Awesome and thank you for the suggestion Jerryl! Feel free to suggest 4 other local tips
Rent a 4 wheel drive and explore the island. From the Marriott go left to get to The site of the (now fallen) natural bridge. This side of the island is beautiful with wild surf and a rocky shore. Then head down the center to the Natural Pool. The Natural Pool is exciting drive wise as well as amazing to see and explore. You'll question the 4 wheel drive until this destination, where you drive on a steep downhill that looks like a moonscape to a wild and beautiful natural pool. Swimming in the pool is wonderful, but be careful on the sea side of the rocks surrounding it. There have been some folks swept off with little warning. Hint: you'll know you are getting close to the scary part of the drive when you see the goats :-).
Off to the right on the drive down you'll see the shallow water wind turbine farm just off the coast of the island's prison.
After coming back up the hill from the Pool, and after everyone in the car except the driver has had a fortifying bottle of the local Balashi beer, keep going left around the island to Baby Beach and enjoy snorkeling in the beautiful bay.
We thoroughly enjoyed a week in Aruba with two families including the parents and 4 college aged adults. The Marriott is a really beautiful resort with huge rooms and amazing views. Enjoy!
All about the Food-in high season reservations are a must
If you do not rent a car a cab ride into town from the high rise area runs about $20.00 each way-keep this in mind if you want to go to Barefoot or Mirandi's-two great restaurants for sunsets and food
Flying Fishbone is a more expensive cab ride but also a great sunset and good food. Its sister restaurant is Screaming Eagle in the low-rise area
High Rise Area
A must is Wacky Wahoo-small restaurant great food
Aqua Grill a modern looking restaurant is also a good choice
Bingo's is great for families
Coffee Fixes include Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Juan Valdez and the Coffee House
Going thru Customs
When you leave Aruba you go thru both Aruba and US Customs.
Leave at least 3 hours to get thru from the time you arrive at the airport til you reach the gate.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the least crowded days
We came home last Friday. We left the high rise area at 10:00 Stopped to get gas for our car rental; returned car and were at the Delta priority check-in at 11:00. (If you are not priority on any airline you could be online for a half-hour or more)We arrived at the gate at 1:20 after a five minute stop at the duty free area; our plane was supposed to board at 1:30 (was delayed b/c some many people were stuck in customs)
1. Rent a jeep and explore the island at your own pace!
2. Take the Jolly Pirate Sunset Cruise. It is fun and the sunset is beautiful!
3. Go the square and see the entertainment at night. Go more than once! It is worth it!
4. Leave your cell phone off and escape!
5. Go back over and over!
Ahhh, the Renaissance-my favorite! There is GREAT snorkeling at the island. If you are a bit adventurous-try this-but you will need snorkel gear with fins. Also, water shoes under the fins.
On the family side of the island, there is a break in the rock barrier-about mid way. If the surf is not especially rough, you can swim through the rocks into a WORLD of sea life. The water is about 6-8 feet deep. Turn right and follow the barrier until the end. Climb out just past the adult beach and walk back.
For an increased adventure--at a 45 degree angle from the point of the adult beach there is a submerged barge. Water there is about 25 feet. Incredible clarity and sea life. Anyone can point that out to you.
I make this journey twice daily when staying at the Renaissance. My wife comes for one trip holding my hand.
Fins are needed for swimming. Water shoes for walking out as the bottom is all rocks.
here are some pics-all from Ren island. All free.
if you staying at any of the Marriott properties you have an easy walk to shopping and plenty of restaurants, at any price range.
The Petite Cafe has a wonderful vocalist beginning at 7:00 pm on Sunday night.
Great gelato at cafe just past Gianni's.
Favorite restaurants this year: Wacky Wahoo ( a reservation before you come down if you want to go in high season), Daniel's for melt in your mouth steaks, Gianni's.
For Dutch pancakes: three different takes from Linda's, The Dutch Pancake House (Renaissance Marketplace) and Delifrance.