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Thread: Great Private Tour!

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018

    Cool Great Private Tour!

    Having arrived on a Monday for a few days' relaxation before a small business conference I was attending, we searched around the internet for an activity/tour we could do to learn about Aruba. We don't like being on 15-person tours where you have to elbow your way to the front of the crowd just to hear. We've done the line-of-ATVs-running-round-town in other places and learned little. Fun activities for others, but just not our kinda thing.

    We knew we hit the right balance when when came across Private Island Tours by Cyrillo "Cerry" Croes. ( Booking was as easy as an inquiring email about availability, a confirming email about details back to us and our custom tour was on for the next morning. The tour was "custom" along several dimensions: a custom number of people (up to 4 for a flat hourly rate); a custom number of hours (minimum 3); and a long list of recommended sitesto visit, which are customizable based on your preferences. You can even add additional sites you want to see as long as they do not involve off-road driving to get to.

    Cerry's experience and professionalism showed in a number of ways. He arrived right on time at our hotel to get started. He had a plan on how to sequence the sites we wanted to visit to spend driving time efficiently. He knew when to politely defer answers to our questions to later points in the tour that would illustrate the question/answer more completely.

    He knew his history. Over lunch the next day, my wife and I wanted a reminder about the sequencing and timing of Spanish-Dutch-British-Dutch rule and looked up Aruba history on-line. Not that we were fact-checking him ... but we didn't come across any history point where Cerry had gotten it wrong. It was obvious he'd done his homework.

    He didn't rush us at the sites we were most interested in, and didn't push us to stay longer at a particular site because of his own thoughts about importance. He was very good at reading which venues interested us and adjusted accordingly.

    In spite of all that flexibility, he got us back to our hotel exactly on time. The trip felt relaxed and on "island time" while still respecting our personal plans as far as start and return times.

    Because of my own poor reading of the confirmation email, i mistakenly thought the hourly rate was per-person. Because there were two of us, I paid him twice as much as was called for (including 2x the tip I added) as he dropped us off at the end.

    When I got to our room, my wife pointed out my mistake. (They do that, you know.) Within minutes, my room phone was ringing: Cerry was calling from the lobby to tell me I had made a mistake and he was sending my excess overpayment up to me via the bellman.

    That is the mark of a man of integrity. Cerry is a knowledgeable, flexible guide, and a true ambassador of what makes Aruba, Aruba.

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Welcome to the community forum.
    Glad to read that your tour was great.

    Aruba certainly is blessed with fantastic tours and tour guides.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    West Deck in the afternoon
    We actually did a tour with Cerry quite a few year ago. While we did enjoy the tour it was not quite what we expected. He begins the tour with his speech about the history of the island and tells you to hold your questions until the end. I felt as though we we were being talked at rather than having a conversation. We had booked 4 hours, allowing us time for a quick stop at Charlie’s Bar which I had mentioned early on. He did drive by it early in the tour and I thought he would loop back but didn’t. I mentioned having a stop but guess I was too subtle. As we had booked 4 hours it ended up being too long. To fill the time he drove by the house he grew up in, where he went to school etc. We would have preferred to have the one stop. He did cover the island nicely and we stopped at places to take photos. Not sure I would recommend him.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Jacki's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Awesome review! Thanks for the information and welcome to the Community Forum!
    Jacki ~ loving Aruba from NJ

  5. #5
    Senior Member Traceyd14's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Under a palapa on Palm beach
    Thanks for sharing. Maybe consider summarizing your whole trip in the My Aruba Story section to tell us what else you did. We all love reading about where you stayed and dined too.

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