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Tips on Aruba
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kraeva



Joined: 04 Aug 2007
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:56 pm    Post subject: Tips on Aruba Reply with quote

Me and wife just came back from a sailing trip to Aruba. So in case anyone out there is trying to plan their trip, here are some tips:

1. Sailboard Vacations in Aruba is not a good deal. The equipment is VERY old. I have not even heard or seen the Fanatic Bee (their main line), till I was there. Their sails are also for beginners, and everything is rigged very heavy. Contrary to the most posts, their launch site is not that great. Its right in the middle of a reef, so there is no sand, and must wear booties to get out. While trying not to hit your fin on a rock. The rooms are clean, but also very outdated. Overall the price is not worth it by far.

2. We were disappointed in Sailboard Vacations, and so switched to Vela. They have the best gear on the beach. Wilm stuff was all over the place, and while he has some new stuff, it is mostly older, more beat up. Vela had all 2008 and 2009 equipment. And there was no problem sailing there. Both Wilm and Vela have sandy beaches at the launch. With both you have to deal with some boat traffic, but that is anywhere around Fisherman's Hut.

3. We ended up staying at Beach-House-Aruba. Much more affordable, not luxury but nice and clean. Close to both Vela and Wilm. Boardwalk also seemed like a good place. Mariot hotels are right on the beach at Vela, but are the most pricey. If you have a rental car, you can stay almost anywhere, and be on the beach in max 10min. The whole island is only 15miles long, and if you are around Palm beach/Noord area, getting to windsurfing is not a big deal.

4. Overall its an expensive place. American prices, and the main tourist places are almost Manhattan prices. Off the beaten path things are much cheaper. Tons of restaurants, tons of places to go for a beer after a session.

Hope this was helpful!
sasha
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Caribchakita



Joined: 05 Jun 2001
Posts: 286
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the post. Most of my clients go to Vela. What is Wilm?

I was in Aruba in 97 as a newbie windsurfer and stayed at Sailboard Vacations. We found a run down place but the gear was ok. In recent years having visited Aruba often I would recommend Vela but I do know the other competitors.

Why not visit Bonaire to escape the crowds and offshore gusty conditions?

Follow your www.bonairebliss.com and your www.antiguabliss.com and lastly your www.anguillabliss.com

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Ann Phelan
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kraeva



Joined: 04 Aug 2007
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am sorry, Wilms is Wim's, or Aruba Active Vacations.

As far as sailing, yes, for beginners it is a great protected spot. If you are advanced, it is a great place to learn new moves and tricks in the shallower protected waters. I found that the off shore wind was the only nuisance there, b/c it took forever to make it back upwind to shore once you go way out searching for waves.

I have heard great things about Bonaire. Unfortunately travel there is much more expensive. What keeps Aruba attractive is cheap airfare.

What are the good places to stay/sail in Bonair?

Thank you
sasha
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chickj



Joined: 03 Jun 2005
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:09 am    Post subject: Tips on Aruba Reply with quote

I concur on Sailboard Vacations. The equipment is old and the service is terrible. Should you decide to stay there, do not take any valuable. SBV does not change their locks, and the locals know this. I know of people who have had their rooms broken in to. The staff do not watch their clients either. My mom's rig got separated from her board, and she got towed in by a fisherman. Phil, the owner of SBV, CHARGED HER for the dent in the sail, instead of apologizing. Phil also was hesitant to lend out high performance gear to me, since he wanted it for show only.

Aruba is a good destination for flat water sailing and warm weather. Since it is an expensive island, spend the extra money for good gear.

I have been to SBV twice for family reasons, and I will never use their outfit again.
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madmax7



Joined: 07 Mar 1997
Posts: 556
Location: So Calif

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:19 pm    Post subject: Aruba Reply with quote

Went to Aruba, not going back...
Max
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Caribchakita



Joined: 05 Jun 2001
Posts: 286
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kraeva

We have one sailing spot at Lac Bay. The winds are onshore and lovely. Our launch as two shops, two great restaurants. Everything is rigged and ready.

Bonaire Windsurf Place has RRD and Starboard and Hotsails. Jibe City has Tabou, Hifly, Goya and Gaastra.

Indeed air can be pricey to Bonaire but we have new airlift commencing Oct. 4 and my clients are finding air once again for UNDER 500 USD. Email me if you need help. Our accommodations are cheaper than Aruba. I have studios 65 USD a night and up for two. Eating can be very cheap if you follow my suggestions. Mona Lisa is 13 USD pp for the Bar Hap Menu. Bobbijan's is 6-10 USD max pp for a fabulous BBQ.

Follow your www.anguillabliss.com

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Ann Phelan
www.bonairecaribbean.com
www.bonairebliss.com

Twitter: bonairebliss
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Caribchakita



Joined: 05 Jun 2001
Posts: 286
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:33 pm    Post subject: Updated Air Reply with quote

Please see my blog with the newly updated air schedule to BON. We have been finding air 400-500 PEAK season.
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nies



Joined: 08 Mar 2002
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just returned from Aruba as well and although I realize that for a pure windsurfing experience there are no doubt some better choices out there I choose Aruba because my wife does not sail and I thought Aruba had much to offer.

The Island is safe, friendly and easy to get around. Right now there are some real bargains. We stayed at the Marriott for a reasonable price and Vela was just a step away. There's plenty to do for a non surfer and right now there are no real crowds to speak of. The locals were friendly, honest, hard working and easy to approach.

The staff and the equipment at Vela were fantastic. It's true that near the launch site the wind is gusty and off shore, but once you get out and a little north it improves substantially. I was only there for three days but I managed to sail every day until my arms dropped. Day one was 5.9 and then 5.2 on a JP Excite 110. Day 2 I sailed a 118 JP Super Sport with a 6.2 and on the last day I stayed with the Super Sport and a 5.9. The added speed and size of the 118 tied the gusts together with ease. The water was post card perfect, the sea turtles were friendly and the weather was dazzling.

For beginners and newbie kiters it was perfect. For intermediates with non sailing spouses it provided some outstanding drag racing, jibe practice and an intact marriage for the trip home.
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njsail



Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my way to Aruba this August and staying at the Marriott. Any thoughts on reserving gear at Vela ahead of time vs walk-up renting? Would rather not commit to a certain number of days ahead of time given possible bad weather and "touristy" stuff I may have to do with the wife.
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kraeva



Joined: 04 Aug 2007
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

njsail wrote:
On my way to Aruba this August and staying at the Marriott. Any thoughts on reserving gear at Vela ahead of time vs walk-up renting? Would rather not commit to a certain number of days ahead of time given possible bad weather and "touristy" stuff I may have to do with the wife.


either way would probably work. I think the price is the same, but the more days you reserve, the cheaper it is per day. Call Vela and ask them what would they recommend.
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