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Seeking advice for low budget Aruba options


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posted 06-02-04 02:53 AM

Hi, we are a couple of Aussies. You can stereotype us as tight-you-know-what's, or realise as I did that once we have paid for the airfare to USA and the cruise - with our exchange rate nearly doubling the cost for us - that the cost of cruise ship tours gets absurd. For two of us to go on a USD $100 ship tour comes to about one third of the cost of getting to America! So, being of average means, we need to find options other than expensive cruise tours.


This might not be a big problem, as we don't really like being hearded around to tourist spots anyway. Am much more interested in seeing how the locals live - eg; villages/small towns, poking around shops/ getting a local taxi to a couple nice spots closer to town etc.. I am also avery keen photographer.


So my question is, for those who have been to Aruba before, is it nice to just wander around the town? Can you relatively safely be independent and just jump in a taxi? Any suggestions on things you have done? The ship seems to be staying here longer than anywhere else, but yet there doesn't seem to be as much of interest as they is in other places...maybe I am wrong.


I am SO used to doing this in Asia, we go for public transport and do as the locals do, but I am out of my depth in South America. Any advice gladly accepted. Cheers from Aus!







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Some of the tour options can be arranged on your own.. check out the aruba-bb.com area for suggestions. The public buses are about $1 per person each way efficient and safe. Can take them to Palm Beach area. Also you can walk around the shops nearby where the ships dock. You can also rent a car for the day and explore the island. The roads aren't that hard to navigate AND you did say that you're ship will be in port for quite some time.

Hope this helps.


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There certainly are several low cost public beach options with public bus transportation to all. If you bring your own snorkel gear you can snorkel from the beachs. The downtown area is easy to do on your own directly from pier.


IMHO, a visit to Aruba would not be complete without some exposure to the north side of the island. The most economical way to do this is to rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle for the day (we've paid an average of $65 -75). The island is easy to navigate.




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Just returned from EOS June 6th. We rented a compact ac car from Super Car Rental right at the docks with no reservation for $45. Ask for a map (all the sights to see are clearly marked-easy to find)Lighthouses, Sand Dunes, Natural Bridge, National Park (no fee),Churches, and many beaches are all great sites for pictures. Returned car by 6pm and had a full day of fun and cruised the entire island. Only additional cost was gas ($15).

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  • 3 weeks later...

The car rental route is the simplest and will enable you to see the island: Natural Bridge, Casibari,...


If you want a relaxing day, you might want to simply walk into town from the pier and browse the shops while it's cool. Very safe. Dutch products are the best value. In the afternoon, take a local bus to the beach, about $1.50 US. The bus station will be visible across the main street as you leave the CRUISE PIER. Take the Palm Beach bus. There is another one you can take but its name escapes me: ask a local. Take the bus to the Hyatt and walk thru the looby to the beach area where I believe you can rent a lounger. If not, the beach is a public one so drop the towel anywhere.



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No trip to Aruba would be complete without a stop at Carlos 'n Charlies and Iquana Joes. Two of the best bars on the island. Iquana Joes is in the Royal Plaza Mall and overlooks the entire town. You sit on an open air balcony that is very quaint and tropical. Carlos 'n Charlies can be seen from anywhere in town, just look up for the sign. For a $5 entry fee y ou get a plastic glass a yard high. A nice souvenier. Then of course you wiill want to get it filled with your favorite drink and enjoy the almost continuous improptu shows. The night we were there,June 25, 2004, they had a Carribean singer, De Oh contest, fire eater, and dance contest.


For shopping there is, at Tanzanite International a little known bRGIN. You will have to ask for their $5 tanzinite earrings. They are real cute, 14 carat gold stud earrings with a very small tanzinite stone in the middle. You can buy as many as you want. They are really nice souveniers for a great price. I got 4. Also, the Del Sol store, in the Royal Mall, has color changing nail polish, buy3 get one free. It is one color when you put it on and another when sun hits it. Have a Great Time in Aruba.

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By all means rent a car..or jeep type vehicle. It is hot and arrid around most of the island, so if dust and heat bother you definetly rent something with air. go south to the refinery area and ask for directions to Charlie's. It is a local bar/restaurant with the most unusual decor. People leave something behind when they visit....clothes, bras, panties, license plates, glasses, notes, keys...etc... anything you can think of is on the wall somewhere...the shrimp are the house speciality....sauteed in garlic/spices they are huge...we wandered around and made a stop at the love tunnel...an underground cave..be aware there are bats in the caves...such a fun stop....Aruba is one of our favorite islands and we have done most of them...

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  • 2 weeks later...

When you tell me low budget I'm thinking close to no extra money to spend. With that being said, the one thing to do is hop on the local bus. The bus stop is less than a block from Iguana Joe's which is across from where the ships port. When you get on the bus get an all day transfer which is about $2.00. The local bus goes to the hotel district where you'll find Eagle Beach and Palm Beach as well as to Baby Beach on the other side. We were able to hang out at all hours of the night with no problem using public transportation. The locals were very friendly and helpful so we didn't even think to hire a taxi for a tour. A couple who had been there for a while told us we didn't need to rent a car anyway and they were right. While we were there the DePalm tours offered an entire island tour with lunch for $25/person which also included time at Baby Beach.

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