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October 20, 2008 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Looking for Aruba advice... First time Aruba-goer - long time hater...

It might be great. I have just always pictured it a big Disney-ish for my liking but with 3 kids in tow on a Inlaw sponsored trip I am looking forward to having a great time. Help me!
I've never traveled with kids and always been a backroads, bus-travelling, eat where the locals eat kind of traveler. I am hoping to have a few of those moments on this trip. I'll be staying at DIVI golf resort and wondered whats close to that for local food, local saturday markets, local swimming holes and the like. Also any terrific places I might miss out on by just following the pack.

And any parents -> don't hesitate to school me on traveling with a one year old boy and 2 five year old boys.
posted by beccaj to Travel & Transportation around Aruba (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Check out the far (Atlantic) side of the island. It's a desert with grungy bars, a gigantic bat-cave and a prison. Beautiful blue waters teaming with sharks. Sounds unbelievable, but true.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:59 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Beautiful blue waters teaming with sharks. Sounds unbelievable, but true.
Right. If you're teaming with the sharks, the water will be red, not blue.
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:05 AM on October 20, 2008

ahem... teeming
posted by leotrotsky at 9:07 AM on October 20, 2008

You could have a really great time with five year olds--they love to explore. Track down some information ahead of time about the types of shells or birds you might encounter there so you can classify what you see when you're out walking the beaches together.

We had a terrific time at a snorkeling area in Hawaii with my 4 and 5 year olds and a few masks and snorkels--just sitting in the water, bending down and putting our faces in to check out the sea life, no swimming required. If there's a good snorkeling area where you are, this is a great way to take turns with the other adults: the parents get some time to go out and explore more thoroughly, while the kids get a chance to see what's going on down there too.

Another thing we did on that trip was encourage the kids to keep a visual diary of what they saw and did. It made a great "rest time" activity, sitting down with a snack and some paper and crayons and chilling out for a while, drawing pictures (and the kids should get a little downtime if not an actual nap every day, see below). A spiral sketchbook and some fresh crayons would be a most excellent gift for five year old travel companions.

With one year olds, the trick is really just to help them not eat sand. It won't kill them, but it makes later diaper changes somewhat uncomfortable for everyone involved. A one year old is going to need to take naps--traveling is extremely stimulating and exhausting for smallies, and with young children, a nap is going to actually help ensure that they sleep well at night. Being the nap supervisor can be a nice excuse for you to get some reading done, or take a nap yourself if you're thinking of going out on the town later that evening. But in any case, expect the baby to kind of screw things up sometimes, and be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't happen.
posted by padraigin at 9:13 AM on October 20, 2008

Don't let anyone talk you in to Snuba. Best seafood i've had in my life at Aqua Grill
posted by taubman at 9:15 AM on October 20, 2008

Not Aruba-specific, but two five year old boys would LOVE some kind of treasure hunt. Make up a few clues left behind by a made-up pirate, and the final treasure is saome gawdy trinkets, a shark tooth neclace (left behind by Captain Sharktooth?) some glass jewels and chocolate money or some such.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 9:32 AM on October 20, 2008

Wow, that's some bad spelling in my response above, but you get my drift.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 9:34 AM on October 20, 2008

Rent a Jeep and drive around for an afternoon. It's really fun to bump around in the back of a Jeep. The island is very easy to drive around, and you'll get the freedom from touristy stuff. Definitely drive out to Baby Beach - it's quiet and cool for kids and adults alike.
posted by kenliu at 7:55 PM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

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