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Aruba in May 2006

Travel & news discussion about Aruba

Moderator: daka630

Aruba in May 2006

Postby RADDS » Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:38 pm

Hey all! I'm taking my family to Aruba in May as part of a Marriott offer. They are offering $499 for 6 days, 5 nites at the Surf Club, which I know nothing about.

I'm not familiar with the island of Aruba just yet and wanted to reach out to the "knowers" for opinions, advice and suggestions, on all subjects (including customs). We have 2 small children, ages 5 and 3.

Any help is appreciated! Hope to hear from you soon...
RADDS
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:08 pm
Location: USA

Some general information

Postby daka630 » Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:20 pm

For yourselves and the children - liberal use of
a high spf sunscreen.

Customs:
Prior to arrival the flight crew will provide you with
the Aruba immigration form. One for each of you.
Have a pen to fill them out.
Departing the plane you will enter the terminal building
and take an escalator up one floor. Typically, you
turn right and walk a ways to the stairs/escalators
that bring to immigration. If one or more other airlines
have arrived in the same time frame as your arrival there will
be a bit of a wait. Present you passports or other permitted
documentation and the immigration forms. You will be given
the bottom part of the form (so do remember to fill it out
on the plane). Keep this. You will need it when you depart.
From immigration you walk to luggage claim. With two young
children it may be worth your while to get a baggage cart
($2.00 each as I recall). Similar to what you see at home in
airports. With baggage, go through customs. Generally, you
will just walk on through. You are now in the arrivals section.
Pick up the tourist info handed out in the red bags by one of
the Jewelry shops. Useful items to have. If you have transfers
to the resort as part of your package you'll most likely be
loading up on a DePalm bus. On your way it'll be stop and go
as the bus unloads people and pulls out bags at resorts along
the way so it may be good to have something to keep the kids occupied with.

Departure:
Arrive at the airport. Check in with the airlines. Deliver checked bags
(which you'll be seeing again ...).
Go outside, walk over to the entry to departures. Have your boarding pass
and the immigration form "stub". You will have to provide the "stub" to
the immigration personnel. Enter, go through the Aruba check point.
Walk down the hall to your left, turn right and right again. Your
now in the Duty Free area. Shops and a Sabbaro's. Restrooms also.
The walkway before has a right-left dog leg that leads to another
Aruba checkpoint (security this time). It can be a bit of a wait to
pass through this so watch your time if you are checking out the shops.
Now, you enter a large hall. You check bags are there. Re-claim them.
Next check is US Agriculture. DO get rid of any prohibited items. The US
staff there are very nice but are no nonsense about this.
Next, go to the US custom/immigration stations. Have your US custom declaration
filled out. Passports & declaration to the agent. Now it is left to the
baggage belt. You may be asked by your air carrier to open your bags for
inspection. Checked bags go on the belt. They will be loaded.
Next, you go through the US security checkpoint.
With this done you go up one floor and walk to your departure gate.

Activities with the children:
Perhaps a visit to Baby Beach.
A walk about at the shopping areas in Oranjestad.
A visit to the Ostrich Farm.
A daysail on one of the smaller boats maybe
worth considering.
Many resorts have day activities available for
children so do ask about this upon arrival.


Restaurants:
Typically there is a very large book at the concierge desk
that showcases the many restaurants in Aruba. The
concierge can make reservations for you.

To get a sense of what is were:
Look over these online maps -
http://www.caribbean-on-line.com/islands/ar/armap.shtml
http://www.caribbean-on-line.com/islands/ar/ormap.shtml
http://www.caribbean-on-line.com/islands/ar/snmap.shtml

hth
daka630
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:08 pm

Many thanx

Postby RADDS » Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:51 am

I appreciate the words of advice and knowledge of expectations. I'm starting to think it's not worth the hassle. Strong sun, windy, timeshare tour, haggling... Yuck. Is it worth the trouble to visit the island?
RADDS
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:08 pm
Location: USA

Re: Many thanx

Postby ONZGO » Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:31 pm

RADDS wrote:I appreciate the words of advice and knowledge of expectations. I'm starting to think it's not worth the hassle. Strong sun, windy, timeshare tour, haggling... Yuck. Is it worth the trouble to visit the island?


No it isn't worth the hassle expecially if you are expected to spend some of that time (about 1/2 a day at least) in a timeshare presentation. They always says it takes less time that it actually does. Remember you don't usually get something for nothing and you will probably have to pay for some other small things as well such as to have the room cleaned and taxes, etc., so read the fine print about what is exactly included with their offer as the Surf Club is a timeshare.

Yes, the sun is very strong in Aruba because it is so close to the Equator, so if you do go be very careful with it and take along plenty of strong sunscreen and use it on the little ones especially and make sure you are coated as well. It is deceiving because of the winds you won't think you are getting burned, but you are. Lately some have been complaining about a smell and murky water at the Marriott, so you may want to research that as well before you decide to go.
ONZGO
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 6:06 pm

Is it worth the visit?

Postby daka630 » Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:54 pm

Aruba worth the visit? ABSOLUTELY YES 8^)

Any return to the USA from abroad requires passage through customs/immigration in the country you are departing from AND THEN, after a few to many hours on a plane (not the most comfortable location unless you are in first class) you have to go through US customs, immigration, agriculture checks/screens.
So there you are, tired - cranky and having to wait in loooong lines ... having to herd up and shuffle along from one to the other ... drag'n all the baggage ... Now That Is The Real Yuk!

On various journeys I've had the opportunity to go through customs/immigrations at airports in Boston, New York (JFK), Miami, Atlanta, Dallas-Ft.Worth and, of course Aruba. I'll take the US customs / immigration / agriculture passage in Aruba any day.
The staff is less stressed and thus friendlier. The walk from station to station is shorter. The time expended is less. When the flight arrives at home -
guess what? No customs / immigration / agriculture screens! Off to baggage claim and away! Sweet.

The hassle of "transfers" to your resort? Don't care where you go. "Transfers" in Europe, the UK, the Caribbean, Baja, etc. always are events of trial and tribulation. For Aruba, just take a cab. How much is your vacation time and an aggravation free arrival at the resort worth? $20 - $25? Or, arrange in advance for a rental car. This can be done through AAA, AARP, the rental car companies, on-line providers of travel services or by contacting the locals directly.

Is the destination worth it?
I say yes. Enjoy it enough to now have 4 weeks of timeshare time there. Not the same as the packaged trips that see you in the Hi-Rise area (which, by the way are both good value and good vacations). Just a slower pace as you know you'll be coming back before too long. Enjoy frequent travel to other destinations stateside and in the Caribbean but always circle back to Aruba.

So, try it out. You might like it. You may well decide it is not your prime destination. For myself, the Disney World parks and Universal in central Florida are a strong contender.

Regardless, grab the opportunity - go - enjoy.

hth
Last edited by daka630 on Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
daka630
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:08 pm

Say Yes To Aruba

Postby sunfish » Fri Dec 30, 2005 11:57 pm

I have traveled 2 times to Aruba and LOVE it. Yes it is a beautiful place and the people are wonderful. It is easy to get around, and the food is so reasonable in price. Don't just stay in the hotel, get out and explore the island, eat at the local's. You will find that the winds do blow, but it feels great.Everyday was the same weatherwise 82-90 March. I am sure if you have children that things will go just like they would back home, only the island time is slower than the US time and people don't get all stressed out. Enjoy your trip!And don't forget the sunscreen on thoes babies, it is unbelieveable how fast the burn can happen. you will leave with the best tan of your life!
sunfish
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 11:12 pm

ARUBA? YES, YES, & YES!!!!!!

Postby Smithhookteam » Sat Dec 31, 2005 2:04 pm

We have a 1 week vacation club at Marriott Ocean Club & bought another week at Surf Club last year! Aruba is the #2 trade in the world, and you will find out why when you go!

I cannot imagine anyone telling you not to take advantage of the Marriott deal. The timeshare tour is very classy, not tacky like some other's. I was soooo surprised at the way they handled it. There wasn't any pressure to buy. When the 90 min is over, you just flatly tell them yes or no.

The island is beautiful, non-commercialized for the most part, and always 80-85 degrees with wind, yes, but it's quite refreshing. The islanders are very friendly. The food is all good, and reasonable for a resort area.

My advise is go, because you'll fall in love with "paradise"!!!!!

Louann & Ed
PS We'll be there the week of May 14, 2006. What week will you be there in May?
Smithhookteam
 
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Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 12:28 pm
Location: Clifton, VA

Aruba in May 2006

Postby RADDS » Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:36 am

Thanks, everyone, for the encouraging feedback. HAPPY NEW YEAR! We are definitely coming for a visit! Looks like March instead of May - because it will be quite cold where we are in the USA and a warm carribean is just what we'll need.

Anyone have any hot shopping or dining tips?
RADDS
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:08 pm
Location: USA

shop 'n dine

Postby daka630 » Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:29 pm

For jewelry try Royal Jewelers (rear of the Royal
Plaza Mall).

Have always enjoyed Madame Janette & Iguana Joes.
I hear the King Ribs has re-opened, you might enjoy
a meal there.
daka630
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:08 pm

Postby RADDS » Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:08 am

Thanks, Daka! I've made reservations at Madam Janette's and Salt & Pepper. We want to visit Blossom's, but they don't have a web page or phone number listed...

Can't wait to take a sunset sail on the Jolly Pirate! I scheduled our off-road Jeep tour for the day after we arrive so we can get a good look at the island for future days' trips.

Other than eat, shop, tan and tour, what else should we do while vacationing on Aruba?
RADDS
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:08 pm
Location: USA

What else to do

Postby daka630 » Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:03 pm

Remember you are on vacation. Step out of the "at home" daily routine of habit driven activities. Slow down. Enjoy the family time that does not have to be curtailed by the push 'n pull that permeates the home/work routine we all live in. Cultivate the fine art of "doing nothing" by reading some of those books you've meant to read or listening to some of the music CDs you've intended to *really* listen to.

Work hard & party hardy ... hoot with the owls and scream with the eagles ... that's the "home" gig.

Take time to savor Aruba, family and vacation!
daka630
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:08 pm

Wahoooooooooooo!!!

Postby RADDS » Wed May 03, 2006 2:53 pm

Here we come! I'm am toooooo excited!!!!!
RADDS
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:08 pm
Location: USA


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