submitted by - Heather, Bursch Travel Austin office
Stayed at the Renaissance Aruba Hotel and Casino it is a beautiful hotel with adults only section and family section. Adults property does not have a beach due to the downtown marina location; however it offers a boat transfer to their private island approx. 15 minutes away. The adults only section has extremely small balconies. Family section is on the beach and accommodations are all suites with big balconies. Approx. a 5 minute walk between the two. Property offers all-inclusive and non all-inclusive option. Resort recommended the EP option due to the 240 different food venues available on the island. 24 hour Casino attached to the property. Only resort located downtown Oranjestadâ€¦right across from cruise port. Food was a little spendy as anticipated. $20.00 for breakfast buffet. Rooms were not the quietest at night due to the loud music and downtown location.
There are top of the line shops in downtownâ€¦Gucci, Louis Vuttonâ€¦etc.
We loved The Mi Dushi Sail and Snorkel tour. "Mi Dushiâ€ stands for 'My sweetheart".
Things to keep in mind - all beaches are public. Signs are posted at every resort. Aruba is very dryâ€¦drink plenty of water. We visited the California Lighthouse and the Natural Bridge area, but other than these 2 options, there really aren't many areas of interest to see â€" there are many excursions available but most of these involve water (parasailing, snorkeling, catamarans, scuba, etcâ€¦ATV's/safari'sâ€¦.
US currency is widely accepted. 4 languages are spoken through out the islandâ€¦English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiemento (local language). Small denominations are always good for small tipping. VERY easy to navigate the island by car and no international drivers license is needed. Driving is NOT on the opposite side of the road. Bring insect repellent and sunscreen!
A great FYI - you go through customs in Aruba when you are departing rather than doing it at your first stop back in the U.S. Clients need to be sure to allow 3 hours if possible for check-in at the airport as you go through a number of customs areas.
Crime rate is slim to none. Was advised that all guests should feel comfortable walking round at 2 or 3 in the morning. Everyone really is very friendly. There are NO vendors on the beach even though all beaches are public. The streets are very clean.