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Am I the only one who hates Aruba?
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higbee



Joined: 29 Dec 2000
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:05 pm    Post subject: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

The worst windsurfing I have ever encountered was in Aruba. The only spot to windsurf is in front of the Fishermans Huts, which to me was like trying to windsurf in a large puddle. If you stray more than a few hundred yards either direction the wind shuts down because of buildings or hills. You cant head straight offshore, either, because of the shallow reef. There is a narrow channel through the reef that you have to stay within, its like windsurfing on a short track. The narrow channel is poorly marked (I ended up paying for a new fin on my rental board). I got bored with windsurfing the flat water and went in search of waves, but apparently there is nowhere else to go.

Aruba is the least appealing windsurfing spot I have ever visited, and that applies to activities on land as well as on the water. One word describes the social atomosphere on Aruba: UPTIGHT. Did you know you have to dress up just to go out to dinner? Dont even THINK about throwing on a hawaiian shirt with your windsurfing shorts and looking for a cantina. If you are hungry, you had better put that Van Heusen dress shirt on, iron your Armani slacks, and polish your Bruno Magli shoes, even if you are going out for a quick snack. If you want a casino, go to Aruba (or better yet, Las Vegas). If you want to windsurf, go to Maui.
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tony89



Joined: 09 Jan 2001
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 11:29 pm    Post subject: RE: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

Yeah I have to agree. Offshore wind is a bummer (yawn)and the reef is a pain in Aruba. I definitely wouldnt go back.
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spyder



Joined: 24 Sep 1996
Posts: 2790
Location: oahu

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2001 2:49 am    Post subject: RE: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

I tend to agree as well, my favorite of the ABCs is Bonaire. Bonaire beats Aruba hands down, for relaxing atmosphere, unobstructed side-on winds, beautiful, and uncrowded. However, Aruba is quite the opposite. Yes it blows, and blows hard. But its very gusty, and the reef sucks. Not to mention the stupid building plans, like the Marriott. Also the damn speedboats that almost killed me coming out of that area.

The town did have a few good restaurants, but the casinos werent my bag. The atmosphere is not overly hospitable, like Bonaires.

I give Aruba a weak rating. The best part was wind everyday, and some great screaming jibes.

sorry to those Aruba fans.
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spyder



Joined: 24 Sep 1996
Posts: 2790
Location: oahu

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:10 am    Post subject: RE: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

tony - I kinda recommended Aruba over Margarita in another post of yours. I thought it would be better since there is more to see and do on Aruba, with a family, than what I had perceived about Margarita when I was there. But Las Brisas says there is much more there. As for sailing quality, I think Margarita is better, and Aruba is just ok.

pros & cons with each of them to consider.
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tony89



Joined: 09 Jan 2001
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2001 8:24 pm    Post subject: RE: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

yeah I noticed:-P

I was once in your boat and only focused on sailing.

As you can see by my previous post, Im not into Aruba. Sailing the SF Bay 5 days a week for 5 years and Maui for 2 years kinda ruins one for flat water.

My choices are down to Maui, Margarita, and Baja.

Maui is hands down the best sailing spot but my 19 month old son may tear the DC10 apart on its way from Chicago to Kahului. Also the winter wind is fluky....but the waves rock..

$300 r/t flights are available from Chicago to Cabo but Id have to drive 30 miles to La Ventana or Los Barriles to sail each day. No way my family is camping in Baja. Still Cabo has a nice allure, the baja sailing is fun (big chop) and there is good golf in Cabo.

Margarita is a much shorter flight. Charters from Toronto run $300 US, the accomodations are reasonable and appear nice. The wild card is the sailing although it appears the wind is solid and the equiptment good would it be fun for a week? Would my family have a good time there?

I think im down to Cabo and Margarita leaning towards Margarita.
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lasbrisas



Joined: 28 Mar 2000
Posts: 210

PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2001 8:43 pm    Post subject: RE: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

Well, I cant say that I hate Aruba, but I think it is overrated as a windsurf destination. We went there 3 times, so I guess we liked it. But the offshore winds, huge wind shadows and flat water do not make it an ideal destination. I was so intimidated by the offshore wind that I never jibed once. While we were there a beginner got blown out to sea, and spent 6 hours floating on her board. Luckily she was picked up by the coast guard. (and Aruba is often mentioned as a great beginner spot, I think not!) We did have some great food on Aruba, but it certainly was not cheap. Next time go to Margarita, much better sailing and a lot cheaper. And you definitely wont have to dress up for dinner!
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18693

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2001 8:06 pm    Post subject: RE: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

Two questions:

1. How does Grand Cayman compare to Aruba? Ive been to GC and was quite favorably impressed. Its just slalom sailing with some B&J at one spot, but at least its steady onshore wind (at the proper end of the island) and offers quite a bit to do. It is mostly a dressup place, so Im glad I was forewarned; all I take to Maui is shorts, tees, sandals, and my harness.

2. What do trips to the Caribbean cost for two for a week or two? My trip was paid for; I cant comprehend paying a couple of grand just to windsurf on flat water.

Mike
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windwaves



Joined: 20 Sep 2000
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2001 11:46 pm    Post subject: RE: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

you must be - I love it. If you are a big waves sailor than you would have no reason to go there.
Otherwise, consistent winds (24hr.day) and great food !

best
gio
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stumpp



Joined: 20 Apr 2000
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2001 10:01 pm    Post subject: RE: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

This attitude is why windsurfers get a bad reputation. Every spot has strengths and weaknesses. As a frequent visitor to Maui I can attest that it, too, has drawbacks (sharks, instantaneous wind shutdowns, american tourists...). The gorge has em too (gusty wind, limited parking, all those barges...). And the Bay area (traffic, no electricity, wind shadow from that big orange bridge, sharks at Wadell Creek ...).
The beauty of this sport is that, despite drawbacks, you can find something special everywhere (obviously all of the spots listed above have strong points. So, you hated Aruba? Did you try sailing well offshore (great bump & jump). Did you notice that better sailors can plane constantly thru the windshadows that shut you down? Isnt learning that a skill you could use? Try sailing well offshore? Stronger, steadier, wind with good bump and jump. Did you consider working on highspeed transitions its a great, and forgiving place to learn them (how are your reverse monkey jibes? Boomerangs? Duck tacks?). Did you sail up to West Point (10 minutes on a powered up reach)? Tremendous wave sailing if there is a swell (frequent in winter) and if you are a skilled wave sailor (go with a local, or try the southern tip of the island for milder conditions). Did you try sailing near the airport? Gorge-like conditions on a good day. Still looking for a challenge? Nevin S. sailed around the entire island in a race with only half a boom (the other half broke off early in the event). You should see Arubas windward side to understand how challenging that was. Try surfing? A great curl near the lighthouse. Oh, and about the people there...you must have hung out with the gringo overweight casino crowd from NJ. Why in heavens name were you that stupid? (Hit a nerve yet?) Did you meet any locals? Theyre some of the nicest people Ive ever met. The folks at The Boardwalk go way out of their way to see that your vacation is fun. Did you go to Dashers windsurfing party? (Always a ball). Since youre such a good sailor, did you try to lend a hand to a beginner? Sometimes its better to give than to receive. Seeing the smile on a budding sailors face can make your day - especially if you helped put it there.
You need to dump the attitude and seek out the special qualities of wherever you are -- otherwise youre nowhere. Oh, and my spin on Maui: the sailing is wonderful, but the best thing is stopping to take in the view of Haleakala from deep in Maalea bay on a 4.0 day in the late afternoon. It makes you happy to be alive and realize that the world can still be a magic place...aloha.
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higbee



Joined: 29 Dec 2000
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2001 12:40 am    Post subject: RE: Am I the only one who hates Aruba? Reply with quote

I disagree about Maui having ANY drawbacks. It is windsurfing perfection. Higbee
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