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ARUBA, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES, TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATION GUIDE - CARIBBEAN

Arashi Beach, Aruba, West Indies, Dutch Caribbean, Central America
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CARIBBEAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Aruba Travel Guide:

Explore Aruba's Southern Coast by Kayak   by Justin Burch
How to Get Around In Aruba   by Jorge Jimenez

Aruba Hotels & Resorts  -  Aruba Vacation Rentals

Explore Aruba's Southern Coast by Kayak   by Justin Burch

Though scuba diving may get all the attention, Aruba has plenty of other water sports opportunities. One of the best activities in Aruba for every type of tourist is kayaking. On the leeward side of the island, kayakers can paddle through calm waters and visit some popular sites along the way. If you want to explore this beautiful island in a unique way, a kayaking expedition along the southern coast offers incredible opportunities.
One of the most popular kayaking activities in Aruba is the four-hour guided tour offered by Aruba Kayak Adventure. Departing each morning at 9:30 am, these casual tours pass by some of the most celebrated pirate hideouts - including the popular Spanish Lagoon area. The guides are knowledgeable of everything from pirate mythology to the unique species found in the warm Caribbean waters. 

The price of the tour includes not only the guide and kayaking instruction, but also lunch and the use of snorkeling equipment. Most of the kayaking tours launch from the small fishing village of Savaneta and return to land at Barcadera, one of Aruba's primary ports. With a kayaking tour, you won't have to worry about any of the details - you even receive transportation to and from your resort.

Colorful Aruban Building, Oranjestad, Aruba, Caribbean
Colorful Aruban Building, Oranjestad, Aruba, Caribbean
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In addition to the Spanish Lagoon, there are plenty of sites along Aruba's southern coast. East of the secluded lagoon is the Mangel Halto Reef - thought by many to be the healthiest reef in Aruba. With a small, secluded beach that allows snorkelers to walk right into the reef, Mangel Halto is a great dive spot for all skill levels. After checking out the reef and impressive underwater life, you can lay in the sun on the quiet adjoining beach. As you paddle along in your kayak, you can also admire miles of lush mangrove forests and numerous hidden coves tucked along the coast.
 
Royal Plaza Commercial Center, Oranjestad, Aruba
Royal Plaza Commercial Center, Oranjestad, Aruba
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If you want to experience the Caribbean and Aruba's coastline on your own, all the best resorts offer kayak rentals. When you make your reservations with your resort, simply inquire about the availability of such equipment. You can include kayaking and snorkeling as part of a moneysaving activity package, helping you and your family experience all the best sites without breaking the bank. If you are unsure of where to visit while kayaking or want to find the best snorkeling sites, your concierge will be able to build an itinerary for your adventure.

One of the favorite destinations for kayakers - both on tours and paddling solo - is DePalm Island. Just a short paddle from the Spanish Lagoon, DePalm Island is a great place to snorkel and relax in the sun. Most of the kayaking tours visit this small island and offer tourists lunch at the charming restaurant. 

DePalm Island is also one of the best sites you will ever find for underwater photography. With shallow reefs and crystal clear water, you certainly don't want to forget your camera.

After you return to shore, there are plenty of other activities on the southern shore worth exploring. With calm winds and gentle surf, southern Aruba is also a favorite destination of windsurfers and kitesurfers. You can find several rental shops and tour guides in the area, with many services catering to novices and families. These calm waters are also a big draw for fishermen. Half-day and full-day tours can be arranged through fishing shops throughout Aruba or directly through your resort. After you catch some wahoo or yellowfin tuna, you can even take your catch to a number of local restaurants to be grilled and served.

As the most popular beaches and sites in Aruba are located on the western shore, a visit to the southern coast can provide a pleasant getaway. As word spreads about kayaking in southern Aruba, the sport will certainly continue gaining popularity. When in Aruba, ask your resort about kayaking and experience the unspoiled Caribbean beauty that everyone is talking about.

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How to Get Around In Aruba   by Jorge Jimenez

Without proper transportation no vacation is as relaxing as it would be with a rented car, moving around the island without any headaches. There are many reasons why people should rent cars when going on vacation: the cost of renting a car is pretty low not to mention that you can drive the car whenever you want, wherever you want, unlike buses, cabs and other means of transportation which have a fix schedule. If planning a vacation to the happy island, pay attention to the auto rental Aruba as it offers numerous possibilities for all sorts of tourists, they can offer you from economy cars up to luxury cars, not to mention 4x4 jeeps and SUV's.
Although Aruba isn't a very big island, you can't get everywhere by bus and that is why renting a car is the perfect solution. 

Comparing Aruba to other Caribbean islands, Aruba's roads are paved and well maintained, connecting attractions and sightseeing destinations easily. A jeep or a sport utility vehicle (SUV) is an ideal solution for those tourists who want to explore Aruba beyond its basic tourist sites. 

It is quite easy to rent a car in Aruba because most car rental companies have their headquarters near the local airport so tourists won't have to search real hard. Such companies provide maps for tourists and also many visitor related magazines include road maps.

Dutch Architecture Detail, Oranjestad, Aruba, Caribbean
Dutch Architecture Detail, Oranjestad, Aruba, Caribbean
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Aruba's jeep rental companies offer 4-wheel drive cars for people who want to try something different, people with spirit of adventure that want to see hard-accessible places, places people only can get to by driving all terrain vehicles. Of course, tourists can't access this kind of places by buses or other means of transportation because these vehicles have a strict route from which they can't deviate thus renting a vehicle from Aruba's auto rental companies is ideal for people who want to benefit from Aruba's full potential. Another reason people should rent cars is because the comfort is superior to other means of transportation and also with a rented car, you have all the freedom in the world, you can go places where bus routes won't take you. Only with a car you can fully enjoy a trip because we all know how uncomfortable train or bus seats are, it is almost impossible to fall asleep in these vehicles, even if you do, you will wake up exhausted and in no mood to enjoy your vacation.
 
Close-up of Fishing Boat, Aruba
Close-up of Fishing Boat, Aruba
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A difficult matter regarding Aruba's auto rental companies is that the variety is quite large so people should pay attention which company they choose because no one wants to pay extra money for no reason thus it is advisable to research first and choose after. 

There are a few conditions to be met in order to rent a car: the minimum age to rent one is 21 - 23 (depending on the car rental company) while the maximum one is 65 - 70, also depending on the company. Another condition that has to be met refers to the fact that the person who is planning to rent a car must have an international driver's license or any valid license held for at least two full years.

All in all, Aruba's auto rental companies are the ideal solution for tourists that want to take advantage of really getting around in the island, people who want to be independent, people that don't like respecting strict schedules and going on predefined routes with the local means of transportation.

Summary : Car rental companies offer the freedom every tourist's dreams of: no strict schedules, no predefined routes, and all the comfort in the world. That's why this business is rapidly developing.

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About the Author - Jorge Jimenez owns www.smart-rent-a-car.com, a site in which you will find valuable information about auto rental in Aruba, prices and also what types of vehicles are available.

FEATURED HOTELS & RESORTS IN ORANJESTAD, ARUBA

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Amsterdam Manor Beach, Oranjestad
The Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort sits less than one kilometer from the Royal Cabana Casino in Oranjestad, Aruba. The resort is located about 5 kilometers from downtown Oranjestad, where many restaurants, shops, bars and nightclubs exist. Low humidity and infrequent rain make for a near perfect climate that compliments some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Active pursuits include golfing, tennis, horseback riding, biking, scuba diving, snorkeling and windsurfing. The resort offers studio, one- and two-bedroom accommodations with furnished balconies. Each unit has either a kitchenette or a full kitchen with a range, a refrigerator and a microwave oven.
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Oranjestad
Bucuti Beach  is a unique first-class hotel located on Eagle Beach. This is the only boutique-style resort on Aruba that caters exclusively to couples. Popular with couples because of its determined efforts to maintain peace and quiet, the resort discourages guests from bringing children and offers no children's facilities. The property is an oasis of tranquillity, ideally located on one of the Caribbean's best white-powder beaches. Guests can sail, dive and swim, play golf or just unwind under a palm tree. The resort sits adjacent to the Alhambra Casino, and it is near a variety of restaurants and shopping.
Divi Aruba All Inclusive, Oranjestad
The Divi Aruba all inclusive is situated five minutes from Aruba's capital city, Oranjestad, and 10 minutes from Queen Beatrix International Airport. The resort is surrounded by sandy beaches, but the beach is just the beginning. No matter how guests choose to spend the day, it's all included at Divi Aruba. After dinner at the beachside restaurant or grill, guests can spice up the night with island entertainment or try their luck at the Alhambra Casino. The Divi Aruba All Inclusive vacation also gives guests access to amenities offered at the neighboring Tamarijin Aruba all inclusive resort.  The Divi Aruba's 203 spacious, air-conditioned guestrooms are decorated in a tropical style with modern furnishings.
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, Oranjestad
The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is located in Oranjestad, Aruba, adjacent to downtown Oranjestad, the hotel's marina and the ocean. The Resort & Casino comprises 2 buildings: the seaside Ocean Suites and the adults-only Marina Hotel. From early morning until late night, golf carts shuttle guests between the two, separated by the Aruba parliament building. The building features the elegant 24-hour Crystal Casino, a theater, L.G. Smith's Steak & Chop House, and a spa. The hotel's indoor mall leads directly to Oranjestad's main shopping district. Amenities also include a street-side pool and sundeck and a contemporary lobby lounge serving Japanese-style bentos and Spanish-style tapas.
Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino, Oranjestad
This Aruba resort sits across the street from acclaimed Eagle Beach, less than 6.5 km (4 mi) from downtown Oranjestad. Butterfly Farm and Adventure Golf are within 1 km (0.5 mi). The Aruban Resort & Casino features 2 swimming pools, 1 with a swim-up bar and a water slide. Gaming at the Key Largo Casino includes Caribbean stud poker. Guests can enjoy nightly entertainment at Blue Marlin Bar & Restaurant or happy hour at Sunset Villa Bar. A doughnut shop and ice cream parlor serve sweet treats. Additional sundries are offered at a convenience store. This villa-style resort offers 362 guest suites with balconies opening onto resort views.
FEATURED HOTELS & RESORTS IN PALM BEACH, ARUBA
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Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Palm Beach
Perched along the turquoise Caribbean Sea, and bounded by untamed desert beauty, the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino is a true resort oasis, and a most magnificent setting for your leisure and meeting needs. This resort has an enviable AAA rating of four-diamonds. The Marriott offers extensive facilities and a variety of onsite dining options. Guest can enjoy a variety of water sports, tennis on illuminated courts and a variety of onsite services. Golf, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing and a full service spa are all located nearby.  The Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris® Casino offers just the right mix of island charm and sophisticated elegance to make every guest feel welcome.
Manchebo Beach Resort And Spa, Palm Beach
The Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa is nestled on the largest of Aruba's beaches in unspoiled expanse of soft white sand in which one can almost get lost, and to which one will long to return. Enjoy swimming, scuba diving, windsurfing, golfing or just relax under a palm tree sipping on a passion fruit daiquiri. Whatever your pleasure, you are sure to find it here at this wonderful resort modeled after paradise. With just 72 tastefully appointed guest room, all customers receive personalized service in an intimate and relaxing setting. Let the staff of the Manchebo Beach Resort serve and pamper with the exceptional service that you deserve.
Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa, Palm Beach
Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa lazes along Aruba's Palm Beach, esteemed for its soft sands, turquoise sea and enticing ocean-inspired activities. Oranjestad shops, restaurants and nightlife, located five kilometers from the resort, attract visitors worldwide. The entrance to Arikok National Park is positioned 18 kilometers from the hotel. This five-and-one-half hectare resort embraces Aruba's trade winds with cushioned, open-air seating arrayed on polished fieldstone floors. Buildings are separated by expansive tropical gardens, waterfalls and freshwater fish ponds. 2 restaurants and 2 bars provide elegant, sunlit settings or weathered, open-air ambience. Menus range from haute cuisine to American-style buffets.
The Westin Aruba Resort, Palm Beach
Renovated in 2008, the Westin Aruba Resort rises along the Caribbean Sea in Palm Beach, Aruba. Oranjestad's shops, restaurants and nightlife are located six kilometers away. The lobby displays cushioned rattan seating, palm trees, tropical floral arrangements and a copper modern-art floating sculpture. On-site restaurants and bars include Blossoms Chinese/Japanese restaurant. Azull, open on select days, serves champagne at sunset followed by five-course meals. Pago Pago offers formal dinner service and prepares duck, steak, lobster and swordfish dishes. Multiple bars provide beachfront ambience and host live music. 
FEATURED VACATION RENTAL OPTIONS IN ORANJESTAD, ARUBA
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Amsterdam Manor Beach, Oranjestad
The Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort sits less than one kilometer from the Royal Cabana Casino in Oranjestad, Aruba. The resort is located about 5 kilometers from downtown Oranjestad, where many restaurants, shops, bars and nightclubs exist. Low humidity and infrequent rain make for a near perfect climate that compliments some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Active pursuits include golfing, tennis, horseback riding, biking, scuba diving, snorkeling and windsurfing. The resort offers studio, one- and two-bedroom accommodations with furnished balconies. Each unit has either a kitchenette or a full kitchen with a range, a refrigerator and a microwave oven.
Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort, Oranjestad
Located in the low-rise hotel district of Oranjestad, the Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort is directly across from Druif Beach on the island of Aruba. The 9-hole golf course, which guests receive discounts for, borders an artificial lagoon encircling an island with a negative-edge pool, a swim-up bar, a sundeck, a children's pool and a jetted tub. Two more freeform pools and a jetted tub are located on site, and Complimentary activities include dance classes, karaoke, children's activities, bingo and lessons in Papiamento, Aruba's local language.
Talk Of The Town, Oranjestad
This apartment property is located in Oranjestad, close to Fort Zoutman, Aruba Town Hall, and Royal Plaza Mall. Area attractions include Bushiribana Gold Smelter Ruins. Talk of the Town has an outdoor pool. Business amenities include a business center, high-speed Internet access, meeting rooms for small groups, and business services. Talk of the Town has a restaurant, a bar/lounge, and a poolside bar. Guests are served a complimentary breakfast each morning. Room service is available during limited hours. Event facilities at this 2.0-star property consist of conference rooms and banquet facilities. Guest parking is complimentary. This property is self-catering. 
FEATURED VACATION RENTAL OPTIONS IN PALM BEACH, ARUBA 
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Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club, Palm Beach
Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club looks out over the immaculate blue waters of the Caribbean in Palm Beach, Aruba. Enjoying a beachfront location, the resort is conveniently located near some of the islands most popular attractions, including the world's largest miniature golf course, the Casablanca Casino, and a fascinating butterfly sanctuary. The resort is the embodiment of a tropical leisure destination, complete with meandering lagoons, waterfalls, swim-up bars, private gardens and a sugary white sand beach dotted with palms. Guests have access to neighboring Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, which features restaurants, a health club and a children's club.
Marriott's Aruba Surf Club, Palm Beach
Situated on the beach, this Palm Beach property is close to Tierra del Sol Golf Course and Arashi Beach. Also nearby are California Lighthouse and Alto Vista Chapel. Marriott's Aruba Surf Club has tennis courts, an outdoor pool, a spa tub, a fitness facility, and a children's pool. Business amenities include wireless Internet access and business services. Marriott's Aruba Surf Club has a restaurant, a bar/lounge, and a poolside bar. Amenities featured in guestrooms include air conditioning, coffee/tea makers, and televisionsm cable television with premium TV channels. Balconies are featured in all guestrooms. All guestrooms provide microwaves and refrigerators. 
The Mill Resort & Suites Aruba, Palm Beach
The Mill Resort & Suites Aruba is a tranquil retreat on the island of Aruba in the Dutch Caribbean, 400 meters from the high-rise glitz and glamour of Palm Beach. The Casablanca Casino, and butterfly and bird sanctuaries are within one-half mile of the resort. The Seaport Village Mall, Seaport Marketplace, boutique shops and restaurants in the port city of Oranjestad, located 7 kilometers away, are accessible via city buses. This resort's lobby welcomes guests into a large open space featuring pillars, an open staircase, ceramic-tile flooring, a lily pond, a cascading waterfall and custom-made, hard-carved Columbian furniture. The resort's Garden Cafe Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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