If you walk into a souvenir shop in Aruba, you might see some authentic Aruban coins for sale. I was only 3 days into my trip, but I collect foreign currency, so not knowing if I would get all the coins, I purchased these at a souvenir shop in Oranjestad. I'm telling you, don't waste your money. They charge you more than the face value of the coins, so you're actually losing money, and the 2 and 5 are missing. I later regretted buying these, as I ended up getting all the coins, the normal way.
Unless you're on a cruise stop, and are a serious coin collector don't waste your money on these. If you're on the island for a few days, just be patient. You will eventually get all the coins, the normal way, and won't lose any money.
They're displayed nicely, but that's pretty much the only thing they have going for them.
To be honest, I found the sale of local currency for more than face value, to be very strange. This would not be legal in the U.S.
Unique Suggestions: Tell them to throw in a 2 and 5, so at least you'll have the whole set.
Fun Alternatives: Just conduct normal business transactions, and before you know it, your wallet will be filled with all the coins.Related to:
- Budget Travel
DO NOT Eat Iguana Soup!
If you go to a restaurant, and see iguana soup on the menu, PLEASE DO NOT EAT IT, no matter how "authentic" it is. Iguana soup is illegal to serve, because it is diminishing, the island's iguana population. Any restaurants who serve it, are breaking the law. Arubans are strong supporters of wildlife, and environmental protection. The people who kill iguanas for soups, are a disgrace to the Aruban people, and the ones who consume it, are unknowingly contributing to the island's declining iguana population. Please, do not encourage these criminals. Do not eat iguana soup. Someone in our tour group tried some, and said it wasn't even that great. Nothing but bones, and skin. It's not worth diminishing the population of these beautiful animals. There are plenty of authentic Aruban dishes, that are legal to serve, and taste better too.Related to:
- Food and Dining
I'm just gonna put it straight, this beach is ugly, and really sucks.
The beach is dirty, and the view is ruined by an ugly oil refinery. It is supposed to be one of the top snorkeling spots on the island, but the water is so milky, you cannot see anything. What I thought was coral, was actually see grass. There is no coral here, and the only place where the water is clear, and you can see fish, is at the mouth of the bay, but that's where most of the drownings occur. That's right. This beach is infamous for its drownings. Our guide said he once had to save 8 people, 7 weren't on his tour, 1 was. The dangerous area, is where the best snorkeling is. The current is very strong. I actually ended up dropping my underwater camera, and the current was so strong, that I couldn't dive down to get it. I managed to retrieve it with my feet.
I don't know who recommended this as a snorkeling spot, the water is murky, there is no coral, and it is very dangerous. This is NOT a good place to snorkel. If I wasn't with my tour group, I would never snorkel here.
We were originally gonna rent a car, and spend the whole day here, but I am glad we took a tour instead, because we would have wasted our day. There is nothing here that‘s worth a special trip. Do not waste your time driving to this beach. It's not worth it for a few fish.
Unique Suggestions: You might as well swim. I wouldn't advise snorkeling, or going past the buoy, unless there is a large group of people. Check out the nearby Rodger's Beach.
Fun Alternatives: Book a snorkeling tour. Check out the nearby Rodger's Beach. Spend the day at Eagle Beach.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
Ceru Colorado Lighthouse: Very Missleading
I saw on my map that there is some lighthouse in Ceru Colorado. There isn't. Our guide took us there, and it is literally just a box on a stick. That is the best way to describe it. I would post a picture of it, but the thing was so ugly, I didn't want to waste my film.
There is no lighthouse here. Just a light "box". Whoever named this place doesn't know the definition of a lighthouse. Don't go here.
Unique Suggestions: Visit Baby Beach, and the Natural Bridge, that's right next to it.
Fun Alternatives: Visit California Lighthouse instead, on the north end of the island. It is an actual lighthouse.
Okay! Perhaps a beach with wall-to-wall loungers isn't your idea of Hell... yes, you may like to pay through the nose for your food and drink...
However, this is a trap for many of us!
We had just arrived by cat (The 'Pelican'); we had 40 minutes to kill before our 'bus picked us up to tour the island! The beach was crowded. The local hotel, behind the beach, was cool. The shops in the hotel and the food places possibly linked to the hotel were expensive ---okay, not for us but for locals. We were the tourists with lots of dollars to donate---and it felt like it!
We bought nothing!
One good thing though....the hotel toilets were okay.
Unique Suggestions: Take your own food and drink or else be prepared to shed many dollars!
Fun Alternatives: Ask a taxi driver!
Kukukunuku Party Bus
Totally hokey and clearly catering to tourists, but with the right attitude, Mama and the rest of the Kukukunuku crew will show you a good time. The party bus is a bright multi-colored school bus decorated with what looks like every option from the party store if you were to throw a luau-themed party. The bus will pick you up at your hotel and the party begins with a trip to the north end where you will have a champagne toast at the light house at sunset. From there, you head to a local restaurant (which either used to be, or is, someone's home) for dinner and drinks. You are then taken to 3 different bars on the island, with tickets or chips to "purchase" your drinks. The bars are very, very local and dingy, but there is a DJ at each one and...plenty of drinks.
Unique Suggestions: I do not generally take part in activities geared toward tourists and would not have chosen to take this "tour" except that my friends thought it would be a hoot. It sure was. We had a really, really fun time, but I think that's mainly due to the fact that we decided to go all out and have fun no matter what. The bus was crowded, but most of the couples/groups were not that out-going and much more reserved than we were (I was with a loud group of 6 from NYC). Regardless, we had a blast and managed to get everyone else on the bus loosened up. The bars we went to were not great, but had music to dance and sing to, which is what a silly bunch of girls like us wanted to do. Drinks were ok, perhaps a little watered down. All in all, a fun time if you are willing to "bring the party" with you!Related to:
- Study Abroad
Oh my God - That's Disgusting!
For the first time in my life, on being presented by the waiter with a sip of wine to taste, I actually blurted out the words 'Oh my God, that's disgusting' ! Never before has this happened.
We were at Tangos 'Argentinian' bar and grill, supposedly one of the 'V.I.P.' restaurants on the island.
If you know your food and wine - DO NOT GO THERE. The food, wine and ambience were a total let down, it was so bad, we laughed about it throughout.
Located in the high rise hotel area, Tangos pitches itself as an 'Argentinian Steakhouse and Seafood Grill'. There was only ONE fish available (the 'daily special' that seemed to be the daily special every day and everywhere whose name eludes me, but I will try to remember).
The terrible wine that I rejected, was on the menu at $28 a bottle no less. The 'special show' promised on the telephone when booking consisted of three very short tangos, albeit performed to a high standard by some highly trained dancers, it lasted around 6 minutes and there was no stage lighting etc..(as you can see by the rather dak photo here!)
The food was extremely average, the child menu offered nuggets (I kid you not!) and my left foot is more Argentinian!. They also forgot the Small Person's ice cream. However, KB enjoyed his enormous steak.
This place that offers meringue dance lessons, salsa and a 'genuine Argentinian atmosphere' (ho ho) was a total disappointment. After the 'show' we were entertained by a karaoki style cabaret singer from across the street who seranaded us with the very Latin 'California Dreamin' among other such traditional mediocre tourist pap.
An evening in the nearby Dunkin' Doughnuts would have been a more exciting option.
The bill was large. The waiter knowingly apologetic and I can safely say, we will never go there again!
Unique Suggestions: Take some earplugs.
If you're going for the seafood, take your own dinner.
Take your own wine.
Eat before you go.
Don't go there !
Fun Alternatives: Cuba's Cookin, in town.
But please dress up a little, the atmosphere there deserves it.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Getting Hairbraids on the beach
If you are on the beach local women will offer to braid your hair. Becareful they overcharged me and I heard several women arguing over the very high fees...totalling over $100+ when the fee should have been $30.
Unique Suggestions: If you agree to get your hair done you must agree on a complete 100% top price not an approximate. And ask HOW Long it will take...it can take hours for some people!
Fun Alternatives: Go to a shop in the hotel. Do not get your hair done on the beach.Related to:
- Budget Travel
The Aloe Factory/Museum
We'd signed on for a day trip frm our ship, the 'Star Princess', anr this trip included this factory.
The museum will take you 5 minutes; the factory tour 20 minutes and the shopping to buy the stuff bit takes an eternity!
Would you pay good money to tour a local factory wherever you live?
If you're not wanted to buy lots of Aloe Vera then I suggest that yo hire a taxi and make your own way to the other sites!
The Natural Bridge - A pile of rocks
We took a tour from De Palms Tours which included the Natural Bridge. What they didnt tell us until we arrived at the site was that on Sept 2, 2005 the Natural Bridge collapsed. Thats right, it doesnt exist anymore and is a pile of rocks. There is however, a smaller version of the Natural Bridge to the left of the pile of rumble.
Fun Alternatives: The smaller version of the Natural Bridge is still quite pretty, it just is difficult to get down there if you wish to go underneathe it. If this is what you wish to do, make sure you have sneakers as it looked rocky.Related to:
Caverns - hot, dark, dangerous
If you go to the caverns, you DO NOT have to pay anything. The people at the booths there are renting you flashlights. If you just bring a flashlight, you can walk in free. By the way, the caverns are pretty uninteresting - and very hot. Also fairly treacherous. Spelunking through the "Tunnel of Love" made me want to hurt my husband.
Unique Suggestions: Bring a flashlight or two. Wear good shoes and something you don't care about getting dirty. The roads out there are treacherous. Also, the path is pretty steep and narrow at times. Again with the hot and dusty and not very interesting, at least in the Tunnel of Love. We didn't try the others.
Don't be afraid to haggle the prices
We had suprisingly good sucess barganing prices with most of the independant vendors (and even some of the shops) when purchasing goods. Don't expect to bargan the price at the grocery store or even the high end jewelry stores, but a lot of the stores will bargan with you to make a sale. There is a lot of competition between shop to sell tourist type goods and in general, they are open to dealing.
Unique Suggestions: Don't shop around too much looking for the "perfect" Aruba souvenier for someone. Most of the items are comparable throughout the shops.
A very expensive scuba diving trip. If you're going to spend as much money as a scuba diving trip for 1/2 hour, get wet! I guarantee you'll see more and be much more happy. The one thing that made this fun was the hostess but even she wouldn't be able to get us to go back.
Fun Alternatives: Do the Jolly Pirate ship for snorkeling. It's less expensive and less deep as scuba diving, but just as beautiful and peaceful.
Glass Bottom Boat
A boat with a few glass windows underneath the boat that you had to stand up to see under the ocean. Though it was cheap, just go snorkeling, don't waste your money.
Unique Suggestions: At least go on the Jolly Pirate Ship if you want to see underwater. You will realize how much better Jolly Pirates is than this.
Fun Alternatives: Jolly Pirate Ship or maybe the Submarine.
Shopping can be tricky. The...
Shopping can be tricky. The main shops are in the downtown area of Oranjestaad (the capital). Although you will find brand shopping it is more expensive than, say, duty free. I recommend buying local handcrafts and look for brand bargains... and never buy at first sight... you will probably find it cheaper one block down the street
Been here many times. My opinion is it is the best overall resort on the island for value, luxury,...more
LG Smith Boulevard 55-B, Oranjestad, Aruba, 1347, Caribbean
Good for: Business
Palm Beach Road, Noord 43E, Noord, Caribbean
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
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