Contributed by: Dani Klein | Last Date of Travel: June 2007
Kosher Info: Kosher restaurants did exist at one point, but in our week there, none was to be found. American institutions like Baskin Robbins / Dunkin Donuts exist near the major hotels, but that is about it. We had to bring our own pot and portable stove, along with some frozen meals. I definitely recommend renting a car (about $30/day) and shop at their large supermarket (Kong Hing) which carries major American products; is about 5 minutes driving from the main hotels on L. G. Smith Blvd.
Tourist Info: Aruba is a hot, dry island perfect for relaxing with your significant other. The hotel areas are beautiful, beaches are white and clean, and the people are friendly. There are a few tour groups that operate half-day and full-day activities on the island including various water sports, ATV tours, Safari tours, and more. We spent 2 days with De Palm Tours with mixed results. The first day was great. We did the “Natural Pool Jeep Adventure” and it was amazing! We got to drive a Jeep and swim in a rocky natural pool carved out in the Caribbean Sea. Day 2 was spent going to “De Palm Island”. Unless you have children, do not waste your time with this. We ended up leaving early and demanding our money back.
De Palm and other tour groups run other day trips around the island. To save you money, I suggest doing what we did, rent a car for the day and tour the island yourself. You can drive across the entire island in an hour. Drive through the Arubian villages, and be sure to visit Baby Beach and Arikok National Park, both on the opposite side of the island from the hotels. Baby Beach is pristine, secluded, and has the softest the sand you’ve ever felt.
Shopping and nightlife in Aruba is decent. There are numerous casinos in the hotels, and shopping in Oranjestad was definitely different. Don’t expect major bargains. Everything is imported except for the locally made Aruba Aloe products; which you may need after your sunburn.
At night, consider hitting up one of the poker tables as I did at one of the numerous casinos in the hotels. This seems to be a pretty common activity for those who don’t want to go far.
Jewish Info: Jewish life on this island is tiny, and consists mainly of tourists and traveling businessmen. There is a local shul, however not an Orthodox one, nor was it open when we stopped by.