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Old 09-04-2012, 11:04 AM   #1
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Question Aruba vs. St Maarten with kids - all inclusive

We are looking for any advice, suggestions etc. as to where to go and stay for a quick get-a-way in November. We are looking at all inclusive resorts in St Maarten/Martin or Aruba that are family friendly - while trying not to spend a fortune. Its the big 4-0 celebration for me and we wanted to include the girls too but looking at prices for 4 can be rather expensive.

So have any of you been to either place? Can anyone offer any advice? If we go, we are hoping to book it this week...

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:55 PM   #2
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I can only comment on Aruba- I have been there multiple times. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! thank being said, I have not taken my kids there (well, oldest when she was younger than 2 years old).

I can say this about Aruba- its pretty quiet there. Not alot to do except the ocean and pools to swim. Its a small island so not a lot of sight seeing. And, kids cant gamble (which there are a lot of casinos there).

In fact, DH and I both agree that we would not take our kids there until they are teenagers as I think they would be bored there (but they are not beach kids for more than a day or 2 at a time).

That being said, there are many islands that offer other things my kids have loved. They loved Cozumel and Grand Cayman. And Im sure they would love the Atlantis in Nassau.

Anyways, I disgress- if you want to take the kids to Aruba, just know the activities there for them. I loved it without kids. HTH!
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:33 PM   #3
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My take on this is not to take the kids (or younger teens) to the Caribbean. St Maarten doesn't have much except for beach and pool time. I don't know about the other islands but I would expect the same.

I probably would take kids to the Bahamas (Atlantis Resort) for the water park but only for a few days. I think most kids would be bored just going to the beach and pool every day. IMHO.

Last edited by Danibelle; 09-05-2012 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:36 PM   #4
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I would probably pick whichever one is less expensive, including airfare. I've done some research into the Caribbean isles and it can be more expensive to get there.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:38 PM   #5
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have you looked into Mexico...Rivier Maya area south of Cancun?

We have taken our boys to Dreams Riviera Cancun and Barcelo Maya Palace. they loved it!!! given a choice between Mexico and Disney they would absolutely pick Mexico. There is so much to do on and off the property.
It is a bit more affordable than the other islands you mentioned. There are sooo many resorts that you could find one that fits your style and budget!
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:55 PM   #6
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Well I've been to St Maarten. I loved it!
I went on a tour which did a lot of things: went to a point and looked at sea animals, looked at yachts and fanc yhomes, toured the Dutch and French Side, Orient Beach (some parts NOT kid friendly) and did the airport beach where the planes fly right next to you.

I loved the tour. I would think both of those islands aren't exactly kid friendly. (ie nude part of Orient Beach, lots of bars, European dress- many sheer tops/topless on beach). It may sound trashy but it wasn't. I found St. Maarten very interesting. I'm glad I gave it another chance- I went one other time and HATED it!
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:37 PM   #7
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I'm not sure how old your girls are, but we took our boys who were 8 and 11 at the time to Aruba and they loved it. We didn't do an all-inclusive...we stayed at one of the Marriott timeshares (it had a lazy river and we spent every day in that!) We also went to the ostrich farm (very quick tour...we were the only ones there), took a drive up to the California lighthouse, and we also did a catamaran sail which we all loved. I know others have said their kids would be bored with just the beach or pool, but my boys love it...or course it doesn't have to be Aruba to get that experience. I don't know if we will go back b/c there wasn't much to do or see, but we did enjoy ourselves for the week we were there.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:49 PM   #8
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I can only speak about Aruba since I went there last month. I saw alot of kids and they were not bored! We met a guy at the bar traveling with his 9 year old son. Besides the beach activities there are other things to do. I absolutely loved it and can't wait to go back!
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:45 PM   #9
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What about a cruise?
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:32 PM   #10
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We've been to both, the summer before last to Aruba for 7 nights. The kids were 13 and 7. This past year to St. Maarten but just for the day on our Disney Cruise.

My mom has a timeshare in Aruba. We stayed at the Occidental. There is plenty to do and see in Aruba. The kids were far from bored and ask to go back constantly.
We loved St. Maarten also . There was alot to do there and I'm sure we could find plenty if we were there for a week. I remember our tour guide in St. Maarten telling us though there are not many all-inclusives there and things can get very expensive.

My kids have been all over the Carribbean and have never been bored wherever it is that we have stayed.

If you need anymore info feel free to PM me.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:58 PM   #11
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Thank you all for your responses! We have narrowed it down to Aruba - we talked of Mexico but my husband is a bit weary of traveling there (although I have been there a few times). Our girls love the water and the beach - every time we are at WDW they always ask ' when can we go back to the pool"! I'm not too worried about keeping them busy as we will only have three full days wherever we go (5 total but take away for travel). We will actually meet with a travel agent this weekend as ll these online deals are overwhelming! Have any of you used an online discount site? Thanks again!
LISA (41) DH (50) DD (9) DD (8)

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Old 09-05-2012, 09:32 PM   #12
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Glad you came to a decision...it will be fun!

I have use www.allinclusiveoutlet.com

My upcoming trip to jamaica is with www.cheapcaribbean.com

I have also used www.bookit.com for pricing.

there are travel agents out there that will price match.

Have fun!
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:12 PM   #13
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Hi, We have been to Aruba many times and have always taken the kids since they were about 4 and 6 years old. We always love it. I would look into renting a timeshare from an owner rather than an all inclusive. This way, you can do some cooking at home, (but I don't like to eat out 3 meals a day). We always rent a car also. Costa linda and casa del mar are very nice, esp. Costa linda.
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