The Real Aruba Truth

A blog dedicated to the destruction of Aruba vacations, tourism, hotels, and attractions, resorts, and cruises to Aruba until Natalee Ann Holloway is found, alive or dead. Period. Aruba is a Third World rathole, not a safe, happy island. and The Official Tourism Website of Aruba LIES. The island is a haven for drug and human trafficking. Americans - your daughter might be next!

Location: Texas, United States

31 years old, single w/ no kids. 1996 graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences. Currently working for a civil engineering firm specializing in municipal recreation facilities and master planning. Born-again Christian.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Truth About Aruban Tourism

I did a little research, and I discovered something interesting: Aruba is not one of the most inexpensive Caribbean destinations, it is actually one of the most expensive! Here's what I did:

1. Reviewed the most popular Caribbean tourism destinations there are, choosing those with the most comparable events, activities, and attractions as that 'safe, happy island' we all despise so much.
2. Using,,, and, I averaged the three least expensive round-trip airfares for one adult to each destination. I also averaged the three least-expensive three-star hotels at each destination, again using single-occupancy as a benchmark to obtain a per person price. I chose multiple-stop flights and specified no departure or arrival times to better obtain the least expensive results.
Note that I did not compare cruise prices; given the Congressional hearings and widespread concern about cruise line safety and accountability, I just do not feel comfortable advocating this industry in any way.
3. I multiplied the lodging / hotel figures by 7 to get a weekly, per adult rate and then added the round-trip airfare cost for each destination, and compared these.
4. Finally, I compiled the rates into a table for ease of comparison:

$834 (48% less than Aruba)

$1283 (20% less than Aruba)

$1311 (19% less than Aruba)

Cayman Islands
$1341 (17% less than Aruba)

Puerto Rico (Joe Mammana's favorite and part of the U.S.A.)
$1356 (17% less than Aruba)

$1381 (15% less than Aruba)

$1381 (15% less than Aruba)

$1380 (15% less than Aruba)

St. Kitts & Nevis
$1438 (11% less than Aruba)

$1454 (10% less than Aruba)

U.S. Virgin Islands
$1588 (2% less than Aruba, mostly due to high airfares)

British Virgin Islands
$1610 (about equal to Aruba)


What a surprise- Aruba is more expensive than all but one of the destinations I examined! But wait, it gets better. Aruba has all those wonderful attractions like casinos and hoppin' night clubs (a girl for every guy and a Rohypnol for every drink), horseback riding along the beach, private island retreats, sailing, fishing, and many other wonders including legal prostitution that other islands don't? Wrong...well, except for the prostitution; Aruba has a monopoly on that. Take a look:

Aruba has: fine dining and restaurants
So does: Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Aruba has: horseback riding and equestrian events
So does: Anguilla, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Kitss & Nevis

Aruba has: museums and historic sites
So does: Anguilla, Barbados, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, U.S. Virgin Islands

Aruba has: music, concerts, and festivals
So does: the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica, Puerto Rico

Aruba has: night clubs (date rape drugs and sleazy 'wingmen' not included)
So does: the Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Aruba has: ecotours
So does: the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis (who pride themselves in ecotours), U.S. Virgin Islands

Aruba has: hiking and cycling
So does: the Bahamas, Dominica, Jamaica

Aruba has: sports venues and facilities
So does: the Bahamas, Barbados, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis

Aruba has: golfing
So does: the Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Puerto Rico

Aruba has: casinos and gambling (a good father and son activity if you're Dutch)
So does: the Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis

Aruba has: sport fishing, watersports, sailing, guided tours, art and local crafts, and scuba diving
So does: every other Caribbean island in this study!

What doesn't Aruba have (a competent and honest police force goes without saying)? I couldn't find any educational attractions, health spas, theatre, caving and rock climbing, botanical gardens, or zoos and wildlife parks in Aruba. But Anguilla, Bermuda, the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands do.

Once again, my friend at come through for me. Thanks!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget U.S. and Mexico vacation destinations. There are plenty of beautiful places to vacation here.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Dan in Tx said...

I will be including information on U.S. destinations like Florida, Padre Island and Galveston, SoCal, and Hawaii at a later date.

What a better way to screw Aruba than by not only going there but spending our money in our homeland too?

11:16 AM  
Blogger murph said...

great report Dan. No reason to pay more to go farther to get to Aruba.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Lorraine Keister said...

When you go to St. Thomas or St. Croix you are under United States jurisdiction, so you can be sure the FBI can come in swiftly to investigate, unlike Aruba or when on a cruise ship flying the flag of Liberia or some other foreign country. Jamaica, although it is a dangerous island ANY good hotel resort that you visit is in a compound and heavily guarded. Everything you do is inside the compound, under the protection of the guards, a VERY important thing to remember.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many beautiful places, such as The Florida Keys, San Diego/La Jolla, and the beaches in South Carolina if you want a nice beach vacation. The Caribbean has its beauty, but Natalee's disappearance proves what many of us have read about, or heard about from friends who have lived or visited The Caribbean. The laws, the police, and he attitude is different there. We don't have the same protection, or rights, on foreign soil. Being overly trusting,as in Natalee's case, can be a disaster. I hope people boycott Aruba, as the truth is the only way the family will get a resolution to this tragedy. I don't believe Aruba will ever release the facts; they are too concerned with tourism & inner quid pro quo. We all can help Natalee & her family by educating others about the ugly truths regarding Aruba & it's obvious lack of effective law enforcement in protecting foreigners on their turf. They clearly only protect their own, at their convenience. This case could've been solved with forensics, physical exams & with timely evidence collection in the hands of honest experts. Aruba is synonymous with a coverup and corrupt attorneys working on the nside of their judicial system. Joran said he'll tell it all later; at his convience. His arrogance is astounding and disgusting. I believe this was a sexual crime, despite the 3 suspects numerous cover stories and lies.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Again, your bias against Aruba shows in your writing.

You picked the "high season" for Aruba to compare your pricing. Of course they are going to be higher.

As far as parks, cultural attractions and zoos -- It is a small island, yet they are able to designate nearly 1/5 of the island as Arikok National Park. This area is extremely beautiful, as I have gone on horseback through it.

You also fail to mention the Donkey Sanctuary, the Butterfly Farm and the Numismatic Museam (coins).

These are only the things that I've been to. There's also the Ostrich farm and the Bird sanctuary and the many cultural festivals they celebrate every year, including Carnival.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Dan in Tx said...

I've periodically revisited by data from the original sources; the last time that I did this was March 2007; before that, July 2006. The trends do not change, high season or not- Aruba is always one of THE most expensive destinations in the Caribbean for Americans to visit. Part of their problem is geography- Aruba is much farther away than Jamaica or Puerto Rico, for example. That cannot change.

I felt no need to compare specific attractions to make my point. I'm sure the Butterfly Farm is gorgeous, but Aruba does not have the market cornered on eco-tourism! I have a good friend who might find the coin museum interesting, but...the average Joe won't go to Aruba just for that!

The Caribbean market has always been very competitive. There are a lot of perfectly good substitutions for Aruba that offer the same or similar recreation, festivals, amenities, lodging, shopping- pretty much everything- and at a lower price.

Call me biased if you will, but I can't be blamed for the facts.

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all those mean things you dug up from dirt . Im from Aruba and I know personally have more facts then you do about the nathaly case AND IM NOT JOKING ABOUT IT !!. Ive been visiting the state since I was born . More then 20 times already . Every year in oktober me with my parents and a group of people goes to the state and have fun , shopping and go to the theme parks . I have no grudge nor hate or bad to say for such a destination to the states . Even how dangerous it could be I still personally would like to visit . I would likely to live in the state someday . Its a dream that Im persuing to finish my studies at the state . So what we are expensive but doesnt give you the right to judge our place where i was born . What about the US ? We do also work hard to save money to visit your delighted big country . We save over $3000 for shopping eating etc. A ticket with american airlines is over 1000 dollars . So that to us is very expensive . We also have the right for vacation and protection wherever we go . I just want to clear up that even the world is not safe where people travel . I made real friends in the US . even that makes me wanna visit the state over and over . Careless how expensive it is . If you really dont like what we have to offer as a small island then dont come no offense. Though we would still let you have a hell of a good time in Aruba because its part of our culture . I only have nice and positive things to say about the US because i love the US citizen then a measly price for a travel destination ..... thanks ... Alex

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding to our political status . We Arubans are struggling with the current political party ( M.E.P. ) . The party introduced the B.B.O. its a tax base thing that we have to pay on everything we buy . But since the introduction mostly all the Arubans was against it making all things more expensive , related to that none of the salaries where raised , so that was the cause of traveling prices to be more expensive . They are a real stubborn political party and only thinks of money . Our police force is weak because of them . Then boycott the goverment not the whole island . Im also upset how the case whent . Yeah im still young to live my life and make the best out of it . I love the island but dont like the government or the way they work for us . But hey you also have to give a good example of yourself . Joran is not even a real Aruban blood related hes Dutch . the Kalpoe not even Aruban blood related . Now in the present young i see Aruba going for the worst because of our own careless government . They already have a bad reputation for controllingthis island so why dont they just take them off control and put a worthy honest party ? Easy to say but i dont understand why nobody isnt taking any actions against it .
The island is already beautiful ful of life and nature but the ugliness lies at the people controlling the island course for a better future .
Ill let you on this . I work at a local tv station so i see what happens on the island evryday some good some bad . I go to a hospitality school to learn and become a chef and learning about tourism also . So if someday if i graduate and live my life . It would be at the US for a good educational reasons ...... Thanks .... Alex

11:39 AM  
Blogger Dan in Tx said...

Thank you for your posts, Alex. You probably understand why so many Americans choose to boycott Aruba better than most Arubans. I can see that you are thinking beyond what crap the government feeds the Aruban people to keep them complacent.

It is easy to say, 'if you don't like it, don't come' but keep in mind that between 70 and 80 percent of tourism to Aruba comes to the United States. Those Americans who support a boycott of Aruba believe that Aruba owes us justice for Natalee's disappearance for all the business we bring. We can and will go other places than Aruba- that isn't the issue!

The issue is and always has been that the Aruban police protected the suspects from the beginning, and the government did nothing to make sure a solid investigation was conducted until it was too late. So you have the MEP to blame for every bit of bad publicity and lost business in Aruba. The police (at least some of them) are corrupt and protected the suspects, the government stood by and let them do this. It amazes me how hard many Arubans find it to make this simple connection.

Everyone seems to know everything there is about Natalee's disappearance, yet she is still missing almost three years later. The Aruban investigators could not solve this. The Dutch could not solve this. If everyone knows so much about this, why is there still no justice? There are more people in my hometown than there are the whole island- yet still no justice?

Alex, something is very, very wrong in Aruba, and as long as the Aruban people do nothing to fix it, they will continue to suffer. Complacency is no excuse, my friend.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Cath Lawson said...

Hi, Thanks for the great comparison. We went to Aruba on our honeymoon because of the lower hurricane risk in August. But it wasn't cheap. And it's not just the getting there. We also found the dining to be quite expensive.

The beaches were lovely though, aside from Baby Beach.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Gerald said...

This is your manipulatio, i do however disagree with you s i live in one of the most busiest and unique islands of the caribbean. You mentioned Saint Kitts in caisno, pls how many do they have?? They are not known for casinoes, rather eco-tours thats it. If you mentioned Sint Maarten as gambling i would have bowed cause that is where the gamblin at. Further more you mentioned anguilla many times, which dont have nothing much like aruba. Aruba is far more fun than anguilla and has alot more things to offer and do than that island and saint kitts. Anguila do have lovely beaches, but activities are limited and the island is dead, thats why anguillians and saint kitts people fly to sint maarten. You should do more research more often and not base on the time you did it, cause to go to aruba is very cheap, and there are much more things to do than the islands you mentioned like saint kitts, martinique, nevis and anguilla. Oh and aruba doe shave health spa, theatre among others u mentioned.. stretch your research a bit more..

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many people think its Aruba's fault, but Remember Aruba is A small Island against Holland which is apart of Europe. South America is bigger than America. Europe is bigger than America. Aruba is right near South America do U know how many Latinos travel back and forth from Aruba. Aruba speaks English,Dutch,Spanish,Papiamento. They will always have visitors.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Dan in Tx said...

There's problems with what you've said, Anonymous. Don't make the mistake that most Arubans do and oversimplify tourism economics.

First, let's examine South America. It is closer, yes, and cheaper for a South American to reach Aruba than it is for an American to do so. However, Aruba still must compete with other southern Caribbean islands that are just as close. Also, consider how much money the average South American can afford to spend on a vacation compared to the average American. For example, the average Brazilian earns the annual equivalent of $2,710 USD, whereas the typical American earns $37,500 according to the World Bank. If a five-day vacation to Aruba for a Brazilian costs $700 (for example) that takes up 25.8 % of his or her yearly income. Even if the same vacation costs twice as much for the typical American, this takes up only 3.7 % of his yearly income.
You can't rely on the much poorer South Americans to save the Aruban tourism economy, simply because they have less disposable income.

Again, according to the World Bank, the typical Dutch citizen earns the equivalent of $28,600 USD a year. If the trip to Aruba costs him the same as it does the American, then he must spend 4.9 percent of his annual income.
And Aruba still must compete with other Caribbean islands for European business.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous charlie ratcliff said...

This is in response to the last comment about the relative spending power of South American tourists on Aruba. Venezuelan tourists are, per capita, the biggest spenders on Aruba (followed by Americans, Colombians, etc.) But, no matter, because 2007 set all-time records for tourists on the island and, so far, 2008 is ahead of 2007's pace.

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Arubano said...

The real truth is Aruba is THE chillist island, and it's expensive because the service is of higher quality

12:09 PM  

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