First-time in Aruba -- HELP!

Old Aug 16th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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First-time in Aruba -- HELP!

Hello all.

I am going to Aruba for a friend’s destination wedding. We originally declined the invite, but at the last minute, decided to go. We will be there in Mid-September for a week.

Question: how is Aruba in Mid-September to late September? We’re concerned about any potential storms/hurricanes. What are the conditions like right now?

I’ve never been to Aruba and have not heard much about it. Is it recommended? What can we do? Snorkle?

How is it for people that have never been there? (we’re from Seattle). Is it tourist friendly?

How is the food? Is it non-Aruban (sp?) friendly? What restaurants are “must-eat” type of places?

Any particular side or location in Aruba is preferred? Is a car needed?

Also… Do I need a passport? I need to go get a new one, but if I do not need it, I would rather not get it right now (I can do it later). Is a birth cert enough?

Thanks in advance!
tymecard is offline  
Old Aug 16th, 2006, 11:44 AM
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We are going to Aruba in 17 days. Our first trip to that Island. We've been planning for months. Go to www.aruba-bb.com and www.tripadvisor.com message boards for Aruba. There is plenty of info.

For excursions, activities and restaurants try:

www.visitaruba.com
www.aruba.com
www.arubatravelguide.com
www.aruba-experience.com
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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Hi,
The weather in Aruba in mid-September is really beautiful. The island has not been affected by a hurricane in quite some time. The biggest complaints I hear is that, if there's a storm brewing elsewhere in the Caribbean - it sucks all of the wind away - which makes it quite hot.

Aruba is highly regarded. We've been twice, and have a return visit booked for '07. In fact, I believe it is the most revisited destination in the Caribbean. I think you'll be quite happy with your choice.

As for excursions - there's lots of stuff. Snorkeling is wonderful - they also offer SNUBA (a combo of diving and snorkeling) - there are spas - ATV rentals - horseback riding on the beach - casinos - and absolutely wonderful restaurants.

I sincerely believe that one of the many reasons Aruba is so frequently revisited IS because of the people. I've never been to a destination where I've felt more welcome - and safe. Aruba relies heavily on its tourism, and they treat their visitors as guests. Unlike many other places in the Caribbean, you will feel safe walking anywhere outside of your resort day or evening.

Again, the food is incredible. You'll need many trips to get through all of the wonderful restaurants. On the top of my list would be: Madame Janette's, Simply Fish, El Gaucho, Sunset Grille, and Pago Pago.

Only one side of the island has resorts - the other side is like a desert. If you're looking for accommodations, you'll only need to decide if you're more of an Eagle Beach (lo-rise) or Palm Beach (high-rise) person. (We always stay at Marriott Stellaris on Palm Beach.) Whichever you choose, I'm sure you'll be very pleased. And Palm Beach is a short cab/bus ride away from Eagle.

We have not yet rented a car, nor do we intend to. Well...maybe one day to go to Baby Beach and some of the more remote places on the island we've not yet visited. You certainly wouldn't need one for an entire visit. A day or two would be more than suffice.

Lastly - I would recommend a passport - it does make travel so much easier. But, if you do not have one and can not obtain one prior to the wedding, a birth certificate (I believe) will still get you in.

Hope this was helpful.
Enjoy Aruba.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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I also wanted to add that the public transportation in Aruba is safe, clean, and reliable. $1-$2 will get you everywhere on the bus (they run about every 15 minutes)- and cabs, for later in the evening, are always available and have set rates.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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I would echo shamrocks recommendation of public transport - it is used by tourists and locals alike.

We did the kayak tour in 2004 and did expect to ache the next day but didn't. This year we did the harley davidson tour - you do need to have a motorcycle licence for this but it really is a wonderful way to see the island.

If it's just the 2 of you I would recommend Bucuti beach resort www.bucuti.com the beach is wonderful and the hotel is quiet and aimed at couples.
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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Ok my husband and I went to Aruba for our honeymoon last year May 2005. We arrived the morning after Natalie Holloway vanished! We heard about it all while we were there, after being told there is zero crime in Aruba. This didn't ruin our vacation there at all! We have nothing but good things to say about Aruba and the people there. There are alot of dutch people from netherlands but mostly locals and tourists. Reasons to go: It's clean, it's beautiful, food is great, no worries of getting sick, you need the breeze though you dont' even notice it!, it's upscale, we met Thomas Kaberle on our trip home!! haa, everything about Aruba is awesome. The downtown area is good for shoppping, bring some cash to buy the jewels! Casino's were fun too.
What we did there: ATV tour - awesome saw natural (now fallen) bridge, swimmed in natural pool.
Rented Jeep for a day- drove to BABY BEACH - a must see. Bring some food for the fish and watch them jump out of the water to grab it!
I scuba dived - saw octopus, sea turtle, parrot fish and more.
We stayed at La Cabana 3 huge pools, ate lobster/steak every day, custom made omelettes, great desserts, and more! No need to tip extra as like in Dominican or Mexico, everyone was super nice, even left jewelry and money out. nothing was stolen! GO GO GO! I love it and dont' listen to anyone else. It's truly a 5 star island!
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 10:01 AM
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As for snorkeling, there is a WW2 era sunken German freighter in about 60 feet of water right off the coast of the island that is a must see for snorkeling. Also, don't miss out on seeing the natural bridge. I found the only drawback to Aruba is the constant windy conditions. Don't let anyone tell you it is just breezy. It is truly windy all the time. Have a great trip!
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 10:04 AM
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Oops, sounds like the natural bridge has fallen...
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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I would rent a car. Aruba had the cheapest rentals I've ever seen in the caribbean. WE used tropic. $175 for the week and very nice Yaris car.

Hurricanes do hit Aruba. We were there in October of 2004 and was brushed by Ivan. The flooding was intense! We couldn't go out of our hotel for four days. I would say we were definitely "effected!"
You can check our pictures. The flooding was unbelievable!

http://community.webshots.com/album/186625681ecbmsD

The food is good in aruba and driving is easy. We enjoyed the time we had and would go back in a heartbeat.

The snorkeling is okay. Nothing to special, but some nice beach areas.

Have fun.

Peace, Greenie
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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We enjoyed Aruba for one day on a cruise (Feb. 06). Very tourist-friendly, easy driving in a rental car, fun shore snorkles--we swam out to a shallow wreck off the west right off the California lighthouse tip of the island. Rental car essential!

We also got alot of great food souveniers--chocolate, etc. grocery store goodies.

If you get to the Tunnel of Love cave before 10am, you get an authentic local tour guide, not a processed & packaged tour through the cave. Cool!

We ate at El Gaucho--outside patio, casual yummies!

I have read that Aruba and the other ABC islands are outside of the hurricane belt, so this shouldn't be a terrible time to visit.

Have fun!

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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 05:52 PM
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My husband and I have been to Aruba twice. The first time it was a bit windy and the second time just a light comfortable breeze. Some people find the strong breeze bothersome, but without any breeze it would be quite hot. Personal preferences. We have stayed both times at the Marriott properties on Palm Beach. Beach is typically cramped, but in mid-Sept. most students have gone back to school, so maybe there will more space to stretch out. Not the best island for snorkeling as there is not that much to see. If you do go, make sure you snorkle at the sunken German Freighter site. I like to ride, so I took a 2 hour guided horse-back ride to the other side of the island where there were magnificient long-distance views of the coast. We rode through an area that is home to hundreds of wild parrots and other tropical birds. Also rode on the beach. I would only recommend Ponderosa Ranch. If you contact them directly versus your conceriege, you will get a bit of a discount. The horses they have are great and they are careful about making sure everyone is safe. Definitely worth it!!! When you book it make sure you don't go when the cruise ships are in port, as the groups can become Very large...no fun then. Have a wonderful time!
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Old Aug 18th, 2006, 05:52 AM
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Sigh.

Perhaps I should have been more specific in stating "direct" hit regarding hurricanes. Also, please note that the flooding in '04 is relatively rare as well.

I believe that Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire are pretty much a 'safe' bet during hurricane season.

Hence my "not Affected" comment.

My apologies for any misleading information.
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