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James September 26th, 2001 12:08 PM

Grenada, curacao,margarita,aruba - whats the best
And what beaches are good? Also any other tips?

Nanatravel September 27th, 2001 11:16 AM

Re: Grenada, curacao,margarita,aruba - whats the b
Grenada has a lovely port town where you can buy fresh spices. A necklace made from spices is a great souvenir to bring home. Grand Anse is a beautiful beach. Just take the water taxi from any independent on shore. Curacoa is a flat Dutch island with only a few hotels and a nice downtown historic area. The Aquarium is very interesting though for this type of country. If you take a taxi to the Aquarium beach (man made) where there is a entry fee, spend some time on the beach then wander over to the aquarium for some local culture. Arrange for your taxi to return for you at a certain time. Have him leave you off downtown so you can do a walking tour on your own. Be sure to go into the hotel at the mouth of the canal. Go all the way to the pool area for a relaxing view and cool beverage. The Pontton bridge is a site to see as is the ship going under the Bridge. I am not sure ships still do this as I understand there is a new pier. Aruba is one of our favorite places to return to again and again. Just walk to the main street and get on a local bus to Palm Beach $2.00 RT. Ask to be left off near the Holiday Inn and if they are not real busy, they might rent a lounge chair to you. The water and view is lovely. You can get a taxi back to town if you don't want to wait for the bus. Casino's are open early to late. I Don't like Venezula.

Bill September 28th, 2001 08:47 AM

Re: Grenada, curacao,margarita,aruba - whats the b
Last stop in Aruba came on Thanksgiving this past year. Having been there before ,my wife had her sights set on some very specific shopping which we did early in the morning. Back to the ship,to stash the loot and quickly out again. You can't go wrong with the beaches, but this tip involves something a bit different. The Sonesta Hotels in Orangestad operate their own private beach on a island just outside the main harbor. Go to the
desk at the hotel and get a day pass for $25.00. This is what it includes a) a boat ride from the hotel lobby to the island,b) full use of the island facilities once there (beach, chairs, umbrellas, showers etc).c)lunch (anything on the menu) at the cafe on the island d) a drink with lunch. There is a nice little gift shop and there were changing facilities and tennis courts (we did not use these). There are resident iguanas all over the island (quite tame) and pelicans resident in the trees. At the end of your day a quick boat ride puts you right back at the Sonesta in the center of town just a short walk back to the ship.
You'll spend that much or more at any beach between transportation, chair rental, food etc and nothing is as convenient or luxurious.

cruiselover September 29th, 2001 02:23 AM

Re: Grenada, curacao,margarita,aruba - whats the b
We were in Aruba & Curacao about 3 yrs. ago on Rhapsody of the Seas.(Lovely ship, by the way.)

In Aruba we hired a minivan driver to give us a little island tour. Went to the rock arch at the ocean (quite interesting!) & to see the cacti in the desert; a little church, etc. Then we asked to be taken to a nice beach. He dropped us off at a hotel - maybe the Hyatt? We had a nice, shady lunch on their restaurant patio, used the beach, the restroom & the pool shower (hey, we did buy several nice lunches!) & saw these neat green iguanas or something running all around the pool. Very nice couple of hours! The driver picked us up at a designated time. Cost was much less than a ship's tour. We shopped downtown a little afterward. You can get a lot of the blue & white Dutch Delftware there (but I already had some from trips to St. Maarten!). There is also a Senor Frog's, which, if I recall correctly, was closed, but our l3 yr. olds had to have their pictures taken on the the steps!

In Curacao, one of our friend's daughter's wanted to visit the aquarium. Not very high quality & I would skip it if I were you. (They did do a neat shark feeding, though.) It was just not up to American standards. We did a little swimming at the beach, which was right next to it. Decent snorkeling, but not great & you had to swim out a good distance to find it. This time our cabbie (a lady) did not come back for us. Though there were many cabbies, we waited a little extra time (at least 20 min.) for her. Finally took a different cab, but at least we didn't have to pay for the ride there as it was to be a paid upon completion of the trip! Then we walked around downtown, over the moving bridge; into a few stores. There are some cute bldgs., but overall it was a little disappointing. The postcards make it look a little prettier & it smelled heavily of oil, as there are offshore oil dereks in the area. The weather was a tiny bit overcast, too, though, which may have contributed.

I'm glad we visited those places, but they aren't our favorite Caribbean islands. Many people say Aruba is their favorite, though, so go judge for yourself & have lots of fun!

Melissa October 7th, 2001 09:01 PM

Re: Grenada, curacao,margarita,aruba - whats the b
I agree about the Sonesta. My husband and I stayed there for a week a couple of years ago and really enjoyed their private island - it was very relaxing. To the right of where the boat docks is the "adult" beach - some topless people, but much quieter than the other side. Although, the restaurant is on the other side (not very far, however.

If you like snorkeling, I highly recommend De Palm Island off Aruba. We took a bus, and I do NOT recommend this mode of transportation. The driver dropped us off in the middle of nowhere and pointed through this residential area. We walked through a rather scary neighborhood with mean-looking, loose dogs roaming around. Fortunately, we made it to the dock to get the boat to De Palm, but I recommend taking a taxi or ship excursion. Anyway, we saw the most colorful fish we've ever seen in the Caribbean (we've snorkeled in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, St. John). The only place we've snorkeled that was better was Haunama Bay on Oahu.

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