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First time out of country AND first trip to Aruba

First time out of country AND first trip to Aruba

Sep 28th, 2007, 09:30 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 19
First time out of country AND first trip to Aruba

Hello all! I'm going on my first trip out of the country next June. It'll be to Aruba, going with a friend and her family where they have two timeshares. One is the Divi, but I forget the other.

What recommendations would you make on making the trip most memorable but also hassle free? I mean, mention everything (other than passport, that's already done) that 'seasoned' travelers take for granted. Tips like cash vs charge, what to pack, when to book the flight, etc. (flying out of ORF- Norfolk VA)

I'm also more interested in seeing more of Aruba than the tourist and crusie ship traps. Would like to try real local food and drink. I'm excited about the trip, but after reading some of the posts here- it seems people don't think Aruba is that nice of a place?

Thanks in advance!
sperkins921 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 09:44 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 44
You'll have a wonderful time -- we were in Aruba last November and it was lovely. The beaches are beautiful and the people are very friendly.

However, you may not really feel like you've left the country (the US that is). It is in some ways very American. The large proportion of tourist there (and I would estimate above 90%) are from the US. Everyone accepts US currency and everyone speaks English.

There is some exploring to be had, but you'll have to really look around for it and ask about it. The small local population does have a interesting and significant culture, but it is not what is generally revealed to tourists.

We took a wonderful kayak trip along the southern part of the west coast of the island and had great local tour guides who gave us a sense of what it meant to them to be Aruban -- but I think in general, that can be difficult to find.

Enjoy the adventure, but know that there are many more ahead on your other international journeys!
dhm49 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 10:39 AM
  #3  
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
We went to Aruba in Sept. '06. We loved it and wouldn't hesitate going back. Aruba dosen't get high remarks because most people feel it's too "Americanized". That's just one of the things we loved about it. Aruba is safe, clean, easy to walk to many things in the Palm Beach area even at night and the the people are friendly.

For exployering, do a jeep tour to the other side of the Island. We went with ABC since it was the only company we found that went to the Natural Pool. Wear water shoes. We also did a snorkel tour, sunset dinner cruise, beach hopping tour, walked to the Butterfly Farm, went to the Havana Nights Tropical Show, went to De Palm Island for the day and did the Kukoo Kunuku Party Bus. We also found the shopping to be very good. The downtown area is clean and no one is harrassing you "to come into my shop".

There are so many numerous restaurants and bars. Read the posts here as many have already been mentioned several times.

I think many people who don't like Aruba didn't get off the beach in front of their hotel long enough to find the interesting aspects of it.
KVR is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 08:55 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,801
I think Aruba is perfect for first time travelers – no language barrier for one thing.

If you like to use public transport then the Aruban system is wonderful – clean, inexpensive and regular – we have been to Aruba twice and haven’t rented a car. OK, we took cabs to and from the airport but I’m not sure that counts

Lots of tours will collect you from your hotel, we loved the kayaking tour and last year we did the Harley Davidson tour of the island (you need a motorcycle license) which was so much fun and took us round the back roads.

Red sail have a good snorkeling tour.

All the restaurants we tried were good – you have made a good choice for your first introduction to the Caribbean. Le Dome's Sunday brunch is my personal recommendation

Next year you will want to spread your wings further – or you will fall in love with Aruba and never want to set foot anywhere else, your choice

Happy travels – please come back and update us.
alya is offline  
Sep 29th, 2007, 12:44 AM
  #5  
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 19
I'm so glad I came and posted here- soo many other posts made it seem like Aruba was the worst place in the world to take a trip! I'll be on a cruise ( my first) to the Bahamas the week before Aruba and im soo stoked about both! I've always wanted to see the world

For those who've been to aruba and other islands, yet still keep coming back to aruba- what is it about the island that draws you back? I mean, to hear others tell it aruba isnt pretty, the snorkling is only so so, and the shopping is better on other islands. So just what is it about this island that keeps drawing you back?
sperkins921 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2007, 02:07 AM
  #6  
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
What we like so much about Aruba was the atmosphere and overall vibe. We also liked the "Americanized" feeling. It's a very safe Island, plenty of things to see and do, the hotels in the Palm Beach area are an easy walk to shops, restaurants and bars. Walking at night in that area is fine. Just use common sense. The bus system is easy and cheap. There are many water sports on Palm Beach. We found the snorkeling to be pretty good. The water was a little cloudy compared to some Islands we've been to, but we saw lots of fish. There's good entertainment at night. The restaurants choices are execellant and in all price ranges. We found the food very good compared to other destinations where we felt we paid a lot for medicore food. We liked the downtown shopping area. It's clean and no one is harrassing you to buy. The shops are more diverified. Unlike other Islands where shopping is 90% jewerely stores and the other 10% is junk. People rave about shopping in St. Thomas. We didn't see it. We thought Aruba was better. The only thing I don't like about Aruba is the distance from the US. It's a long flight and can be expensive to get there.

We have pictures of our trip if your interested. There at:

http://community.webshots.com/user/kvrlvn
KVR is offline  
Oct 6th, 2007, 02:56 AM
  #7  
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 19
thanks for sharing the link! It reminds me of Florida but the water is bluer

What type of shopping did you find in Aruba? Since you said it was a little more americanized I wondered if that was too. Judging by your many photos you know the carribean well
sperkins921 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2007, 05:56 AM
  #8  
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
We bought T-shirts. 3 for $20 or sleeveless 3 for $15. I purchased some linens for $2.75 a piece, a nice canvas beach bag for $4, picture frames for $12.00, a costume necklace for $24. We found the Downtown shopping area and the Palm Beach shopping area nice and clean with plenty of variety. There was a new shopping complex being built on Palm Beach across the street from the Holiday Inn. It wasn't complete when we were there, but should be done now.
KVR is offline  
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