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Aruba "Bests"

Werner

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We are preparing for our first trip to Aruba. We would appreciate your take on Aruba's best....

1 ....place to snorkel from the shore (comment on ease of access and quality of the snorkeling)
2 ....snorkel cruise
3 ....nature tour, land or sea
4 ....points of interest
5 ....places to kayak

Thanks,
 

lprstn

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Take the 1 tour that takes you around the island on your first day there, then its easier to go back to those places during the week.
 

ajlm33

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We are preparing for our first trip to Aruba. We would appreciate your take on Aruba's best....

1 ....place to snorkel from the shore (comment on ease of access and quality of the snorkeling)

Thanks,

IMHO, Baby Beach on the island's southwest shore is hard to beat. It's 20 minutes or so south of the airport and past the Valero refinery. We've been there three different times and different seasons, and loved it each time.

It is an easy drive to the beach area, lots of parking and the snorkeling is very good, as you are in a protected bay. The best area of the bay to snorkel is close to the rocks that form the breakwater. Lots of fish species there, also lots of sea sponges, etc.
 
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Since I spend the entire week on my butt under a palapa, I can't help you with any of this, but if you need any restaurant advice, I'm your girl! :D
 

gnipgnop

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Iprstn

What is the 1 hour tour you mention? Is it by van or bus? What is the company that offers it. We will be there for our first visit also in August, 2009 and that sounds like a great idea. Any other suggestions??

(CATHY B.)
How about some of those restaurants you mention? Name a few, please.
 

lvhmbh

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DH and friends (I had wrist in cast so couldn't go) went up to Arashi near Malmok and said they had a wonderful snorkel right from the beach. Baby Beach is supposed to be number one but if you're staying at a timeshare you might want to pop up to Arashi.
 
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How about some of those restaurants you mention? Name a few, please.
Casual/inexpensive...Linda's Pancakes (Dutch pancakes, delicious!), Old Fisherman, Wacky Wahoo, Salt & Pepper

Nice places - Chef's Table, Pago Pago, El Gaucho (incredible Argentine beef)

Truly wonderful dining experience - Madame Janette
 

judys19058

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Arashi is our #1 place to snorkel. For dinner, don't forget Flying [/B]Fishbone. Make sure you have reservations for sunset. Tables are on the sand or in the water and the sunset is always fabulous. My husband is not a fish eater but he said the steaks are great.
 

judys19058

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Arashi is our #1 place to snorkel. For dinner, don't forget Flying Fishbone. Make sure you have reservations for sunset. Tables are on the sand or in the water and the sunset is always fabulous. My husband is not a fish eater but he said the steaks are great.
 

siki

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1 ....place to snorkel from the shore (comment on ease of access and quality of the snorkeling)

Baby Beach is good. Water is very calm. You need to go out toward the breakers to see anything, but do not go beyond them. The water is very rough past the breakers. There are also a few beaches past the high rise hotels towards the light house that I think have better snorkeling. These are the locations where most of the snorkel cruises stop.

2 ....snorkel cruise

We liked Tranquilo. Small crowd and they go past the airport to Mangel Alto. I believe they are the only tour that goes there. Jolly Pirates looks like fun, but we have never done that cruise. We just watch it come and go every day from the Surf Club beach.

3 ....nature tour, land or sea

There are so many to choose from. You can go by horseback, atv, or jeep. When you arrive at the airport you will receive a bag with all kinds of info on tours. We like to rent a jeep or atv and go out on our own. It is very easy to get around the island.

4 ....points of interest

Baby Beach, Arikok National Park, "former" Natural Bridge, Donkey Sanctuary, Lighthouse, the caves and ruins, Ostridge Farm...there is a lot to see and do.

5 ....places to kayak

There is one kayak tour that I know of. I think it's called Adventure Kayak. The tour takes you over to DePalm island. We did it once and to be honest I wouldn't do it again. The water was so choppy, it wasn't easy. It seemed like more work to me. I think some of the resorts have kayak rentals and you can kayak in front of the resort.

You should check out http://www.aruba-bb.com/index.php

It is a great place to get all the info you want on Aruba.
 

carlrocky

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Many nice places to eat.Two special ones are.......

The open air Italian "Trattoria" by the Lighthouse up on the hill. Incredible sunset view. Lovely opera songs and excellent food. It has two terraced seating areas overlooking the ocean.

The "Tierra Del Sol" at the golf course at the tip of the Island has a classy look to it and a saxaphone player who is excellent. The service was great and the food also very good.

Everyone raves about "Madame Jeanettes" The food is very good and the little lights on the trees are nice, But its in the middle of the Island surrounded by a wood picket fence. No view.

Flying Fishbone is a long way from everywhere. Closer to Baby beach and the airport. Probably a 45 minute drive from palm/Eagle beach area.
 

burkie

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best place to snorkel

Arashi and Malmok are awesome and not crowded. With all due respect, I've been to Baby Beach twice, and the second time I went, I wondered why I went back. It seemed like a tourist trap to me.
Going towards the California Lighthouse from the high-rise area, you'll see a sign for Westpunt with the sea to your left. Park across from, but in front of the sign, on the ocean side of the road for some great snorkeling. If you want to jump or dive off the lava rocks there, I suggest you bring something for your feet. You can also go a bit further to Malmok. Look for the sign "Malmok" painted on the wall at the left-hand bend in the road and park right at the right-hand bend in the road by the chickees. Arashi is on the same road, further up, closer to the lighthouse. It has a larger parking area.
 
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gretel

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I agree with the advice about snorkeling. Baby Beach is great for beginners. After, I brought my children to Malmok and Arashi as well.

As for restaurants:

Madam Jeanette-- carlrocky is right they have no view but they have excellent food, wonderful service, a musician and a nice ambience. Worth trying! We go every time we visit Aruba.

Le Petit Cafe- Go to the website and print their coupon. Try the steak or shrimp cooked on a stone. They have three locations. The one with the least nicest view (next to La Cabana) has the best food. There is another in the main part of town, upstairs and another at Playa Linda. We go here every time. They also have an inexpensive breakfast (maybe $7?)

Flying Fishbone- Wonderful view and food but I found the drive there not worth it more than one time.

Pinchos- a romantic pierside dining experience. Worth trying once.

Ruth Chris Steakhouse- Excellent steak at very high prices. Great service.

Aqua Grill- Excellent food and service. Worth trying. No view.

Chalet Suisse- Go for the early bird dinners. Their regular menu isn't overly priced either. Wonderful food and service. Different from anywhere. Cozy old-world atmosphere.
 

lvhmbh

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Old Man and the Sea which is near Flying Fishbone is getting alot of good press. There is a video at SanNic's site and I just saw it mentioned in the travel section of the NY Times. We went to FF twice and the second time DH said never again so I'm going to go to Old Man this next trip. This year we go Feb. 2 :banana:
 

curly

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Werner--Aruba

You will like Aruba-- people are very friendly, warm breezes daily, great food all over the island. Madame Jenette's is great and another favorate is The Papiamento. Go to both for a dining experience. We go to both of these everytime we get to Aruba. We have been there 8 times over the last 16 years. We always find something to do that is just a little different. Some great snorkeling off of DePalm island with parrot fish. Jeep tour is a great day trip and a stop at Charlies bar in San Nicolas near baby Beach is a must see. Ask for directions. The jeep tour will also take you by the Natural pool for a qiuck swim in a very unique spot of this island. The island is not big, but there is always something to do. When you arrive at the airport in Oranjestad, you will get a welcome bag, go through this as soon as you get to the hotel. coupons for all sorts of things, shopping, food, tours and deals for the whole island. Taxis are found allo ver the island for going out at night. If you don't rent a car. If you are a golfer, don't miss Tierra Del Sol by the light house. Get your tee time early in the morning as Aruba does get hot and you will love the sunrise at the golf course. Beatiful place. ENJOY your trip. I hope I was a help. CURLY
 

Werner

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Thanks to all for your ideas and experiences. This has turned out to be quite a useful thread. I had done some homework on the Internet but your personal experiences aid immeasurably in sorting out the attractions and activities that I found on the web.
 

sandkastle4966

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make sure you bring your own can of OFF Deep Woods spray for Flying Fishbone and Old Man and the Sea. People are reporting worst than usual mosquitos.

sand flies and mosquitos are bad on the beach at times too this year.
 

Sunbum

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Flying Fishbone- Wonderful view and food but I found the drive there not worth it more than one time.

I agree. We were not impressed with the food or the service and it was a $$$$ cab ride as well. If you want to dine with your feet in the sand go to Simply Fish at the Marriott.

I would also add the Aqua Grill to the don't bother with list. We have ate there twice and have been disappointed both times. There are too many really good places to eat in Aruba to take the chance.
 

MuranoJo

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DH and friends (I had wrist in cast so couldn't go) went up to Arashi near Malmok and said they had a wonderful snorkel right from the beach. Baby Beach is supposed to be number one but if you're staying at a timeshare you might want to pop up to Arashi.
I second this--near Malmok. Wasn't that impressed with Baby Beach in comparison.
 
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