I thought it basic manner to introduce myself before I start asking questions here. I've been reading here for several weeks now, and it's time to start making real plans.
Background: Married, no kids, 26, and quickly trying to expand our horizons through some travel opportunities. Love the beach, but also looking for anything of interest. Foodies! Up for some (mild) adventures. Not into clubbing it all night long, but bars, hangouts, and the like are fine. Not big shoppers, but one of our favorite things to do seems to be heading to a supermarket to check out how different/similar all that is.
My wife and I have secured an award flight to Aruba for 13-20 of Feb. Would have rather been in January sometime, but mid Feb is about the time we start to freak out from all the cold weather in Southern Indiana.
We're staying in the Oceania. We looked at other options, but the price was right for us. We've been visiting the Gulf coast in Florida for several years now, so we're used to condo rentals, but not at Aruba prices... Probably better options, but I think it will work fine for us. All inclusive don't really fit our needs well, so we thought this might.
I currently have very few specific questions, and of those, I'll try to post them to appropriate locations here. But, I'd love to get some more general feedback from the collective personal experiences here.
We value experiences over 'things.' With that mentality, we try to seek out some kind of cultural immersion while traveling. Aruba doesn't seem to be the greatest place for that. We're fine with that, we came primarily for the beach... It seems because of the level of tourist activity, that its hard to put ourselves somewhere where we can experience the culture of the island. Maybe it will be abound all around us, I don't know. We've made the choice to stay on the beach, picked a few 'tourist' places to eat, and looked at the typical tourist activities. So, I guess my question is...Is there more to Aruba than the beach? How do we see a different Aruba than those that lock themselves within the gates of their resort on the beach?
After all that, I will venture to say that out of our 6 days there, 5.8 days will be on the beach. But, I'd love to hear what the opinions are on the above comments.
Comments about 'must do', 'don't bother', 'have to go here' topics are greatly appreciated.
I'm going to start digging in and getting some ideas here, understanding that much of the trip will be completely unplanned. (no overbooking for us!)
Thanks for being welcoming, and supporting this great resource!
After all that, I will venture to say that out of our 6 days there, 5.8 days will be on the beach. But, I'd love to hear what the opinions are on the above comments. Comments about 'must do', 'don't bother', 'have to go here' topics are greatly appreciated.
Welcome to the forum
I think with the short period of time you do have on the island and your desire to spend most of it on the beach, the short answer would be to get out of the resort and take a tour of the island.
As first time visitors though I would suggest a private GUIDED tour. Private tours can be personalized any way you wish, including at your driver's suggestion a lunch at a local spot or take away.
Some would suggest driving yourself around the island, but with a guide you will receive a history of the island as well as know what exactly it is that you are seeing.
Some of my personal "must see" spots would be the beaches of Boca Grande & Dos Playa. For novelty, a visit to Aruba would not be complete without a stop at the Donkey Sanctuary and if you do not have them at home, the wind farm.
Moomba Beach, Eagle Beach - just about anywhere I can wiggle my toes in the sand and enjoy an ice cold Bright
Welcome to the forum. You will be on Island just in time for the Grand Carnival Parade which is on Sunday February 19th. The parade is scheduled to start at 11am downtown and it winds it way through the streets. I heard a rumor that the actual route may change this year but nothing has been confirmed. The parade is not for the faint of heart and may not be for everyone. It's during the heat of the day, starts later and runs longer than most people expect. It may actually start at 11am but it almost never gets to downtown before 4pm. That is a long time for the casual tourist to be in the sun with no shade to speak of. Having said that, my sisters and I have been going every year since 1994 and love every minute of it - they only one we missed was two years ago when I broke my foot the night before the parade. That wasn't so much fun. You can find the Aruban culture anywhere you look in the little things people do every day. In my experience the Aruban people are some of the kindest most accommodating people I have ever met.
We stayed at Oceania last year and will be doing so again in Feb 2012. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have and I will do my best to help you out. I really think you and your wife are going to love Aruba. Welcome to the message board.
Hi we also like to check out supermarkets when we travel to see the local foods. You will be happy to see bakery and meat depts-so different in Aruba. I have to say the reason we go to Aruba is for the beach and the local culture. If you want some cultural immersion I think you can find it. This forum is great to find the off the beaten track stuff. We have hooked up with a local fisherman in Savaneta that we keep in touch with. Crazy fun fishing. As some have mentioned Bully or Madi is a great way to get the local flavor of the island. Renting a car and hitting the local BBQ places and little food stands are fantastic. If you are friendly the people in Aruba are so nice. Several times they have gone out of their way to help us find our way to another cool place. Start by typing in terms in the search section of this forum. Chances are someone asked the same question. Like" off the beaten path", "local places" , "secluded', "secret" and so forth. These people in this forum are nuts for giving out the best info here. We've seen the wild donkeys, the huge prison, the artillery range, gypsy shacks on the beach. Fed the otriches, the fish cleaning shack in Savaneta-so cool, great sunsets and sunrises and plenty balashi's at a beachside tiki hut just to name a few. We never hit a casino or paid more than $25.00 pp for a meal.
Thanks for all the welcomes and the info. Been just looking around some today, can't wait. Aruba looks like one of those places I can see myself coming back to again and again.
Quick question that probably doesn't warrant a new thread. I have a nephew that enjoys getting some souvenirs from our travels. Among other things, I've been giving him local currencies in various denominations. My understanding is that the USD is widely accepted on Aruba, and in fact, even if I pay in florins, my change may very well be in USD. I'm fine with this, I don't care really. But, I suppose what I want to know is how exactly to collect some notes and change in local currency.
When traveling, I normally rely pretty heavily on ATM access, and I understand that I'll be fine doing so in Aruba. ATMs give a choice of currency I've heard? I find that unusual. Regardless, can I request change back in local currency? And in general, any broad suggestions on money?