This was our first trip to Aruba. It was also a first trip south on a week-long vacation for our kid. When planning this getaway we wanted a one-stop place with the least hassle for us. This one of many reasons we have chosen to stay at the all-inclusive resort. The package we got through our travel agent included a non-stop flight and transportation from and to the airport and Tamarijn Aruba.
At the resort, all meals and drinks are included. This was great for traveling with the toddler that can be picky about what she wants to eat. You can get or order just about anything and they will have it done. Tamarijn resort is actually known to be more family-friendly than most. And we were able to order plain chicken and veal as well as pasta every day. The selection of food for us was great as well. And they also do not water down their alcoholic beverages. With all these included, we did not have to think about where we going to eat or how to get there and what type of food and service we would get with a child.
While those are great pluses for the resort, their services throughout the hotel were not so great. The bell boy service leaves a lot to be desired. It was slow to not existent. When we first arrived there was no one in the lobby to greet us or take our bags even though we were arriving at a provided coach services. Even after checking in at the front desk we had to request and wait for someone to take our bags to the room. Usually, that would not be too big of an issue since we would have a couple of carry-ons and shoulder bags. But this time we had a lot more large bags and one tired and cranky toddler.
At breakfast and lunchtime, we received quite an inattentive service. It did get better over time and we also found out why some tables got immediate services and others didn't. Tips. I get that in regular restaurants tips are part of the experience and provided much-needed income to the wait staff. However, when you are at an all-inclusive resort you have already paid a large sum to have all of that taken care of ahead of time. One of the main reasons we chose to be there was so that we can leave our wallets behind and take only camera and room keys. This seems to elude a lot of 'regulars' as they continue to tip on top of that at every meal.
One of the benefits of Tamarijn hotel was the large number of specialty restaurants on premises. Again giving us plenty of choice with little travel. During dinner at these restaurant, unfortunately, we also experienced very slow service. At a couple of places it took over an hour for our food to come. A hungry and short fused toddler did't want any of it. Out came our snacks and iPhone with cartoons and games pre-loaded. Which was a savior during the meals and also flights.
With all this you would think we did not have that much of a great holiday. But we did. These things not withstanding, it was a good time had by all.
The rooms are all ocean facing. Can hear the ocean at night. Which is great to fall asleep to and wake up. The ocean was clear once you get in a few feet. The weather also got better after a couple of days where it was hot during the day but not as humid, and cool nights. On one of the nights it was very clear and we were able to see the Blood Moon/Lunar Eclipse perfectly in the sky.
There are Pelicans flying overhead constantly diving into water after fish. They are followed by seagulls that pick up left overs. And there are a lot of fish. In the evening they start jumping out of the water. One of the day's one of them flew so close it slapped my cheek. There were quite a few folk with snorkeling gear swimming around.
As some reviews on Tripadvisor have mentioned, the beach is eroding. The middle portion of the hotel strip is ok for now, though the further edge has no send left, just bare rocks. The hotel avoids mentioning it to arrivals when booking rooms.
If in the area bring swim shoes, since that is the only way to get into water. It is very rocky at the shore and in the water. Save your toes and enjoy swimming much more with a pair of water shoes.
Also there is a pipe in the middle of the water. And no sign of any sorts to let folks know about it. Ran over it with my knee while holding on to the kid. All ended alright. But that is a terrible set up.
To get away from the rocks and pipes in the waters by our hotel we took a trip to Eagle Beach in search of a better beach. It was much better. It was all send walking in and in the water. And the water was clear to the bottom. We had a great day swimming, relaxing, and for some us, napping on the beach. We saw a guy on what looked like hydro skates. He was doing flyboarding, similar to the guy on the show "America Got Talent". And them some other folks trying it out.
We were pleasantly surprised on last few days of our stay with a Cirque de solei type of circus show. It was very good with fun entertainment and great acrobatic acts. Another show that we all enjoyed the synchronized swimming. It was performed by the local swim team and it was well done with good music and moves. Kiddo loved it.
As we found out on the way back to get out of Aruba is quite a task. You have to pass two customs AND two full security checkpoints. And I mean taking your shoes and everything else and putting everything on the conveyor belt for the second time. And the kicker, when you first check in and drop off your luggage, you are not done with it. You pick it up before going through the second checkpoint of customs and security. By the end, we were exhausted since its a bit more hassle to do it with a kid and more bags. On the plus side, when we arrived back home we did not need to go through customs. Straight to the baggage claim and taxi.
Coming up next:
Aruba - First Family Trip South - Gadgets and Accessories
Sound-off: What was your first trip with the family? Let us know below
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