"Aruba - Fun in the Sun!" Aruba by diver-x
Aruba Travel Guide: 859 reviews and 2,177 photos
For whatever reason, Aruba is a very popular vacation destination with New Englanders. Whenever I'd talked about my Caribbean vacations with my friends and coworkers, inevitably the fact that I hadn't gone to Aruba yet would come up. "You're kidding! Oh, you HAVE to go!" would be a typical response. But all of my research on Aruba told me that it wasn't a great destination for scuba diving and if I'm going to the Caribbean, I want to dive! So instead we went to Grand Cayman, Bonaire, Belize, Bahamas. . . Until now!
Why Aruba now? Well, price, for one reason. With the Natalee Holloway incident, a lot of Americans have boycotted Aruba. Tourism is suffering and when visitors dwindle, airfares and hotel prices go down too! We recently bought our first house, so budget is more important than ever. Other destinations we considered for our vacation were Roatan and Costa Rica and the airfares were just outrageous! We got a sweet deal that we couldn't refuse for airfare and a hotel in Aruba on Priceline.com, so we were sold!
So we were committed to Aruba and thought, well, at least bad scuba in the Caribbean will be better than any dive in New England, right? So that was our expectation. A little research on scubaboard.com found us a well-respected dive master to look up when we got there. What we didn't know is that he didn't actually have a dive shop to look for - although we did have a picture of his boat from the web site and we knew he kept it at the marina by our hotel. As luck would have it, we happened to pass right by his boat on the way to breakfast Monday morning, just as he was loading up for the morning dive. A quick 'Hello,' handshake and an inquiry and we were penciled in for diving the next day!
As it turned out, diving in Aruba is completely underrated! It's true that the reef isn't quite as expansive or healthy as Cayman or Bonaire, but the Aruba dive community was smart enough to realize this and to take action to make diving more interesting. Aruba diving is all about wrecks! The south shore of Aruba is littered with wrecks of ships and airplanes, most intentionally sunk for scuba diving tourism. Don't get me wrong, the reef isn't bad. We saw places so healthy I felt like I was swimming in fish rather than water! But the wrecks really make the diving in Aruba. And it's good stuff!
Aruba has a lot of fun things to do out of the water too. I think the best thing you can do is rent a Jeep and drive the dirt roads along the north coast from the California Lighthouse down to the Natural Bridge (which has actually collapsed). The scenery is just beautiful - especially if you like desert landscapes. The seacoast is rugged and breathtaking! Not great for swimming, though because the north coast is the windward side of the island, the surf and undertow are treacherous! One place you can swim is the Natural Pool, also known as Conchi. It's a pool on the north side formed by rocks and boulders, which shelter it from the pounding surf. You'll need a 4x4, ATV or horse to get close to it and then you have to hike down steps and rocks to the water. Definitely worth the effort though! Other things to see are Arikok National Park, caves, ruins and even an ostrich farm!
This may not be a problem for everyone, but my husband seems to be particularly sensitive to jellyfish parts that are... more travel advice
Visiting the Ostrich Farm was not tops on our list of things to do in Aruba as we planned the trip. In fact we had no... more travel advice
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