My wife and I needed a getaway, and we found good airfare to Aruba, so we turned to TripAdvisor to find the right place to stay. We are on a low budget, so after much consideration (and some trepidation) I picked Aruba "Bed and Beach" over a hotel, based on its reviews. We absolutely loved it, and got way more than our money's worth.
If you are looking for a standard tourist experience close to the Casinos, then go stay at the Westin for a minimum of 2x the price (believe me, I checked).
Otherwise, stay at the ABB (Aruba Bed & Beach).
Truly friendly hosts. If your flight arrives on the weekend or in the evening, Karin or Louis will pick you up from the airport. I was nervous about this, but shouldn't have been. It was easy for them to find us/us to find them, and they picked us up promptly. Karen and Louis are also happy to direct you to the best restaurants on the islands (according to the locals) and even drove us to a restaurant to eat with them on our first day when we didn't have a car yet.
Easy access to awesome snorkeling. Check out the reviews by Google-ing "Best Aruba Snorkeling". 3 names come up again and again, and many consider Mango Halto to be the very best. Mango Halto is a two minute walk away, or just enter the lagoon from the dock right in front of the house (pictured in review).
Gorgeous water. Truly some of the most spectacular colors in all of Aruba, and we know because we drove the entire perimeter except for the military practice range north of Baby Beach... Check it out on Google Maps if you don't believe me. You can tell just by looking at the satellite images. There are maybe one or two other places that rival it, such as Baby Beach, but Baby Beach is, well, out of the way to say the least. The beaches by the hotel don't even come close. You can find beaches like that in Florida, South Carolina, and more. In the photos at Mango Halto, those darker portions of water by their house are huge brain corrals, fan corals, sponge corrals, and who knows what else. Many of the locals say this is the best snorkeling, and its right in front of the room you're staying in.
Karin and Louis have really thought of pretty much everything. They have kayaks, snorkels and mask that you can borrow if you need to, beach chairs, a huge aloe plant just outside the door in case you get sun-burned, tea lights in the evening, they provide a phone you can use (buy your own minutes, although we sufficed nicely on the leftover minutes from the previous guests), secured WiFi, a wine and cheese welcome package your first night, enough dishes and pots/pans for basic cooking, microwave, stove unit, toaster, normal sized fridge/freezer, air conditioning, Cable TV (such as it is...why does Aruba get Chicago news? Seriously.), and more.
The bed was a little firmer than I prefer, but my wife and I are used to one of those super deluxe mattresses that you sink deeper and deeper into every time you move. Unless you're really picky, you'll be fine.
Nothing else I can think of.
2 minute walk from small grocery store. If you plan to do much of your own cooking, you'll probably want to find something larger, but we mostly made do with what was there...and went to several restaurants.
4 or 5 minutes to the bus stop. We had a hard time finding a useful bus schedule, but it seems like one bus or another comes inside of 15 minutes.
You may find it more convenient to rent a car, but we made do with the buses except for the one day we rented a jeep (which is an absolute must! There is great 4-wheeling on the north side of the island, and if you want an extra challenge, tourists have been known to flip jeeps between the "natural (collapsed) bridge" and the "natural pool." It was awesome. But it is dangerous, so be careful.
- Also Known As:
- Aruba Bed & Beach Pos Chiquito