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Thread: Opinions Please for 1 Day Self Guided Jeep Island Route

  1. #1
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    Opinions Please for 1 Day Self Guided Jeep Island Route

    Call me crazy...however, I'm still trying to determine how to squeeeeze in all of the island top attractions in 1 day by doing a self guided tour with a rented jeep. Our time in Aruba is too short (5 nights), so we are only allowing 1 day to explore the island by jeep.

    I'm trying to hit just the best places, and include Baby Beach since that is frequently mentioned as a "Must do." If we had more time we'd split the touring up into 2 days as some posts recommended, but unfortunately that's not an option.

    We are planning on a full day. I know we'll have a full day so I'm hoping to eliminate any "I wish we would've skipped XXX so we would've had more time at XXX." (We are not interested in going to the Natural Pool on our own, so will pass on that site.)

    Starting from Palm Beach
    Drive along coast to Lighthouse
    Should we stop at a beach along the route to the Lighthouse? Is so, which one? Or save our beach time for Baby Beach?
    Drive along coast to Alto Vista Chapel.
    Bushiribana Gold Mine Ruins
    Natural Bridge
    Ostrich Farm or Donkey Sanctuary (Which one or neither? )
    Ayo Rock Or Casibari Rock Formations (Both, Neither or Which 1?)
    Hooiberg Mt Trail - hike to the top
    Baby Beach
    Should we add a cave stop to our route?
    What route should we take to Baby Beach?
    Should we drive through the National Park to get to Baby Beach, or will that take too long?

    Based on our family history of never vacationing in the same spot twice, I would greatly appreciate your help sharing any advice regarding my questions in Red, and any other thoughts/tips.

    Thank YOU Thank You!
    Last edited by BeachMom; 11-02-2015 at 07:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member WaltVB's Avatar
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    Well, I really think you are just trying to do too much for one day. Remember, it is hot, windy and dusty as soon as you leave the resorts. Your trip layout will be doable if you have a stopwatch running at every place you visit. It may also be a bit exhausting for your grandson. I've never done it, but I understand that it takes about an hour to climb up and down the steps at Hooiberg and it is recommended to do it first thing in the morning to avoid the heat. I don't know if you want to stop at a beach on the way to the lighthouse, there are several, but unless your doing it to get in the water and swim or snorkel I'd skip it. As to the other stops, all are worth a trip, but they all take time. Think trying to do an entire Disney World visit in one day. One issue you may have is the roads are poorly marked at best and not at all on the North side of the island. Get a good map, I use a Borch map and GPS on my phone and it still is confusing some times. Depending where you wind up, it may be shorter to go through Arikok to Baby Beach. I also think you should break family tradition and revisit Aruba to fully experience the island at a slower pace. In any event, I hope you have a great time and get to see as much as possible.

  3. #3
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    Thank you for the reply WaltVB. I'm still laughing over the Disney analogy - perfect!
    Ok, so at a slower pace - what do I give up on the route and save for a return trip to Aruba?

    ....I do have the Borch map and have reserved a GPS with our jeep, and if we get lost that will be part of the adventure.

  4. #4
    CK1
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    I agree with everything, Walt said.

    I haven't done the whole island in one day either but it's doable if you skip a few things.

    My main concern would be the heat and the tropical sun. For that reason, I never rented a jeep in Aruba (in Utah and Arizona yes) but prefer an air-conditioned car. There can also be lots of dust and sand driving, mostly lots of wind! I have been thinking of your 4-year old Grandson as well.

    If you still want to do it, I would recommend driving to the California Lighthouse with a short picture stop at Arashi beach. At the lighthouse, there is a restaurant for cool drinks and bathroom stop. After that, it might get tough as I'm not sure if the restaurant at the Ostrich farm is open or not (that would always be my next stop for refreshments).

    Definitely stop at Alto Vista Chapel and the Gold Mine Ruins as they are pretty much on the way to the Natural Bridge and the wild side of Aruba with the mighty ocean.

    From there I would aim at the Casibari Rock Formations where you could climb up to have a spectacular view. Finding your way from the Natural Bridge to Casibari Rocks might be a challenge, I got lost on a regular basis but I was not under any time pressure and just enjoyed whatever else I discovered on the way.

    Hooliberg: As Walt mentioned that would be something to do very early in the morning as it's tough going up and not a good idea to do during the day.

    But the time you have done all this it might be time to eat, drink and rest a bit. I don't know if there are any restaurants close by and would probably drive to Oranjestad. There are plenty of good restaurants.

    From there, I would drive direction to Baby Beach and finally get in the water. Just be careful and follow the warning signs.

    Then, heading back to your hotel with possibly another stop at Oranjestad.

    But my question would also be: Do you only have vehicles for one day? And are your plans to just stay at your hotel for the rest of your vacation?

    I'm sure other forum members have as well great suggestions from their experience.

  5. #5
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    Thank you CK1 for taking time to share your thoughts and valuable suggestions!

    We have 2 jeeps rented - 1 hard top (fully enclosed with a/c) to keep our grandson protected from the elements, and 1 soft top (removable top) for those of us who are still thawing from the Mid-West winter. We'll have a cooler for each jeep for refreshments.

    We have 5 nights/ 4 days on the island.

    1 day snorkel/sail on Tranquilo, 1 day beach day/water sports day at the Hyatt, 1 day jeeps rented to explore island, and our last day is Open.

    Would it make sense to skip the Ostrich & Donkey Farms, and use that time to drive through the National Park and stop at the Quadirikiri Cave on the way to Baby Beach?
    Last edited by BeachMom; 11-02-2015 at 10:07 PM.

  6. #6
    CK1
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    You are most welcome, BeachMom. And thanks for answering my questions.

    Four full days is actually not too much time. There are so many great things to do and you have already planned most of the trip. Good that you have the last day open in case something comes up while you are in Aruba which you really, really want to do!

    Your last question: I cannot answer that as I have never been to the Donkey Sanctuary or the Quadirikiri Cave.

    The Ostrich Farm would be on the way to the Natural Bridge. I always loved stopping there as their restaurant reminded me of an African lodge with beautiful African decoration. However, there was a fire some time ago and I don't know if the restaurant reopened or not. Here is the FB site of the Ostrich Farm:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aruba...405551?fref=ts

    Maybe someone else can weigh in and share their opinion and experience.

    I definitely would look forward to your trip report which options you choose if you would like to share it here.

  7. #7
    CK1
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    Out of curiosity I checkt Tripadvisor for their comments on the Quadirikiri Cave. It seems many people really liked to visit the cave:

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...ark_Aruba.html

  8. #8
    CK1
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    Here is a lovely video of climbing the Casibari Rocks, there is a little "tunnel" to go through to reach finally the top from where you will have a fantastic view over the island. There is also a little snack bar when you return:

    http://bentpage.net/category/aruba-g...ba-activities/


    Alto Vista Chapel:

    http://bentpage.net/category/aruba-g...sights/page/9/


    Natural Bridge:

    http://bentpage.net/category/aruba-g...sights/page/8/


    And, just for fun as Walt has mentioned it: Disney in Aruba!

    http://bentpage.net/category/aruba-g...sights/page/5/


    There is lots and lots fantastic info on this blog. The author is SanNic44, a forum member here. Just surfing though his blog brought back many cherished memories! I have been to Aruba four times, approx. 7 days/trip. I'm usually very active and love exploring. But I STILL have not seen everything!

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Jacki's Avatar
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    I'm going completely against the grain and say Go For It!

    Having the hard top with A/C will be a great thing for the little one. Starting early is key as is having coolers on board.

    I would skip the beaches on the way to the lighthouse. Great for snorkeling, but not a must do first thing because you'll want to be dry for the ride I would think. There is a great food truck at the lighthouse with fresh coconuts & smoothies & awesome people running it.

    Alto Vista is a must do, as are Bushiribana & Natural Bridge IMO.

    Ostrich Farm would be really fun for the little one I think, especially since it's right there by the ruins & bridge.

    By the time you reach the Hooiberg area it will be the worst time of day to hike it. I've never done it, but from what I've heard I would not attempt it mid day. I would continue right to Baby Beach by way of Arikok so that you can stop at a cave along the way. Map showing Fontein (everything looks so far away on the map, but it really isn't!)

    You may find you have time to stop at other places along the way - Boca Prins is a nice beach to see, the area by the Natural Bridge is great for watching the waves, checking out fossils, etc. Driving thru the park you will see many goat families and other animals if you take the time to look.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeachMom View Post
    Call me crazy...however, I'm still trying to determine how to squeeeeze in all of the island top attractions in 1 day by doing a self guided tour with a rented jeep. Our time in Aruba is too short (5 nights), so we are only allowing 1 day to explore the island by jeep.

    I'm trying to hit just the best places, and include Baby Beach since that is frequently mentioned as a "Must do." If we had more time we'd split the touring up into 2 days as some posts recommended, but unfortunately that's not an option.

    We are planning on a full day. I know we'll have a full day so I'm hoping to eliminate any "I wish we would've skipped XXX so we would've had more time at XXX." (We are not interested in going to the Natural Pool on our own, so will pass on that site.)

    Starting from Palm Beach
    Drive along coast to Lighthouse
    Should we stop at a beach along the route to the Lighthouse? Is so, which one? Or save our beach time for Baby Beach?
    Drive along coast to Alto Vista Chapel.
    Bushiribana Gold Mine Ruins
    Natural Bridge
    Ostrich Farm or Donkey Sanctuary (Which one or neither? )
    Ayo Rock Or Casibari Rock Formations (Both, Neither or Which 1?)
    Hooiberg Mt Trail - hike to the top
    Baby Beach
    Should we add a cave stop to our route?
    What route should we take to Baby Beach?
    Should we drive through the National Park to get to Baby Beach, or will that take too long?

    Based on our family history of never vacationing in the same spot twice, I would greatly appreciate your help sharing any advice regarding my questions in Red, and any other thoughts/tips.

    Thank YOU Thank You!
    Jacki ~ loving Aruba from NJ

  10. #10
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    i agree with jacki and would substitute Donkey and Ostrich for Philips Animal Garden.

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