Aruba Trip Reports

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23rd trip to Aruba - Casa Koyari & Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort

December 29, 2010 – January 3, 2011 by ~Amy~® and Mike

Aruba Forum Profile: ~Amy~®

This was the first time we’ve ever stayed in a private home/villa in Aruba and we loved it! It was definitely a different vacation and experience for us along with all of the New Years Eve festivities.

Arrival

Flight on Delta was great thanks to my husband’s Gold Medallion status and being upgraded for free to First Class. It was a great way to start the vacation! We were the first ones off the plane in Aruba, first ones through immigration, no bags to pick up since we did carry-on, and we were out the door of the airport within minutes! Picked up our car at Payless and headed to Kong Hing to stock up on breakfast supplies and beverages.

Casa Koyari

This was our 23rd trip to Aruba (been going to Aruba since 1996) and the first time we rented a private home/villa. It was a completely different experience and we loved it – felt like a "local" and that we lived on the island. It was very quiet and peaceful compared to "hotel life".

Found the house without any problems at all using the directions given to us from Aruba Happy Rentals – it was located just a couple of minutes inland from Eagle Beach/Palm Beach. Albert, general manager of Aruba Happy Rentals, was there at the house to greet us when we arrived.

Albert showed us around the house (3 bedrooms, 2 baths - which we were sharing with another couple) and gave us free use of a local cell phone along with a very nice "Welcome Basket" of goodies (bottle of wine, water bottles, chocolates, etc.) from his company (very nice touch!) The house was so beautifully decorated with shells, Caribbean artwork, etc. It really did feel comfortable and inviting. Had all the comforts of home plus extras like an additional frig in the "mudroom" for all of your beverages, gas grill and bar area outside, outdoor shower, beach chairs, cooler, snorkel equipment, free Wifi…..and of course a full kitchen with anything and everything you can imagine. We made ourselves right at home outside on the patio after we unpacked and had a couple of cold drinks – very relaxing!

With the backyard being so private with a lot of greenery (palm trees, flowering shrubs, etc.) and hearing parrots at the house next door, you really felt removed from it all like you were in your own private paradise. We took a walk around the neighborhood on our first morning and there were a lot of people outside in their yards that morning - everyone waved and said hello as we walked by. We made a large loop around the neighborhood and ran right into the Buccaneer and Gasparito – had no idea we were close enough to walk there.

New Years Eve

does it get any better than spending New Year’s Eve in Aruba? We went to the dinner/party at Amsterdam Manor (Mango’s) – had a fantastic dinner, watched the Carnival dancers, danced a little to the live music, and at midnight we went to their upper deck bar and watched the fireworks on the beach while we drank champagne. But the party doesn’t end at midnight….after that we were off to a party at Amadeus (ran into some friends there) and then to another party at Café Capri (ran into Frans from Bingo there – Mike must’ve drawn the short straw for the night. LOL!)

In addition to fireworks two nights in a row all over the island, there were firecrackers everywhere. Not just a few pops – it literally sounded like gunfire was going off for a long period of time and you started wondering if you should hit the floor. Because we were in a villa in a neighborhood they were coming from every direction. It was fun to see families out in the street at night with their own fireworks and firecrackers – a fun, crazy atmosphere!

Also had the pleasure of meeting Eagle Beach Boy (Gary), his wife Nancy, and Max (cutest little dog!) Had a great time drinking champagne with them on January 1st at Amsterdam Manor's special New Years Day Happy Hour. Hope we see you in Aruba again sometime soon! Cheers!

Departure

Said goodbye to the staff at Amsterdam Manor (looking forward to seeing them in May), dropped off our rental car at Payless, and then to the airport to endure all of those wonderful lines (sarcasm!) We used the new self check-in kiosks in the departure hall. Delta and USAir had them (didn’t notice if other airlines had them or not.) They’re a bit tricky to get your passport "read" just right but we were able to print our own boarding passes and go to the shorter line for "bag drop only". Very slick!

New Years Eve in Aruba – it was a short, but great, trip!