Aruba Trip Reports

Costa Linda

May 14-June 4, 2004 By Carol

We had another great trip to Aruba, and spent three weeks at Costa Linda. The resort is in great shape, and we really love returning to our home away from home.

The weather the first week was strange, overcast most days, and rain one day. Then the sun came back, but we didn't have any wind for a few days. Finally, the Aruba weather we know and love came back, and we had sunny days with the cooling wind.

We tried Smokey Joes, and really enjoyed our meal there. It's across from Playa Linda, between Amici and Dunkin Donuts. It was nice sitting outside and relaxing. We all had their ribs, and definitely will return.

We also tried a pizza and an Italian salad at Tomato Charlie's. Both were very good and we'll return.

We hadn't been to the Hyatt Sunday Brunch in over 10 years, as we liked the Sunday Brunch at L'Escale much better. However, since L'Escale is now closed, we decided to try the Hyatt again, and were pleasantly surprised. It has improved greatly since our last visit, and we enjoyed it so much we went twice during our stay.

We also had great meals at some of our favorite restaurants: Papiamento, Chez Mathilde, Le Dome, Ventanas del Mar, Chalet Suisse, El Gaucho, Marandi, Que Pasa, Rumba, Hostaria Da' Vittorio, Madame Janette, and Marina Pirata. We were lucky enough to enjoy dinners at some of these restaurants with some of our friends that live in Aruba.

We had a so-so meal at Cuba's Cookin'. Some dishes were good, but others weren't, and nothing was outstanding. The entertainment was nice, but it won't be on our "must" list to return to.

We had our first disappointing meal at the French Steakhouse. They've started surcharging certain items on the Ambassador's Dinner, and it's not the same presentation they've had in the past. Only the meat was on the plate, and the vegetables and potatoes were served family style in bowls. They vegetables weren't very good, and the potatoes were swimming in a cream sauce – not the wonderful garlic potatoes we've had in the past. In addition, the rest of the food was definitely not up to their usual standards. We don't know if they had a different chef or we just hit them on an off night.

One of my friends joined us for part of our stay. She had never been to Aruba before, and she loved it. She went on a private ride with Rancho Notorious and had a great time. We also went on the Kukoo Kunuku bus. We had a great crowd of fun loving people on our bus, and that made for a good night. The bus now ends at Grammy's Karaoke Club rather than Carlos n' Charlies.

We enjoyed our snorkel trips on both the Octopus and Tranquilo. Both were very busy, and you needed advance reservations since they had so many repeat customers. We really like both of them as they take a limited number of passengers, and both go to different snorkel sites. We do the full day cruise on the Tranquilo, and enjoy sailing to/from Spanish Lagoon. The drift snorkel is a favorite, and it's so enjoyable seeing coral beds in such great condition. We do the morning cruise on the Octopus, and love going to the Antilla first, before anyone else is there. The conditions were excellent this trip, and you could see straight down to the bottom.

The bad news is that an era has come to an end. We can no longer recommend the Mi Dushi, after sailing on her (both the original and the current) for 18 years. Mario Maduro is no longer the captain and is currently not working for Aruba Adventures. It's no longer the safe, comfortable cruise we've known and loved, and Mario is sorely missed. Their new manager is "making it better" and "saving the company money", but in the end he is just destroying an institution. It doesn't help that they lie about the situation (when I got to Aruba I called and asked when Mario would be on board and was told he was on vacation), and try and make it seem like everything's the same when it isn't. Word is getting around, as they had a limited number of people on board the days we saw her sailing. At this rate, the new manager will have the Mi Dushi out of business by the end of the year. If anyone is looking for a snorkel or sunset sail with a larger group and more of a party atmosphere, avoid the Mi Dushi and definitely go on the Jolly Pirates.

The good news is that Mario is not on vacation (as Aruba Adventures claims), and is working on the Rainbow Runner. If anyone is looking for a good fishing trip, check out the Rainbow Runner. They do bottom fishing, and were catching a lot of fish while we were there. If you specifically want deep sea sport fishing you'll need to find a different boat, but if you're just interested in fishing, try the Rainbow Runner. The other plus is that you play a flat per person price instead of having to charter a boat, which makes it much more economical if only 1 or 2 of you want to fish. Again, they don't over crowd the boat, and run a nice, safe operation. They are located right in the Seaport Marina, across from the Villa Germania restaurant. You can't miss them as they are the first boat you see.

We're just glad we ran into Mario and got the correct information while we were there (like that he wasn't on vacation, and that he left Aruba Adventures a few months ago). It was great seeing him, and we know he'll add to the success of the Rainbow Runner.

We're just glad that we are returning to Aruba in 6 months (already have the airline tickets), and look forward to visiting with all of friends in Aruba again.