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Aruba – One Happy Little Island

What better way to keep your employees happy than a trip to the “Happy Island” —ARUBA! As part of Republic Bank’s 2002 Incentive Program, 52 hard working, dedicated Branch Managers and guests (along with 1 very happy Classic Travel escort) were whisked away to this beautiful tropical paradise. There is a reason Republic Bank was recognized by Fortune Magazine, earning the #17 spot on the 2002: Top 100 Best Companies to Work For List, behind Classic Travel, of course…

“Bonbini”, in Papiamento (the official language of Aruba) it means “welcome”, and that is exactly how the group felt when they arrived in Aruba. Aruba is a place where the weather is always warm and sunny, and the people are friendly and inviting. English is widely spoken throughout the island, as is Dutch and Papiamento. On one side of the island you’ll find modern high-rise resorts, beautiful palm tree lined white sand beaches, calm sparkling turquoise waters prefect for swimming and snorkeling, fabulous restaurants, lively nightlife, great shopping and glitzy casinos. While on the other side, the Atlantic crashes over rocks, coral bridges and cliffs. In between lies desert landscape, full of lighthouses and windmills. Truly something for everyone!

Our home while in Aruba was the All-Inclusive Occidental Grand Aruba (formerly known as the Allegro Resort). The Occidental Grand is centrally located on beautiful Palm Beach and offers a number of amenities that kept us all very happy. Some of the properties amenities include a large free-form swimming pool with a swim-up pool bar, 2 large whirlpools, three restaurants, three bars, daily entertainment, tennis courts and fitness center, non-motorized water sports (kayaks, snorkel equipment, sailboats, etc.), a full service spa, disco/casino, and much more! The hotel staff was absolutely wonderful and readily available to cater to our every whim. Many of the tour members could be found throughout the day soaking up the sun and working on that tan or taking part in one of the many activities around the pool. Others opted to choose from a wide variety of tours that could be arranged from resort’s lobby. Some even decided to rent a car and take their own private tour around the island. Zachary Jones, Melody Clark and their guests learned first hand about driving Aruba style!

A small group of us chose to venture out on the highly talked about 4-hour Jeep Tour that was offered through Wix Tours. This tour took us to some of Aruba’s most famous sites, such as St. Annes Chapel, the Natural Bridge, the Natural Pool and much more. Our tour started from the hotel zone where we were loaded into three jeeps with one person elected to be the driver of each. Armed with our outrageously amusing tour guide, Ruben, leading the way, my brother Jeff handling the second jeep and Republic’s very own, Cathy Doerr behind the wheel of the third Jeep, we were on our way. Little did any of us know that this tour would take us through all types of terrain, some areas were so rough that Ruben’s Jeep ended up with a flat tire. We all had a great time poking some fun at him while he changed the flat. About 3 hours into our tour, we stopped by the Natural Pool to take a refreshing dip in the water. A few of us preferred to watch, while some thrill seekers, like Scott Triplett decided to take the plunge off a cliff into the pool. We bystanders cheered him on loudly! After a full lunch, we followed the divi divi trees back to the resort area. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone looking for a great way to see the island.

Many members of the group stated that this was their best trip ever and are already talking about next year’s trip!

Incentive Trips have proven to be a great way to boost employee morale and increase job performance. Let us help you plan your next incentive program or personal trip to Aruba—where one happy little island equals many happy employees!

Julie Schafer About the Author: Julie started at Classic Travel as an intern 15 years ago and now specializes in group, leisure, and corporate travel and is highly regarded for her destination wedding planning expertise. Some of Julie’s favorite destinations include New Zealand, the Caribbean, Europe, and Hawaii. Email Julie: julie@classictravelusa.com