encounter with papaya hot sauce. Everything tasted, so good, the meal was scrumptious, well except the corn bread. The corn bread was a bit of a surprise as it tasted and looked like pancake, not what Southerners call corn bread. The best drink for such a hearty meal is definitely a very cold Balashi, local beer of Aruba.
Overall, great food, ambience and over fifty happy people, made our Zeerover an experience to repeat.
One Very Happy Island.
Did you know, that Aloe Vera marked Aruba’s first source of welfare? Also, two thirds of the island was covered in aloe plants in the 1920s! Aruba the A of the ABC islands is a very popular destination and after visiting for a weekend, I can understand why it is “One Happy Island”. Our flight was a short three and a half hours from the Hartsfield Jackson International airport to the beautiful Beatrix International airport. On arrival, we were greeted by a young lady who gave us a Divi branded bag with coupons for restaurants, attractions and of course the Divi hotels. This meant we were definitely shopping. We were then greeted by a very pleasant immigration officer who seemed genuinely happy we were visiting his home. Our customs experience was even more delightful, as there was no wait which meant we would be having lunch on the beach. Once we were in the arrivals area we were met by the De Palm tours representative for our transfer to the hotel. The drive was approximately 30 minutes with a little bit of traffic, once we arrived near the capital city, Oranjestad. After we passed the capital city, there was less traffic with a very scenic drive with views of the beautiful water, awaiting for us to dive in, so how can one not be happy in Aruba. Our first impression of Aruba was definitely an insightful one. Tourism is important to Aruba and everyone seemed to be aware of that. Every person we encountered was genuinely happy to see us and wished us a great time on the island.
Our first night was at the Marriott Aruba Stellaris and Casino, located on the Palm Beach area. Lovely property, great for families and also anyone who wants to do a bit of gambling. The property has beautiful landscaping and it definitely has the island feel to it. Once we were settled in our rooms, we followed the music to the pool bar where it was certainly jamming. Lunch was ordered while we listened to the sweet sound of the saxophone. We thought that the saxophonist was the best we had heard and then we realized who that we were listening to. Kim Waters, the world renowned saxophonist just happened to be on vacation at the Marriott and decided to jam with the house band. What a treat. It was a lovely afternoon with great music, good food and loads of fun. Our first day in Aruba was going better than planned. We spent a few hours by the pool bar, as it was happy hour and the drinks were just flowing. We ended the first day, sipping on Aruba Ariba, the most popular cocktail on the island, it is also very delicious. We watched the spectacular sunset, on beautiful Palm Beach, and enjoyed the warm turquoise waters.
Aruba Aloe Our second day started with us lounging on the beach and then we got, what we call itchy foot, so we decided to rent a car and explore the island. This is highly recommended as you can see and do so much more. (Tip: Reserve the car online it will be cheaper, do not walk up to the desk and try to rent a car) The island gets limited rain so it is very dry with cactus, and an abundance of aloe vera and lots of goats. Aruba Aloe is considered one of the only aloe companies in the world that grows, harvest and manufacture on site. Aruba Aloe is also one of the oldest aloe companies in the world and one of the first to produce cosmetics based on the aloe vera gel. Aruba Aloe was definitely on every corner and if you missed a store, you can visit the Aloe Vera museum. (Yes, there is an Aloe Vera museum). Driving around was quite interesting, we drove through San Nicholas and found the only Anglican church in Aruba. We marked the spot to return for Sunday worship. The Palm Beach area is the perfect place to enjoy great food, entertainment and shopping. Night life is definitely alive in Aruba.
Dine Around With over thirty restaurants to choose from, your dining options are endless, and it is easy to sample a different restaurant every night. Aruba’s gastronomic offerings reflect a combination of cultural diversity. From Latin, Dutch, to Indonesian, the small island is definitely a powerhouse in the kitchen, with the many different spices used. I highly recommend “the dine around” program during your visit. It is certainly the most cost effective way to dine at many different restaurants. You can purchase the three nights, five and seven nights options. Your “dine around” programs covers a three course meal for two persons, or you can purchase for as many persons as desired. Many of the restaurants provides a special menu or you can choose from their regular menu. Some restaurants may have an additional surcharge for items not included in “the dine around” menu. Overall it is an excellent and very economical way to dine. Sunday Worship. We decided to head back to San Nicholas, a short thirty minutes’ drive on the eastern side of the island, where we worshiped at the Holy Cross Anglican Church. The Rev Fr Sydney Michael Jacob and his congregation gave us a very warm welcome. We felt very much at home, yet another reason to be happy in Aruba. To sum it up, we had a fantastic trip with warm hospitable people who all seem to be very happy on a very happy island. From arrival to departure, everything was superb. To top it off, you clear USA customs and immigration in Aruba, making your arrival back to the US hassle free.
Can you guess my next location? It has the longest wine route in the world. : 🙂
SAINT LUCIA AND THE BEAUTIFUL JADE MOUNTAIN.
Did you know that Saint Lucia has two Nobel Laureates and they were both born on January 23rd? With a population of a little under 170, 000 the island is beautiful, with turquoise waters, pristine beaches, unique hotels and two geniuses that share the same birthday. I decided that my first piece would be about my homeland, for two reasons. One, it is the most beautiful island in the Caribbean and two, it is my homeland and I know every nook and cranny that you need to know about having a blast during your visit. From where to stay, to where to eat, and what to do, I will give you some insights for a quick weekend getaway. Flying into Saint Lucia from the USA is very easy and speedy. There are nonstop services from Miami, Atlanta, John F Kennedy, Boston Logan and Charlotte. So getting to Saint Lucia for a quick weekend getaway is an absolute must. My quick getaway was a blast, I wanted to do something special with my husband. We stayed at the Jade Mountain and had a sanctuary with our very own infinity pool. This was one of my most relaxing getaways. I highly recommend that you include “A getaway to Jade Mountain” on your bucket list. The entire experience at Jade was awe-inspiring. From the swift, no fuss check- in with refreshing mint scented cold towels, to the welcome drink that you have to ask for seconds and thirds, and to the smile of your own personal butler waiting to whisk you to very own your sanctuary. Located in Soufriere Jade Mountain is definitely “building in harmony with nature. The room, I meant Sanctuaries are open air with just three walls, the fourth wall is missing. You have your very own bridge that ushers your into private sanctuary with infinity pool where you can create your magic. There are no televisions, telephones or radios in the rooms, just you, yours and nature. Absolutely stunning. Our sanctuary was everything we expected and more. We spent our first night in a Star Infinity Pool Sanctuary. I was happy because it was green and green is my favorite color.
We were fortunate to sample the all-inclusive menu, and it is highly recommended for your stay. Everything is included except for a few liquor items that am sure you can live without or in my case, did not know existed. Our first night, our butler met us at exactly the time requested, he was not a second late. This is what we called service. He walked us over to the restaurant where our table and servers were waiting. We dined at the Jade Mountain Club, this was dining taken to new heights, literally. We watched the sunset then dined under the stars, what a magnificent night it was. The food is oh so delightful. We ordered whatever the butler recommended and everything was scrumptious. Not wanting to be up too early, after a wonderful evening at the Jade Club, we placed our room service breakfast order with our amazing butler. We both ordered the Saint Lucia breakfast and this is a must on your vacation. Fresh hot cocoa tea with stewed salt fish, cucumber salad with tomatoes and avocado, and freshly baked creole bread. Add a glass of freshly squeezed lime juice and now you know why Saint Lucia have two Nobel Laureates and the people are always so happy in the morning. This breakfast will make you smile all day. Jade Mountain is a located in the Southern part of the island, and there is an abundance of activities to enjoy. From climbing the majestic Pitons, to jumping in a waterfall or just cruising in the botanical gardens. Visiting the volcano is another must and you really have to revel in the mud baths. It literally takes a few years off you and you get smooth baby butt skin afterwards.
You can also relax in the turquoise waters or snorkel and scuba dive. I relaxed in the hammock on the beach all day and ordered drinks and snacks from the beach. All you had to do was lift your flag and the server came for your order. Genius. But you know what was most amazing, the beach service includes you being sprayed with this fresh, minty cold spritzer that, that feels so good it is orgasmic. On our last night, we were upgraded to what we called “Heaven on Earth” JD1 to be exact. This room is one of the highest categories of the Sanctuaries and has the most impressive panoramic views, with the Pitons right smack in front of you. The category is called Galaxy and you absolutely have to request the Galaxy. It is THE nicest room and most romantic room I have ever stayed in. You have the best views from the toilet, the bathroom, the infinity pool and your bed. The room is so gorgeous we decided to have our own personal photo-shoot in our room. Yes it was our room for 24 hours and we enjoyed every minute of it. I hope you enjoyed this weekend getaway and you do plan on doing one soon. Life is too short so work hard and play harder. If you plan to visit Saint Lucia soon, here are my top 5 enjoyable activities.
- A private picnic at Pigeon Island National Landmark. Climb the famous Fort while you are at it.
- Enjoy a local lunch at the Golden Touch restaurant in the Sleepy town of Gros Islet, though the town is definitely not sleepy on Friday nights. This is the home of the famous Friday Night Street party, every single Friday.
- Enjoy a catamaran cruise to Soufriere, or as we call it a booze cruise.
- Enjoy a walk in the botanical gardens and stop for a mud bath in the Sulphur Springs.
- Enjoy a fabulous lunch at Ladera Resort.
For more information about Saint Lucia, visit www.stlucianow.com Until then, see you on my next location. Can you guess my next location? Here is a tip. The island is known for the aloe vera plant.