We booked a direct flight to Aruba and headed to Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort for a 5 night stay. We were pleasantly surprised to arrive to a fairly modern airport. Out of the dozen plus trips to the Caribbean, this was the first time we didn’t get off the plane outside on steps. The airport was larger and nicer than we ever imagined.

We were met by Josh, who would escort us through the airport and bypass all the lines. Covid tests in hand, we breezed through immigration. We arrived at 12:30 and were in our Mercedes driving to the resort by 12:45. Around 15 minutes later, we pulled up to Bucuti.

We were welcomed with Champagne and were quickly greeted by Francesco. Our room wouldn’t be ready until 3pm, we assume due to the extra cleaning such as special UV light treatments. We headed to the Sand Bar to grab some food. About 1.5 hours later, we saw people from our plane arriving. Thank you Josh!!!

We would be staying in the Penthouse room which has a kitchen, living area, separate bedroom and a giant balcony with two sitting areas. It also has a very special extra feature, the exclusive use of one of the four beach cabanas. This means you do not have to wake up at 5am to try and reserve a front row beach chair. You can just cruise out to the cabana whenever you are ready.

Breakfast is included with the stay. This is great because everything is pretty pricey in Aruba. The downside is the breakfast did not live up to our expectations. We are hoping this is only due to the Covid changes Bucuti had to make to the buffet options. Everything seems to steam itself in the pots they use and just get soggy. For us, the bacon was inedible, the French toast was too hard and chewy, and the eggs were inconsistent between runny and overdone. We tried an omelette from the station, but that too was undercooked even when asked for well done.

There are several options for lunch at Bucuti. We typically chose to have our lunch in the Cabana on the beach. We had quesadillas, chicken fingers, fries, and other items. Again, consistency was the issue. The first time we ordered quesadillas, they were fantastic. The second day we had them, the chicken wasn’t cut up and was a bit tough. The fries were fantastic nearly the whole stay. Only on the last day did they not salt them. Usually the fries were very well seasoned. The other lunch option would be to go explore the island as there are some great restaurants nearby.

Dinners require reservations and the 6:00-6:30 spots go fast! We didn’t realize this is the time for sunset and most people want to eat outside during sunset. We ate at Bucuti’s restaurant Elements which had fantastic food.

We did try a few surrounding restaurants as well. Pizza Bobs is directly across from Bucuti and makes a decent pizza. Also nearby is Water’s Edge and Ricardo’s. Both had good food, but both definitely have a bit more rowdy/party atmosphere. We enjoy the quiet of Bucuti!

The beach. It’s amazing. We have never seen such white, soft sand before. And it goes on and on for miles! Bucuti’s beach chairs are set back from the water a bit. This has two advantages that we see. One, you cannot be pestered by beach peddlers as the chairs are on private property and not the public beach. This would not have been an issue as we didn’t see one person peddling any merchandise. Two, it protects you from the wind, a little. Holy geez was it windy. The sand acts like a sand blaster against your skin and face as you walk the beach. It’s not constant, but it’s there throughout the day. This was good as it was also very hot and humid. The wind was a savior to us for that reason.

Swimming in the sea at Bucuti is enjoyable as the current isn’t too strong, but there is not much sea life to see. The swim area is very wide and bouyed off. Don’t swim outside the ropes as numerous boats and jet skis whiz by. There is also a nearby Sea Turtle Nest Blocked off.

Overall, the island felt very safe. We took a bird watching trip with Michiel Oversteegen and explored almost half the island and never felt uncomfortable. It was nice to see the variety the island has to offer. While my wife took in the sun, I took a taxi to Bushiri karting to race around their outdoor track. It was a blast. I went early in the day, so I was disappointed to find I would have no one to race against. However, this let me learn the track quickly and I made it into their top 25 times on the track. A bit more practice and I could have made it ever closer to the top spots. I think I was 10th or so.

The birds on property are fantastic as well. The first day as we approached our cabana there was a beautiful orange and black bird sitting on our table. I immediately looked it up and discovered it was a Venezuelan Troupial. I got a very good shot of it in a Palm Tree. Other birds included Black-faced Grassquits, Bananaquits, Tropical Mockingbirds, and Bare-eyed Pigeons.

Leaving any vacation is a sad day, but the time had come. We checked out, met our driver and off we went. Josh met us at the airport and whisked us through all the lines again. We were escorted to the VIP lounge at the airport and waited for our flight. Overall, it was a great trip. We are already talking about a return and what we might like to do. On the list is another Bird watching trip with Michiel, more kart racing, and I might go skydiving!!

Thanks Bucuti, Michiel, and Josh!

Photos from my trip to Aruba in 2021