Aruba Trip Reports

Manchebo Beach Resort

May 1 - May 8, 2004 by Daphne

My husband and I traveled to Aruba for the first time May 1 of this year for one week. We flew United Airlines from Detroit to Chicago then on to Aruba, no problems, smooth flights and on time in both directions.

We had chosen the Manchebo because we couldn'f find a negative trip report on any Aruba website and wanted a quiet, relaxing place to stay and de-stress. We definitely chose the right place. We arrived at Manchebo and check in was about 5 minutes and we were in our room. Although I was a little disappointed in the view from my room, it was suppose to be ocean view and was more like a view of the Pega Pega Bar, it was nice and it was clean, which is all we really cared about. It had a nice grassy area off our patio with table and chairs and were also table and chairs on the patio. We put our swimsuits on and hit the beach running! The beach in the low rise area is so much wider than anywhere else we went on the island, all white sand and soft and the water was breathtaking. Good swimming right off the beach. Lots of palapas and never had to get up early to get one, we found we could get one anytime of the day when we wanted. Unlike what I have read about the high-rise hotel area and saw when visiting up there. It was very quiet at the resort with very few children, mostly couples in their 30's and up. The Pega Pega beach bar is nice, the bartenders there are fun and make good tropical frozen drinks, Happy Hour brought out the people in the resort.

Saturday night dinner we walked next door the the Tortuga at the ABC around 7, after watching our first Aruba sunset, and we were seated immediately, they weren't very busy. This place had a nice atmosphere and good food and service. We both had dinner and a couple of beers for my husband and I think it was around $40.

Sunday, we picked up our rental car from Jansen, they have a desk at the Manchebo, we had reserved on line before arrival, we got a Kia sportage and it had a couple problems but was drivable. We do think we could have gotten a better deal elsewhere now that we have talked and looked around. We set out to get to know the area a bit and see some sites.

We headed out to the California Lighthouse and what a great view! Headed into town and had lunch at a familiar place-Hooters, picked up some tshirts for the 20 something sons at home. Headed downtown and walked around a bit, but most stores were closed on Sundays. Only went down a one-way the wrong way once! We got the hang of the international road signs pretty quickly and found it easy to get around. Headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and went to Pega Pega for HH. Next door, on the other side, Sunday night to the Pirate's Nest. Not busy, but took awhile to be seated. Service was extremely poor, very slow. Many tables complaining. Maybe it was a bad night for them, we had read good reviews and wanted to try this place and were very disappointed in service. Sunset was good from their outdoor deck area.

Monday, husband played golf and I sunbathed, had lunch at Pega Pega, was ok, nothing great, but convenient since my husband had taken the car to the golf course. Monday evening we went downtown again and did some shopping before the stores closed and hit Iguana Joe's for dinner. It was excellent. Good view of the streets below and good food and service and reasonable, we liked the casual atmosphere, it was more our style.

Tuesday, we left out early to find the sights on our own with map in hand. We found the Casabiri rock formations, walked around a bit and took pics, drove to the natural bridge and gold mine ruins. Followed a 4-wheeler tour to the natural pool-do not attempt this in a car! It was scarry! Very rocky, not really road, it's a path! We were encouraged by the 4 wheeler guides that we could make it or we wouldn't have tried it on our own, we did make it, but I am sure our rental car has more problems because of it! Headed back into town, picked up a subway sandwich and headed the other direction and found baby beach for some snorkeling. Very busy, crowded beach, everyone goes there we found, but it was good for kids because it is shallow so far out and kids can get a chance to snorkel in shallow water. Tues night dinner was at Flying Fishbone in Savaneta. This was the only dinner reservation we made for the week, we wanted a 6 pm dinner so we could watch the sunset. We were seated in the front row by the water and it was awesome. The food, the service, the atmosphere, sunset...couldn't have been better. Very romantic! Most expensive dinner we had $115 for dinners, 4 tropical drinks and 2 desserts, but it was worth it.

The map in the Aruba magazine that is free is really good and you can get around the island easily with it. The rest of the week we spent some time snorkeling at Malmok and Arashi, both very nice, I think our fave places, less crowded. We hung out some at the high rise beach, nice to visit but I liked where we stayed better, could go back to peace and quiet at night. Husband golfed again and went wind surfing.

Wed. night dinner was at Don Carlo's on the water in downtown, next to Marina. Very nice view of marina and good italian and very reasonable. Another couple at our hotel had recommended them to us. Thursday dinner we went to Moomba's Beach Bar, we had been there on Sunday night after the Pirate's Nest and listened to live reggae music and had drinks and went back for dinner. Again, wonderful service, good food and reasonable. I know this place got mixed reviews, but we had a good dining experience there. We also left our digital camera in the chair my husband was sitting in and went back Fri. morning and they were holding it for us! Thank God! We were sick thinking we had lost all our pictures. A bit THANKYOU to the hostess, I don't remember her name.

Friday night we went back to one of our fave places, Iguana Joe's down town, again a nice meal and service and reasonable. We were happy we didn't do AI, too many restaurants to go to and we weren't always at our hotel when we were hungry. Oh, we also got take out from King Ribs one day for lunch-EXCELLENT! $18 for two dinners, couldn't beat it, it was good too!

Will return to Aruba next year, already planning it! More restaurants we want to try and will probably visit a few faves. Will definitely consider the Manchebo for accomodations again too, very nice people, Angelo at the front desk always has a smile no matter how much you bother him with questions!

Daphne Hoffman