Anyone been to Aruba?

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This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aruba Tourism Authority for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

When I got this invitation to check out information about Aruba and share it with you, it made me realize how few places I’ve actually traveled to — I mean, I first got a passport way back in 2001 for a rare family trip, and the only time I used it since was for a conference in Canada. (And it’s now expired, lol.) But my gosh, look — gorgeous! Maybe one of these days I will overcome my homebody tendencies and check out Aruba travel.

Honestly, my previous knowledge of Aruba pretty much began and ended with the Beach Boys song. So, let’s see what I’ve learned from the Aruba site:

Deals on vacation packages

Like! They have a “deals” section right on their homepage, which is right up our alley, right? They have deals on vacation options for singles, couples, and families — including a kids eat, play, and stay for free package, which might be the one I’d have to check out, not having anyone to babysit here for days while dh and I take off to Aruba, alas ;)

Activities and attractions

Aruba does, of course, boast your expected Caribbean beaches, and a seven mile strip on the west coast is loaded with resorts. But even at only about 20 miles long and six miles across, it packs in a lot of other stuff, too — everything from a butterfly garden, to Arikok National Park (a desert-like preserve — fascinating!), to historical museums, to an extensive shopping district, to rock formations. Their site also says days run about 82 degrees, so not excessively hot, which is nice, plus they are below the hurricane belt and rarely have rainy days.

Food, glorious food

The other thing that intrigued me was the variety of world cuisine available. In addition to over 100 restaurants in the shopping district, you can wander off the beaten path to explore local favorites as well. They do talk about frogs’ legs, which I think I will pass on — but it seems Aruba is kind of a hotbed of international cuisine, with everything from Argentinian churrasco, to fresh Caribbean catches like mahi-mahi and Caribbean jerks, to… Maine lobster! Check out the Restaurants section of their site for more on the variety available. You know that if and when I ever travel out of the country again, food is going to be a big part of the trip!

Enjoy

Check out their video above for more on the things to do in Aruba, and let me know what you’d like to experience there after visiting their site.

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Comments

  1. Nancy says

    Sadly, most people’s knowledge of Aruba centers on Natalee Holloway, who disappeared from her class trip while visiting the island…. and has never been found.

    The case revealed the nasty parts of Aruba – an ineffective police force, rampant drug-related and tourist kidnappings, and a lack of security on the island.

    Bottom line: it’s a beautiful and fun place, but it can also be dangerous.

  2. Kate007 says

    I love Aruba! It is actually a very very safe island. The Natalie Holloway case was a tragedy but one of the only bad things to happen in Aruba, which is why you hear so much about it, I can’t say the same for Chicago where things like that happen constantly. The whole island is very safe and has an interesting history, natives speak like 7 languages, including English, so that is helpful. Also, they have fantastic drinking water, so getting sick is not really a concern. I haven’t went yet with my children, but I would feel totally comfortable taking them there. You can walk anywhere on the island and they have beachfront trails that connect to many of the other hotels which is really fun. We also loved stopping at a random dock and dropping some bread in the water for fish, almost instantly beautiful tropical fish would swim right up! I would say go!

    • Nancy says

      Before you go, read the books about the Natalee Holloway investigation. Cases like hers are very common, with one of two results:

      1. the person is drugged and robbed – and the police never find the offenders (the investigators from the US believe that the local police look the other way)

      2. young girls often go missing – and wind up in the sex trade on a neighboring island

      Why don’t we hear about these cases? Because the victims aren’t young, pretty, white, and from wealthy US families. That was what was distinctive about the Natalee Holloway case – she got the publicity that the others didn’t.

      As far as Chicago, I lived in the suburbs for 4 years in the 90s and never had any problems other than juvenile vandalism. Go figure.

  3. kristina says

    i was there on my honeymoon 9/2001, unexpectedly an extra 5 days ontop of the 8 days due to 9/11. We stayed at the Radison which had just had a 50 million dollar renovation. Absolutely Georgeous, they made it quite tropical although the entire island is just the opposite. It is I believe the only “desert” island. No palm trees here, just lots of sand, rock & big cactus! We did a all day Jeep tour which was so much fun & took you too all the neat places to see, which for a small island there are a lot! We snorkeled, jet ski’ed, went into town in which there are many restaraunts! The people are very friendly, it is windy & the sun is strong! Would absolutely recommend!

    • Kristen Mccombs says

      I have been to Aruba 15 times and I am only 38. I went for the first time when I was in junior high and it became our favorite vacation spot. Every year we would beg our parents to take us back and they did. It is an amazing family vacation the island is very safe. We walked to every place we went unless it was a father place and took a taxi or the bus. You do not need a car but I would encourage you to rent a jeep for the day and tour the entire island. The food is fantastic, the beaches are beautiful, it is a total tropical island and the locals love you. It is known as the friendly island for a reason. Now, as an adult my husband and I have been back many time but have yet to take our kids. We are thinking next year because they will be 10, 9 and 4 and great ages to travel there. The plane ride is the perfect length for a beautiful get away. Also, in all the years we have been going we have never had nothing but perfect weather. The temps are always around 85 degrees and the wind is always blowing. You would not be disappointed if you went here and it would be amazing memories for you and your family. One more thing to note, out of most of the islands, this is one of the most reasonable. It will not cost you an arm and a leg to eat and do activities. In fact, most of the hotels offer so much for the kids you don’t have to do anything extra. Just talking about this I wish I was going tomorrow. I can’t say enough good about Aruba. Hope this helps!

  4. Carla says

    Aruba was wonderful! I would go back in a heartbeat. Everyone was so friendly, the beaches were clean, the ATV tour was awesome, we did a boat/snorkeling trip and the guide was kind enough to stay with me in the water beside the boat (I don’t know how to swim) and he dropped bagels in the water so the fish would swim up to us. I can’t say enough good things about it. 85 degrees everyday with a nice breeze. Definitely put it on your “must see” list. As with any travels anywhere, even your own backyard, be aware of your surroundings. We always felt safe. We stayed at Amsterdam Manor

  5. Shellie says

    I agree with Kate. I was there a few years ago (ironically, we didn’t know Vandersloot was on the island & in the high-rise hotel district where we were, extorting money from Natalee’s mom) and we had joked about me being there, given I’m young and blonde. We felt 100% safe in the hotel district, walking around downtown Oranjestad, and everywhere in between. Chicago has wayyyyyy worse crime & I rarely feel safe in the city, even in the daytime. Anyway, DH and I fell in love with Aruba and definitely plan to return someday. We stayed at the Westin Resort & loved it! Loved their all-inclusive package too. I was worried that it would be a waste of money, given I can’t eat or drink, but DH ate like a king (lobster tail, filet mignon) & drank like a fish (top-shelf). The price even included private dinners on the beach during sunset, among other perks. We would have paid far more if we went a la carte or missed out on some amazing memories. The people were super friendly too, especially compared to Bahamas (or Chicago for that matter). Just my two cents. :)

  6. cassie says

    Went to Aruba for our honeymoon back in 1998. It was a gorgeous island (I’m sure it still is). We retned a jeep and drove around the entire island. The undeveloped side had such beautiful scenary. We’ve been talking about taking the kids back there someday now that they have passports. Hmmmm, maybe next year.

  7. Rich Bowden says

    We went to Aruba for our honeymoon in 2006 and stayed at the Renaissance which is wonderful and not on the main strip of hotels and close to where cruise ships dock and downtown shopping. Best part of the trip was the private island the hotel owns with private beaches and beachside couples massage! Would love to go back.

  8. says

    Went to Aruba about 9 years ago ,Use to be a travel agent so been all over Caribbean ,Its not one of my favorite places .Then no all inc.were there !
    Maybe now they do ,and nothing super in activities !
    Cancun would be my fav.or Cayman Islands (O:

  9. Matt S. says

    LOVE Aruba! Very safe island, you can walk around pretty much anywhere you want to. My wife also loves it and will walk around to the shops/etc by herself with no worry at all. They have lots of great all inclusive options and superior quality tap water. I’m not a fan of the beer they brew there though! UGHH! I have been there 3 times in the past 9years or so and we have always done all inclusive and had a great time! I think any city/country/island has had some crime happen there at some point in time.

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