Hello, my first post... be gentle. Should we rent a car in Aruba? We are a family of four who plan on spending time on the beach while taking an occasional excursion, i.e., an ATV tour. Is a rental worth it? If I don't rent, will I be making a mistake? TIA
Personal preference on whether or not to rent a vehicle. Some folks will say they HAVE to have a vehicle to come and go as they please. Taxis are readily available at the resorts and within a quick phone call of restaurants. Aruba has an excellent public bus system as well.
People like dh and I used the car a lot on our first two visits to the island. We went here and there and spent a lot of time getting lost. Over the course of two trips, we did manage to find all of the sites.
The second day of our third trip while thinking about our rental car sitting in the hotel parking lot, we looked at one another and said we are not going to be leaving this blessed beach, so why not just turn the car in and take taxis to dinner. We turned in the rental.
You cannot beat the deal of a taxi approximately $20-30 (depends upon number of bags, day of week, tip) each way between the resort and the airport. The bus can be used for shopping trips into Oranjestad.
If you are not "beach people", first time visitors to the island in particular may want to rent a car to get around and check things out. Another consideration in justifying the expense is that if you take a one day jeep tour or any other excursions, many times transportation is provided to and from your hotel.
Dh and I personally have settled into a routine of renting a 4 x4 for one day during our trip in order to take a day to travel around Arikok National Park and then that evening driving to a dinner destination furthest from our resort such as those in Savaneta: Flying Fishbone, Old Man & the Sea or Marina Pirata. Savaneta is a hefty taxi ride roundtrip from the resort areas.
Another option is to rent a vehicle for the first 3 days of your trip. You will have transportation from the airport to your resort and then you can use the vehicle for touring, exploring and shopping before settling down into a beach routine. I didn't suggest the last three days of your trip and drop off the vehicle at the airport since you usually want to make the most of those last days relaxing on the beach
IMOP If I were you I would rent one for a few days. Tool around the island, take yourself to restaurants instead of paying cabs...see the California Lighthouse, baby beach, Aloe Plant, Balashi tour...you can't get lost, honestly...enjoy your trip...
Boca Catalina Beach
Mangel Halto for Snorkeling
Jeff of Rochester New York! I hope you are going in February. It's like the arctic there that time of year.
As to the car, we wind up renting it for the week, since we take a few trips to the supermarkets, Baby Beach and Catalina Beach for snorkeling and to and from the airport. Couple those trips with a couple of restaurant trips by taxi, and the difference between the rental and the cabs is not much at all. Having said that, a friend of mine stays for 4 weeks a year and only rents for a few days to a week in total. They are major beach people!
For an ATV ride, all the operators will pick you up at your hotel. If you are in the high rise area, snorkeling or fishing trips are a walk to the beach.
Have fun, and don't forget to post a few pictures when you get back.