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Trip Report Trip report: Bucuti Beach, restaurants, & more

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We booked a Tara Suite for our anniversary based on reviews on this site and others. We travel quite a bit and often stay in deluxe resorts, so our expectations were high (also based on the $420/nt rate). On the positive side, the staff is very, very good, the grounds are well maintained, and the beach is BEAUTIFUL. We really liked this particular section of Eagle Beach and were glad we were not on the narrow & crowded Palm Beach. The small pool is very nicely designed. The size of the Tara Suite is good. We were on the ground floor and appreciated the convenience of just walking out our door to the beach.

However, our suite was on the end of the building and part of our view was of a storage shed for plastic chairs (covered with a plastic tarp) and the rear corner of the restaurant's kitchen. A unit in the middle or other end of the building would have been better. Also, our suite was BADLY in need of repainting. The walls actually looked grimy. Our shower wall had black mold on two walls, which was cleaned when I mentioned it to the housekeeping staff. The towels were WalMart grade (our local YMCA offers better) and the pillows were hard foam. Because the resort uses low-wattage and compact fluorescent bulbs, there is very little light, which adds to the dingy atmosphere. Shampoo, body wash, and cream are provided in a wall-mounted dispenser, but they offer no conditioner or shower cap. One tiny bar of soap is provided but you can ask for more. The suites are not as bright and attractive as one would imagine from the photos.

Another disappointment was the construction around the bar and restaurant area. There was no bothersome noise, but 10-foot barricades blocked any view of the beach from the bar area and was, obviously, unsightly when looking back at the resort. A meteorologist and "movies on the beach" were scheduled during some of our nights there, but never materialized.

Having said all that, we would return to Bucuti Beach if we were able to find a "deal." Until they repaint and upgrade their amenities, the Tara Suite isn't worth more than $200-$250/nt.

A quick note on restaurants: our favorites were Matilde, Madame Jeanette's, Gasparito's, and Aqua Grill. Brunch at La Mode (?) was disappointing since they substituted some items on the menu and Driftwood was horribly crowded and just mediocre.

We enjoyed the ABC full-day jeep tour even though we encountered several rain showers. The national park is fascinating. We swam in the Natural Pool and snorkeled at Baby Beach. The only part of the tour that was not worthwhile was the ostrich farm. We would not recommend the kayak-snorkeling trip with Aruba Kayak Adventures booked through our hotel. Our group was too large (20+)and we were herded from site to site by two un-interested and un-interesting guides. Much time was wasted waiting for others in the group since we had to stay together and paddle/snorkel in a single-file line.

We never went into town during the day or did any shopping. We walked a lot between Eagle Beach & Palm Beach, both on the road and on the beach. It was always extremely windy. Aruba is not a pretty island since it is very arid and scrubby, but there are pretty areas.

The highlights of the trip were the beach & good food. We enjoyed our time there.

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