Posted June 22, 2009 by Jamie Moore
Don't want to encounter a Gustav, Hanna, or Ike on your Caribbean getaway? Then head to Aruba, a tropical paradise that sits safely below the hurricane belt. Among this happy little island's white beaches, dramatic rock formations, and wind-sculpted divi-divi trees, you can easily find fun and affordable experiences. Start with an adventurous island tour, find flea market deals, or sip down a Pink Iguana colada with a classic Caribbean meal.
De Palm Tours: For off-road island sightseeing, your best bet is De Palm's bumpy half-day tour in a 4X4 Range Rover. Guides artfully blend historic commentary with unique experiences. Along the way you get to go snorkeling, explore an old fort and lighthouse, swim in a natural pool, feed ostriches, relax on beaches, and see the island's distinctive caves. Tours run $52 per person and admission for kids under 12 is 50 percent less.
Iguana Joe's: Admittedly, this festive Caribbean restaurant is a bit of a tourist trap. But if you can get past the fact that it's located in a mall and sells t-shirts with its iguana logo, then you're in for a casual and fun lunch stop. Grab a seat on the outside deck, an excellent place to people watch above a busy downtown street. Try the island-caught mahi-mahi, coconut-rum-battered shrimp, or the traditional Aruban Keshi Jena (cheese filled with chicken, vegetables and spices)for less than $20 each. Sandwiches cost under $10, and a half-liter of the potent Pink Iguana colada goes for $7.50.
Tourists Go Flea Market: What would a Caribbean vacation be without a little haggling? Sure, there are plenty of swanky shops with the latest fashions, but you'll have much more fun at the flea market on L.G. Smith Boulevard. This huge market across from Container Harbour promises bargains on locally made crafts, artwork, clothing, and, of course, souvenirs. The smoky aroma of traditional island barbecue fills the air. Don't leave without a quick bite.
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