Condominiums Continue To Rise

Acqua Condominium Aruba

A rendering of what is going to be Acqua Condominium Aruba

Acqua Condominium Aruba 2

Titles and logo of Acqua

Acqua Condominium Aruba 3

Construction just started of Acqua, with in backdrop Marriott’s Surf Club

I drive by Palm Beach almost every day and I’ve been meaning to post about something I saw going on there for a few weeks now. In an earlier extensive post about the latest developments in properties in Aruba I objected about the amount and massiveness of these new condominium projects that are rising quickly. Take a look for yourself:

  1. Oceania Suites at Eagle Beach
  2. Goldcoast Villas at Westpunt
  3. Jardines del Mar at Eagle Beach
  4. The Sands at Eagle Beach
  5. Acqua Condominium Aruba at Palm Beach

Oceania Suites phase 1 at Eagle Beach is the only project that is partially finished for buyers to move in or use at this point. Goldcoast Villas is moving rapidly and construction is ongoing but far from finished. Acqua Condominium have just started construction (see above picture), while The Sands and Jardines del Mar haven’t begun building.

In many studies conducted and released by the tourism authority and statistics bureau time after time one of the more important reasons visitors travel to Aruba is for the quietness and the Caribbean laid backness (excuse that word for a lack of a better one).

The Dean of Tourism, Dr. Peterson, at University of Aruba in many publications has pointed out various directions Aruba could take in order to ensure a sustainable future in tourism. For example in one of his publications he mentions the underdevelopment of cultural tourism and lack of cultural entrepreneurship in Aruba. Not to deviate to much from the topic, I don’t remember Dr. Peterson suggesting the rise of condos as an important option forward. Slowly Aruba is starting to look a little bit like Miami Beach and Cancun with all that building that’s been going on lately.

Like stated in a previous post with a similar topic, my objections lies with the massiveness of these projects. Also the lack of information by officials about all of what’s coming.

Having said all of the above, these properties are already here or are in the pipeline and there is no way back. At the end of the day these properties are located on some of the best areas this island has got to offer and I must admit they look very nice. I definitely want to invite you to take a look at some pictures taken from one of the rooms at Oceania Suites at Eagle Beach.

Aruba Marriott Renovations Just Started

Aruba Marriott Renovations Just Started
Marriott construction

Aruba Marriott Renovations Just Started
Workers getting busy at Aruba Marriott

Recently I wrote a piece about hotels having the habit of starting renovations in the month of September, I’ve noticed that Aruba Marriott hasn’t begun. Well, up until yesterday that is. Renovations kicked-off at Marriott Resort yesterday October 1st.

The first thing they are ripping apart is the entrance-lobby. Right now they are taking the old hardware out. When it gets time to start rebuilding and, more importantly, drilling, is this noise going to affect guests? Are they able to keep the noise to a minimum level?

It seems likely due to the fact that I haven’t seen much price reductions by offering hot deals and the resort is going to remain open. The reconstruction is most likely going to be cosmetic more than anything else and the noise level might be kept to a minimum.

Suspended Passport Rules Back On

On January 1st of this year strict rules regarding passports came into effect for travelers going to the Caribbean, Canada and Mexico. US laws now require every US citizen leaving the country to carry a passport traveling to these before mentioned areas.

The US State Department was so overwhelmed with passport requests, that they couldn’t handle the load, thus decided to suspend this rule. Starting today the strict rules are back on. You need a passport to leave the United States (actually to enter the United States) when traveling to the Caribbean.

Officials in Aruba are negotiating with US Customs and Border Control (USCBC) to seek an exemption from these rules due to actual presence and legal status of USCBC in Aruba.

If you aren’t familiar with the airport situation in Aruba, I’ll summarize it.

Aruba airport has two departure terminals, one for “Non-US Departures” and one for “US Departures”. After checking in and getting a boarding pass from your airline you’ll then proceed through local customs and lastly pass through USCBC. As soon as you pass through USCBC that piece of terminal is considered American soil. Consequently when your aircraft arrives in the United States you will arrive at a domestic terminal.

For the time being, get your passport. Certain reports suggest it might take up to three months to get one in certain US cities.

It Costs $3000 To Get To Arashi Beach

In the last few posts I wrote about Arashi Beach and how great it is there. Now comes the key question: how much does it cost to get to Arashi Beach? Simple answer: US$3000,-

What is that? Could you elaborate? Sure. As a hypothetical case I took two adults traveling from October 13 to October 20 from Boston.

Air-fare: $1156 (2 adults, including taxes/fees) via usairways.com non-stop from Boston’s Logan International.
Note: if you’re traveling from different city, more southern in the US, the air fare is probably going to be lower; if you’re traveling from a more western city in the US the air fare is probably going to be higher.

Resort: $1197 (2 adults, including taxes/fees) via CheapTickets staying at Divi Dutch Village at Druif Beach.

Food: $420 (figure according to local statistics bureau)

Transport: $102 via Toyota Rent a Car for a 3-day special, gas $25.

Other costs (tipping, gift, etc.): $100.

Grand total: $3000.

Keep in mind that above calculation is just an indication of a random itinerary. You could stay less time, stay at a different resort, rent a different car (or none), travel from another city or country, etc.

There you have it, this is what three grand could get you nowadays in the world of travel.

Arashi Beach Guide Finished

The sub-title of this site is “latest news & handy beach guide”. I’m sure you’re wondering where those beach guides are, well, wonder no more. Today I publish the first: Arashi Beach Guide. I will ad fresh pictures in the following days and probably tweak a little here and there too.

I’m planning on adding a guide for all the popular beaches, Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, Druif Beach and Baby Beach, as well.

Top 4 Snorkeling Beaches

Map Snorkeling Aruba

Aruba is surrounded by crystal clear water, as a result snorkeling is perhaps the most popular water sport activity besides swimming. There are several well known beaches and not so well known beaches worthy of your visit if you’re pondering to go snorkeling. I took it upon myself to give you some pointers on where to go and how to get there.

First things first, arrange equipment. Ask the concierge at your resort for some snorkeling equipment. If they don’t offer any then pay a visit to Aqua Windie’s at Palm Beach (they are building a new and larger store at Eagle Beach) [UPDATE: Aqua Windie’s finished the move to Eagle Beach]. This place has a large collection of water sport material; you’ll probably find what you’re looking for.

Arrange a vehicle. You don’t need a big off road vehicle, none of the places I’m recommending are off the track; a small sedan will suffice. Probably there is a car rental desk down at your resort. If there isn’t one then contact Economy Car Rental or Toyota Rent a Car. They offer good deals, are reliable and their cars are in good shape.

You are all set now and here is the top 4:

  1. Mangel Halto > located in Pos Chikito, follow the signs for De Palm Island, road 1a/1b.
  2. Boca Catalina > located a few miles passed the Marriott.
  3. Baby Beach > located on the south eastern tip, make sure you swim in the deeper areas.
  4. Arashi Beach > located by the golf course.

5th Annual Aruba Music Festival

Aruba Music Festival 2007

Annual Aruba Music Festival is going to take place on October 5th and 6th, 2007 for the fifth consecutive year. This music festival is more dedicated towards the older traveler judging by the invited performers. In previous years big names like Lionel Richie, Styx, Queen, Chicago performed, meanwhile this year Richard Marx and Robin Gibb are the main event.

Some major names are partnering with this event such as Westin, Renaissance, Marriott, American Airlines and KLM. Prices start from $40 per person to the VIP-section at $100 per person. For more information visit the island’s tourism authority website.