Very small island with not much to offer. Best shops were right at the end of the dock with good deals found on liquor. The island was devastated by a hurricane a few years ago and thou we did see signs of work being done downtown to make the downtown area attractive to visitors, right now it is pretty much in a state of disrepair and in a general run down condition. All in all not much to see or do here. The fun area was right at the dock where everyone seemed to enjoy the music and drinks at the poolside restaurant and bar. It was the highlight of the port. Had it not been for shops and bar area at the pier I would have given this port at best a 1 rating.
Here in the Dominican Republic we took a bus tour that was very inexpensive to a part of the island called Casa de Campo. Along the way we past by some very nice looking resorts and the condition of the road and beautiful manicured trees and shrubbery indicates at least this part of the island is doing very well indeed. Casa de Campo is a restored very early settlement high on top of a hill that gives a great view of the island. There were a few shops and a cigar store. Good cigars from the Dominican but no deals here. We then took a bus into downtown La Romana where we were dropped off in a city park where there was a flea market. Lots of things to chose from here including cigars at very good prices and subject to negotiation. We were offered free cigars to try that we found were pretty good. Outside of the park we were inundated by locals carrying sealed boxes of Dominican and Cuban cigars. The more we said no the cheaper they got. If your a cigar fan we found this the best place to get cigars during the entire trip. Just beware because counterfeits are everywhere.
Now Curacao was a pleasant surprise. The island is very clean and being very close to Venezuela there are several oil refineries on the island which obviously enriches the standard of living on the island. We found it to be very modern and the shopping area which is just a 15 min walk from the ship offered everything you could ask for. We didn't take any tours here as we didn't dock until 2 pm. We chose to go walk into the shopping area. After a couple of hours in the intense heat we headed back to the nice air conditioned ship. After dinner we went back onshore to Starbucks which was very close to the ship and did some Internet emailing.
Took a tour of the island from tour company right at the end of the pier. We took an air conditioned bus and were glad we did as they cram you in these buses. The island of Aruba is desert like with cactus everywhere.Like Curacao, Aruba is clean and prosperous with huge resorts and hotels along its shoreline and beautiful beaches. The Aloe Balm Facility tour was very informative thou the plant itself is very small. When we took the tour there wasn't anything going on in the plant and we only saw 2 workers inside. After the tour you have the opportunity to purchase various aloe products at very steep prices. The tour really takes less then 30 Min's. The tour of the island however that we took was $20.00 per person and lasted over 3 hrs and included the Aloe factory.