We are calling at Aruba Bonaire and Caracas in January.
Has anyone got any tips especially re places to visit or avoid and is it better to go on the organised cruise trips . we are sailing on Ocean Village 2 and are both in our sixties .
Do you like snorkeling/diving? Bonaire is one of the best places to snorkel/dive. We have been there 3 times, twice we took the Mushi/Mushi catamaran sail/snorkel. Fantastic crew, awesome snorkeling, great catamaran. We did a tour of the island, the first time we were there. We just grabbed a cab. Not much to see, but it was a nice afternoon. It's a very clean island. We've been to Aruba a few times as well. The last time we were there, we just took a cab to Plam Beach. It was a very nice, clean beach. There was a pier with a bar/restaurant. We rented some chairs and spent a few hours there. There's plenty of shopping near the port and plenty of "Americanized" bars/restaurants, like Carlos 'n Charlies, too. We've also done a couple of snorkels which were nice, they took us to a sunken tug and there were some turtles, too. In Curacao there is some great shopping, good snorkeling, and the Curacao distillery (which I really liked-yummy samples). You can use your "Find" feature in the upper left hand corner, and type in your ports. It will pull up all the posts made about them. You might find something that is interesting to you. Hope this helps some!
In Bonaire, we walked from the dock to the Plaza resort, about a 15-minute walk, and paid $10 to use their beach for the entire day. We had our own snorkeling equipment, but I think they do rent it there. The snorkeling off their beach was the best I've ever encountered, even better than Hawaii. There's also a nice outdoor restaurant there, reasonably priced. The ship offered an excursion for $99 to this place, which included lunch, and bussed everyone there. We easily saved $50 each by walking over....and we had more time too since the buses arrived later and left earlier.
I have only been on Aruba
so here is what I can tell you,
I always use the cruise company tour is a little more $$$ but is way safer than discover the island by yourself.
I use private tours only on the islands where I have been more than two times, in my case st.Thomas for example.
Aruba is a friendly place you should not have any problem but if for some reason you are not on time on the ship, well the ship don't wait, check out a few Horror stories about it,
I remember one that the Adventure (AOS) left some people on Aruba.
The way I see it if your and experienced cruiser then use private tour, if you are not, use the cruise company tours.
As for the tours
There is a Tour " SEE and SEA Aruba" you can visit the island atractions and at the end of the tour you can go on the "explorer" a mini submarine like boat beautiful views of fishes, under the water ships, coral etc. A Great tour for the Kids if you have one and a great tour for the adults, also there is a good place near the explorer " EL pelican" or something like that, where you can eat food fresh from the sea.
Also if you want to drink rum punch there is also one tour where you get in a Pirate ship travel the island and drink rum punch all your day on Aruba.
If you are on Aruba visit "Carlos and Charles" that's a great place if you are looking to party and have a Good time and is walking distance from the pier.