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Just got back from Aruba #154484
02/05/2018 09:39 PM
02/05/2018 09:39 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 141
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murphycpcu Offline OP
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murphycpcu  Offline OP
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.... and it reaffirmed our opinion that SXM is our one and only. I can’t think of one thing I liked half as much save maybe better roads?

Amazing to run into lots of people that go every year. (Aruba) Drink cost high; food quality low; ocean ok but usually includes views with oil rigs in the background. I am glad others like other places allowing SXM to not be over run with visitors. I wish I could have those 7 day$ back.

$42 for a bucket of 7 oz Brights is just wrong.

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Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154488
02/05/2018 10:07 PM
02/05/2018 10:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 11,718
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Your comments reminded me of the only time we visited Aruba, November 1995, probably for the same reason you went. And we hated it. Trouble was, we also kept comparing it to Sint Maarten where our hearts really wanted to be.

I know it, too, is a Dutch island but it’s totally different from SXM and the only two things we really enjoyed were the roads which were very easy to navigate, as well as the islands great bus system which made it unnecessary to rent a car for the whole trip as we usually do.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154490
02/05/2018 11:15 PM
02/05/2018 11:15 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 296
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CaribLee Offline
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CaribLee  Offline
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Our first trip to St. Maarten was in July of 1995. We decided to go to Aruba in 1996 because St. Maarten was still recovering from hurricane Louis. We came back to St. Maarten in 1997 and have been back every year since. We will never go back to Aruba.

Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154503
02/06/2018 08:35 AM
02/06/2018 08:35 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 451
Tellico Village, TN
jrr1148 Offline
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jrr1148  Offline
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Tellico Village, TN
Our Honeymoon was in Aruba back in 1972. Back then the island was just opening to significant U.S. tourism due to cheaper airfares and airport upgrades to accomodate 747's. There were a few large resort/hotels on Aruba back then anr the refinery was still in operating. Oranjestad was a bustling city but manageable as far as traffic, but when you left "resort row" you were in a very rural area much like French St. Martin. Reading the above posts I'm glad we didn't make a return trip, especially after discovering SXM in 1984 where we have revisited almost every year since. Our normal two week visit starts the last week in Feb - but unfortunately our timeshare units at Simpson Bay Resort were heavily damaged. We hope to return sometime later this year.

Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: CaribLee] #154508
02/06/2018 09:43 AM
02/06/2018 09:43 AM
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Posts: 141
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murphycpcu Offline OP
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murphycpcu  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by CaribLee
Our first trip to St. Maarten was in July of 1995. We decided to go to Aruba in 1996 because St. Maarten was still recovering from hurricane Louis. We came back to St. Maarten in 1997 and have been back every year since. We will never go back to Aruba.



I really hesitate to use the word never, but in this case i could only see myself going back to Aruba for an unavoidable destination wedding or a change of aircraft continuing to another island. It is 3 days later now and I still can't process it. I feel like I wasted 7 days of our lives.

Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: jrr1148] #154510
02/06/2018 10:13 AM
02/06/2018 10:13 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 11,718
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Aruba is fine but if you go expecting a St.Maarten-like experience, you will probably be a little disappointed, and apparently many Aruba fans who visit St. Maarten for the first time feel exactly the same way about SXM. But isn’t one of the joys of travel exploring and comparing the personalities of different places?

We only made the one visit to Aruba as opposed to probably close to ninty visits (+ or -) to SXM, and what I have realized in talking to many others who have visited both places was that most of those I spoke with seemed to really love one and not care all that much for the other. Didn’t matter which but for the most part that seemed the way the sentiments ran for many.

It’s been over twenty years since we were there and I’m sure things may have changed but I recall:

Being impressed by the fact Aruba seemed to be much cleaner and neater than St. Maarten and not as heavily populated. The dining ops were good but just not quite as good as SXM. I enjoyed exploring in our rental jeep but missed the variety of scenery and landscapes that SXM offers. I realized I’m more inclined to enjoy a lush landscape over a desert-like atmosphere. I loved the gentle breezes that were constantly blowing on Aruba and the waters while we were there seemed consistently calmer than what we typically experience on most of the SXM beaches where we tend to hang. And I really enjoyed being able to walk out to the sidewalk and catch a comfortable scheduled bus to almost anywhere we wanted to go. And perhaps it was the time we were there but we didn’t find the more laid back beach atmosphere that we enjoy in SXM.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either place but just don’t go with the expectation that since they’re both Dutch they will be very similar to each other.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154521
02/06/2018 11:55 AM
02/06/2018 11:55 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 274
Carib_Ian Offline
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Carib_Ian  Offline
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On our flight from Toronto to St. Kitts, we spoke to a few people who went to St. Kitts as an alternative to SXM. They came back unhappy. It just didn't do it for them and I can understand that. I think alot of people are foundering finding an alternate paradise.

Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: Carib_Ian] #154523
02/06/2018 12:09 PM
02/06/2018 12:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 65,834
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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I think to some extent, it really depends on your attitude going in. If you expect someplace else to be SXM, you will be disappointed. Someone that is that set on SXM probably should either go to SXM and deal with the current situation, or go someplace totally different, like Europe or something. You have to keep a really open mind and just keep your expectations under control. We went to Aruba for our honeymoon, many years ago, and have gone several times since then, although not for several years now. Aruba does have advantages, as someone said, it is cleaner than SXM and to some extent, safer, and you don't have to rent a car there. And most people spend their time at their hotel at their own beach, unlike SXM. So it is different, for sure, in many ways.


Carol Hill
Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154525
02/06/2018 12:37 PM
02/06/2018 12:37 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,162
Massachusetts
boucharda Online content
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boucharda  Online Content
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Agree....The last time we were in Aruba was 7 years ago (our 5th trip there) and it was decent. It is a fine, clean, friendly place if you are in the need of a beach fix. We will be going back this year (July) because of the SBR issues. We will also be returning to Grand Cayman (also a SBR issue) which we loved last year. Are they the same or equal to St. Maarten? Nope...because they are NOT St. Maarten and each has their own identity and personalities. I found St. Kitts interesting but on the boring side....monkeys were cool but not sure if it's on my return list.
Kinda weird if you 'hate" Aruba because it's not the same as somewhere else ...maybe "not the same" would be more appropriate and accurate

Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: boucharda] #154527
02/06/2018 01:37 PM
02/06/2018 01:37 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 11,718
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Brookfield, CT.
We visited St. Kitts a few times way back in the day and we enjoyed it, but both times we were looking for a quiet place to unwind that offered us a change in scenery from our norm. I think what we most enjoyed beyond the typical island sight-seeing was going over to Nevis and having the alternate island option there. And each time we went to St. Kitts we only stayed a week so we didn't really have much time to be bored.

One of these days we'll make it to the Caymans - so many have such very good things to say about their Cayman Island experiences.


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154529
02/06/2018 01:50 PM
02/06/2018 01:50 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,478
Rhode Island
RonDon Offline
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RonDon  Offline
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One thing Aruba has over SXM is the inexpensive ($1.00 or 2) bus line to get everywhere. Another is is IS much cleaner than SXM. And customs on island before leaving. But like another posted said, food expensive and not as good as SXM.

Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154533
02/06/2018 04:32 PM
02/06/2018 04:32 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,457
originally Long Island, NY/now...
irish1223 Offline
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I had to smile because we visited Aruba for the first time in December 2016 and felt pretty much the way you do. And unlike Pat's experience, we found the water to be much rougher (at least Eagle Beach at the time we were there) than most in SXM. The food was nothing to write home about and it was too 'Americanized' for us. Of course, everyone's mileage varies and I know people who love it there. There were some good points -- cleanliness, the bus system (we didn't have to rent a car). But not enough to draw us back.

We have visited many of the Caribbean islands, but have found that we can't go expecting it to be SXM. You have to go with an open mind, or at least a different mindset. SXM is unique and few islands, in our experience, match it. With that being said, we did visit Curacao this past October (2017) and very much enjoyed our time there. It is on our list of places to maybe return to (unlike Aruba), but this time around we went with the expectation to enjoy IT for what it was. There are always going to be comparisons to SXM, however, regardless of how hard we try.

Carol is right about going some place completely different. We did a Paris/Amsterdam trip last year and LOVED it.


Robin & Ed

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Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154547
02/06/2018 06:54 PM
02/06/2018 06:54 PM
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CaribLee Offline
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You are correct......I will go back to Aruba if I win a free trip there or a family member decides to get married there and my wife makes me go :-). In the way of explanation, I realized I do not like a desert island, the food did not compare to St. Maarten/St. Martin, there was no where near the variety of beaches and I do not gamble (a major attraction for many who go to Aruba). Therefore, Aruba offers very little for me. But if others enjoy it, they should go and keep St. Maarten less crowded.

Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: CaribLee] #154548
02/06/2018 07:04 PM
02/06/2018 07:04 PM
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Posts: 141
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murphycpcu Offline OP
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murphycpcu  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by CaribLee
You are correct......I will go back to Aruba if I win a free trip there or a family member decides to get married there and my wife makes me go :-). In the way of explanation, I realized I do not like a desert island, the food did not compare to St. Maarten/St. Martin, there was no where near the variety of beaches and I do not gamble (a major attraction for many who go to Aruba). Therefore, Aruba offers very little for me. But if others enjoy it, they should go and keep St. Maarten less crowded.

Amen to that!

Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154575
02/07/2018 12:44 PM
02/07/2018 12:44 PM
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Posts: 43
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downhillracer Offline
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All of the islands have their pluses and minuses. I particularly like Aruba because of the water. It's the only place I have been to that there is an off shore breeze so you can float and not go into shore. Nice when you have a cocktail and are floating. the down side of the island is it's more Dutch than native
and the Dutch aren't know for their food.

Re: Just got back from Aruba [Re: murphycpcu] #154577
02/07/2018 01:47 PM
02/07/2018 01:47 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 269
Sugar Land, Tx
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IslandBoi Offline
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Sugar Land, Tx
Originally Posted by murphycpcu
.... and it reaffirmed our opinion that SXM is our one and only....


you know there are more than two islands in the caribbean, right?


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