1st Time to Aruba

1st Time to Aruba
This was the first trip for my wife and I and the couple we were travelling with. We went the 2nd week in December.We opted not to stay in any of the hotels on the beach and instead rented a house with a pool in one of the neighborhoods. We were met at the airport by the property manager and escorted to the house.The house was spacious (for a 2 bedroom), very well appointed, with decent internet and cable service. And after a day at the beach or siteseeing, relaxing in our own pool and grilling on the patio was a great way to end the day.The only thing disconcerting about the house were the safety sheilds that we were advised to lower before we went to bed or left the house. While the shields prevent damage from flying objects during storms, they are also a deterrant to would-be burglars who scan neighborhoods for tourist activity.During our stay we were treated to several visits from one of the islands herds of wild goats in the undeveloped area behind the house. The house and pool had a privacy/security wall that kept the goats from actually walking up to the house and eating the landscaping.Foodwise we did a lot of our own cooking, shopping at a variety of supermarkets and roadside vendors. The largeset grocery store we shopped at was well stocked and on par with most US or UK chains like Shaw's or Sainsbury's. As you would expect for an island, prices were more than back in the states, but not outrageously so. Our most risky purchase of the trip was some freshly ground beef from a butcher shop that was defintely not USDA inspected.When we were dining out we were never disappointed, but not wowed either.The beaches were beautiful and the water incredibly clear. Most of the public beaches have thatched-roof "ubrellas" with a built-in cafe-height table to put your stuff and get some shade if it gets too hot. One thing about the beaches is that they are very narrow compared to beaches in Florida or California.Attraction-wise, there are opportunities for off-roading and hiking. And some decent deals for jewelery (Tourmaline) if you know your gemstones.Overall it was a pleasant and easy experience, but probably will not return.