please help! Aruba vs St John

Jul 11th, 2002, 06:10 PM
  #1  
marie
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please help! Aruba vs St John

My husband and I are planning our vacation for September. We prefer that time of the year, because there are usually less crowds and less children around.
We were looking at the Hyatt Aruba, because it is out of the hurricane belt. Aruba seems like a fun island with lots of good restaurants and interesting things to do, like the party bus and the horse and carriage rides in Oranjestad. However, Aruba is an arid, dry island and I'm worried that it may not feel like tropical paradise.
On the other side, we are considering the St John Westin, which has a lot of lush greenery and has a more Hawaii like look. St John doesn't seem like it has a lot of fun stuff to do.
We enjoy the whole resort experience so condos are not our thing. My perfect vaction consists of exploring local towns and shops, eating local caribbean cuisine and laying by the pool sipping drinks delivered by attentive waitors. Can anyone help us decide which island to go to this year?
 
Jul 11th, 2002, 06:39 PM
  #2  
June
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You're not going to find the "laying by the pool sipping drinks delivered by attentive waitors" type of experience on St John.
I honestly think you will be happier on Aruba, it is flat and not terribly scenic but the beaches are wonderful and there is more in the way of the planned kind of activities that you're looking for. St John is more of a do it yourself kind of place.
 
Jul 11th, 2002, 09:48 PM
  #3  
Mike
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St. John: pros: beautiful, lush vegetation, great beaches (but not the beach at the Westin), has local Caribbean flavor, not so touristy feeling.
Cons: limited commercial/retail options for shopping and dining, hostility toward Americans by islanders is common, poor local population, not easy to access most of the island (75% of which is national park), crime.

Aruba: pros: great beaches all over, no rain or hurricanes, safer than most all Caribbean islands, plenty of hotels, shopping and restaurants from which to choose, easy to travel the island by car, relatively cheap compared to many Caribbean islands.
Cons: not a pretty island (desert scrub), not much local flavor, windy beaches common.

The Westin is a decent resort, not great, and you won't receive 'attentive' pool service.
The best Aruban resorts are a notch above the Westin in quality.
 
Jul 12th, 2002, 01:49 AM
  #4  
June
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Mike,
What kind of crime did you experience on St John? I've been going there for 15 years and have never had any issues with crime.
I have heard of the occasional break in at a villa or a car but I'm just wondering what kind of crime you came in contact with?
 
Jul 12th, 2002, 06:37 AM
  #5  
Mike
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I read the local VI paper while there and was amazed at the amount of crime per capita (should be next to nil with so few people on St. Croix and St. John).
I was attacked by a (drug addled?) local man who was incensed that I did not step off the sidewalk into the street for him as he walked past my wife and me in Cruz Bay.
I was harassed and followed by some local guys about 20-30 years old while walking from the Westin into town.
Staff at the Westin were not only rude but almost confrontational toward us.
We are rather quiet midwesterners, not loud in-your-face types.
Being there only 5 days I thought this was all quite disturbing.
 
Jul 12th, 2002, 07:20 AM
  #6  
June
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Mike,
Sorry to hear you had such troubles on your visit. As I said, I've been traveling to St John for over 15 years and have never had a negative experience with crime or being hassled etc.
That said, I would say that there do seem to be more youngish men just hanging around than there used to be and that can be intimidating.
As for the staff at the Westin, I've never stayed there so I can't comment but I've heard both good and bad.
Hope you give it another try, it really is a beautiful island!
 
Jul 12th, 2002, 10:45 AM
  #7  
Bud
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I agree with Mike. St. John definitely does have a "anti-tourist" feeling. Island's population is poor. Alot of police for such an island. Must have problems we don't hear about. Aruba has finally wised up and stopped giving visas to Venezuelans. They keep coming in and taking jobs from native Arubans and bringing their drug and crime habits with them. Aruba would get my vote of the two mentioned.
 
Jul 12th, 2002, 12:16 PM
  #8  
Grace
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Aruba now limits entrance by Venezuelan nationals?
Wow. That's a bold move.
Is this a recent change in policy?
 
Jul 13th, 2002, 04:24 AM
  #9  
???
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did they ever arrest that machete carrying gang that robbed tourists as they sat on their patios at the resorts?
http://travel.state.gov/aruba.html
www.cyberdistrict.net/eddy/1258.htm
www/cyberdistrict.net/eddy/1184.htm
 
Jul 13th, 2002, 08:31 AM
  #10  
wayne
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we absoutely hated St. Thomas and found St. John's only a little better. Not only were the people very rude and openly hostile; but the beggars were insistent. one drunk (drugged) woman stopped me three times in one hour while i was just trying to sit alone for a while. another drunk (drugged) man stopped my wife and I twice; then walked over to a bush not more tha 20 feet away and relieved himself in plain view right in front of us. If I need that kind of entertainment, I will go to a slum for my next vacation. Our vote for the USVI-NEVER AGAIN!
 
Jul 14th, 2002, 04:45 AM
  #11  
Sandra
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Just returned from a wonderful trip to the USVI. Stayed on St. Thomas 3 nites and St. John 7. It was wonderful. Still recovering from island time but had no problems with anyone or anything and it was one of the best trips. Even the taxi drivers I had been warned about were the best. The guys bugging you to come in the shops were a little annoying one morning that we shopped for gifts but no problem. The restaurants were very good to excellent. The beaches and snorkling were over the top. Not my first trip to the islands but my first to the USVI and loved it and would recommend it.
Ask away if you have questions.
 
Jul 14th, 2002, 07:32 AM
  #12  
Abigail
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I am also planning a vacation to St. John in September and will be staying at The Westin. I have heard such mixed reviews about the resort but have decided to stay there anyway. Having been to both Aruba and the Bahamas, I have found that on both islands (as I'm sure is the case with all islands) haggling with tourists is just something that locals do. It's an easy way for them to make money, but if you are firm with them, they usually go away. You will most likely find pushy locals on public beaches as they are not allowed to solicit on private beaches.
Does anyone have a favorite snorkeling spot that might not be found in the island guide books? Also, are there any tours that are worth/not worth taking? I prefer self-guided tours but don't mind splurging on one or two day trips.
 
Jul 14th, 2002, 01:07 PM
  #13  
tootsie
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nice thing about the USVI is there is no private beaches and there are no vendors or hawkers on them. no beggars either. Feet, Fins and Fourwheel Drive and St. John off the beaten Path are two books that we found helpufl on our trip. We rented a jeep and did our own touring with those books and didn't need a guide. The Park has some guided hikes that were nice especially the Reef Bay one. And we did a boat tour (the Blast maybe was the name) of some of the BVI islands and snorkling. It was really nice and we got to go to Jost von Dyke where Foxy's beach bar and the Soggy Dollar is. Fun!! We are already planning our second trip back since we were disappointed in our choice for this summer after St. John.
 
Jul 14th, 2002, 01:35 PM
  #14  
Mike
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Have been to St. J 4 times in the last 3 years and love it.....have never been harassed or interacted with anyone that wasn't very friendly....can't wait to go back. Favorite beaches - Salt Bay Pond, Hawksnest, Gibney and Francis Bay. Favorite snorkeling spot Waterlemon cay
 
Jul 14th, 2002, 03:40 PM
  #15  
dave
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thanks for the links. Didn't know that the VI is ranked third in the list of weathiest islands according to www.cyberdistrict.net/eddy/1264.htm and the VI don't have the same links to money laundering and off shore banking like Aruba and the Cayman Islands do. Good site for Aruba information.
 
Jul 14th, 2002, 10:49 PM
  #16  
Paul
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My fiance and I went to St. John just about 1 year ago for the first time. It was absolutely the best trip we have ever taken. We stayed at the Westin and had no problems at all. Granted, we were only there to sleep and grab breakfast...then we were off to the north side beaches...but we loved it and would recommend it. As far as the crime and rude people, if they were there, we missed them. In a full week there we only met nice helpful people that were more than happy to help you. I would highly recommend St. John to anyone looking for a great relaxing week in paradise.
 
Jul 15th, 2002, 06:12 AM
  #17  
Susan
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Marie-

It depends what you are looking for in a vacation. I know some people say the cons of Aruba is windy beach, but I find it extremely soothing. The tradewinds make it bearable to tolerate the heat. Also, the wonderful trade winds keep away the bugs as well as the arid look of Aruba.

St. John is very lush, and therefore can cause some bothersome bug problems.

The people are extremely friendly in Aruba and do accomodate your every needs. The Hyatt, Raddison or Marriott are beautiful resorts, you can't go wrong there.

They have some wonderful sunset cruises, snorkeling cruises, dinner cruises, dinner on the beach, gambling, drive in movie theater, dinner theme parties in the evening, not to mention sipping tropical drinks...and yes definitely with attentive waiters!!!!

Whenever a local sees you they say hello. Truly is is called "ARUBA - ONE HAPPY ISLAND" for a reason!

Wherever you choose, you will have a wonderful time.


 
Jul 15th, 2002, 06:52 AM
  #18  
pam
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It's really simple. If you want to take a vacation in a desert, go to Aruba. If you want to go to a tropical paradise, go to St. John. You mentioned about the party bus in Aruba, well, this is one of the tackiest things I've ever seen. A bunch of drunks yelling ya-hoo!! They're trying so hard to have fun it's so pathetic.
 
Jul 15th, 2002, 09:53 AM
  #19  
nospam
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The pathetic thing is that they are having fun
 
Jul 15th, 2002, 10:11 AM
  #20  
Dr. Joyce
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Gee, Pam sounds jealous that others are ahving fun and she's not. What's wrong Pam? Life got you down?
 

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