We are back from Aruba, which was absolutely beautiful. The weather was warm (90s or so) and sunny every day, but there is a constant wind (trade wind) which keeps it feeling a little cooler. Many people burn there because the UV index is almost always 10+ (it's 30 miles from Venezuala) and with the wind they forget how long they have been in the sun. The beach was beautiful and had a nice palapas (palm tree beach umbrella). I will post pictures soon. Aruba has beautiful white sand beaches and the food is amazing. All of the food is imported and I had the best steak from Argentina. In general the food is well above average, but a bit pricey (not too bad, worth the price for sure). Everything in Aruba is imported except for Aloe. They make their own aloe lotions. Population on the island is 71,000.
INTERESTING FACT: Downtown in the local shops you get buy all of the Aruba t-shirts and souvenirs you can imagine, the funny thing is all of these items were made in the US and imported into Aruba to sell to American tourists.
In general we saw many people from the US, the dollar is accepted everywhere and english is one of the main languages. There also were a lot of folks from Europe and S. America which made "bikini watching" on the beach interesting.
WATCH OUT: We rented a car for a day to see the island, it takes about 1 hour to drive the length of the island. We almost got in an accident because the traffic lights are amazingly short. We were 3rd or 4th at a major intersection and I just assumed it was going to stay green for us, at the last minute I saw that we were running the red light and sped up to avoid the on coming traffic. I think the lights last about 10 seconds or so. Only a few cars get through each time, but there really isn't much traffic.
BABY BEACH: You will hear a lot about baby beach but it requires a 45 min drive to discover that it is 1/2 a mile from a huge oil refinery and when we went they didn't have any bathrooms there. Baby beach is nice because the water is no more that 5 feet deep at all parts (it's like a little cove) but we enjoyed the "High Rise" hotel beaches so much it wasn't worth the hassle to rent the car and drive and be exposed to who knows what.
All in All Aruba gets a "must visit" rating. For comparison The Bahamas (Paradise Island) gets a "don't bother rating" and Hilton Head Island gets a "great to visit" rating, especially for nice beaches in the US, though the food was only OK.
That's all for now, post a comment already!!