we are staying Monday-Friday at the Renaissance aruba using a friends and family rate and then the weekend at Marriott Aruba Stellaris. This way we get to see everything on the island. no car though - i think we can do without it and on the weekend i figure we can take a cab into town.
It can get very pricey to take cabs on the island, but being downtown offers amny good dining experiences that have been mentioned here. On the weekend out at the Stellaris, if you had a car for the weekend it would allow for options and you can park it for free. I would second the recommendations here for restaurants but would add Papiamento to the list. Great dining inside or outside around the pool. Also has a great wine cellar. Ask the owner to take you through if he comes by your table. He's proud of it!
Happy travels and Happy Anniversary!
My husband and I spent 8 days in Aruba in June of 2011 - split between the Stellaris and the Renaissance. We loved both, but for different reasons. If possible, I recommend an upgrade to the Tradewinds floor of the Stellaris - the room, lounge food, and private beach area are AMAZING!
I think you will love the private beach at the Renaissance, but please take water shoes and watch out for the iguanas - they LOVE food!
Our favorite tour was the ABC Full Day Jeep Tour - it is crazy bumpy, but great fun and you'll see the whole island.
Our favorite restaurants were: Yemanja Woodfired Grill, Mirpas, and Que Pasa - all just a short walk from the Renaissance.
We spent a week last Thanksgiving at the Marriott Surf. At first we did not have a car , but after paying $30 for a one way cab ride and knowing our group of 4 had various flight days we decided to rent a car. Glad we did, then we went to the local grocery store and stocked up on beer, wine, fruit, local dutch breads, cheeses ,etc. It was great to be able to bring snacks and drinks to the beach or have them for late night snacks. We believe we saved lots of money by eating breakfast and lunches that we made. We also feel healthier by not eating restaurant food all week. We splurged at dinner. Our favorite was Madame Janette's. It is near Palm Beach , but you do need to either have a car or pay for the cab. Another reason for a car. There are some funky restaurants on the water at Palm Beach. Our favorite was on the pier over the water decorated with Christmas lights. We had a whole grilled red snapper which we shared with 2 glasses of wineccost$30.Great Deal! We did drive around the island. Not real impressive! Gota see it once. Aruba is the island to kick back at the beach during the day, eat at a great restaurant at night, go dancing or play at the casinos(Marriott Stellaris is the best) and repeat. We can't wait to repeat . Have fun!
If you decide to get a car, it is worth driving down to Eagle Beach for a day. The beach is much nicer there than in the high rise area. Also, if you haven't check out depalmtours.com you need to check them out. We went on a semi-submarine trip with them and it was amazing. The also have a private island where you can spend the day. They also have a private island with a water park. Everything on the island is one price for the whole day (including food and beverages). We also enjoyed the butterfly farm.
The bus system works quite well and is cheap.
You might consider a car rental at stellaris, there is an agency (hertz I think) on site.
Special experience if you can get in -
Carte Blanche (by the mill) is gourmet, 14 seats around a counter.
Also, a similar place 2 Fools and a Bull opened in Noord. We are trying it this year, but Carte Blanche is ***
We go to Aruba 1-2 times a year. Week at the Surf Club. (Own a timeshare week there.) Then we tack on some nights at the Ren. The Ren. is a great Cat 5. I love being in town at the end of our stay AND the private island.
Eat at Iguana Joes.
Walk around and take in the city.
Private Island--ENJOY Snorkel.
Moomba Beach Bar
Hadicurari Seafood just by SurfClub. Great seafood-grilled fish.
Jolly Pirate Snorkel trip. I consider the morning trip that includes lunch a "must" for all folks we bring to Aruba. It's just down the beach from Marriottville.
Rent a car and drike to Arikok National Park