Aruba Trip Reports

Playa Linda Beach Resort

February 4 - 18, 2001 by Al & Laura

Playa Linda

We had the pleasure of spending 2 wonderful weeks in Aruba from February 4 - 18, 2001. We were fortunate to stay at Playa Linda located on Palm Beach. This resort has all the amenities you could ask for and the best staff anywhere.

With our home in Edmonton, Alberta, travelling to and from Aruba was very lengthy and tiresome, particularly the return part. We left Edmonton Saturday, Feb. 3 for Toronto, spending the night with friends in that area. Sunday, Feb 4, we left Toronto at 2:15 pm, arriving in Aruba around 8:30. Absolutely no problem with customs and a $19 taxi ride put us at Playa Linda by 9:15.

Our 1 bedroom condo was on the top floor facing the Holiday Inn. Although it was not the greatest, we had a nice view of the Caribbean from our balcony. Heading out for a quick look at the resort, we were surprised by the intensity of the wind, which we knew from various bulletin board reports, would be with us constantly. You have to experience the Aruba breeze to fully appreciate how strong it blows and how much it cools you and the island.

Waterfall at the pool

As I was suffering from the flu, we stayed fairly close to Palm beach for the first two days, basking in the hot sun and walking along the beach. Over the past 8 years we've travelled to Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican and the Bahamas and have seen some lovely beaches but Palm beach is decidedly the most beautiful. The only fault is not of the beach but the motorized water activities that are everywhere. The constant churning of propellers causes the water to be somewhat murky but not to a degree that would cause problems for non-motorized recreation.

We rented a car for 2 days from Economy Car Rental and explored most of the island that could be reached by paved roads and some that our rental agency would probably not want to know about. With Aruba being only about 19 miles by 6 miles, it was hard to get lost despite a dirth of road signs. We managed to find everything we wanted to see, except the natural pool. The few road signs we did see were often confusing sometimes pointing to a choice of two different roads. We were told you had to walk the last mile or so to the natural pool but we never did find the access to the area. Laura and I were joined by my brother Joe, and his wife Jacquie, for the second week of our stay. At Playa Linda we had a 1 bedroom condo and we were not crowded at all with four adults.


The native people are the friendliest in the entire Caribbean, at least what parts of it we've seen. If you asked someone for directions, help or just said hello they'd talk to you like you were old friends.
Because of our 50 cent Canadian dollar and a limited budget, we did a little bit of everything food-wise during our two weeks.

We cooked in our condo, we ate at fast food places and we dined at a few restaurants. The highlights of our dining included wonderful meals at the Buccaneer and Madame Janettes, both highly recommended (the Buccaneer does not make reservations so be prepared to wait for about 15 minutes).

Our worst experience in dining was at Valentino's, located in the Caribbean Palm Village. We made a big mistake in ordering the daily pasta special (seafood linguini) without asking the price, expecting it to be priced in the same range as the main menu items. We got a nasty surprise when the bill arrived, finding the special was priced at $36, about $13 higher than any other pasta item on the menu. The prices at Valentino's are very high to begin with and while the service was absolutely top notch, the location, ambience, and quality of the food do not come anywhere close to being worth the price. I would recommend staying away from Valentino's even if you have lots of dollars to throw around. There are much better Italian restaurants in Aruba at much more reasonable prices.


Palm Beach is the greatest. The sand is mostly fine and soft, the water is warm and there are no heavy waves so its safe for all levels of swimming ability. There are lots of palm trees and it is a great stroll from one end to the other and back.

We went on a 2 hour Booze Cruise with Pelican Tours on their large catamaran. It is rightfully called a Abooze cruise because the bar opens as soon as we get underway and drinks are free and plentiful. We sat on the mats at the front of the boat enjoying the sea spray and wind and generally having a great time. There were only 13 of us on this particular trip and the staff were great, bringing drinks to us, playing great music and making the trip that much more enjoyable by their friendliness and great service.

Beach and Caribbean Sea

Playa Linda has a beach BBQ every Tuesday night that costs $20 pp. Although we passed on this event the first week ,we walked by the BBQ area and noticed there were only a few people in attendance. We wondered if there was a problem with the food or something but decided to try it the next Tuesday and were surprised by the quality of the food and the quantity available. The entertainment was the same staff band that played at almost every Playa Linda event with a dance contest thrown in for fun. Everyone had a great time won enough free drinks to go around.

We wanted to go on the Kuku Kanuku bus but missed out because we waited too long to make reservations. Anyone wanting to go on this party bus should make their plans early to avoid the same disappointment we had.

Sailing trip

The 4 of us decided to rent a jeep from Economy for 1 day. We spent the entire afternoon travelling all the back roads and some really out-of-the-way trails searching in vain for the nayural pool. The Suzuki was small and rough riding but we surviced. The next morning we went to Baby Beach and rented snorkel gear for $8/hr. There were lots of fish to see, particularly if you had some bread to feed them. It looked like the water just outside the Natural Pool area would be a bit rough for snorkeling, however it was not bad and the fish were more abundant and the water was much clearer than inside the protected area. There was a big crowd the day we visited, most having come on a group tour from a Carnival cruise ship that had docked that morning. Economy managed to lose their copy of the contract but in the end I was only charged the agreed upon amount so it worked out OK.

All in all we had a truly wonderful holiday. We agreed to return together again in the near future. Perhaps we'll even find that natural pool next time.

One thing for certain, we'll not be paying Valentino's a visit!

Al & Laura