Aruba review

Old Mar 29th, 2008, 08:53 PM
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Aruba review

We just returned from five days in Aruba and found it to be a wonderful island with great beaches. We think five days, though, is enough sun.

Here are the things we did right:
1. Got a Starwood Preferred guest five night package to stay at the Westin Aruba, which is one of a the high rise hotels. Nice hotel.

2. Rented a car for cheap at Royal Car Rental. Got an Aruba take out lunch at the place across from the car rental for $10 which was cheap and good. Ideal for when you are going to the airport departure.

3. Got up early to Arashi beach and got a free covered enclosure to keep from getting burned. Arashi is a good place to snorkel and ok to swim.

4. Went to Baby Beach which is near the Valero oil refinery and has 200 yards of protected water which is great for kids. Also has snorkeling. Note that it has two vendors for renting cabanas to protect from the sun. the one closer to the snack bar is cheaper. Get the Aruba pocket sandwich at the grill instead of typical hot dogs and hamburgers.

5. Went to the Butterfly farm which includes free return visits for the duration of your stay. It is within walking distance of the Westin Aruba.

6. Ate at Salt and Pepper which had very good tapas for dinner and cheaper than the hotel restaurants.

7. Ate at the Radisson Laguna Grill which has nightly buffets for $20 which is cheap for hotel food. Kids under 12 eat free!

8. Stayed in the shade and used sunblock. The sun is intense.

Things we did not do well:
1. Ate at the Sawadee Thai Restaurant which is a lesson that if you want ethnic food, don't expect to find it in another country. $16 Pad Thai was missing key ingredients and the house specialty, Massaman Curry was uninspired.

2. Picked the wrong wifi service. The airport and many of the high rise hotels can access wifiaruba which is cheaper than the hotel wifi rate.

3. Do NOT visit Arikok National Park, or at least until they pave the road. It was just an uninteresting desert with a terrible road under construction unless you have a jeep. It also has big signs saying it is a military firing range and enter at your own risk!

Necessary annoyances:

1. Road signs in Aruba are non existent. Fortunately, there are not many ways to get lost if you keep driving.

2. Almost all food and drinks come with a 15-17% service charge added, plus a line for additional gratuities.
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Old Mar 30th, 2008, 07:11 AM
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Good report.

BTW, did the 'line for additional gratuities' cajole you into adding a tip there?
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Old Mar 31st, 2008, 11:27 AM
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how is royal car rental are the cars older
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 05:26 AM
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We are going to Aruba in May our first time. Would you say that a car is just about a necessary item? Is getting around difficult? MY husbanad wants to rent a Harley for the day. Has anyone ever done this? Thanks.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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Thanks for the trip report. We enjoyed our stay at the Marriott a few years ago.
We did not rent a car, but took taxis to town and restaurants. (they were easily available). We did not sight see so we didn't need a car for day trips. To me, Aruba was more of a sun and swim island. We did watersports and took a boat out. The dining was good everywhere we went. Glad you liked it.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 07:14 AM
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Thanks for the report. We really loved Aruba and would like to go back. Next time do the ABC jeep tour. It was really fun and we got to see lots of sights.

diann24, were are you staying? If you staying at a hotel on Palm Beach, there are many restaurants, bars and shopping within walking distance of each other. The bus service is easy, convenient and inexpensive. You don't need a car unless you want to wonder around on your own. We did several tours to see the Island, took the bus downtown and walked. We didn't need a car.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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We are staying at La Cabana. They may have a different name than before. I am not familiary with the location or Aruba. Is it far from everything do you think? We will want to explore and not just sit on the beach every day. Was it windy when you were there? What is the ABC jeep tour? Sounds fun.
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Old Apr 5th, 2008, 05:21 PM
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The LaCabana is on Eagle Beach. There are a few resturants within walking distance. There is a bus stop right out front. Takes about 10 minutes to get to the Palm Beach area, and about 15 minutes to get Downtown (they are in opposite directions).

Go to http://www.abc-aruba.com/ for info on the jeep tour. We did the full day. Wear a bathing suit and water shoes if you go to the Natural Pool.

Also check out www.depalm.com Very large tour operator.

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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 03:53 PM
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Thanks for the web site they look great. Not sure if you or anyone will come back to this site. Now do you have to book these tours or reservations in advanc? We are leaving in about 3 weeks. 3 May 08. I like to wing it sometimes and decide things when I get there. I wouldn't want to lose out on the jeep tour. It sounds like fun. Thanks.
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 04:48 PM
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diann24,

We did the Harley tour - I did do trip report here that mentions it but the search function sucks

We only found out about the tour when we collected one of the adverting bags at the airport. We had to buy a pair of sneaker for my DH and you have to have a motorcycle license.

We were the only couple on the trip (there had been 6 couples the day before) but Larry our guide was wonderful. We had a great time and found that he took us to places on the island that we hadn't been before, most through the residential areas, which was fun for me as the passenger I could wave at everyone - and they all waved back

We just had the bike for the trip - although we could have rented it for the whole day and go exploring on our own. We found half a day was fine for us. We walked to the local store, grabbed some beer and caught a bus back to Eagle Beach, It was a very good day
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 08:12 PM
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ayla,

Was this through the Harley dealership?? I can't find where I saw it advertised on the web. It spoke about the tour. My husband has the license so we should be fine. I think I would really enjoy that but only with a guide. Not on our own. Thanks.
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 09:12 PM
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diann24- yes it was through the dealership.

i don't know where you're staying but if you are headed from the airport to Eagle or Palm beach keep a look out - the shop is on the right hand side, but I'm sure your hotel will be able to give you the information.

Try this link - http://www.harleydavidson-aruba.com/...and_tours.html

Have fun!
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 04:47 AM
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A few years ago we did the DePalm company's jeep tour and it was fun. But we were not told in advance that you may be driving the jeep and it involves a stick shift and very rocky terrain. Just a warning.
We also did the Kukunooku (sp)...Well, the drunk bus tour. That was a blast, but pace yourself! It starts with a champagne toast at the lighthouse, dinner outside at a house and then 3 bars. We met some great people and had a lot of fun.
LOL on the tipping....I had the same thoughts...don't over tip.
We didn't book a thing in advance..go with the flow!
We also did the sunset sail with DePalm and that was wonderful.
Loved the food at Carlos and Charlies, Aqua and whatever the beachfront restaurant is at the Marriott...$$, but good. DH liked Amazonia, but too much food for me.
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Old Apr 12th, 2008, 05:12 AM
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Thanks everyone. I can hardly wait to go. This is our first time to Aruba. We have been to quite a few other islands but not Aruba. That one tour sounds like a lot of fun. The Kukulooka whatevery. That was through the DePalm place. I will post a report when I return. Thanks again.
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