I am actually smiling as I write this. Just thinking back to our Celebrity Cruises’ 4½ hr ‘Kukoo Kunuku Palm Beach Tour’ in Aruba and the great time we had automatically brings a smile to my face.
Now if that isn’t a good recommendation for a tour then I don’t know what is!
Especially if the purpose of the tour, alongside the sharing of pertinent local information, is to bring a little fun and laughter to a person’s day.
I’m not sure many of us taking the tour knew quite what to expect to be honest. A drive around shaking maracas with a visit to a lighthouse, a church and a beach. From a personal point of view, my biggest concern was how on earth anyone was going to be able convince a group of strangers to enthusiastically start shaking their maracas at 9am on a Wednesday morning!
Not just that, but there was to be zero alcohol involved – which, based on my experience as a piano bar entertainer, told me that this was NOT going to be an easy task for the person involved.
But, do you know what? Our driver guide Jaime aka Mr. Smooth managed it. Not quite sure how, but this guy got it spot on. Part-storyteller, Part-guide, Part-DJ, Part-comedian – topped off with a great personality and perhaps most importantly of all, an uncanny ability to read his audience. He knew when to be funny, when to be serious, when to talk, when to slow it down and when to speed things back up again. His timing was nothing short of impeccable.
We hit the road in our brightly decorated, hard-to-miss red bus to the sounds of ‘greased lightning’. Perhaps this was why it all worked so well. The playlist was hilarious and unexpected. The tour description mentioned ‘shaking your maracas to the rhythmic beat of Caribbean music’ – well, sorry to say there wasn’t any of that to be had – but neither was it missed. In fact the impromptinuity (is that even a word?) of the play list made it all the more more fun!
Mr. Smooth’s playlist included such timeless classics as Shout, YMCA, Joy to the World, Hawaii 5-O, Good Golly Miss Molly, Old time rock ‘n roll – amongst other well known classics.
Also included in the tour was a stop at the lighthouse, which was under construction when we visited, but still a great view point with an on-site, rustic caravan café where you could buy cold drinks.
Insider’s Tip: Ask for ‘sugar’ in your fresh coconut drink – it’s the code word for rum and will have you chatting enthusiastically with the café’s resident parrot in no-time!
A stop was also included at the Church – note the ‘pew style’ benches lined up outside so as to be able to accommodate the overflow of worshippers.
Our last stop was Moomba Beach. A good set up and very well organised. The meet and greet was a colourful character called Richard (the original Kukoo Kunuku driver I believe) who was resplendent in his Rastafarian garb and well worthy of a selfie. Richard explained the system and handed out vouchers for the beach beds, lunch discounts etc.
The beach was a little crowded but no big deal. There were beds enough, sand enough and there was sea enough.
And then it was back on the bus at the pre-arranged time and back on the road again… music blaring, maracas shaking and more waving at the passers by as we headed back to the ship. All in all a great day out in Aruba and a tour that I would highly recommend for those who want a combination of chillaxing on the beach, a good laugh and watching the world go by to the sound of Smooth’s chuckling banter and his maraca shaking playlist.
This tour totally personifies Aruba’s slogo of ‘One Happy Island’ – a real parranda on wheels and one I would do again in a heart beat!