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Aruba questions

JillC

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We will be going to the LaCabana Villas the end of March. I see they have an “all inclusive” and “medley” plan. Are these worth the money? What restaurants are they good for? Is it cheaper to buy your own meals? Also, since I haven’t left the country in about 30 years, do we need to exchange money there or do they take US money? Is it easier just to charge everything? What has been everyone’s experience.
 

2hokies

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I cannot address your meal plan question because we didn't stay at La Cabana. On the Aruba boards, most people recommend not getting all inclusive because there are so many good restaurants on Aruba. Also, there are great grocery stores (we liked Ling & Sons) and you can get breakfast and lunch food and keep it in your room. Will you have a car?

We didn't exchange any money when we went in December. Most places accept dollars and the Aruban florin of course. Many menus prices are listed in dollars.

The only time we wished we had exchange some is when we stopped at a little stand and bought something that looked like an empanada. Communicating was difficult and after I had already bitten into it, we thought she said they didn't accept dollars :eek: . Lucky for us, they did and we went on our way. The rest of the time, we had no problems communicating. I am so impressed with the ease at which the locals speak English and Dutch and Papiamento. We met one fellow who can speak those three as well as Spanish and Portuguese!

We used the credit card plenty too. :rolleyes:
 

chrisnwillie

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I have been traveling to Aruba for years, and have never exchanged any money. Even if you need the cash, the ATM's all prompt you whether you want your money in US or florins. I have never encountered anywhere where they didn't accept our money.

Even at the grocery stores, they ring it up in florins, then hit a key and the total comes up in dollars. The "rule" of thumb there is, if you see something in florins, divide in half and add 10%. That will give you a "close" estimate of what it is going to cost you, and they will gladly take your money. I don't know anyone that exchanges their money.

I have not stayed at LaCabana, but I know people who have and they all say the same thing...DON'T buy their meal plan...their restaurants on site on not very good, and Aruba has some excellent restaurants that you wouldn't want to miss out on trying.
 

Blondie

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I used to own a villa and we always bought a lunch/dinner package for one person. Then, we ate there two or three times a week- sometimes lunch sometimes breakfast- the thing is owners get a decent discount so it made it an ok deal. We liked the food fine but- get to the grocery store in town and just stock up. You save tons by making your own coffee/bagels every morning and simple lunches. We ate big meals out every night and that was about all I could do. Small breakfast and lunch that we preapred were fine- I just can't eat big meals every day. For a real treat we would walk over to Chalet Suisse after getting back from dinner somewhere, and get the Toblerone chocolate fondue for dessert and some coffee! Also we loved the Dome- they positively spoiled me on my birthday and the food was great. Love ARuba. La Cabana Villas are fine too but we sold because they were not being kept up as they once were. Plus we don't really need to travel week 8 anymore which is what we owned. Get a car for even a few days. Ity is a good idea. Although if you do a tour you will get one free for a day or two. Have a great time. We loved La Cabana. Blondie
 

2hokies

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Blondie said:
For a real treat we would walk over to Chalet Suisse after getting back from dinner somewhere, and get the Toblerone chocolate fondue for dessert
I'll put that on my to-do list for August! Thanks for mentioning!
 

skpr77

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I have stayed at LaCabana 5 times. I don't know what the medley plan is, but I definitely wouldn't do all inclusive. The restaurants there are perfect for lunch. If you are at the beach or the pool, you can grab pizza, burgers and sandwiches, stuff like that. But if you are the type of person that really likes to go and have a great meal, you can find just about whatever you like in Aruba. Some of the more popular you may need a reservation for. Every type of cuisine you can imagine. Average prices at most of them.
 

JillC

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LaCabana

Thanks for your responses. I guess it would be nice to try different places for dinner. Wasn't planning on renting a car, but if we want to see the place it seems that would be the thing to do, at least for a couple days. Does anyone recommend a car rental close by? Is anyone else going there last week in March?
 
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skpr77

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They do have a rental car desk at LaCabana. Owners there have a pretty good discount for cars, but I don't know what the prices would be if you just rented a car for a couple of days. It may be the same if you rented for the whole week. You should check out the Aruba Plus Card. For $12.95 you get this card that you can use for a decent selection of restaurants, car rentals, shops etc. Check out their site and you can see where you can save. The card pretty much pays for itself the first or second time you use it. If there isn't enough time to deliver it to your home, they will deliver it to LaCabana, so when you check in, you will get it. Aruba Plus Card The great part about the card is you can do most of your research at home to find out the best way to save some money. For example, under the rental car section, you can email the car company's and get direct quotes. Of course you tell them in advance that you are an Aruba Plus card holder and they will figure in the discounts. March is the prime season so most likely the only discount they will allow you to receive, would be the Aruba Plus discount. If you go in the off season then you can save much more. I don't know how many time's I had taken a trip to Aruba and bought the card and then on the way home I go to throw out the old brochures and find out that a couple of restaurants I went to allowed me to receive a discount, but I forgot to present the card. The restaurants that honor the card are not restaurants that are looking to bring in a few more people. They are all established places that are very popular. My guess is that you can save $100 or more, depending on how many times you use it.
 

Blondie

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If you are not comfortable driving from the airport just cab over to La Cabana, then use Optima rental on site right there. They are very good and have fairly new cars. Or, do the tour at Paradise Beach right next door and get a car free for two days or so!
 

wildflower

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You can reserve a car online. I have already reserved mine for my May trip. When you come out of the airport terminal the rental agencies are across the street. Just load luggage and you are on your way. It's super easy to get around in Aruba. La Cabanna is probably 10 minutes away depending on the traffic in downtown Oranjestad.

Stop and pick up groceries on the way in. The groceria at La Cabanna is rather pricey!
 
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