I didn't fall off the face of the earth, but I did go on vacation. We just got back from 7 days in Aruba and it was amazing! The weather was warm, mostly sunny, and the water was calm clear and all shades of blue. It's also windy in Aruba, which helps keep you cool but can also be annoying. Don't bother to do your hair.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort on Palm Beach. Palm beach is basically a strip of sand protected by a reef so the water is almost swimming pool calm. There are several resorts along the beach all connected by a sidewalk (or the beach if you prefer walking in the sand). There are plenty of beach and pier pars, snack places and restaurants along the resort strip. Also on the street side of the resorts are more shopping and eateries.
We give the Holiday Inn an A+ for value, convenience and location. Check in was a little slow and maid service was a little hit or miss. If you want something ultra fancy and over the top luxurious choose another resort. It was nice-had everything we needed, but remember it's still a Holiday Inn! But we didn't really plan on using the resort much-we really didn't even use the pool when we could be using the ocean! But the location allowed us to walk easily to all sorts of nearby places to eat and drink and shop. We also used the casino at pretty much every resort so we got to see a little of each of them. They were pretty, but I'm not sure the extra cost is justified unless you plan to never leave the resort.
We did not choose the all inclusive option since there were so many places to walk to and try out. We were really glad we went this route. Every place has a happy hour and if you plan your day you can get plenty of cheap drinks. Also there was a place on the beach that served brats and other grilled foods for lunch. You can get a whole quesadilla for $5. So plenty of cheap eats if you look around.
These are all from Palm Beach. It looks deceptively quiet but I took these in the morning and some of them were north of the hotel area so no people. It gets very busy during the day and can be crowded and noisy. But early morning and late afternoon are less busy and also nicer temps.
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