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First timers coming at the end of the month

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Niskayuna, New York
Destination Expert
for Aruba
posts: 3,403
reviews: 139
First timers coming at the end of the month

I am generally NOT a creature of impulse (especially with travel, and especially when parting with large sums of money), but last month I got an e-mail from Divi Carina Bay touting a very good rate and "pulled the trigger" for a four-night stay at the end of August for my husband and me.

We have been to Aruba many times, Bermuda twice (and love both), both coasts of Mexico (I love, my husband notsomuch) and St. Maarten (meh).

I did a bit of "review reading" for Carina Bay and we have stayed in other Divi properties, so I am NOT expecting a five-star experience. When we visit a new island, we like to take a half-day tour just to get the lay of the land. We aren't worried about restaurants because our stay is all-inclusive (we tend to do AI on first visits). Newcomers to Aruba who opt for all-inclusive get shot out of the saddle because there is such a plethora of great places to eat there, but we are aware that we are traveling at a time when many places close for vacation or renovation and just want to have a slothful four days on a beach.

Can anyone recommend a half-day tour operator? Any other advice for first timers? Thank you!

10 replies to this topic
St. Croix
Destination Expert
for St. Croix
posts: 1,590
reviews: 81
1. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

I highly recommend getting a car for a couple of days and driving the island by yourselves. There is so much to see that a taxi tour won't show you and your can try some restaurants/beach bars that will be much better than Divi. You could start out heading east to Point Udall, then travel along the north shore (Tamarind Reef/Deep End Bar, the Buccaneer, thru town of Christiansted, Cane Bay, thru the Rain Forest to the Domino Club, and to the West End). Beachside Café is a great place to eat on the west end. The beaches along the west end are fabulous. Then come back to Divi via the Queen Mary Highway stopping at Whim Plantation and the Botanical Gardens. This is all a lot to do in one day which is why I suggest a car for 2 days. If you don't want to drive, the all dayTan Tan Tour is lots of fun but you will miss a lot. The other alternative is to hire a taxi for a day and tell him where you want to go. Another day you will probably want to take a boat to Buck Island - Teroro leaves from Green Cay Marina and Llewellyn leaves from the yacht club (closest to Divi).

Niskayuna, New York
Destination Expert
for Aruba
posts: 3,403
reviews: 139
2. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

Thank you very much!

New Britain...
posts: 734
reviews: 19
3. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

I think you're in for a real change compared to where you've been. STX is not built up like the islands you've already visited. The beach bars are under the palm trees on the water. The towns are old. Many buildings dating back to the 1700's. You might call them quaint. There are touristy things to do but the operations are lower key than Aruba or STM. If you take the time to talk to people you'll find them very friendly.

The only down side to your plans are that you'll discover on day 4 that you haven't had enough time to do everything you wanted to do. You'll be back.

Niskayuna, New York
Destination Expert
for Aruba
posts: 3,403
reviews: 139
4. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

LOL--I know, Bassman, I know. We like Aruba because the weather is pretty much guaranteed and we know it well. We are not deluding ourselves that we are having a genuine"Caribbean vacation " there. When we go to Mexico, we go off the beaten path (I speak Spanish, so that is an enormous help and that's probably whey my husband is squirmy about it--he hates being in the dark.) We are very much looking forward to experiencing STX--although we DO realize that all-inclusive isn't the best way to do it and that four days is not long enough.

Thank you for your input!

Elkhart Indiana
Destination Expert
for St. Croix
posts: 1,089
5. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

Crabgroupie pretty much nailed it! as did Basserman ... the first year we went for one week and while sitting in the airport waiting to depart we both said "next year it has to be 2 weeks and not 1" ... we then came 2 more times for 2 weeks and darned if 2 weeks wasn't enough so last year we came for 2 months and wouldn't you know it we STILL didn't get to see and do everything! STX is a "grab me island" and I highly recommend renting a car for at least 1 or 2 days and just setting out for adventures ... enjoy planning and counting the days

Niskayuna, New York
Destination Expert
for Aruba
posts: 3,403
reviews: 139
6. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

We are back from our trip. Does this forum like trip reports?

Gardnerville, Nevada
posts: 176
reviews: 19
7. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

This forum LOVES trip reports.

Elkhart Indiana
Destination Expert
for St. Croix
posts: 1,089
8. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

We thrive on trip reports and look forward to them!

Edited: 8:29 pm, August 30, 2014
Elkhart Indiana
Destination Expert
for St. Croix
posts: 1,089
9. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

I meant "trip" reports not trio reports and for some reason TA would not let me edit the post.

Edited: 8:30 pm, August 30, 2014
Lexington, Kentucky
posts: 1,012
reviews: 30
10. Re: First timers coming at the end of the month

Yes please : )

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