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

Aruba Travel Guide: 983 reviews and 2,511 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.

Our 3rd visit was pre cruise in January 2015. We spent 2 nights at the Divi Village and Golf Resort and then a few hours post cruise before heading home.

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. Aruba is about 5 1/2 hours but there are now direct flights from Chicago every day.

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 2015
  • Intro Updated Mar 23, 2015
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Reviews (39)

Comments (28)

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2015 at 10:41 PM

    Interesting page. I had no idea it had the highest number of returning visitors. I was also curious why. The only reason I would return is for the people. But to be honest, once is enough for me, as there are so many places I haven't been.

    That is true that hurricanes are very rare, maybe one every 100 years.

    I was only there for 6 days, and I could've used 2 more. But you are right, that people like us would probably get bored quickly, as there isn't much to see on the island, and you can see it all in a week.

    I agree. The climate is the best in the Caribbean, as the ABC islands are the only Caribbean islands, you can visit in summer. Even my guidebook lists summer as the best time to visit. Next time I will go in summer to Curacao and Bonaire.

    That's very true that most Americans are from the east coast. Everyone was shocked when we told them we are from California.

    You shouldn't be complaining about the distance, as it's even further from California, and requires taking 3 airplanes.
    The distances I have flown, 5 1/2 hours is considered short for me. I had no idea they had direct flights from Chicago, and they are so short.

  • SWFC_Fan's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    I am allowed to count Aruba as a country, right? ;-)
    Assuming that I am, #78 will be added in May!! :-)
    I'll be back soon for a thorough read of your page!

    • Dabs's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      And I'm sure you'll agree with me that airports don't count! You can breathe easy for a bit, I think Germany might be our next stop, even with side trips, no possibility for a new country.

    • SWFC_Fan's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2015 at 3:15 PM

      I am in 100% agreement - I might like to exploit the grey areas, but I'd never dream of counting an airport stop as a country visited. Off the top of my head, Qatar is the only country I've passed through but not left the airport...and it isn't included on my list.
      That's good to hear! ;-) I've blown my last 2 months' paychecks on the Seychelles and Aruba trips, so definitely no chance of any more additions in the near future! Still hoping to visit Australia later in the year....and it *might* be possible to get a new country then...but unlikely :-(

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Another cool page Kristie! Great pix and tips. Enjoyed the read :o) Hugs xx

    • Dabs's Profile Photo
      May 6, 2014 at 7:36 AM

      Hope you find someplace lovely to go!

  • briantravelman's Profile Photo
    Apr 26, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    " If you're like me and want to explore, you'll run out of things to see pretty quick."

    I see where you're coming from. We spend 5 days and didn't get to see everything we wanted, but if we had more days, we would've covered it all.
    We ran out of things to see in Oranjestad. We saw all the main landmarks in about 3 hours.

  • 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!


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