Bon Bini !! If you’ve got the SubPrime funk, here’s some stuff to do at Aruba, mostly on the Cheap. Taxi to/from hotel in Oranjestad was $15 each way. Local bus is decent at $1.30 each way or $2.30 for a round trip and it runs every 15 minutes. You can take the #10 bus from the Bus Terminal (located near the Cruise terminal) in Oranjestad, North (or West) to the Marriot and service to the resort areas is quite good. We stayed at a Resort in Oranjestad, wore comfy sneakers and walked a bunch.
The best shopping for women is mostly on Mainstreet in Oranjestad. - $1 US ~ $1.75 Afl (Aruban Florin, formerly Dutch Gilders) - Always ask if the prices are in US or Afl 3 souvenirs for $5 is a good deal at the shops behind the RenaissanceMarinaHotel. $5 for a souvenir beach blanket of Aruba $5 for Picture Book of Aruba ($10-12 at most stores). The shopping at Paseo Herencia was a disappoint for us bargain hounds.
Groceries - go to the grocery stores near the DePalm Tours Main Office - Just south of SurfsideBeach and it’s on the busline. - Bear in mind, most everything in Aruba is imported.
Reasonably priced eats: - Iguana Joe’s - The Café in the Renaissance Marketplace (Live guy singing karaoke on Fri/Sat night) - Nice sized Crepes for $6 at lower level of the Renaissance Mall. - Tuesday night Aruban Festival at FortZoutman, $3 per person to get in, $8 for Shrimp or Chicken Stew (Aruban style), $1 for Pastechi (meat or cheese filled pastry) plus a 3hr family oriented show (most of it is by young volunteer dancers). - We drank water at every restaurant and had zero problems (compared to Mexico)
If you stay at the Renaissance OceanFront (or Marina): - Free boat ride to/from RenaissanceIsland is included ($75 value) - Go to FlamingoIsland and swim/snorkel in the salt water “pool” - Live and “wild” Iguana and flamingos there.
Try the Wednesday $10 Buyin Texas Holdem Tourney at the Excelsior (Holiday Inn). You get $500 in chips, starting $25SB-$50BB. If you bust out you can Re-buy for $25 ($1500 in chips) or add-on for up to the first hour. Registration starts at 7:30pm and the tourney starts at 8pm. The locals show up late after all the tourists bust out (including me).
Splurged on a DaPalm Island Tour from 1-6pm for $50 per person. Air Conditioned for the wimpy, snacks and drinks included, The ATV Tours and Jeep Tours laughed at us for being wimpy. We laughed back because it is hot and dusty in the interior desert of Aruba. Plus narrated by the bus driver. Very Pleasant and informative. Pickup/dropoff from your hotel. Visited the Lighthouse, AltaVistaChurch, NaturalBridge, Caves, San Nicholas, BabyBeach and snorkeled for 30 minutes. Drove by the Valero Refinery, Desalination Plant, Balashi Brewery, expensive and poor neighborhoods. Basically did a loop around the island and we recommend it. Note to the Bargain Hounds, try and book any tours a few days ahead of time as some of the cheaper ones ($40pp) were sold out.