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Bigrigg
December 14th, 2008, 09:12 PM
i am renting a jeep to tour the island i was wondering if anyone could recommend a good drive?

Arubalisa
December 14th, 2008, 10:56 PM
Advice On Driving Route Around Island
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=495264 (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=495264)

kruznkanuk
December 15th, 2008, 02:44 PM
We rented a jeep for our day in Aruba in Nov. It was pouring rain, so the rental company kindly switched us to a 4WD SUV which handled the rough trails and the occasional stream we forded just fine. We were there from 9 am to midnight, so thought that was a good place to rent a car since some ports you need to be back at the ship by 4 pm or so and that does not allow for mishaps/flat tires/getting lost. One thing we were a bit surprised at is the rental company required we turn in the car by 5 pm, even thought our internet reservation had been until 7.
We headed NE out of Oranjestad through Santa Cruz and to the Arikok National Park. The main road through the park was under construction/repair (I suspect maybe for a while) and so we were directed to a side road which ended up being basically a trail, but was a lot of fun with the 4 WD. We stopped at a small parking lot and hiked up the 'mountain'(total elevation 617 ft so not exactly the Rockies, here, but fun and with the path covered with long wet grass, enough of a challenge). The trail carries on to the Caves and Fontein Cave was a big highlight of the trip. A guide there took us far back in the cave, there were lots of bats and places you had to crawl a bit. We enjoyed it!
We then headed around the southeast tip of the island and back through Santa Cruz up to the Natural Bridge. It has collapsed, but the surf and interesting rock formations on that North shore are worth seeing! There are a lot of little roads north of Santa Cruz and Paradera which are fun with a jeep, and the road to the former Natural Bridge is very rough and gives you a challenge. At least, it did in the rain! We had a GPS but not the local detail maps for it, so it was a bit helpful to tell us what direction we were going but it is hard to get lost of much more than 1/2 hour from anywhere.
The west side of the island is big hotels and resorts and we had been there before so did not feel it was the fun place to be with our muddy 4 WD. We talked to someone who went all the way up to the lighthouse on the NW tip and found it was gone.. so they were quite disappointed.
We are not experts on Aruba, this is only our 2nd trip there, but had a blast with the 4 WD and I am sure you will have fun !

Arubalisa
December 15th, 2008, 03:15 PM
We talked to someone who went all the way up to the lighthouse on the NW tip and found it was gone.. so they were quite disappointed.
Just to clarify, it is the Natural Bridge which is gone, not the Lighthouse, correct? ;) :)

kruznkanuk
December 15th, 2008, 11:29 PM
The Natural Bridge has largely caved in but is still interesting. I was told by someone who drove to the lighthouse on Nov 21 08 that it is gone. After looking around they asked a local who said it was torn down. I don't have confirmation from anyone else on this, but the person did not appear to have had too many aruban rums....

Arubalisa
December 16th, 2008, 11:59 AM
SanNic just returned, perhaps he can confirm. My sources tell me it is standing. Perhaps someone was pulling your leg?

Arubalisa
December 17th, 2008, 09:33 AM
I just had confirmation the lighthouse is still standing. :)

"Lighthouse is still here, Hard Rock Cafe opened last week, outside will open for New Years, heavy rain today,"

kruznkanuk
December 17th, 2008, 06:06 PM
thanks for checking this out.. I dont' think the person was joking as they seemed quite annoyed about all the looking for a lighthouse that had been torn down. But perhaps they did not understand the local person... or maybe the local person was tired of tourists asking directions to the lighthouse!!
Glad to know it still shines. :)

cruiseguy1016
December 17th, 2008, 09:56 PM
We rented a jeep for our day in Aruba in Nov. It was pouring rain, so the rental company kindly switched us to a 4WD SUV which handled the rough trails and the occasional stream we forded just fine. We were there from 9 am to midnight, so thought that was a good place to rent a car since some ports you need to be back at the ship by 4 pm or so and that does not allow for mishaps/flat tires/getting lost. One thing we were a bit surprised at is the rental company required we turn in the car by 5 pm, even thought our internet reservation had been until 7.
We headed NE out of Oranjestad through Santa Cruz and to the Arikok National Park. The main road through the park was under construction/repair (I suspect maybe for a while) and so we were directed to a side road which ended up being basically a trail, but was a lot of fun with the 4 WD. We stopped at a small parking lot and hiked up the 'mountain'(total elevation 617 ft so not exactly the Rockies, here, but fun and with the path covered with long wet grass, enough of a challenge). The trail carries on to the Caves and Fontein Cave was a big highlight of the trip. A guide there took us far back in the cave, there were lots of bats and places you had to crawl a bit. We enjoyed it!
We then headed around the southeast tip of the island and back through Santa Cruz up to the Natural Bridge. It has collapsed, but the surf and interesting rock formations on that North shore are worth seeing! There are a lot of little roads north of Santa Cruz and Paradera which are fun with a jeep, and the road to the former Natural Bridge is very rough and gives you a challenge. At least, it did in the rain! We had a GPS but not the local detail maps for it, so it was a bit helpful to tell us what direction we were going but it is hard to get lost of much more than 1/2 hour from anywhere.
The west side of the island is big hotels and resorts and we had been there before so did not feel it was the fun place to be with our muddy 4 WD. We talked to someone who went all the way up to the lighthouse on the NW tip and found it was gone.. so they were quite disappointed.
We are not experts on Aruba, this is only our 2nd trip there, but had a blast with the 4 WD and I am sure you will have fun !

kruznkanuk - Can you tell me where you rented the Jeep from? What were the logistics of picking it up and returning it? How far in advance did you reserve it? We will be there in March and our plan is to rent a jeep to tour on our own also. We're looking for suggestions on where to rent from.

kruznkanuk
December 18th, 2008, 11:59 PM
Hi, we used Royal car rental www.arubaroyal.com (http://www.arubaroyal.com/) and I booked it about 5 weeks ahead. People we met used American www.american-car-rental.com (http://www.american-car-rental.com) and they were also very good. All the rates seemed the same... It was $85 per day plus a small tax. Both these companies have a very convenient kiosk right on the side of the walkway from the ship, along with several other companies, but the kiosks are only manned for a couple of hours after the ship arrives so pick it up on time! The lot with the cars is just around the corner from the kiosks so the whole thing is very handy. The only issue we had is that it was easy to get out of Oranjestad but we should have paid more attention to the routes and one-way streets since when we were coming back into town the traffic was bad, and the downtown area is full of one-way and winding/dead end streets. We could see the ship and pier clearly for about 15 minutes before we managed to find a way back to the rental lot. We had allowed lots of time but if you were there at the last minute it would be stressful! :eek:

Jesterscourt
December 28th, 2008, 07:05 PM
Rent a jeep if you must just to get it out of your system, but really, your time would be better spent at the beach or on the water in Aruba. Yes, it is a little bit of an adventure taking the jeep around, but the sights are not extraordinary. You will get a good taste of local shopping centers and schools and some residential areas which is interesting, but you are not going to see spectacular scenery and you will get stuck in local traffic which can be frustrating and did you really take a vacation to get stuck in traffic and argue with your spouse about it? Aruba has beautiful beaches and very awesome diving/snorkeling and some great boat trips like Jolly Pirates, etc. So, even though you have maps and can't really get too lost, and there are some mediocre sights like the Lighthouse to get to, I don't think it's time well served, if you only have one day.

traveling4two
December 30th, 2008, 09:32 PM
Stay away for the Thrifty Car Rentals..... Their Wrangle Jeep's are junk.
We rented from the Renaissance Hotel close for Cruise travelers BUT the vehicles are JUNK
We had to request a second Jeep as the first had ripped out plastic window so that you could not secure anything within the vehicle.
2nd vehicle even worse..... No working Air-conditioning, Engine light stayed on 10 minutes after leaving hotel for the duration of our drive, wipers so worn and ripped at ends they would not clean window during rain.
Holes in the roof, dripping rain on legs and head. Plastic windows so yellow and scratched you could not see out of them for side mirrors.

When I returned the vehicle after 2.5 hours of a 24 hour rental and spoke to Irene Sunday (Thrifty employee) she stated she knew of the vehicle problems and just shrugged her shoulders. She would not reduce my rental charge.

When we returned home, we noticed she did not discount our rental by 10% due to using of American Express Card as book on the web site.( Charged 97.99 instead of 86.21)
See could see other rentals from Budget and other firms, much better condition with glass windows and overall appearance.

I will be contacting Thirfty customer service on this issue.