"Escape from Chicago's winter to Aruba" Top 5 Page for this destination Aruba by Dabs

Aruba Travel Guide: 950 reviews and 2,428 photos

Our first visit to Aruba was in December 2007, we were looking for some place different to go so when the winds started howling in Chicago and the snow started piling up on the street, we plotted our escape to a tropical paradise. We usually head to the Riviera Maya in Mexico but in 2007 several people we knew were either headed to Aruba or just back from Aruba so I thought we would try something different.

Our second visit to Aruba was a stop on a cruise ship in January 2010. We had already seen most of the sights in Aruba so this was our chill out day and we went to the beach instead of trying to do a tour.

The Upside?

Aruba boasts the highest the highest rate of repeat visitors of all the Caribbean destinations, we met people who were on their 2nd, 3rd and sometimes 8th or 9th trip. 70% of the visitors are American, most of which seemed to be from the east coast, I could hear the New Jersey, New York and Boston accents everywhere we went. We also met quite a few visitors from the Netherlands and from the nearby countries in South America.

What do they all come back for? The beautiful turquoise blue Caribbean sea that is the temperature of bath water, feeling the soft white sands of Palm Beach and Eagle Beaches under your toes, it doesn't burn your feet, nor are there shells to cut your feet. Plentiful options for good to great dining, lots of casinos, relatively low crime rate, I never felt hesitant to walk around even at night.

Aruba is also touted as having near perfect weather and being outside of the hurricane belt. While this isn't entirely true, the chances of having your vacation ruined by weather is slimmer than other Caribbean destinations. Most of the rain falls between October and January.

The downside?

Even Aruba has it's flaws, if you are looking to park yourself on a beach or at a resort for a week, then Aruba might be your place. If you're like me and want to explore, you'll run out of things to see pretty quick.

Then there's the distance, although Aruba is still considered part of the Caribbean, it is one of the furthest from the US. I can get to Mexico in 3 1/2 hours, Jamaica in 4 hours, leave Chicago early in the morning and I'm on the beach by the afternoon. Leave Chicago in the early morning for Aruba, get in late at night, only one direct flight a week so like many, we were laid over in Miami.

And then there's the cost, you can find mediocre food fairly cheap in Aruba but you want a good meal, you will pay for it and there's not a lot of variety in the well reviewed restaurants, they all tend to be steak or seafood or Caribbean. The cost per person in Aruba for flights and lodging is also quite a bit higher, at least coming from Chicago.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise blue water
  • Cons:Expensive compared to other Caribbean destinations, too far from Chicago
  • Last visit to Aruba: Jan 2010
  • Intro Updated Feb 7, 2010
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Reviews (38)

Comments (24)

  • staindesign's Profile Photo
    Dec 2, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Great page!

    • Dabs's Profile Photo
      Dec 5, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      Thanks Abi! One of the few pages it looks like I might have had time to finish :-)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    Kristi, fabulous page with outstanding photos and helpful tips. I can't believe that your towels in the Radisson weren't fluffy. *winkygrin*

  • nyonnetti's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2008 at 6:53 AM

    Great tips- I am heading to Aruba in February and your page has been very helpful!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Nov 2, 2008 at 3:23 AM

    Lovely photos and good tips, thanks for sharing.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2008 at 4:11 PM

    Fine photos and texts on this place of total contrast to wintry Chicago! Those Divi divi trees look weird. I only know about sleep number beds because they sponsor Prairie Home Companion, but I've never seen one. Why didn't you like it?

  • mazzap's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2008 at 5:01 PM

    Loved your Aruba pics & tips, brought back great memories! The iguanas, divi-divi trees and rock piles (did you see mine?!) I was surprised about the bridge, just checked my pics & it wasn't there when we went which was before the supposed collapse date!

  • knowlsie's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2008 at 7:59 AM

    first class page on aruba will use your rest. reviews for our trip in july cheers from edinburgh scotland

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2008 at 4:10 AM

    Excellent page of Aruba. Your restaurant tips are outstanding. Cheers from Penang, SL :)

  • loisl's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2008 at 1:50 PM

    Your winter escape looks real good, I'm sure you had fun down south. Cheers, Peter

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Feb 5, 2008 at 7:20 AM

    Just stopped in for a little sunshine. Ahhh. Thanks. I needed that. Gorgeous beaches. Could the blue be any bluer?

Dabs

“Never put off til tomorrow what you can do today”

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