Newest Review: ... that I fed one a chip out of my hand. So overall, the Marriott is a fantastic resort that I would love to go back too. Restaurants ----... more
Aruba: A Picture Perfect Place
Member Name: gavallan2020
Advantages: very good climate, lots of water sports, good scenery, lots of hotels, very good restaurants
Disadvantages: none what so ever.
Aruba, the kind of island you dream about. Its exactly what you see in the holiday brochures, sunny white sand beaches, clear blue sea, fantastic weather and loads of water sports. When I went there 2 years ago now, it was by far the best place I have ever been to. I mean, it only rains an average of one day a year, and everywhere on the island is so nice to visit. So I'll try to put into words how amazing this place is to visit...
The way I did it is probably the best way to get there. I flew with KLM (deutsch airline) to Amsterdam (from Glasgow). The flight only took about an hour and a half, although that is from Glasgow airport, from England/Wales it may take longer. Once at Amsterdam we had a 4 hour wait there so we had a look around a bit. Although unfortunately the area near the airport isn't the real Amsterdam. The streets are pretty dirty and there is drugs everywhere (remember that they are legal over there). Having walked around for a bit we found that there were a few nice places to eat and some good shops too. Although if you do stop off there, then I recommend you take a train a bit further away from the main centre. The interesting thing about the trains in Amsterdam is that most of them are double deckers. Something that you would never see in the UK. All of them are extremely up to date models. The way they work is that the standard seating is on the lower level and 1st class is up above. However, to be honest, you could probably sit in the 1st class bit as half the time its empty. Even if someone does come you just say sorry you didn't know and move back. One more thing to watch out for is the trams, and I mean that. In the centre, there are bikes and trams everywhere. The worst thing about the trams is that they are silent and move pretty quickly so keep a look out. So anyway, the area near Amsterdam airport isn't too fantastic. From Amsterdam we then flew to St Martin (again with KLM). This part took around 11 hours on the plane although they were TVs so it went quickly. Once at St Martin there was a re-fuelling stop and then another hours worth of flying too Aruba. Once you reach Aruba, the country is only 19 miles long so you won't have far to go.
Places to Stay
In Aruba you either have two options of where you want to stay; either in the Capital (Oranjestad), or out on the beaches. Around Aruba there are plenty of hotels to stay at. When I was there, I stayed at the Marriott Ocean Club on Palm Beach. I will go in to detail on this hotel in a minute. If you wondering where to stay in Aruba you should take a look at www.arubatravelinfo.com , It lists all the best Hotels in Aruba. The one hotel which I always remember is the Renaissance. As you can probably tell from the name it is very grand. It features its own indoor harbour, a rooftop pool, a casino and a shopping centre full of Lacoste and Prada. Although thats where the millionaires stay so you probably won't be going there. Although its definitely worth a look, its right in the centre of Oranjestad. The Marriott in Aruba is based on Palm Beach and also owns a stretch of 600ft of the beach. The rooms in the Marriott are a very good size and each one comes with an en-suite, a balcony, and a fully equipped kitchen. In every room there is also a King size bed and another fold out double bed in the sofa. In terms of living space, you definitely won't have a problem. Each room has loads of free space inside it which is good. Not to mention that they come with a TV and internet access too. Some of the rooms also have a jacuzzi in them which is pretty cool. So the rooms are outstanding and if you do go there then you won't be dissappointed. The grounds of the Ocean Club also features 2 swimming pools, a tennis court and a massive swimming pool which they call the "Sea" :). Not to mention a Casino and 2 restaurants as well. The swimming Pool in the Ocean Club is fantastic. The pool itself is like a river and it runs round corners until reaching the main pool area which has a massive palm tree in the middle of it. From one end to the other (including the corners), the pool is probably about 80 yards long. On the far side of the pool there is also massive rocks that have a jacuzzi situated on the top of them. Flowing over the sides into the pool is waterfalls which you can lie under. Although it can be quite sore, its still very fun. A the far end of the pool there is also a swim up bar. If you ever do go there, ask for a strawberry smoothie, there unlike anything you will have ever had before. Despite selling very nice drinks, watch out because it is quite expensive too. In the Marriott surf club there is another pool that you have access to. Although in my opinion the Ocean Club one is much, much better.The tennis courts are of a very good quality. The surface is your typical american hard court. Therefore the ball bounces very well. Every morning there is also free coaching for members of the Marriott. The coaches there are very good, and they include the fitness with the tennis. Lets just say they make you work hard. The Casino is massive, and although I haven't been in, it does look very nice inside. Outside there is a bakery and also an indoor river in which there are swimming turtles. Just along from the Surf Club you will also find the iguana sanctuary. I am assuming I don't need to tell you what lives in there. The iguanas themselves walk over the whole resort and are very friendly. My dad even got one climbing on to his lounger. Not to mention that I fed one a chip out of my hand. So overall, the Marriott is a fantastic resort that I would love to go back too.
In Aruba there are loads of Restaurants to go too. If you are looking for one, just walk along the beach and you are bound to find some. In Palm beach there are quite a few I can recommend. Although 2 in particular, the first one is Pelican's Nest based on Pelican's Pier and the other one is a mexican restaurant which is only about 150 yards down from Pelican's Nest. Unfortunately I don't know the name of it, but I am sure you will find it. Pelican's Nest is built on a pier. The restaurant itself is around 50 yards off of the shore. The food there is fantastic and although it mainly sells fish dished, there are others too. If you do go there, then you can sit on the outer part of the restaurant out on a balcony. From here there are no barriers into the sea and you are only about 50 cm from it. The good thing about these seats is that you can see all the fish in the water. At night the sea around the pier is lit up and you can throw food to the fish and watch them all fight for it. The mexican restaurant which is just down from there also has outstanding food. As you can guess, most of the food is mexican although there are other options too. I always remember that the chicken quesadillas were very good. In Oranjestad there are loads of places to eat at. My favourite was called "The Paddock" and can be found right on the sea just along from the Renaissance hotel. Not unlike Pelican's Nest, once again, The Paddock is situated right on the sea front. The restaurant itself is Deutsch owned although they sell all types of food from varying countries. If you ever go here, then I very highly recommend trying the spaghetti bolognese. This was and is the best pasta I have had in my life. It doesn't even taste like normal spaghetti bolognese its so good. So anyway, I am sure you will find plenty of restaurants near by. Although the 2 that I very strongly recommend is the Paddock, Pelican's Nest and Madame Jannettes. You thought I was done with restaurants didn't you :). Madame Janettes is well known to be one of the top restaurants in Aruba. It makes the best food I have ever tasted in my life, and I am not just saying that, I mean it. Despite being a bit on the pricey side, the food is unbelievably good and the restaurant looks lovely too.
Lets start with golf, in Aruba there is only one 18 hole golf course. This is located at the very top of the island and is named Tierra Del Sol. The course itself is relatively short, yet quite challenging at the same time. The whole of the course runs very close to the sea, and at one point you are teeing off about 50 yards away from the water. Up on the golf course there is very nice scenery and the course itself is kept in very good condition. Golf Buggies are available too, despite being optional, I would recommend them due to the heat. So Tierra Del Sol is the place to go for golf, a very nice course with good scenery too. In terms of tennis courts, most hotels should have tennis courts so you shouldn't have to much trouble with them. Obviously the main type of sport in Aruba is water sports. On every single beach you should find water sport centres. When I was staying there on Palm beach I reckon there were around 10 different centres in the one beach. The thing I enjoyed doing most when I was over there was para-sailing. If you haven't done this before then it is a brilliant experience. Once you are up in the air you can reach heights of about 200 ft above the water. That's quite something when you're actually up there. Not to mention that since the water is so clear, you can see everything from that height. Also, since Aruba is relatively flat, you are able to see the whole country. When I was there, me and my sister got to go para-sailing for only $50 which is brilliant as you are up there for around 20 minutes. Always go for the smaller places though. The big companies always charge way more than the small places dotted around the beach. The other thing that I strongly recommend is going on the Blue Melody. The Blue Melody is a boat on which you go sailing around the island to different snorkelling spots. The boat itself is a catamaran and there are free food and drinks as well. The guy that owns the boat has been sailing around Aruba for 20 years now so he knows all the best bits to go to. Therefore the snorkelling was unbelievable, every where you look is coral and fish. I guess the thing I liked the most about the trip was that everything is laid back. You only go about 15mph through the water and although it takes a bit longer to reach where you are going. Its much, much more relaxed. I mean the big Water - sports companies take you out in a speedboat and everything is finished within the hour. Although on the blue melody you are away from about 2pm-7pm, and you can take as long as you want. Your not restricted time wise. So anyway, remember that, the blue Melody. I think they actually have two boats in the water now. If you want to go on it, then they keep the boats on Palm Beach at the harbour and they are there around 7pm at night.
There are 3 ways to get around Aruba:
- a taxi
- or the Arubus
First of all, walking will be one of the main forms of transport. Since you are on such a small island, you can probably walk to most of the nearby restaurants. The taxis in Aruba tend to be quite expensive although quite luxurious at the same time. Again, since the island is quite small, you never really have far to go anyway. The final mode of transport is probably the most efficient for getting places. In Aruba, there is a very good Bus service in place. There are the main buses which are very cheap to use and cover the whole island. Also, there are the mini-buses that dot all over the island. There like Taxis except they carry more than one group at a time. The mini-buses are quite unofficial in the way they work. So when you use them, you will probably think they are just scammers trying to get money. Although the tickets are official so trust them. Anyway, walking or the Arubus is the way to get around. Renting a car is just pointless as you honestly don't need it.
The capital of Aruba is a very nice place. All the buildings there are painted in bright colours, the people are very friendly and there are restaurants everywhere. Besides the restaurants, there are also lots of shops too. Although some of them are a bit touristy the majority aren't, I mean you get touristy stuff everywhere. In Oranjestad there is also a big harbour that is worth taking a look at. There are quite a few gigantic boats that are quite good to see. Just along from the harbour there is also another casino if you're interested. But anyway, Oranjestad is a very nice town full of life and charm. Definitely worth a look.
Good things to know
- When you first go to the supermarkets/shops. Remember that some places deal in Aruban dollars meaning that things may seem super-expensive. Although they aren't actually that bad.
- The weather in Aruba is picture perfect, 99% of the time. In fact, the weather is so good that they don't have a single weather forecast in the whole country. There is only an average of 1 day of rainfall per year so you need not pack any warm clothes.
- The other good thing about the climate is that despite it always being around 30c, there is always a breeze too. Therefore it is never unbearably hot.
- Remember about the Arubus and try to do snorkelling and or para-sailing if you go there.
Aruba is a fantastic place to go, not only is the weather perfect, so is the setting. Everywhere you go there are really good beach restaurants. Not to mention water-sports everywhere. Its really really worth a visit, I guarantee it will be holiday of your life!
Summary: see the very end of the review