Bonbini means welcome in Aruba's native Papiamento language. Over 500 years ago, the Spaniards arrived on a beautiful island in the south Caribbean and thought "we'll take this one." Almost 150 years later, the Dutch had the very same idea and forcefully acquired the island we now know as Aruba (along with a few others in the region). Part of the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba is a highly sought after vacation destination for Americans and Europeans alike, in fact tourism is by far the island's largest industry. It suffered a set back just over a year ago with the highly publicized disappearance of Natalee Holloway, a U.S. tourist. Although that case has yet to be resolved, tourists are steadily returning to the island whose better reputation is for sun, fun and white sandy beaches. There is a bounty of discounted Aruba deals on the market at the moment with package starting as low as $559 per person but you'd better book quickly as these offers won't last.
Beach Destinations (tel. 877/433-4378; www.beachdestinations.com) has an incredible deal staying at the three-star Mill Resort and Suites just steps away from Palm Beach. The package includes midweek round-trip airfare from New York (other departure cities available), seven-nights' accommodation, free breakfast buffet daily and a $25 Food and Beverage credit. All this for a super low $559 per person based on double occupancy. You must purchase this package (which represents 40% off the regular price) by May 15 and it is valid for travel until June 30, 2006.
Or stay at the four and a half-star Aruba Resort Spa and Casino for four-nights with round-trip midweek airfare from New York from $641 per person (a 25% saving). Valid for travel during the months of May and June 2006. During their renovations (starting June 1, 2006), stay five-nights at the four and a half-star Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino with midweek round-trip airfare from New York from $720 (a 35% saving) during the month of June 2006.
The following Aruba deals are hot off the presses (well have just been updated online) at Cheap Caribbean (tel. 800/915-2322; www.cheapcaribbean.com):
- The five-sun rated Aruba Resort Spa and Casino (formerly Wyndham Aruba) on Palm Beach: seven-nights with round-trip airfare priced from $969 per person with additional adults from $849 and children from $349.Travel is available from now until December 18, 2006.
- Renaissance Aruba Beach Resort and Casino on private Renaissance Island with three beaches: five-nights with round-trip airfare from $789 per person and children from $399. A $100 food and beverage credit per Room per stay is also included. Travel is available from now until December 23, 2006.
- La Cabana All-Suite Beach Resort: five-nights with round-trip airfare from $729 per person. Additional adults from $529 and children from $429. Stay in a one bedroom Grand Suite on Beautiful Eagle Beach featuring a king bed or two double beds; a queen sofa bed in a living/dining room; a ground-floor patio or upper-floor balcony, kitchen facilities and a spa bath. Travel dates are from May 27 to December 15, 2006.
- Tamarijn Aruba Beach Resort: six-nights at this all-inclusive with round-trip airfare from $1019 per person. Additional adults from $969 and children from $399. Kids 17 and under stay and eat for free plus guests can use the facilities at the Divi Aruba all inclusive next door. Enjoy a deluxe ocean front room with a private balcony with a view of the Caribbean. Travel Dates are from June 1 to August 31, 2006.
All these deals are available at these prices from Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Orlando, with add-ons available from New York, Boston, Philadelphia or Washington, D.C. ($100), Chicago ($150) and Los Angeles or Dallas ($200). Round-trip airport transfers are available for an additional $30 per person. This sale ends on May 17, 2006.
Fare Deals (tel. 800/347-7006; www.faredeals.com) has a package that is on offer from a couple of Caribbean providers for a low price of $789 per person. It includes round-trip airfare, seven-nights' accommodation at the three-star Holiday Inn Sunspree on Palm Beach and airport transfers. What is unusual about this deal is that this one price it is valid from a large number of mainly east coats gateways including New York, D.C., Allentown, Albany, Bradley, Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Greensboro, Indianapolis, Harrisburg, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, Portland, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Rochester, Roanoke, Syracuse and Knoxville.
Taxes and fees are additional. This offer expires on May 16, 2006 and is good for travel on June 29, July 20, 23 and 27 2006.
Our Travel Co (tel. 800/578-5760; www.ourtravelco.com) has a similar deal to that listed above but for midweek departures during the months of May and June 2006 and the price is $100 less, starting from $689 per person. You can still depart from any of the above mentioned gateways, get airport transfers and stay seven-nights at the Brickell Bay Resort instead.
Expedia (tel. 800/596-0252; www.expedia.com) has a selection of airfare and four-nights' accommodation packages for long weekends or midweek escapes to Aruba. Boston is their standard gateway city but other departure cities are available for additional cost. Their four-night package staying at the three-star Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort, including round-trip airfare from Boston on a Friday during the month of June, 2006 is priced from $779. A package with the same travel conditions staying at the four-star Tierra del Sol Resort and Country Club is priced from $875 and at the four-star Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino with its own private island, pay $883.
For a five-star Aruba experience, Sunburst Vacations (tel. 800/SUNBURST; www.sunburstvacations.com) has a hot deal that includes round-trip airfare from Miami and seven-nights at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort from $1499 per person. The package is available for travel between now and December 18, 2006. Travel by December 16, 2006 ad enjoy round-trip airfare from Miami and three-nights' accommodation at the four-star La Cabana All Suite Beach Resort from $564. This price represents a 25% saving, and could be because the Resort's casino is currently closed.
A five-night airfare and accommodation package staying at the four-star Renaissance Aruba Beach Resort and Crystal Casino in Seaport Village with its own 40-acre private island is priced from $815 and includes your round-trip airfare from Miami and a $100 food and beverage credit per room. This offer is valid fro travel until December 23, 2006. A five-night package with round-trip airfare from Miami, staying at the Mill Resort and Suites Blackout is priced from $575. Valid for travel until December 16, 2006. Blackout dates apply and peak season and weekend charges are additional for all of these deals.
If you are fortunate enough t be heading down to Aruba during Memorial Day Weekend later this month, make sure you check out the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival (www.soulbeach.net). Taking place from May 24 to May 29, 2006, this Festival is being headlined by Alicia Keys but also features concerts and performances by Brian McKnight, Anthony Hamilton, Nina Sky, Lenny Williams, Wayne Brady and Alex Thomas. Tickets can be purchased online at the Festival website.
Travelocity (tel. 888/872-8356; www.travelocity.com) has round-trip airfare to Oranjestad Aruba during the month of June (until June 24, 2006) from $299 from New York on US Airways. From Boston during the months of June and July, 2006, pay only $284 flying Continental Airlines, or for those same months, the price from Miami is $280. Travel by June 21, 2006 and pay $575 flying Northwest Airlines from Los Angeles.
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