Ahhhh Aruba!

Old Feb 13th, 2006, 12:50 PM
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Ahhhh Aruba!

Well I just hit the COMPLETE YOUR RESERVATION button and we leave for Aruba on Thursday! Yikes - for someone who likes planning and researching this is a slight scary jump into spontaneity!

So...hit me with your best advice! We are staying at the Hyatt.

1. Should we rent a car? Will one day do it or should we get one for the whole trip?

2. Favorite inexpensive local restaurants? Favorite breakfast place (I remember a post about a $10 all you can eat somewhere...)?

3. I think we'll need bug spray - what else might we forget that we'd need?

4. Local attractions you would recommend?

5. Shopping ideas?

Thanks in advance...

shaya is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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I would rent a car for at least 2 days. On the beach next to the hyatt there's a restaurant called Pelican's nest. Generous portions of fresh seafood on a dock. Another favorite is Madame Jeanette (sp?) - delicious groupers, seabass. and if you gonna splurge on night go to Chez Matilde in the city. Arguably the best in Aruba.
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 01:50 PM
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Thanks so much ziggy for your prompt reply! My mouth is watering at the thought of all that wondeful seafood!
What areas would we need a car to drive to? Other beaches? Historical sights? Just into town?
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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Great choice!

I never saw or felt one bug when we were there.

Absolute best restaurant is El Gaucho.

For inexpensive food (amazing specialty pizzas), great happy hour drinks and an awesome view of the sunset, go to Kokoa's on the end of the DePalm Pier next to the Radisson. Such a fun place. Not sure if they do breakfast or not...

We didn't rent a car but it would b nice for a day of exploring. The bus which stops in front of all of the hotels will take you into town for about a buck.

Have fun!
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Don't forget some strong sunscreen as the sun is very intense in Aruba because Aruba is close to the Equator. Also take along some tie backs for your hair if it is long as the wind can do a number on your hair. As the saying goes, there are no good hair days in Aruba.

Have a good time. 8-)
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 02:13 PM
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Sunscreen like Onzgo said!!! El Gaucho is the best I agree with Kristen. You can walk to a bagel place and Dunkin Donuts from the Hyatt. Beautiful Hotel!! Everything is casual. Nice shorts/Golf type shirts for guys, similar for women. Have a great time!
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 02:23 PM
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Sunscreen, got it! I am heading out to hit the drugstore now.

Thanks everyone for the good (amd quick!) advice. We are so looking forward to this!

I am taking skorts. tee shirts, a couple of summery skirts and tops, a cardigan to throw over me if it gets cool, a collared shirt in case we golf. Sandals, obviously. Hair bands - I am dreading "no good hair days!" Mine can frizz like nobody's business!

Hubby will likely live in shorts and golf/tee shirts (how come you can't approach a tee on a golf course in a tee shirt?!!)

Would you take jeans or a raincoat?

Also, what kind of food is El Gaucho? Price range?
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 03:47 PM
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I would only take jeans if you are horseback riding. Otherwise they will be useless. It only rained five minutes in our 8 days there. So, I didn't need raingear. El Gaucho is an Argentinian Steakhouse. Very good steaks. I don't remember prices, but the food was worth it. It was better than some of the more expensive restaurants. I would taxi there and back. It is in some back street downtown. I would never have found it except for boards like this mentioning it before we went.
Rent a jeep and go to baby beach to snorkel and Natural bridge. We did not rent a car at all, but I would for a day trip next time. If you want crazy, go on the Kukookanookoo bus. It is a bar hopping party bus that takes you out and brings you back. It sounded like fun,but we took our kids!
We never needed bug spray. There is always a breeze blowing and so I never saw a bug. Besides, the little gecko/iguana guys probably ate them all.
Have fun!
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 03:49 PM
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Just rephrase, we had our kids on the trip so we could NOT take the party bus! I reread after I posted and it sounded like we took them on the bus...Not us!!
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 07:11 PM
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Congratulations on your upcoming Aruba vacation! We've been four times and have yet to rent a car. We get by fine with the bus and taxis. Our favorite, inexpensive restaurants are Alfedos and Iguana Joes. Alfredos has good Italian food and Iguana Joes has good ribs, fajitas, etc. In addition to bug spray (which I always bring but fortunately have never had to use) bring any OTC medications you may need and an underwater camera or two. If you wait to buy these items in Aruba you will be in for sticker shock. Not huge on local land attracations and we spend most of our time on the beach but we did do a jeep tour once and I didn't like it at all. We usually book a trip or two on the water and this last time we went out on the Tranquilo for their six hour snorkeling trip and it was fantastic. The ride alone was worth the price of the trip. For shopping head to Oranjestad where you will find tons fo jewelry stores, clothing stores, a mall and kiosks full of t-shirt shops. Enjoy Aruba!

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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 07:26 PM
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You will love the Hyatt Aruba. It's a fabulous, beautiful resort with top-notch service, gorgeous weather and lots to do.
We went there the last three years and loved it each time! Have a great trip! And by the way, no jeans, raincoats, or bug spray needed!
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 08:26 PM
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We'll be there in less than 72 hours! My neighbor is laughing at us because we have enjoyed a very mild winter - until this weekend when we got snow...2 days into it we head for the islands!

Unfortunately I have 12 hour shifts the next 2 days and we leave early Thursday AM so my shopping is, by default, done. Glad it is casual down there! Wish I'd gotten the underwater cameras though.

El Gaucho sound wonderful - we will seek it out. Also appreciate the inexpensive suggestions Muy Linda. They will help assuage my guilt over the last minute decision prices!

Again, thanks all of you for your help! If you think of any interesting "land" sites, good snorkeling companies, etc I will be checking back up until we leave for the airport.
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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You can pick up an underwater throw away camera at any supermarket. Stop on your way home from work.
Have a great time. I am jealous of you right now. It is freezing in central Va this morning...
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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girlonthego, I know! I had a hard time prying the down comforter off me this AM. I am in Loudoun Co - where are you?
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 11:43 AM
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Midlothian (suburbs of Richmond)
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 12:18 PM
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WAAAIIITTTTTTT!!!!! I have to interject on the bug spray! For some reason, the Aruban mosquitoes loved me -- while my husband escaped unscathed, I came back from our first beach walk with more bites than I could count. Three on my pinky toe! Couldn't sleep at all the first night, until the awesome Radisson staffers directed me to Humphrey's itch balm. I used tropical-scented Off the rest of the nights and had no more problems. But it's a good idea to come prepared, just in case you're the mosquito's flavor of the month!

Other than that: Agree with the poster who recommended Kokoa's on DePalm pier. DePalm's happy hour snorkel tour was great, too -- but don't expect anything from the included "meal." But for an uncrowded boat and great snorkel locations, we loved it.

El Gaucho is worth every penny. It's a lot of pennies, but amazing steak. And I don't love steak!

We rented a Suzuki (they were out of Jeeps) for one day and felt like we saw everything we wanted to see. If you are set on seeing the Natural Pool, you may have to do a tour, because going to the Natural Pool voids your rental insurance at most places! We tried anyway (yeah, yeah) but my husband, who loves off-roading, turned around and gave up. Those coral roads are sharp! But we saw the chapel, Natural Bridge, California lighthouse, Boca Prins, the ruins, and a cave without feeling rushed. Loved them all.

More inexpensive food: The souvenir shack by the Natural Bridge has meat pockets for $2. Yum! Gilligan's at the Radisson is a cute outdoor place with great sandwiches, and we got hooked on their plantain chips. Also the outdoor place at the Hyatt -- might have been called the Palms?

Have a fabulous trip! I could go back every year.
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 12:44 PM
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I didn't find El Gaucho to be over the top expensive. Nowhere near as much as Ruth's Chris for example in the US. And much better steak.

Also be sure to get a pitcher of sangria!
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Old Feb 14th, 2006, 01:29 PM
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I agree with MuyLinda,

another vote for Iguana Joes, nice if you can get a seat round the edge of the restaurant and people watch the people below, Le Dome if you want to splurge and their Sunday brunch gets good reviews.

We didnít hire a car, we were perfectly happy with the buses Ė we met the nicest people while waiting for the buses. We bused to the Hong King, stocked up on goodies for the fridge and taxied back to the hotel apart from that we only used a taxi once to get home from Oranjestad.

I didnít like the jeep tour either the jeeps are very wide based so they are supposedly very safe but they certainly didnít feel it.

We were driven by a total stranger who admitted he hadnít driven a jeep before, and the only guide we had was in the first jeep so we had no-one to ask about anything interesting along the route. We kept stopping and waiting for one of the drivers who kept falling behind Ė but then again he was driving his family, so of course he was driving carefully. If I did the tour again I would do the half day tour which covers the same sights but if chauffeured.

Is the Natural Bridge worth looking at these days after it collapsed last year? Is it still a bridge

Have a wonderful time
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