What's the big deal about Aruba?

Old May 8th, 2002, 06:02 PM
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What's the big deal about Aruba?

I've been reading a lot about Aruba lately. It seems as though I've seen so many positives that I think I'm going to plan a trip there. Is Aruba the real deal or what? My real deal includes great beaches you can swim in, good food, safety, and cleanliness. Please share good and bad experiences.
Old May 8th, 2002, 06:09 PM
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3 outa 4 aint bad
Old May 8th, 2002, 06:57 PM
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Aruba is great. The beaches are among the absolute best in the Caribbean, if not the world. Great for swimming and lounging.

The diverse restaurants are also better than most Caribbean destinations.

Finally, the island is very safe and clean. The standard of living is high and unemployment is low. Aruba is well south of the hurricane belt (which keeps infrastructure intact and people employed).

Old May 9th, 2002, 04:28 AM
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Careful! One size doesn't fit all. Aruba is not for everyone. Commercial and could be mistaken for any huge developed American beach resort town a la Miami Beach.
Old May 9th, 2002, 05:43 AM
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In my opinion Aruba meets all four of the criteria you listed.

While the beaches are very swimmable, the water is not as crystal clear as it is in places like the Virgin Islands or the Caymans.

Aruba does feel more Americanized than most Caribbean islands. However, comparing it to Miami is an overstatement - the development is much less dense, the "high-rises" not as high and not as close together. A mile from the beach is rural - which certainly isn't true in south Florida.

Some visitors say there isn't much "authentic Caribbean culture" in Aruba, but I think it partly seems that way because our stereotypical image of Caribbean culture is based on islands with primarily African roots, while Aruba has strong Dutch and Latin American influences.

While there is some hilly terrain, the island is very arid and brown. This is a major turnoff for some visitors.

Aruba definitely outranks most other Caribbean islands for friendliness and safety. I thought the people working there were almost TOO efficient - I expected a more laid-back atmosphere.

There are many excellent restaurants and I would NOT advise all-inclusive on this island.

Old May 9th, 2002, 05:57 AM
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The water was cloud and murky in Palm Beach and Eagle Beach when we were there last month. It was better in Baby Beach where the water is very clear and calm. Honestly, Baby Beach is the only thing that's good about Aruba. I'd rather return to Miami than Aruba. Beaches in Aruba are better than Florida but I'm not going back to Aruba to spend a lot of money if I'm only going for the beaches. Pick another island which has a lot more to offer.
Old May 9th, 2002, 08:20 AM
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I've been to Aruba twice and it meets your four criteria. I have also found the island to be very "user friendly" and the locals are friendly and service-oriented. The island itself has a high standard of living hence, the RELATIVE safety. Some people love it, others hate it and this comes down to personal taste. But as a vacation destination it offers alot.
Old May 9th, 2002, 08:31 AM
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We just returned from a stay at La Cabana and we had a great time. In fact we're returning in December to stay at the Wyndham. For us, there is a lot to do including great nightlife--shows, casinos, places to dance etc. Cuisine is excellent and a great variety of restaurants--I can name quite a few. We rented a car for mobility and driving was easy, just had to watch out at times for fast drivers. Beaches are beautiful, rated one of the top ten in the Caribbean. Definitely not as great for snorkling as in Turks and Caicos but Provo was too quiet for us. The people were friendly and I never got bored or felt unsafe although crime exists everywhere in the world. There are a lot of watersports available. This island is not plush and for people looking for more tranquility this is not the place.
Old May 9th, 2002, 08:39 AM
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Is it just me, or is anyone else getting sick & tired of reading all this BS about "Americanized" Caribbean destinations? Must an island be burdened with poverty and slums to qualify as "authentic" Caribbean?? That seems to be the implication in many posts.

Safe islands with stable governments and high standards of living naturally attract outside investment. The opposite is also true. Please don't penalize an island for being stable and successful. There are plenty of great places to visit in the Caribbean -- if you want poverty & corruption, you can certainly have that as well.

Finally, my vacations in Aruba have been very rich from a cultural standpoint. In one week last Fall I met wonderful people from Venezuela, Columbia, the Netherlands, Gemany & Ghana. One day, my divemaster was Dutch and the dive guide was Venezuelan.

Are there McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts on Aruba? Sure, because the island is safe, stable, clean and prosperous. But look beyond the storefronts and you'll find a remarkably diverse group of people working behind the counters. Enjoy Aruba!
Old May 9th, 2002, 09:58 AM
Sally W.
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Amen, Ted! Thank you for saying what I've been thinking! Many other people as well, I bet.

We love Aruba as well as many other places. All are different - visit all and then make an educated decision about where to return.
Old May 9th, 2002, 10:03 AM
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low unemployment, yes. but it is a growing center for the money-laundering and transport of narcotics to Europe and the US if you check the CIA's website. Also prostitution is legal.
Old May 9th, 2002, 10:14 AM
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As far as transport of narcotics, this is not uncommon in some of the Caribbean islands--shouldn't just point out Aruba! This island still is to us the safest island we have visited outside Bermuda, St. Barts and Turks and Caicos.
Old May 9th, 2002, 12:23 PM
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There are alot of great places to visit, and Aruba is certainly one of them. One thing not mentioned is the great scuba diving, esp. the Antilla wreck. Very safe & friendly too.
Old May 9th, 2002, 12:28 PM
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Bravo, Ted!! My sentiments exactly!
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