Aruba Advice

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Dec 8th, 2008, 09:15 AM
  #1
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Aruba Advice

Hello---My husband and I are evaluating Aruba for a trip in late Feb/early March of 09. We are staying on Marriott points, so would be staying at either the Marriott or Renaissance.

Any thoughts or advice on Aruba? What is the environment like? Is there enough "to do", other than sit on the beach? Also any experiences scuba diving there?

We are in our mid 30s, want to scuba dive and be active. We don't really care about nightlife or shopping or that sort of thing. Mainly want to relax, see some good beaches, and dive. We also travel internationally a lot and are leery of places that are too touristy or Americanized.

Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom!
skigirl74 is offline  
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Dec 8th, 2008, 10:31 AM
  #2
 
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aruba's the place for you. can't beat the price, the weather, enjoyable food as well. a week goes by too fast there ;-)
otto is offline  
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Dec 8th, 2008, 05:17 PM
  #3
 
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Just thought I would mention this to you: Renaissance is not on the beach. It is in town on the main road. They do have a beach, but you have to take a boat out to their private island to get to it. Just thought you should know before you make a final decision.
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Dec 9th, 2008, 04:36 AM
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Well Aruba is more americanized than some of the other islands. Aruba is hot, sunny and is desert like except the hotel grounds. We stayed at the marriott on points a few years ago and enjoyed our stay. Dining is good on Aruba.
You can sit on the beach or try many watersports activities. Diving, I am not so sure if that is very good there or not.

If you want diving and a Marriott, Grand Cayman would be a better choice. It is a huge diving island. The Marriott on GC is smaller, but it was nice as well. It is less busy. We went June 07.
GC is a more low-key island without a lot of nightlife. It has great snorkeling and diving and good food as well. That would be my choice for you for an island with Marriott.
Good luck.
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Dec 9th, 2008, 06:01 AM
  #5
KVR
 
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If your not into nightlife and shopping and want something not touristy or Americanized, then Aruba is not the place.

For great beaches and snorkeling I agree with the recommendation of Grand Cayman.
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Dec 9th, 2008, 08:27 AM
  #6
 
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We were talked into our Aruba trip by friends. I think it's safe to say that we won't be back there again. The food was a disappointment; okay, but just okay.

The island is just way too commercialized. You may be happier with GC.
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Dec 9th, 2008, 08:50 AM
  #7
cdw
 
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I agree with the others. Have not been to GC, but Aruba is very Americanized. You might consider the Marriott in Curacao. Tourism is behind oil and banking as for as industry is concerned so it has a less touristy feel It is very European with great diving, beautiful beaches, fine restaurants, and beautiful architecture. You should at least look into it. The weather there will also be great. Look at pictures on Trip Advisor. When we went, we split time between the Marriott and the Kura Hulanda. We took our teenage daughters and it is still a trip they talk about! We loved it.
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Dec 16th, 2008, 09:48 AM
  #8
 
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We stayed at the Renaissance in Aruba a couple years ago and really enjoyed it. Aruba might be a bit more "Americanized" than some of the other islands, but I think it depends on where you go and what you do. There are casinos in most of the resorts, and plenty of day/evening excursions you can take. We rented an ATV and took it to the other side of the island (that is not built up...rough surf, no roads, beautiful scenery). There are also boat tours that have snorkeling, etc. Our favorite part about the Renaissance was the private island (the boat to which you can get in the lobby or at a boat launch right outside of the Suites building and is maybe a 2-3 minute ride). There are two sides to it - to the left is the family-friendly side and to the right is the "adult" side. We stayed to the right and it was pretty empty. There is a restaurant on the island (ok food and pretty slow service, but that's the island way! They come around to your chairs and you can order from there, too). There are lounge chairs and hammocks...and the most beautiful sunsets that no one seems to stick around for! A tip on which building to stay in (there is the Marina and the Suites - opposite sides of the street). We stayed at the Suites and liked it. The entire building is comprised of suites (I believe all are 1-bedroom) and they have a living room, balcony/patio, separate bedroom and little kitchenette area. The Marina is "adults only", but the view is generally blocked by large cruise ships that are parked out front and it's much louder there (it's where the restaurants, shops, etc are). The LG Smith Steakhouse in The Marina Hotel is great! We also ate at Cafe Matilde (French), Marandi (great food and atmosphere), and Driftwood (casual seafood restaurant, good food and decent prices) - we really liked all of them and they are all in the low-rise area of the island (by the Renaissance). No matter where you stay in Aruba, I highly recommend a sunset massage for two through the spa at the Renaissance (you can read more about it on their website). A bit pricey, but worth it IMO! We're planning our trip back there for April!
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Dec 17th, 2008, 01:03 PM
  #9
 
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My husband and I have been to 10 or 12 Caribbean islands and Aruba is by far the most touristy and Americanized of any that we have been to. We don't dive but we do snorkel and snorkeling is not good in Aruba. Aruba does have some very nice beaches, however, and it is not one of the more expensive islands.

Since you want a Marriott with good diving I think Grand Cayman might be the place for you. It is a bit touristy but Seven Mile Beach is gorgeous and there are good restaurants. Grand Cayman is much more expensive than Aruba.

There's also a Marriott on St. Kitts but I don't know anything about the quality of the diving. St. Kitts is much less touristy than either Aruba or Grand Cayman.
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