Bon Bini! Welcome to Aruba!
My husband and I recently took a second trip to Aruba in April to celebrate our anniversary, and to just get away after this long, cold, Michigan winter. This was my second trip, and my husband’s fourth to the island. Why Aruba? There are MANY reasons that I will explain in the next few minutes, but mostly because it is always sunny and at least 82 degrees or warmer! The highlight of our trip last year, we met 2 other couples that we met again this year, and will continue to meet up every year in Aruba!
We LOVE warm tropical weather and sunshine, so you are guaranteed perfect weather on your vacation. It only rains about 2 inches a year, and if it’s cloudy or sprinkles, just wait 20 minutes and the trade winds blow away any clouds. The island is about 19.6 miles long, and 6 miles across, making it easy to visit most any part of the island. From certain points on the island, on a sunny day, you can see Venezuela- pretty awesome.
Most resorts on the island are all-inclusive, and some that are not. We personally love the RIU Palace resort, and we might be biased since this is where we met our AWESOME new friends. The RIU recently bought the old Westin, next door, and remodeled it to make it the adult-only part of the resort, RIU Antilla. You can still book the RIU Palace, it’s kid friendly, and still just as beautiful! Since they were remodeling, we weren’t able to book Antilla and stayed at the Occidental Grand. This resort was just as nice, but a lot smaller.
|Pros of RIU||Cons of RIU|
|Bigger Resort||More Exoensive Kid Friendly & Adult Only All Inclusive Perks Of|
|Better Food||NO Beach Bar-Pool, Only Bigger Pool Area / Private Pools|
|More Nightly Entertainment||Beach Is More Windy|
|All Inclusive||Make Restaurant Reservations Daily|
|We Reall Had No Complaints|
|Pros Of The Occidental Grand||Cons Of The Occidental Grand|
|Great Friendly Staff||Smaller Pool / Beach|
|Slightly Less Windy||Small Buffet Area for Breakfast / Lunch Beach|
|Great Views For Sunsets @ The Restaurant||Not Much Nightly Entertainment|
|You Can Make Multiple Reservations||NO Real Complaints, We loved it!|
If you want to venture outside of the resort, I have some amazing restaurants you NEED to try! There is a little downtown area within walking distance of most of the resorts. If you travel al little further there is a large outside shopping center with lots of restaurants to get your American fix if you wish. Check out the link for more details! http://www.aruba.com/things-to-do/palm-beach-plaza-mall
My husband loves to dive, I like to snorkel, and both are worth the trip in Aruba. We recommend the Sunset Cruise, nothing better than sitting on a catamaran with an Aruba-Ariba drink, music, the ocean and watching the sun set. Other trips worth taking are Baby Beach, Off Road excursion with ATV’s, and somewhere, sometime, I will find out where all of those beautiful Flamingos hide out! Excursions are always a blast, but they don’t stop here. Click the Aruba logo at the top for more information about the island!
Gianni’s Group Restaurants
I’ll start with the closest restaurant within walking distance of both resorts, and most all of them, Gianni’s Italian Restaurant. You MUST try their Spaghetti al Formaggio Parmigianino! It’s cooked right at your table in a huge wheel of Parmesan, flaming whisky, and spaghetti with fresh tomatoes and basil. You can add shrimp, lobster, chicken, or meatballs… it’s simply amazing! You can also walk next door to Daniel’s Chop & Steak house, or Amore Mio Pizzeria, and end up at Gelatissamo for Gelato! Click on the link for more information: http://www.giannisgroup.com/
The Flying Fishbone
This is by far our favorite restaurant, just for the view alone! It’s about a 30 minute cab drive, but it’s absolutely worth it! You will want to try and make reservations as soon as possible, and before the sun sets so you can take the opportunity for some amazing sunset photos. You take your shoes off and sit in the sand, or a tab for 2 in the water! They offer a variety of items on their menu, and their martini’s are served in little fish bowls and very colorful.
Click on the link for more information: http://www.flyingfishbone.com/
El Gaucho-Argentine Grill
If you are craving a good steak, this is the place to go! They offer seafood and steak, each room has different décor, and you might get serenaded by a guy with a guitar. You have to try their Conch appetizer, and you can’t go wrong with any of the entrees! Just remember to bring your appetite, the portions are big! Check it out: http://www.elgaucho-aruba.com/
If you happen to know some locals, we know the Chief of the Aruba Polis Canine Unit, and he brought us to Zee Rovers, Dutch for “Rovers of the Sea”, or Pirates. It’s a bit of a drive, but located right on the water and the freshest fish you will eat, unless you catch it yourself! You order Shrimp or Fish at the window by the pound, with sides of Plantains, Fries, Onions in vinegar, and cornbread ‘pancakes’. It’s definitely a local place, and prepare to eat with your hands, but it’s worth the trip! http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1158886-d2170599-r136080876-Zeerovers-Savaneta_Aruba.html
Other restaurants worth checking out :
La Trattoria - El Faro Blanco Restaurant, this is a great restaurant for a sunset view on their patio! http://www.aruba-latrattoria.com/
Madame Janette’s http://www.madamejanette.info/joomla2/
Dinner on the beach… We highly recommend spending a little extra money, it’s absolutely worth it! The Occidental Grand offered this at the resort, but I think if you ask the front desk at other resorts, they would be more than willing to help you figure out how to make it happen.
We made a point to try every drink on the list, and I will be re-creating my favorites this summer, so keep an eye out on my website! In the meantime, check out some of my favorites;
No matter where you end up in Aruba, you will have the best time. The weather is always consistent, the people are friendly, the resorts are beautiful, the ocean is aqua blue, and there is something for everyone on the island! #Aruba #OneHappyIsland #ArubaTaHot #ArubaTourism #DiscoverAruba.
1 Box Pilsbury Pie crust, or homemade
2 cups frozen diced potatoes
1 cup frozen corn
1 10oz Bag frozen Peas and Carrots
2-3 Chicken Breasts, diced small and cooked (about 1 ½ cups) ¼ Stick Butter ¼ Cup Flour, *I use King Arthur
Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1 tbsp Onion Powder
1 tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Cup Milk
1 ¾ Cup Chicken Broth
In a large pan, add a drizzle of olive oil. Over medium heat, add chicken and season with Lawry’s Seasoning salt and cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked. Pour chicken into a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan as the chicken, melt butter over low heat. Turn heat off. Stirring constantly, add the flour a little at a time until smooth (if it’s not, don’t worry). Return heat to medium, still stirring constantly, and add chicken broth a little at a time until smooth. Stir in milk, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat until boiling, stirring constantly for about a minute. Stir in cooked chicken, peas and carrots, corn, and potatoes. In a pie dish, lay one roll of thawed pie crust into the bottom. Pour the chicken mixture into the pie shell, and top with the second thawed pie crust. Pinching the sides to seal it. In the center, cut a little X to release the heat while cooking. Bake at 425 for about 30 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Enjoy!