Would we like Aruba?

Jan 25th, 2004, 03:00 PM
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Would we like Aruba?

Hi - my husband and I (in our 50's) just got back from the US Virgin Islands. We LOVED St. John and will return. We have a chance to go to Aruba next January and are trying to decide.

We want great snorkeling and like to be active. We definitely are not sit on the beach people and we don't care about shopping. Like hiking, kayaking and touristy stuff. Would there be plenty to keep us going for a week on Aruba? Thanks for any input - people seems to love Aruba or hate it. We're trying to figure out why!
sueoz is offline  
Jan 25th, 2004, 03:38 PM
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My husband and I have been to both Aruba and St. John and loved both islands equally. There are a lot of people that don't like Aruba because of it's commercialization. I do agree that there are parts of Aruba that are very built up, particularly in the area near the high-rise hotels. However, we just avoided that area and stayed at the Bucuti in the low-rise section and LOVED it! While the hotel itself is more basic than some, it is on the largest section of beach on the island and the staff's attention to their customers is second to none. We just can't say enough good things about that place!

If you do decide to try Aruba, be sure to rent a jeep and explore the island. The other side of the island is absolutely gorgeous! Believe me, there is a lot more to Aruba than shopping and the beach.
janepaul is offline  
Jan 25th, 2004, 04:47 PM
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Like New York City and Los Angeles.
Some people love one and dislike the other, etc, though they both have their own appeal.
Many (not all) Caribbean-o-philes like islands which provide a different experiecne than can be found in the USA. They want to go experience a different culture, different scenery, different food, etc.
Aruba detractors often cite these as Aruba's biggest shortcomings.
Aruba was one of the first Caribbean islands I visited many years ago and I liked it at the time. The more islands I visited, the more I realized that I wouldn't like it much if I were to return. There are several other islands that have much greater appeal for me.

Aruba is what I call 'Caribbean lite'. It really doesn't feel a whole lot different than the USA. The beaches are great, better than any in the continental USA, but that's about all that Aruba offers which is unique vs. the mainland IMO.

Island like St. John offer a Caribbean look and feel. Barbados, St. Bart's, Bermuda and many other islands offer cultural flavor, different food, and a combination of elements not to be found in the US.

Should you visit Aruba? Sure.
That's the only way to find out whether or not it suits YOU.
If you could only visit one more island the rest of your life, should that be the one? Well.....
TedTurner is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 03:33 AM
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We are also in our 50's. I ditto everything janepaul said, as my experience in Aruba paralleled hers.We also enjoyed the Bucuti and I feel that the Eagle Beach area is more cosmopolitan/euro than the highrise area. Aruba has its culture and history, plenty of water sports, interesting geography, and excellent restaurants! Go and experience it.
Jan 26th, 2004, 04:05 AM
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Thanks for the responses. Can we snorkel off the beach here or do we have to do boat excursions? sue
sueoz is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 04:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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We visited Aruba in 2000 and the Virgin Islands in 2001 (stayed on St. Thomas with daytrips to St. John and Tortola). We definitely preferred the VI due to better snorkeling, prettier scenery, and clearer water. (We've also been to St. Croix a couple of times).

In Aruba we stayed at the Manchebo Hotel, next door to the Bucuti, and we agree that this area has the best stretch of beach on the island. The beach itself is longer than anything you'll find in the VI, and in the Bucuti/Manchebo area it's wide and uncrowded.

While we were there, the water all along the hotel strip (Eagle and Palm beaches) was cloudy with suspended sand close to shore. Based on other reports I believe this is typical. To reach clearer water you'd have to swim out a very long distance - at which point you'd probably be run over by boats.

We found fairly good snorkeling from shore at Baby Beach and DePalm Island, both some distance from the hotel area. We tried snorkeling at Boca Catalina (north of Palm Beach) but the water was cloudy. We took a couple of sailing/snorkeling boat trips (there are many available) but the visibility still didn't measure up to the VI.

On the plus side, Aruba felt quite safe, it's easy to get around by car or taxi or bus, there are restaurants in every price range, and there's lots to do after dark (casinos, shows, clubs, etc.).

We had a wonderful time in Aruba (we ALWAYS have a wonderful time in the Caribbean!) but we're considering a return trip to the VI and not to Aruba.
Our most recent trip was to Provo - terrific beach.

cdt is offline  
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