Aruba Trip Reports

Occidental Grand Aruba (formely Allegro)

March 6 - March 13, 2004 by Greg Kline

I wanted to share, with all of you good people, our first trip to One Happy Island.
I would especially like to thank: lenniezee, glitter, carla, and Amy for their good advice when I was planning our trip.
We left Pittsburgh at 6AM March 6th. Upon arrival, we took the advice of some of you and took a taxi from the airport to the Allegro. As it turned out, there was an entire busload going to the Allegro, so we beat the checkin crowd by doing this.

The gardens and beach area of the Allegro are beautiful. We had a room on the 8th floor with a fantastic view. I do not like buffets, so we went to the dinner buffet to get an unbiased opinion (my lovely wife's)! It was their Italian night, and even my wife did not like it. So we made reservations every night at the Papaya Rest. (the Allegro sit down rest.). The food there was outstanding. We had Filet Mignon two nights and it was delicious! The breakfast buffet was very good. We usually ate lunch at the Papaya or at the Pizza shack, which was buried in the palms/bambu. It's not marked, so thanks to BB members for telling us it was even there. If you're at the Allegro, you have to try one of the Hot Dogs they serve there, they re great!

Now onto our adventures. Monday we took the Jolly Pirates snorkel trip. They go to two really nice spots, then out to the Antilla wreck. The waves were really high and ruff at the wreck. Be careful. We didn't stay out very long due to this. When I was trying to get back onto the ship, a wave threw me against the ladder and cut my leg. The lunch on the Jolly was good.

Wednesday we took the all day ABC Jeep Tour. I highly recommend this to all of you. We had SOOO much fun! My wife and I were in the lead jeep with Claudio. If you can get him, do it by all means. He was very informative and a lot of fun. What really impressed me was that we had a family in our jeep with a first grader. We were going up and down hills, on the way to the Natural Pool, that should be on an episode of the TV show Fear Factor. The little boy got scared and Claudio skidded to a stop halfway down a hill, and turned around in his seat. He calmed the boy down by telling him that Jesus loves little children and that there were angels protecting him. Then Claudio told all of us that when we hit a bump or skidded, we were all to yell: YEE HAH !!! We continued the trip laughing and yee hahing the whole time.

Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday were are lay on the beach, drink Balashi, and read a book days (what a life huh ). On Thursday we had reservations for the Flying Fishbone, since it was our wedding anniversary. Since this would have been an expensive round trip cab fare, we rented a car from Econo. We went to Arashi Beach to do some snorkeling. It was beautiful, but I had forgotten my fins and it was too rocky to go barefoot there. So we got back into the car and went to Malmok. We timed it just right, the snorkeling trips were done already, so we had the area to ourselves. Then we went to get ready for dinner. Thank you to the BB member who gave us directions to the Flying Fishbone. Beautiful sunset on the beach that night. I had the Lobster tail/steak dinner which was good. My wife's steak was too pink for her, so we sent it back. They served scalloped potatoes with a red sauce on them, as a side. They were great. Then we went back to the Allegro for their Carnival night show. My shy wife actually got up on stage and danced with the lead singer !!! (Warning: this is what total relaxment will do to you !!!!!!)

We saved the best for last. On Friday we did the south side lunch sail on the Tranquilo. Captain Anthony is a private operator and doesn't advertise. He told me that 40% of his business are repeat customers, and believe me if you go on his sail, you'll be back !!!!! If you do any trip on Aruba, this would be the one to do. The ship only holds a maximum of 16 people, so you re not packed like sardines. Also he is the only ship that takes you to Mike's reef near the Spanish Lagoon. Captain Anthony leases this reef from the government, so no other ships come here. Friends, this is the only place you will snorkel surrounded by tons of LIVE coral. We saw coral the size of compact cars. I felt like I was on an episode of National Geographic !!! It was simply amazing. The water in this reef was picture perfectly clear, and 3 shades of blue. There was only one other couple on our trip that day, so it was like having a private charter. They were kind enough to share their Aruban experiences with us. As it turns out, the women was Jean from the BB, so I thank her for her kindness.

I have been to Hawaii, Playa del Carmen, and a few other islands. I am now an official Aruba ADDICT!!! Until you go, you cannot understand why everyone on the BB raves about Aruba. Now I know.

Greg Kline
(Pittsburgh, Pa.)