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virginia3 Jan 5th, 2006 10:12 AM

Aruba vs Curacao for active family
Does anyone have any suggestions for which island would be better for a young family who love to snorkel and explore an island? We are not into a great nightlife, but more interested in snorkeling from shore, adventures that are child-friendly, and nice and safe beaches. We will be using our Marriott points so if you think another destination would fit the bill, feel free to post also!

bean2574 Jan 5th, 2006 10:35 AM


Personally, I can only speak from experience about Aruba. Very family friendly. Our best friends have been to both (no scuba) and liked Aruba better. Thats not to say that Curacao isn't also nice but there was not as much to do.

girlonthego Jan 5th, 2006 11:20 AM

We stayed at the Marriott on points in Aruba and had a great time. Another Marriott we were looking into was the Grand Cayman. They have better snorkeling I am sure than Aruba. I am not a snorkel expert and the water in Aruba was very green and nice. I do believe that GC is known for it's snorkeling though.
It think the Aruba hotel is a little higher level than GC. The one in GC was under construction after Ivan so we opted for a trip to Hawaii this year. (Not too bad. It was easier for us to get plane tickets.) I think construction is all complete on GC now.
I enjoyed my visit to Aruba. The food on the island was great. We felt very safe. I know there has been some bad press on Aruba and I wouldn't recommend it to teens who are interested in clubbing. But for families and couples we had a good time.
I also hear the Marriott on Curacao is the best hotel on Curacao.

allietoo Jan 5th, 2006 12:20 PM

Curacao Marriott has much more personality than typical Marriott, however, the pool is lovely but the beach is mediocre. Food at the resort was typical decent Marriott.
Aruba Marriott is on a way too crowded beach next to a never ending line of hotels/time shares on both sides. However, it offers lots of water activities. Good clean drinking water right from the tap in Aruba. The Marriott Curacao had water problems when we were there.
Snorkling is better in Curacao then Aruba, but still not wonderful. How about Cayman Marriott? I have not been to Cayman in years, but for flight time and Marriott points, it might be a nice option.

virginia3 Jan 5th, 2006 06:10 PM

thanks for the posts.

girlonthego and allietoo - we went to Cayman a couple of years ago. The Marriott is located alongside a strip of hotels and the beach is almost non-existent at Marriott. Maybe at most one row of beach chairs before you hit the water. The pool was crowded also. We weren't impressed with the hotel.

Cayman has great snorkeling and we had a blast, but wanted to try and different island.

girlonthego Jan 5th, 2006 06:22 PM

Aruba Marriott is a nice hotel. It is higher ranked than the GC Marriott.
I enjoyed our trip there and like I said before the food on Aruba was great. Water right from the tap like the other poster said. We had a ton of watersports available right in front of the hotel. There was one very nice timeshare building the Ocean club next door. Facilities were interusable. They have since built another called the Surf Club. This could account for more crowded beaches.
I don't know about Curacao,but it is very well liked here on the board.
We tried to use our Marriott points this spring at GC and they weren't accepting any. So, we changed our plans to Hawaii. The Marriott GC was still in the rebuilding mode when I was trying to book it.
Another very new Marriott that looks nice is the St.Kitts Marriott. If you have enough points, I hear the St.Thomas Ritz is very nice. Have fun choosing! and let us know what you choose!

girlonthego Jan 5th, 2006 06:25 PM

One more thing, there is another Marriott on Aruba called the Rennassaince hotel. It is located in the city and has it's own private island. I don't recommend this with kids because the city location is not that great. Also, if you need to leave the island to take one of the kids back to the hotel, it could get crazy. It might be worth paying for a day trip to the private island. Just another idea.

wetravel2 Jan 7th, 2006 11:51 AM

We stayed At the Aruba Marriott 2 years ago, and in Curacao last year, both using points. My children are teenagers, so we were interested in more active adventures. You really can't go wrong with either choice. However, we really loved the snorkeling in Curacao. We brought our own snorkeling gear from home, and we used it almost everyday! The snorkeling off the beach at the Marriott in Curacao is excellent. The Curacao Marriott has a much more intimate feel. That being said, the food is better in Aruba, with more variety too. Also, the beach is better for kids to swim and play in Aruba. Curacao's beach is very rocky. My kids enjoyed the banana boat rides, and tubing right off the beach at the Marriott in Aruba. I don't believe you can snorkel right off the beach in Aruba. We spoke to people in Curacao who had kids in the kids club and really loved it. Also, the prices in Aruba were a little higher too. We felt very safe at both resorts, and we found the staff to be very friendly at both. How old are your kids? I think Curacao would be a great choice for younger kids, and Aruba for older ones.

virginia3 Feb 1st, 2006 07:18 PM

For wetravel2 -

thanks for your reply. The kids in our group will range from 6 - 9. We have decided to go to Curacao and would love to hear what you did there. Did you eat at the hotel or did you do most of your meals outside the resort? I know eating out at Grand Cayman was very pricey as compared to the US, what would you say about the prices in Curacao?

Are there grocery stores nearby to pick up food for day trips? What day trips would you highly recommend? Any other suggestions would be welcomed and appreciated!

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