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.
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
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
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!
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:
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
It's no secret that Aruba is...
It's no secret that Aruba is made up mostly of timeshares. That means you will be approached to take part in a timeshare preview from numerous different hotels. In return you will get coupons good for shopping or gambling. The good news? Most, and I do mean most, of them are NOT high pressure. If you do decide to participate I recommend you choose those with reputable names (ie Marriott, Raddison, etc.) and please try to be polite and they will do the same.
CAUTION: The Natural Pool is a good place to visit but it is NOT easy to get too. Jeeps are prohibited in the Arikok National Park (where the pool is located) thus you will have to find alternate ways to get there, hiking being one of them. If you go, be prepared to walk.
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.
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.
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
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!
Not a tourist trap but a civil...
Not a tourist trap but a civil trap...we get elections in Aruba at the end of september.
2 big parties MEP and AVP (Movemiento Electoral di Pueblo and Arubaanse Volks Partij) 2 smaller OLA and PPA have a lot of chance to deal the votes.
But politics has only a little bit to do with sense.
Most is about a carnavalesque atmosphere where flags in all sizes play the major role.
Also a lot of wheeling and dealing is involved. Seriously, mister 'W' could learn something here...
Pictured is the city town, knowed as Cas Arends, in center of O'stad. Just renovated and by coincidence,
the color of the major party in power. (AVP)
Be very,very carefully when it...
Be very,very carefully when it rains at us.
Roads get as slippery as iced in your country.
This is because the asfalt is much denser and a small film of oil by a lack of frequent showers.
Water and Money
evaporate very fast
on this Island.
Euro-tourist, Aruba is into the Dollar Zone.
Buy your groceries at a supermarket, not at the mini market in your hotel which is more expensive.
Picture: PRIKICHI'S or our local Parkeets. Best time to see and surely hear them: sunset.
Beaware that prices at mini...
Beaware that prices at mini markets in the lobby of the resorts are pretty much expensive than when buying it out of the resort. Grocery prices at Aruba's Mega Supermarkets such as Kong Hing Super Center, Ling & Sons Supermarket and Certified Mega Center are comparable or a bit lower than grocery prices in the U.S. The above mentioned Supermarkets are all located in a cluster next to the resort area.
Not necessarily a trap, but if...
Not necessarily a trap, but if you are adventurous, don't take the guided jeep tour - about $60 per person. It is only $45/day to rent your own jeep and follow the points of interest. It was great not to have to be rushed at the sites, and a lot cheaper. The rental car agencies provide maps which are great at outlining the sites to see. Oh, roads are not marked to clearly, so you may get lost a time or two, but we discovered some great stuff that way. It takes about 6-8 hours to tour the whole island depending on how many stops you make and how long you stayed. Jeep tours do not go to the Tunnel of Love or Baby Beach which were great spots to stop and relax for a swim
My wife and I recently stayed at the Divi Phoenix Resort for 7 days. I thought the hotel was very...more
LG Smith Boulevard 55-B, Oranjestad, Aruba, 1347, Caribbean
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Palm Beach Road, Noord 43E, Noord, Caribbean
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
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