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Just Returned: Aruba In General.

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Just Returned: Aruba In General.

Okay, here we go. My wife and I just returned from Aruba on 7/26/07. We stayed at the Manchebo Resort and Spa in the Low-rise district. Here's some helpful info for those who plan on visiting Aruba in the near future.

Aruba In General: It's very HOT and SUNNY there! VERY HUMID with an almost constant breeze/wind, which you will appreciate. People around the whole Island are generally friendly. The service in restaurants is SLOW compared with the Northeast, but hey, you're in their world, you're on vacation, and the food is great and worth the wait. The 15% service charge on all food and drinks will confuse some small tippers since it is only a PARTIAL TIP and the rest is distributed among the other resort staff. I myself tipped well on top of the service charge. American CASH and credit cards are accepted everywhere, and change was given in American dollars. All prices are listed in dollars. No need to exchange currency. The Bus system worked well for us. Buses run roughly every 10 minutes. Fares are $1.30 p.p. each way or $2.30 R/T p.p.. The buses however are NOT air conditioned, but the windows are open.

CASINOS: Most casinos have older slots. The tables in many don't open early in the day, until later in the afternoon. The best Casino I found was at the RIU...nice atmospher, bright w/good music, and the most modern machines. This was not a gambling trip for us so I can't supply details for the hard-core gambler...sorry.

Restaurants: We ate at a variety of restaurants around the island and found the food to be quite good at most. No restaurant was actually a disappointment.

RESORTS: As stated above, we stayed at the Manchebo Resort and Spa. A small resort (only 71 units) with a LARGE beach. We always had a straw beach umbrella no matter what time we hit the beach. This is NOT POSSIBLE at the larger resorts. Our resort is geared towards the middle to upper age groups which is exactly what I wanted. Some kids around, but not annoying or loud. The bars/restaurants however do not stay open very late, but late enough for my wife and myself (we are in our low-mid 40's). This resort served our needs just fine. My wife said the Spa treatment was the best she ever got, and trust me, she can rate a spa.

Now, read carefully. The High-Rise hotels are beautiful, no doubt about it. Large pools, big gardens, marble lobby's, exotic birds, nice rooms etc., etc.. HOWEVER, if you are a beach person, you're gonna have a problem. LIMITED number of straw umbrellas (say 2000 guests and 25 umbrellas...you figure it out. And trust me, YOU WILL FRY if you don't have some shade to hide under during the day.

Sundays: If you're in Aruba on a Sunday, almost everything is closed. Some stores will open IF a cruise ship arrives, but other than that, cross shopping off your list. Some stores also close for "siesta" during the week between noon and 2p.m., but most stay open.

Hope this run down has helped. Feel free to ask questions. I will gladly answer any I can.



The Great Northeast
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1. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.

Great summary of your trip. Thanks for the valuable information!!!

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2. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.

25 umbrellas to 2000 guests? I don't think so. That's a stretch.

The high rise area has smaller beach space and generally, the complaint is it is wall to wall people and Palapas. There in fact are so many palapas, people are complaining about not getting enough sun there.

New Jersey
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3. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.

Thanks for your review.

I was going to say the same thing about Palm Beach, though.

We stay at Marriott. It's a relatively large hotel and, we've never had an issue getting a palapa. 2K to 25 just really isn't the case.

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4. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.

welcome back and thank you so much for your detailed feedback

IM GOING IN 4WEEKS and i cant wait to see the riu PLEASE TELL

me about there casino big ?new slots ?lots of em?smoking aloud in the riu casino?good drinks ?busy>im so excited

Oahu, Hawaii
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5. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.

Hi Mike--

We want to go to Aruba on 9/7 from Cleveland. Are there any airlines out of Palm Beach Airport or Ft. Lauderdale? I've checked sidestep.com but nothing direct. There must be a local or smaller airline that services these airports?

Also what did you think of the rooms at Manchebo?

How would you suggest we fly from Cleveland? After Aruba we are returning to LA, where we live. I know we can go Continental to Aruba, which takes us through Newark.

Thanks for any help!


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6. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.

Where did you wife receive her spa treatment at? I would like to take my wife to the same place/person. Thank you

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7. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.

Hello, it's me again.

With no disrespect to the responses from ArubaKathy and Shamrock0421, I only supplied information about the Palapas at the High-Rise district hotels based on input from hotel staff and a few guests we spoke to. The bottom line is this...large resorts with small beaches or small resorts with larger beaches...the choice is yours to make.

To Towa: I only visited maybe 6 casinos while on Aruba (as stated earlier, this wasn't a gambling trip). I found most to be small with older machines. However, the RIU, which is new, had the most updated machines. It also had the largest number of modern video poker machines from what I've seen. Yes, smoking was permitted in all the casinos I visited, the drinks and service were good and not busy the two times I stopped in (early afternoon and in the evening).

To idyllwildgirl: Sorry I can't help with your air situation. I flew American Airlines from Philly-San Juan-Aruba and the same path back. About the rooms at Manchebo? Ours was nice. Garden view, small patio (2 chairs, 1 table), king bed, small round table w/2 chairs, a desk w/chair, about a 32" flat screen t.v., coffee maker, microwave, small refrigerator, safe, iron/board. The water pressure in the shower was so-so, but enough. No "HOT" water, but warm, which was fine for us. Older furniture, but the room suited us fine to sleep and shower in. P.S. Count on taking a few showers a day.

To ed-MD: The SPA my wife used was at the Manchebo. It's called SPA DEL SOL. Her masseuse was Mayo, who praticed in several other countries before coming to Aruba. My wife said she was excellent.

Well, have to run now. Feel free to ask questions.


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8. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.

pokerplayer46, thanks for a good recent review. My wife and I have booked the Tam for the first week in January and we are really looking forward to our trip. Did you make it into the Alhambra casino ? This is closest to our resort and would appreciate your opinion thanks BarbGeo

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9. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.


Yes, I stopped in the Alhambra twice (once on Sunday for something to do and again while my wife was getting her spa treatment). It was the closest for me too. I personally found it a bit drabby in there, however, I'm spoiled with Atlantic City and frequent Vegas also.

The tables weren't open either day I was there, but it was early in the day when I went. They open at 10 A.M.. The video poker machines were old. Didn't really check out the slots. They do however have one new VIRTUAL BLACKJACK machine and one new VIRTUAL THREE CARD POKER machine, which I had no luck on either one.

As stated in my earlier post, I enjoyed the casino in the RIU most. Nice atmosphere and only a short bus ride away. Plenty of nice restaurants in that area also.

Enjoy your trip and GOOD LUCK!

Riverhead, New York
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10. Re: Just Returned: Aruba In General.


I have one other comment about Aruba in general that noone seems to mention and is one of the reasons we will probably not return: GARBAGE!

We found that outside of the resort areas Aruba is filthy! Heck, even in downtown Oranjestad- the water has garbage floating in the corners near the bukheads - the parking areas, too!

Driving out to Noord and beyond, the cacti are full of plastic garbage bags, etc. The beach and area we rode horseback through was littered with all kinds of junk: burned up wire, water bottles - just all kinds of litter everywhere!

Did anyone else notice this, or am I too sensitive?