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Published: August 24th 2006
Me feeding Ostriches
I'm working for an airline and I've won a pair of tickets (had to pay for the taxes though) over x’mas prize draw the year before last. And we didn’t know where we should go. But I’ve always fancied going to the Caribbean. Then my Manager recommended Aruba to us. So I started planning and doing all the research last year May06 for the trip! And we decided to go for about 1 week during end of August. Flight time is about 1.20hrs from London to Amsterdam and 9hrs from Amsterdam to Aruba.
First of all, I searched through Google to look for the official tourism website for Aruba which is www.aruba.com. The site is really great it tells you all the things that you can do while you are there and also tells you where you can stay depending on you budget. The categories are for the hotels are:
1. High Rise Hotel is like luxury resorts, beach clubs with excellent service and numerous comforts about GBP160 per room per night, some all inclusive hotels cost about GBP200 per room per night. Some hotels have private swimming pool, ocean view and private beach area. Most of them
are right across the street from the beach and the Hotels are situated around the Palm Beach at the north-west side of the island, about 25 minutes from town Oranjestad and the airport. It’s very expensive for budget travelers like me; I prefer spending the money on food and tours around the island, coz I want to go around and explore the island!
2. Low Rise Hotel is standard hotels, some with great service, although it’s not as nice as the High Rise Hotel, but some with really good location. Most of the Low Rise Hotel situated around Eagle Beach at west side of the island, about 20minutes from the town Oranjestad and the airport. We stayed at the MVC Eagle Beach Hotel (we booked through expedia with free continental breakfast), and it’s a cozy family hotel with 19 rooms. The Eagle Beach is just right across the street! It’s about GBP40 per room per night, which was reasonable. We really enjoy our stay, the staffs are really friendly and they try to do everything to make our stay enjoyable.
3. Villa usually rents on weekly basis, though longer period of time can be scheduled at a prorated
basis from Saturday to Saturday. Monthly rates are also available for long term stays. Room rate is about USD125 to USD165. Some has swimming pool, ocean view, private beach area, complete kitchen, and family room with bar, entertainment patio with BBQ, beachside gazebo for lounging, hammocks and comfy chairs.
4. Apartments usually with double bedrooms, bathroom, fridge, TV, kitchen and terrace. It’s about USD180 per room per night. It’s quite nice if you went fishing and cook your own seafood meal at night! But usually I’m too lazy to cook while on holiday, so we usually go out for dinner.
Aruba is located in the heart of southern Caribbean just 15miles off the coast of Venezuela. Its 30km long and 9km across, with approximately 184 square kilometers.
Aruba is a sunny paradise for the residents and visitors. The average temperature is about 28 degrees Celsius with cooling trade winds and rarity of tropical storms and hurricanes.
It lies outside the hurricane belt and very moderate rainfall (409mm) per year.
The official currency of Aruba is the Aruban florin, but USD is widely use in Aruba. Sometimes when your get change from some supermarket, they will give
you Aruban florin instead. So it’s good to change you USD to Aruban florin. If you have a lot of Aruban florin left make sure you change in locally back to USD, coz you cannot change it back outside Aruba.
It is very useful to rent a car in Aruba if you want to explore the island. There are two main types of cars, e.g. economy car for USD170/week or Jeep for USD550/week. It’s a big difference in price, but there are great sites to see but the roads to get there are often rugged and not suitable for cars, and also make sure your spare tire is full of air before heading out to the rough rugged terrain. Arubans drive on the right-hand side of the road, minimum age of 21-25 and maximum of 65-70 varies by companies, international driving license or valid license held for at least 2 years, unlimited mileage (rate subject to change), deposit of USD500, pick up service is available (with some exceptions), insurance is recommended.
There are a lot to see in Aruba, the must see sites are:
1. Natural Pool, located on the north-east side of the island (30 minutes from
town), most rugged terrain, it’s best to get there by 4x4 vehicles, the site is inaccessible by car. You can both drop your car at the entrance and go on foot, (we did that last time, but it’s not recommended) coz it will take at least 2-3 hours to get there. We were so tired, burnt and dehydrated (make sure you carry plenty of water, sun block coz there’s no shops around only hilly rocks around!) by half-way. We saw the natural pool from the top of the hill; we couldn’t go any further coz it’s just too far on foot and imagine we had to walk all the way back to the car! Luckily there were two lovely couples drove by and they offered us a lift! Thank God!
2. Natural Bridge (unfortunately disappeared in just one evening Sept 2005, what a shame!), located on the east-side (30minutes from town). The 100-foot-long natural arch which loomed 25 feet above sea level was an awesome spectacle that existed for thousand of years. It was the most photographed site! But don’t worry there is a small natural bridge right next to this big one!
3. Ostrich Farm, located on the east
Tunnel of Love
Very Scary and dark inside!!
side along the road to natural bridge (30 minutes from town). Entrance USD12/adult, USD6/kid, ostrich food USD1 (guided tour from 9am - 4pm). It was a great experience; we get to hand feed, see, touch and take photos with the ostriches and even stand on their enormous eggs. You can learn about their behavior, natural instincts.
There are a lot of water activities: Deep sea fishing, parasailing, sailing & boating, scuba diving, snorkel & snuba diving, wind & kite surfing and underwater tours.
We loved snorkeling! The best site is on the south side of the island, Baby Beach (30 minutes from town). It’s got lovely crystal clear water, very shallow, calm waves very suitable for kids! There’s a shop (3 minutes drive) for renting snorkel mask about USD15 for a whole day!
There are a lot of land activities: Bowling, Bus/Jeep Tours, cycle tours, golf, horseback riding, tennis & fitness!
You are spoiled for choices for dinning: French, Japanese, Italian, Javanese, Argentinean and Caribbean-style seafood restaurants. You must try Driftwood it’s a great seafood restaurant with 5 stars seafood soup, Catch of the Day, Shrimps, Norwegian Salmon, Seafood Thermidor, Swordfish Meuniere etc. We really enjoyed it!
You must try the Catch of the Day and the local fish called ‘Wahoo’!
We had a fantastic time here and it was a paradise island with some much to do! We’ll definitely go back there!!
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