Traveling with hubby to Aruba for our 50th birthdays in March. Looking for sightseeing ideas, places to dine, general "don't miss it" tips. Ready...GO!
Happy birthdays and what a special date that will be, congrats.
We will also be in Aruba stay at the Stellaris in March celebrating a birthday for my wife. I have not any tips as yet on places other than what our pal nationwide and his lovely wife have given us so maybe he will be able to shed some light on spots that must visit.
Check out this reviewHotel Review- Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino which has a few dining options.
Sent you a direct message with lots of info and my email address
sillyredn3k, thanks for reaching out to them privately. I’m sure your information is good. Do you think you can also share with the rest of us? That’s the power of Insiders - making great information available for everyone. As I spent the time pulling up old threads to share with everyone, I’d love to see everyone else’s inputs too. Of course, no email address needed. Thanks!
Well said neighbor, very powerful spot for wonderful info.
Yeah I hear ya. Some of the info was about non-Marriott properties so didn't want to break any rules. Here is some other pertinent info:
I see the island in 3 parts for visitors:
1. Palm Beach. This is the "high rise" area and is pretty dense with hotels, resorts, shopping, food, etc. As such, the beaches are dense and this area seems to draw many families. We typically spend 2 nights here for dinner and activities. Grab a comedy show at one of the casinos, etc.
2. Eagle Beach. This is the "low rise" area and is much calmer.
3. Downtown. The airport is close to here and similar to other island downtowns, not a ton here for tourists, but there are a couple of hotels with boats that take you out to the island (on a canal). We always spend at least 1 night here for dinner and local activities.
The weather is amazing. Always ~83 ish and breezy. You can't have a bad day on the beach. I think in 6 years, even there at rainy season we only got chased off the beach once. We try to split our time in half between beach days and excursions. Speaking of excursions......
1. The "full day jeep tour" through ABC yours (you can do Palm tours as well) IS BY FAR THE BEST MONEY YOU WILL EVER SPEND ON AN EXCURSION. ~$120 per person and They will haul you all over the island and you'll get to see some cool stuff. It is a "desert island" and is absolutely beautiful. Amazing to drive along the leeward side of coast with the beautiful sandy beaches and water, then make the turn to the north end where the waves are crazy and it is very rocky. They will also stop at some of the landmarks, and give you some time to snorkel, etc. This is a great way to start the trip, and then maybe venture back on your own later (what we do). The full day Jeep tour will cover many of the below landmarks / activities.
2. The lighthouse. Some people are probably going to be talking about this. It is on the far north end of island, up from the high-rise area. Cool view, depending on time of day but you can't go up in the lighthouse (perhaps available now after renovations). There is a restaurant in that area by the lighthouse - food okay. Simply put, don't make a special trip just for the lighthouse.
3. Baby beach - if you're on a jeep tour, they should stop here. Otherwise, DEFINITELY WORTH THE SPECIAL TRIP. Best snorkeling on the island is here. Baby beach is on the far south end of the island, and there is a small "bar and grill" there if you want to do some lunch. Find some bread and the fish will eat right out of your hand!!!
4. National Park - cool if you're into hiking, etc. Not worth the special trip if you're not. You'll see plenty of the divi divi trees and other rock formations elsewhere.
5. Balashi brewery - Aruba has the best tasting tap water in the world, IMO. As such, the beer is amazing. Tour is like $10 and you get a beer at the end of it. May not be worth it if you're tight on time or don’t have a rental car.
6. Butterfly house - very cool. Like $15 to enter. Neat pictures, etc. Butterflies will land on you, etc.
7. Bushiribana Ruins - old gold smelting place / fort. Good pictures and you get to see the rocky coast. And you can build a pile of rocks! :)
8. Natural Bridge - cool rock formation that makes a bridge. Great swimming opportunity.
9. Natural Pool - hard to get to, but one of the best swimming areas on the island. Lots of fun and great pics. Probably only an option for you on a jeep tour as you literally have to scale down/up a mountain to get there.
10. Donkey Sanctuary. This has become a yearly thing for us. They take care of all the donkeys on the island and you can pet/feed them, etc. Really cool.
11. Aloe Factory. They have a free tour and you can get some aloe. You can also buy the product everywhere so not worth the special trip if you don't have a rental car. Seriously, get some aloe and bring it home. We order from them now after we run out from our vacation. Amazing.
Local food that is pretty good:
Aruba tourism site: www.aruba.com
Neat new page they have for more 'local' type stuff and less tourist-y: http://www.aruba.com/local-shortcuts
If you're a foodie and want to spend a little cash on an exclusive dinner: http://www.carteblanchearuba.com/ They seat ~14 people per night for a 5 course meal made right in front of you. It's downtown in a building that is owned by the chef and he has 3-4 other options for food under one roof. It's like $100 per person for dinner, and you can add a wine pairing with each course for $89. So, really, really expensive but worth the treat. Challenge...reservations (can be done online). We make ours 6 months out. They have cancellations so call anyway if interested.
That's about it for now. They have 2 golf courses on the island but I think one of them is $300/round. I've never golfed down there though - next year!
kristenp, I will link the review I wrote two years ago, as it includes a number of places we enjoyed.
Review - Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino March 2017 by Nationwide
Additionally, I’ll see if I can’t resurrect the thread in which I posed a very similar question to yours and received tons of great dining and sightseeing recommendations. I’ll come back and post that here too.
Wow! That was more difficult to find than I thought it would be! I’ve learned a lot since then on how to title posts for ease of search!
Suggestions for a Quick Spring Break Beach Getaway?
I hope you have a terrific trip! Happy early birthdays to you both! Welcome to the 50 Club!
Sent you a direct message with some info and my email address.
Retrieving data ...