Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao (the ABCs of the Caribbean) offer plenty to do on, along, and under the water. However, my January 2018 two week ABC island hopping itinerary also included some of the islands’ less well known land-based charms.
My itinerary for traveling (mostly) off the beaten path in the ABC islands
Formally part of the Netherlands, the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) lie just off the coast of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean.
I spent two weeks in January 2018 island hopping with my spouse and another couple (my cousins from Finland). We spent relatively little time in any of the islands’ cities or heavily developed resort areas, choosing instead to search out quiet, unpretentious beaches and some of the wilder corners.
I love traveling with my cousins, but whenever you travel with others there are compromises to be made. In this case I didn’t see as many historical and cultural sites as I would have liked and they didn’t spend as much time on the beach as they would have liked! But we had a great time anyway. And I think we all agree that the ABC islands are a good winter vacation get-away that we’d be happy to return to someday.
Here’s my two week ABC islands itinerary:
Days 1 – 5 in Curaçao
We started our island hopping in Curaçao, where we spent most of our time exploring the rugged north end of the island. Even so, we found a little time to explore historic Willemstad (a UNESCO World Heritage site). While we hadn’t planned to completely avoid the most popular beaches in the resort areas of Jan Thiel and Mambo Beach, I don’t think any of us felt bad about skipping them. There were plenty of other beaches.
Our stay in Curaçao included visits to many of the island’s tourist sites, including:
- Shete Boka National Park
- Christoffel National Park and the Savonet Plantation Museum
- Blue Curaçao distillery
- Playa Piskado
We stayed in a beautiful house on Curaçao’s rugged northwest coast.
Most visitors to Curaçao stay along the beach near Willemstad toward the south end of the island. This is where the best (human-enhanced) beaches are. It’s also where most of the resorts are located. (There’s also an active refinery here, so make sure your lodging is upwind of it.) We’d planned to stay down here as well, in an off-beach Airbnb in Jan Thiel.
A last minute cancellation by our host left us scrambling for lodging on an island where many people book a year in advance. With nothing that was both nice and reasonably priced available around Jan Thiel, we tried booking in a lovely-looking resort near Sint Willibrordus on the central northwest coast.
When that also fell through, we started looking farther north. With great beaches and Christoffel National Park at this end of the island, it ended up being a great place to stay. It was beautiful, quiet, and uncrowded. There was plenty to do at this end of the island, but it was a long drive into Willemstad. Next time we would look for something at a beach even farther north, although I’d also book a couple nights right in the heart of historic Willemstad as well.
We used Airbnb because we were looking for a house or apartment and Airbnb has a huge number of listings. (Most properties on VRBO required wiring money to a Dutch bank account – something I wasn’t willing to do.) If you are looking for a resort or traditional hotel, TripAdvisor has a few listings for the northern end of the island (affiliate link). You’ll find more options farther south.
If you stay on the north end of the island, check out Sunshine’s notes on what to do and where to eat.
Bella Vista Airbnb
Located toward the northwest end of Curacao, this gorgeous private home is in a relatively remote location near an abandoned resort and a nice, mostly unused, beach. (There is also a B&B just down the street, so there are a few other people around.) The house itself is gorgeous, beautifully decorated, and huge. It also has a rooftop deck with sweeping views over the sea. We were up there every evening and one afternoon we were able to watch dolphins swim by.
The owner needs to fix the microwave and add a grill, but even without those, I would happily stay here again. The only real downside (besides a noisy military training exercise one day), is the lack of nearby restaurants. But, with a working grill, we would have happily had dinner on the rooftop deck instead of going out.
(If you haven’t used Airbnb before, use this link to create an account and save $40 off your first stay. At the same time, I’ll get a $20 credit.)
We planned to cook and eat at our island “home.” However, without a grill, we ended up going out for most meals. Because we were so far from Willemstad, we generally ate at restaurants near us or in West Punt to the north. With one exception, all of our meals were good to excellent.
Our “local” restaurant was Landhuis Daniel, a cheerful spot not too far down the road. It has a full menu, but is noted for its pancakes (crepes). With both sweet and savory options (the savory ones are better), the pancakes make a nice meal any time of day.
We ate both breakfast and lunch here at various times and enjoyed eating out on the shady porch as birds flitted around.
(There is also lodging available here.)
Rancho El Sobrino
We ended up eating dinner at Rancho El Sobrino one night when both of the other places we’d planned to go to were closed. In the end, it was a bit of good luck, because it was pincho (or pintxo) night when we stopped in.
In Spain a pincho seems to be a small snack served on a skewer. El Sobrino’s version is rather more dramatic, with large chunks of meat grilled on giant skewers and served point up toward the sky.
But El Sobrino’s rendition is fabulous. Stop by or call to see when they are serving pinchos because they don’t have them every night. Then settle in at a table in the cheerful bar/restaurant and order a small serving of perfectly-cooked steak (not the chicken). I think you will be very, very happy.
Shelter Rock Paradise
On the recommendation of Sunshine at Sol Food (which was so busy the night we stopped by that Sunshine wouldn’t even add us to the waiting list) we ate dinner one night at Shelter Rock Paradise. This is a newish spot that is an events center as much as a restaurant. As such, it is big and has some wonderful spaces. It also has good food and exceptionally friendly service. However, even though it was not busy when we were there, it took a very, very long time to get our food. It was really slow even by island standards.
Shelter Rock Paradise has a sign on the main road, but you can only see it from one direction. Do NOT use Google. If you do use Google, when you get to where Google says the restaurant is located, look across the valley. Shelter Rock Paradise will be nestled into the hillside opposite you. Despite what Google thinks, there is no road through the valley. Head back to the main road, turn right, and watch closely because there isn’t a visible sign from this direction.
Ocean View (formally Blue View Sunset Terrace) looks a little suspect from the street at night, but restaurants are hard to find on Sunday nights, so we decided to give it a try. It was fine and the prices were good. There were some local specials the night we were there that weren’t on the menu, and we went with some of those. It’s pretty basic, but the food is nicely prepared and filling. This would be a lovely spot for lunch or sunset, as it is right above the water.
Perla Del Mar
Located in the old Willemstad fortress wall, Perla Del Mar offers the best of both worlds: fine dining with a beach bar vibe. Everything we ordered was absolutely wonderful.
Landhuis Klein Santa Martha
Landhuis Klein Santa Martha offers both food and lodging in a simple, but beautiful historic building. We loved the lodging (they let us take a peek into the rooms in the main house) and would happily stay there. However, the kitchen had some problems the day we visited. While our lunch experience wasn’t very good, I’d still give Landhuis Klein Santa Martha a try if I was in the area. But do NOT use Google to get there – Google will take you to a sister property that does not have a restaurant.
We went to Landhuis Klein Santa Martha for lunch on their beautiful patio. (The patio has a wonderful view over the countryside all the way to the sea. It would be an amazing place to watch the sunset.) Service was good – fast and friendly – and the property is beautiful.
The food, however, was another matter.
I know it is a mistake to order salad in the tropics, but we were craving greens and they had several salads on the menu. However, ordering the Caesar salad with chicken was not a good idea – the lettuce was old and slimy and the chicken so dried out it was hard to chew. Still, I’m thinking that this may have just been a bad day, since the flavor in both the chicken and the salad dressing was really lovely. The guys had a similarly mixed experience with the mini sliders. The burgers were absolutely delicious, but pretty undercooked.
We traveled to Curacao from Miami on American Airlines. The complete lack of signage in the check-in area in Miami, an unexpected luggage charge (even with American’s branded credit card), and a rather hostile agent made the check-in process more unpleasant than it needed to be. But the flight itself was good.
We rented a Suzuki Vitara from Sixt at the airport. (I reserved it in advance through Expedia). The car was perfect for us – big enough and rugged enough for all four us to go anywhere comfortably. Check-in at the airport was pretty slow, but there were no unexpected costs. Of course, like all vehicles we rented in the islands, it was ridiculously expensive.
Days 6 – 11 in Bonaire
Bonaire is justly famous for its diving. Not only does the island have a gorgeous healthy reef just offshore, but in many places it can be reached from the shore – no dive boat needed!
Of course, I don’t dive. I do snorkel, so I planned to spend a lot of time in the water.
But that didn’t happen either. Instead, I spent most of my time on land touring what became my favorite of the three islands.
- Lac Bay
- Snorkeling Klein Bonaire
- Washington Slagbaai National Park
As on Curaçao, we rented a house through Airbnb.
This time we were just outside the main town of Kralendijk. That put us sort of in the middle of everything, but walking distance to nothing. Nor did we have a view. Still, we did have a pool and wild parrots and it was nice to have a lot of dining options relatively nearby.
While there was nothing wrong with the house we rented on Bonaire, it wasn’t so great that I’d recommend it over other, similar options. It was cute, but small, impossible to cool aside from the bedrooms, and the only table was outside – which was fine when the sun wasn’t beating down on it and it wasn’t raining. And then there was the fact that our neighbor had someone break in and steal their wallets and electronics while they were out diving. That happened before we arrived and they were kind enough to warn us, so we immediately got the code for the safe and removed the key from its hook by the back door window. So the house was ok, but not great. Except, of course for that pool.
Also as on Curaçao, we used Airbnb because we were looking for a house or apartment. Bonaire doesn’t have a lot of huge hotels or resorts, so Airbnb is a good option. (If you are a new Airbnb customer, use this link to get $40 off your first rental.)
If you are looking for a resort or traditional hotel, TripAdvisor has a good variety of options (affiliate link). You’ll find a number of them can’t actually be booked through TripAdvisor partners, but you can get reviews for them to help you sort out your options.
Bonaire turned out to be a great place to eat.
There’s no shortage of good, casual dining spots around Kralendijk. There are also a number of fine dining restaurants. Although downtown settles down quite a bit once the day’s cruise ships depart, reservations are almost essential to get into many of the better restaurants (or restaurants with a view) for dinner.
The Weekend Lac Bar at Lac Bay Beach
The Weekend Lac Bar serves fried fish and a few other local favorites. It’s popular with locals and in-the-know visitors, so it gets busy almost as soon as it opens. Get there early to eat before heading to the beach or come a little later and enjoy live music while you wait for your food.
Coco Beach Bar
Located right on Coco Beach, the Coco Beach Bar is an easy option for beach goers looking for a bite to eat without leaving the beach. I had lunch and drinks here and was more than satisfied with both. My cousins liked it enough that they made Coco their usual beach hangout on Bonaire and had lunch here a couple more times. The food is basic Caribbean bar food, but it’s well prepared and the bar is pleasant.
There are lots of places to eat in downtown Kralendijk, many of which have fine views of the water. Cuba Compagnie isn’t on the water, but it is along a leafy courtyard and the food and drinks are fabulous. Everything we ate was delicious. (Cuba Compagnie’s chicken satay doesn’t seem very Cuban, but is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten anywhere.) Make a reservation to be sure you can get in, as it is a very popular restaurant.
Italy in the World
While I generally eat mostly local cuisine while traveling, there was a night when I’d had enough of the Caribbean and was ready for a nice Italian pasta. Luckily, Italy in the World was not far away. This little wine shop/deli/specialty food store has a small restaurant that serves exquisitely prepared pasta and other modern Italian dishes. The menu is small, but everything we tried was delicious and we were charged an incredibly fair price for a lovely wine that came directly off the retail shelf for us to have with dinner.
Spice Beach Club
We stumbled across Spice Restaurant at Spice Beach Club when we took the ferry to Klein Bonaire. It looked gorgeous and had good reviews, so we stopped back for dinner a few nights later.
We weren’t disappointed. This elegant fine dining restaurant is beautiful, has stunning views over the water, and serves beautifully prepared dishes. Almost everything was absolutely perfect.
Bistro de Paris
Located along a small marina, Bistro de Paris seemed like a pleasant spot for a casual lunch. However, the service was exceptionally slow (even for the islands), the food was very ordinary, and the outdoor dining area was hot and stuffy. It wasn’t horrible, but there are lots of better lunch options.
Bobejan BBQ is only open on weekends and the lines are probably always long – so long that we decided to sit down and have a drink while we waited instead of doing take-out like we had planned. (There is a tiny, dark courtyard with table service in the back.) Our meals were good, but not equal to the rave reviews online.
House of Bonaire Brewery
Ok, so you might not go there for fine dining, but the House of Bonaire Brewery has lovely beers brewed on-site and serves tasty bar snacks in their pleasant tap room. And the patio is a great place to sit back with a Bonaire Blond and watch the shoppers in downtown Kralendijk. With every sip you’ll be glad you don’t have to get back on a cruise ship before evening falls.
Insel Air to Bonaire
We flew from Curaçao to Bonaire on Insel Air. Our flight boarded and took off early, getting us into Bonaire early. Sweet.
We also flew Insel Air from Bonaire to Aruba (via Curaçao). Unlike our flight to Bonaire, our flight out cost us an entire day of vacation and resulted in spending more on our rental car and missing an event we’d planned to attend. See below for the whole miserable tale.
A budget-breaking experience at Budget car rental
I ended up changing our rental car at the last minute because I was afraid the vehicle I’d rented (a small truck) was going to be too small for the four of us and I was able to find an SUV that was perfect for the same price.
Or, it seemed perfect until we went to return the vehicle.
Budget charged far more than the amount on our signed contract (they said the contract didn’t include the extra driver, which we had arranged when we picked up the car) AND charged us for a full extra day when we returned the car 10 minutes BEFORE the return time listed on our contract (they said the contract was wrong about both the return time and the $12 hourly late fee). As far as I can tell, they simply stole a few hundred dollars from us. Unfortunately, I had arranged the contract but wasn’t there to make them abide by it when the car was returned (I had luggage duty because I wasn’t driving) and we had a plane to catch (or so we thought).
We’ve had a few negative experiences with Budget before with agents trying to force us to buy insurance or other things we don’t need in order to get our car, but nothing that cost us this kind of money. This was the last straw. Budget has been added to the list of evil car companies that we won’t use ever again.
Days 11- 15 in Aruba
Aruba is famous for its broad sandy beaches and big upscale resorts. We’re not really upscale people (or maybe we just don’t have the budget to be upscale people) and we don’t like crowds, so we booked an Airbnb at the far south end of the island near Baby Beach.
Despite a lovely beach, this end of the island isn’t touristy at all. That’s probably because the refinery is located here, but it’s closed now, so air pollution isn’t an issue. And, while the refinery isn’t very scenic, it does lend an interesting bit of surrealism to the landscape. There are some nice little communities here too where visitors are more likely to get a feel for what the real Aruba is like.
- Sailing with the pirates
- Arikok National Park
- Casibari and Ayo rock formations
- Seroe Colorado (The Colony)
- Murals in San Nicolas
Despite what you see here, there are lots of restaurants on Aruba. We just didn’t eat at many of them because we absolutely loved Zeerovers and Kamini’s Kitchen, both of which were near our apartment.
Even if the food weren’t good, Zeerovers would be worth a visit for its location in a small harbor. You can dine along the water or, if you are lucky, at the end of the dock where a couple tables allow true over-the-water dining amid the fishing boats!
But the food at Zeerovers is great too – especially the shrimp. (We’ve tried recreating the shrimp at home, but haven’t quite figured it out. I might have to go back to Aruba just to get more of it.) The menu has your choice of fried fish and/or shrimp with a wide variety of sides to choose from. All orders can be eaten in or taken out. The best option is to grab a drink and spot along the water and wait for your food to be delivered as soon as it is cooked.
Whether you eat in or take out, Zeerovers is awesome and it isn’t a secret. Be prepared for a long line at popular times. When it’s busy, this is not fast food. But it’s absolutely worth the wait.
Kamini’s Kitchen serves amazing Indian-influenced Caribbean food with lots of curries and roti. But they also have pastas and other things, all of which are delicious. Lucky for us, it was just down the road from where we were staying.
Everything we tried was great (between four of us and three meals, we sampled a lot of the menu), but I was so in love with the bami that I ordered it every time!
Kamini’s also has a comfortable atmosphere and super-friendly owners.
We had one meal at O’Neil’s Caribbean Kitchen in San Nicolas. It doesn’t have a Caribbean feel, but the food is good. It’s right in San Nicolas, so a good spot to eat if you want to visit town.
We stayed far from the beach resorts at the Baby Beach Airbnb in Seroe Colorado. We had a large, comfortable apartment in a house with a super -friendly owner.
Seroe Colorado used to be owned by Lago Petroleum (a subsidiary of Standard Oil) and was a full-service community filled with expats working for the refinery before being abandoned in the 1980s. (During its heyday it was called “the Colony,” which tells you a lot.) Today the few remains of the abandoned town are being re-inhabited, but most of the facilities (hospital, dance hall, bowling alley) are long gone.
Had we been able to find something within our price range, we would have stayed on the far north end of the island. However, this turned out to be a better choice for us. Without a spot right on the beach, access might have been more of a problem at the busy beaches farther north. (At Baby Beach, my cousins could walk with the neighborhood pack of dogs to the beach whenever they felt like it.) We also liked how quiet it was. The downside was the long drive if we wanted to do anything in Oranjestad or farther north.
There are lots of Airbnb and hotel options. (If you are a new Airbnb customer, use this link to get $40 off your first rental. At the same time you’ll provide me with a $20 credit. If you are more the hotel-type, use this link to check reviews, prices, and book a hotel through TripAdvisor. Doing so may provide me with a small commission at no cost to you.)
Flying to Aruba: A frustrating day with Insel Air
After our experience traveling from Curacao to Bonaire, we were thinking that maybe Insel Air wasn’t really as bad as everyone said. Unfortunately, we found out that there are some good reasons why the locals call them “Insult Air.”
Unlike our flight to Bonaire, the flight from Bonaire to Aruba was perhaps more typical.
Our morning flight was delayed and then delayed again due to mechanical problems. (It appears our original flight was actually canceled, not delayed, and we were moved to the next flight, and then that second flight was delayed by mechanical problems.) Worst of all, staff lied about what was causing the delay, telling us that they were “waiting for clearance from Curacao” when they were actually figuring out how to fly a mechanic over. (One of the local residents called them on it.)
At any rate, we spent 5 hours sitting in a crappy airport waiting area without a real restaurant or drinks. Had they just told us our flight was canceled in the morning, we might have opted for a day at the beach and a later flight instead.
They did give us a coupon for the snack bar, which did not have anything in the way of real food except some samosas. Fortunately, those were pretty good. While there is a real restaurant at the airport, it is on the other side of security. And the coupons couldn’t be used there even if we had been able to leave the gate area. (They wouldn’t give us any idea of when the flight would be ready because they didn’t want us to wander away.) Once the plane was ready, we boarded immediately and the flights were fine.
Apparently all of this is pretty normal for Insel Air. According to local lore, they usually cancel at least one flight a day, usually the second one. Our neighbors in the villas had their flight – also the second one of the day – canceled, but Insel air contacted them early enough that they were able to get on the first flight. It would have been nice to have that option.
Another expensive rental car
I also ended up changing this rental car at the last minute because our delayed flight wouldn’t get us in until after the off-airport location I was renting from closed for the day. (Thanks a lot, Insel Air.)
I went on line while we waited for our flight and rebooked our car, switching from Thrifty (which is not a company I like anyway) to the airport Hertz office. The Suzuki Vitara I reserved wasn’t supposed to cost that much more than the car I had originally booked, but their insurance was the most expensive of the three companies, so it ended up costing a lot more than I would have liked. But at least there were no nasty billing surprises when we returned it.
My cousins flew back to Europe from Aruba on KLM and report that the airport and flight were both fine.
Our experience was a little different.
Queen Beatrix International Airport
I have a new least favorite airport: Queen Beatrix International in Aruba. . (Sorry CDG, but you’ve lost your title.)
If you are NOT planning to travel directly from Aruba to the USA, you can stop reading now. Very little of this pertains to you and you will have a generally fine experience.
If you are planning to travel to the USA from Aruba, keep reading.
Things actually started off ok.
There was a short line at the poorly-marked Delta counter and Silver Medallions were allowed to use the priority lane. So, once we found the counter, that part of the process went quickly.
There was a short line to get into the Aruba customs/immigration area. And, while no one could get the auto immigration machines to work, there was someone assisting so it wasn’t too long of a wait.
The security line was pretty long, but not too bad. They didn’t have a clear or TSA precheck line, but they didn’t make us take out our cameras and phones (just the computer), so that was ok.
We were bummed to discover that duty free only had Aruban and the usual international booze. There was nothing from the neighboring islands, so that ended my plan to pick up weird flavored Curacao and other island liquors. (We were tempted by the Cuban rum, but we already had a lot of rum at home.)
Then it was time to enter the USA.
Passengers en route to the USA clear customs and immigration in Aruba. While this is supposed to save you time, it was the absolutely most incompetently managed process imaginable. The worst. Maybe for some people there is advantage, but I would much prefer clearing customs and immigration at MSP, where the process is usually pretty efficient.
In Aruba there were long, long, long lines “entering the USA” to get luggage. However, we got lucky and they suddenly let a bunch of Delta passengers in and, once inside, the luggage was all lined up waiting for us. I’m not sure how they handled that for other airlines, but in the end it was pretty quick for us because we got to jump the queue.
Immigration (I think it was immigration, not customs) didn’t have a very long line, although that may have been because we were among the very first passengers to get our luggage and practically ran there from baggage. However, there weren’t any directions telling you to take off your glasses when using the automated machines, so my spouse ended up with a card with a big X, which I think was supposed to mean more questions at some point in the process. My card was fine, so I was good to go.
After that there was a super, super long line (even longer then the luggage line) at what I think was customs. But there was a GOES line that was almost unused because it was unmarked and you had to ask to know it was there. Once we found that, it was fast, although with no direction of what you needed to do. I didn’t really get that it was a whole separate process because it asked all the same questions as immigration, so I screwed something up. I found that out when we finally got to a real person where we were supposed to hand over all of our documentation and I was missing something. (I think I had the immigration info, but not customs. But they ask the same questions at both, so it’s hard to keep track and I really have no idea.) Fortunately, the person we were working with was really nice. He laughed at my stupidity, and told me he’d deal with my missing paper work. (In general, more people working at the airport and fewer machines would make everything better.)
Then there was sort of a mob to drop off your bag for another screening (I think) and to send it off to the plane.
Then we stood in what might be the most miserable line I’ve ever been in. It was at least as long as the line to get through immigration at CDG, except this line was in a super hot, muggy, room where you couldn’t have any water to keep you from passing out. It was like being crowded into a sauna for an extended period.
At the end of that line was another TSA screening.
The screening itself was fast even though there were no directions telling you what to leave in your bag or take out. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to care what you had in your bag as long as you took your shoes off. I left everything stayed in my bag and it went through without a problem.
And then, at least two hours after arriving at the terminal, we were finally free to wait for our flight.
That’s when we realized what was causing much of the problem: all USA flights are scheduled to depart at the same time! There were Delta flights to MSP and Atlanta, a Sun Country flight to MSP, and flights to Boston and Houston that all left within about an hour of each other. The two MSP flights were 15 minutes apart! No wonder the process was so hideous.
I imagine they do all this to save money – they probably have the USA processing area open for just part of the day. It’s a nice gig for the employees, but it sucks if you are a passenger.
Should I ever go to Aruba again, I will NOT fly back to the USA from there.
(Curacao apparently doesn’t have a USA customs/immigration check. If that’s true, it’s worth the extra money to fly out of Curacao. Or maybe just continue on to South America from Aruba.)
Then there was our six-hour Delta flight in Economy Comfort with the worst service we’ve come across since the bad old days of Northworst. (Northwest was a pretty good airline with lovely new planes when Delta bought it, but there was an earlier period when they were known for having the crabbiest flight attendants in the sky.)
Even though it was a six-hour flight that left at 6 pm (after spending more than three hours in the airport), there was nothing offered for food except the usual chips and cookies. That was the case even though they announced at the beginning of the flight that we would have a snack/meal (our choice of fruit/cheese, ceasar wrap, or something else I didn’t catch). The closest thing offered were the usual snack boxes you have to pay for. (We grabbed some extra chips out of the cart when it was parked by us, but a little food would have nice.)
To make matters worse, they came around with beverages once and water once (near the end of the trip). The entertainment system (which only had 10 movies and 11 “series” and no games or flight information) didn’t work for us or those ahead of us in First Class and maybe not for anyone. Gogo inflight didn’t work either, which they announced at the END of the flight.
Usually I’d feel sorry for the flight attendants, since there were only three for the whole flight, including first class. However, they spent the vast majority of the flight just hanging out together talking and laughing. It was one of the few times I’ve ever thought the flight attendants were just plain lazy.
On a six-hour the flight attendants fed first class (immediately after take-off), offered one round of beverages to everyone, walked through selling snack boxes, and came through with water just before landing.
All in all, it was of the worst airport and flight experiences we’ve ever had.
And a frustrating way to end an otherwise fabulous trip.