Aruba questions

Mar 27th, 2010, 09:30 AM
  #1  
P_M
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Aruba questions

Hi all, DH and I are considering a trip to Aruba in August. If we go, we will be there for 4 full days, that's not counting travel days. I need the help of Aruba experts please.

1. Is 4 days enough time to see everything?

2. We are undecided between the Holiday In SunSpree and the Radisson. Is the Radisson worth the extra $$?

3. What are some of the must-do's in Aruba? We love snorkeling and if there is a hotel with a good reef nearby, that would be a major selling point.

Any other advice is welcome. Thanks in advance.
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Mar 27th, 2010, 10:38 AM
  #2  
KVR
 
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1. Is 4 days enough time to see everything?

No. It's really a long flight. We did 7 nights and still didn't get to do/see/eat everything we wanted to and have not been able to go back yet. (I'm still trying though)

2. We are undecided between the Holiday In SunSpree and the Radisson. Is the Radisson worth the extra $$?

If there is not much a a price difference, the Radission is much nicer and just a few hotels away from the Holiday Inn. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on their AI plan and it was OK for the price we paid. I would never do their AI plan again. There are just too many really great restuarants to try. The Holiday Inn is a very budget friendly AI, so during August you might be swamped with lots of kids if that's an issue.

When we return we have chosen the Amsterdam Manor. It's the first hotel on Eagle Beach, so still close enough to all the action on Palm Beach, but just far enough away to not be in the middle of it. Their beach is across the street, but not an issue to us. It's nicer than the HI and less expensive than the Radission.

3. What are some of the must-do's in Aruba? We love snorkeling and if there is a hotel with a good reef nearby, that would be a major selling point.

DePalm is the major tour operator. Check out their website. For snorkel tours there are so many companies to chose from; MiDushi, Tranquillo, Octapus, Red Sail, Black Pearl.

Do the full day jeep tour with ABC. Wear water shoes for the Natural Pool.

There are many restaurants that offer beach dining; Passions, Flying Fishbone, The Old man and the Sea, Simply Fish, Azull, etc.

There are Sunset dinner Cruises; De Palm and Red Sail.

If you like bar hopping the Kukoo Kunuku bus is very fun.

We also did a beach hopping tour with De Palm. Went to Baby Beach, Ardashi Beach, Rodgers Beach and to Mangel Halto. Good snorkeling.

De Palm has their own private Island. We spent one of our days there. They have an AI plan included in the entrance fee. Go in the morning and leave when it gets too crowded. Really great snorkeling. They parrot fish are huge and abundant.

Also check out the Aruba dining guide for d Descriptions and customer reviews.

http://www.restaurantsaruba.com/
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Mar 27th, 2010, 12:17 PM
  #3  
P_M
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KVR, thanks for so much good info. We had considered the AI plan but we agreed we want to try different restaurants and not be confined to the hotel, so if we choose the Holiday Inn we will definitely not do the AI.

The reason we are only looking at 4 days is that we want to use our FF award tix and we can only get those on July 31, returning August 5, for that week anyway. But if you think it's not worth it for only 4 days then maybe we should make a new plan.
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Mar 27th, 2010, 01:46 PM
  #4  
KVR
 
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I know what you mean about the FF tickets. I've waited a long time to get to use ours on Continental, but it was only enough for domestic air. So we decided to go ahead and use them in July for our 10th wedding anniversary. I have another miles account and will use on Barbados when we ever get enough.

If you can, try and go another week so you can the full use of them. We went the first week of September and found the weather good and the crowds gone after Labor Day. The prices were a little better also.
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Mar 27th, 2010, 03:02 PM
  #5  
P_M
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Funny you should mention September, before I saw your post I had just looked at award availability for the week of Sept 4-11. There are all sorts of options for any dates we want!! My husband's birthday is in early August and it would have been nice to be there on that date, but we might just go in September instead.
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Mar 28th, 2010, 01:09 PM
  #6  
 
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Hi PM! Go in September as you will have less crowds! Aruba basically has the same temperature and weather year round. We stayed at the Marriott next to the HI. The Holiday Inn hotel looked okay. Their lobby was nice for a HI, but the doors to the rooms faced out and looked old. I know the Radisson has a good reputation for being a very nice hotel.
The food is excellent and there are many great restaurants to go to around the island. We went in 2004. I liked Aruba. It is windy. There is always a constant breeze. Without it, you would boil!
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Mar 28th, 2010, 01:36 PM
  #7  
P_M
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Hi girlonthego, thanks for popping in. I think we are leaning more toward the Radisson, it does look very nice. I'm glad to hear it's windy in Aruba, I hate hot weather with no breeze.

This is way off the subject but I am thinking of you and your family. Type me anytime you wish.
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Mar 29th, 2010, 09:35 AM
  #8  
 
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I would try to stay a little longer than 4 days if you can! If you do 4 days it will be action packed... I would also stay at Radisson over HI.. The Radisson has my favorite stretch of BEACH! Just love it there! Plenty of water sports.. I wouldn't do AI unless you go in a big group.. there are SO MANY nice restaurants to eat at!! Sept. would be a great time to go.. May is nice too if you want to go earlier, not as crowded and hot yet... they do have the tradewinds.. so it's not as bad as in the US for example...
You can take tours, or choose to rent a car.. explore the island on your own.. national park (caves, dunes), baby beach.. they got some nice boats to take trips on also..

Good luck planning!
CaribbeanChick is offline  
Mar 29th, 2010, 09:46 AM
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We loved the Radisson. I would splurge if you can and stay there. there are too many great restaurants to be stuck in an AI. Don't miss El Gaucho and Smokey Joe's. Kukuoo Kunuku Party bus, Mi Dushi snorkel trip and ABC's ATV/4WD trip to the rugged side of the island are must-dos.
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Mar 29th, 2010, 12:13 PM
  #10  
 
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www.bookit.com is running the Radisson for $178 a night. Plus you get a beverage credit depending on how many nights you book. I would definitely look into booking through them. That is a good price for the Radisson.
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Mar 29th, 2010, 05:20 PM
  #11  
P_M
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shirleyk, your bookit site is offering some great deals, including airport transfers for $20 each way and a $200 beverage credit. Have you used this site before? I am impressed with it so far.
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Mar 30th, 2010, 07:30 AM
  #12  
 
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I have never used bookit.com but I think their prices are the lowest. I would post a question and see if you can get a response from people who have used them. Read the fine print so you know what is included and not included in your package. $20 for transfers is probably a bus that stops at all the hotels until it gets to your's. For about $30 you can get a cab that will be non-stop and private. But the $200 beverage credit is a good deal. Drinks will be at least $10-$12 each, you might just have to pay the service charge which will be 15% plus 3% Aruba tax on each drink.
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Mar 30th, 2010, 02:10 PM
  #13  
P_M
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YIKES, drinks are that much? I wonder if we can get a bottle of wine at the store and enjoy that for less. I'll pack a corkscrew.
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Mar 30th, 2010, 04:09 PM
  #14  
 
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You can stop at the local grocery store and pick up some wine and keep it in your room. We picked up some beer and sodas for the room. It definitely is worth it. We did the same in Bermuda.
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Mar 30th, 2010, 05:18 PM
  #15  
KVR
 
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Here's one of the main grocery stores in Aruba:

http://www.lingandsons.com/ling/home.do

You can even shop on-line and I think they deliver to hotels for a fee.
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Mar 31st, 2010, 08:54 AM
  #16  
 
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At Passions every Monday Happy Hour 5-6 it's buy one get one free... about $5 a drink.. not sure where the $10-12 is coming from... there are also several Happy Hours around! Just go to those!!
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Mar 31st, 2010, 04:36 PM
  #17  
P_M
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Good deal, I'll be a Happy Hour Hunter.

And of course I'll check out the grocery stores too.
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Apr 1st, 2010, 04:49 AM
  #18  
KVR
 
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No need to hunt. They are all listed right here:

http://www.restaurantsaruba.com/happy_hour.html
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Apr 1st, 2010, 05:11 PM
  #19  
 
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We stayed at the Radisson and loveed it...the restaurant on site is Sunset Grill--fantastic and our best meal.
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Apr 2nd, 2010, 02:55 AM
  #20  
 
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Aruba is our favorite destination! Gorgeous Caribbean sea, great food,beautiful weather and wonderful people. After 10 years this has become our yearly vacation. WE LOVE THE RADISSON! Their pool area even during the busy season never seems as crowded as the other resorts. The layout is fabulous!

In the beginning we booked our vacations directly through aavacations.com or liberty travel. Then we found MCM Tours 7 years ago and will not use anyone else. Aruba is the only island they specialize in and once you compare prices, you'll see why! I have a good friend who is in the travel business. Last year I thought we'd use her, give her the commission since she works from home and things were tough for her family. She was able to get us the same deal as MCM Tours. After we arrived, we didn't get the rooms we requested or the little perks we usually received with MCM. We met my sister and her family who traveled from Florida and they used MCM. I will never ever stray from MCM again. Live and learn I say! This year we will be traveling to Aruba in July and will be calling MCM Tours. You can check out their site at Aruba4u.com. I just priced our stay at the Radisson through bookit.com and it was $1000.00 more expensive than expedia.com! I can guarantee that when I call MCM today they will give me a better deal. Best of all, their packages always include a full buffet breakfast. That alone is very expensive if you paid for it daily.

Do your homework and then call MCM Tours at 1-(800)-642-7822. They're so friendly, helpful and patient. I will never go to Aruba again without them! There's nothing like arriving at your destination with PEACE of mind. MCM will do that for you.

PS... I am in no way or form have any connection with MCM Tours other than my love for Aruba and passing on great deals when I see them. You're going to ENJOY Aruba. Oh and the Radisson and the Holiday Inn is like comparing apples to oranges. Stay at the Radisson. You won't regret it.
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