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Tips and Facts


getting there

ARE YOU READY FOR A VACATION IN ARUBA?

BELOW ARE LOADS OF DETAILS THAT YOU'LL WANT TO KNOW IN ORDER TO HELP MAKE FOR A SMOOTH VACATION EXPERIENCE. MAIN TOPICS INCLUDE:

 


It's always nice to pack light, but there are a few things we don't want you to forget. Due to the possibility of lost luggage we recommend that you carry-on important items whenever possible, we recommend that you carry-on important items whenever possible.

- Current Passport REQUIRED for all guests from the US and Canada (guests from other countries should check with their airline or consulate)
- A printout of your email invoice confirming full payment and this Tips & Facts webpage.
- Harness, lycra, booties, gloves.
- Sunglasses and chums, a visor or hat.
- High SPF (25+) waterproof sunscreen lotion (oil makes board slippery)
- PFD and/or helmet (if desired)
- Sweater or a light jacket / windbreaker just in case.
- Slacks for dining out in restaurants (No shorts in some restaurants)
- Extra spending money (see "Currency/credit cards" below)
- Paperback books for flights and evenings (Our staff appreciates current newspapers / magazines - especially windsport related!)
- Ball-point pen, helpful for any airport forms, customs declarations, etc.)
- Ear Plugs, a good idea if you are a light sleeper and if you're practicing those forward loops!
- Aspirin or Ibuprofen for muscle aches
- Medical tape for tired hands.

What we have: 

Available for sale are Vela Aruba T-shirts and a limited selection of gloves, hats, caps, booties, harnesses, sunglasses sunscreen, lycra tops and shorts. For each pre-booked rental you are invited to use our stand-up paddle boards during open hours, great in the morning or on a light-wind day.

Location: 

Our facility is located at the north end of the Marriott Hotel property and fronts the Fisherman's Huts sailing area. The Holiday Inn is about 600 yards down the beach and the the Boardwalk is about 300 yards to the beach and our new center.

Language: 

English is spoken fluently by all hotel employees and our Center staff. Papiamento (a mixture of Dutch, Spanish and Arawak Indian origin) is the local language. Most Arubans speak Dutch, English and Spanish fluently.

Weather: 

Aruba enjoys an average year round temperature of 80 degrees and mostly sunny days. Rainfall is minimal on this desert island. A vest is the warmest wetsuit you should need. At night a light jacket or sweater may be appropriate in the air conditioned restaurants.

Water: 

Aruba's tap water comes from a modern desalinization plant and is very safe to drink.

Currency/Credit Cards: 

Aruban Florins are the local currency but there is no reason to convert your cash. US Dollars and travelers checks are very happily accepted. There are also 18 ATM's (Cirrus system) on the island. Vela Aruba takes credit cards (Visa or MasterCard ONLY: sorry no American Express!) for any additional goods and services (lessons, equipment rental) you may want to purchase on-site. Lessons and equipment rental may be paid by credit card. Credit cards are accepted by many establishments on the island. To be safe, we recommend you bring $50 (in traveler's checks) per day of stay. $33 departure tax should be included in your airline ticket price.

Electrical voltage: 

110 volt, same outlets as US

Email / Phone Services: 

All hotel properties have telephones in the rooms and public pay-phones using a calling card are readily available. Internet access is available as an additional service at all of the properties which we offer. You can make credit card and collect calls from your room or charge it to your room.

Meals: 

Meals:
The Marriott and the Holiday Inn have several restaurants on site that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are plenty of restaurants in the near vicinity to choose from. Nearly all types of cuisine are available from 5-star European dining to Taco Bell, Aruba has it all.

Other Activities avaliable: 

Red Sail Watersports operates a beach activity inside the lobby of the Aruba Marriott. They offer snorkeling, sailing, sunset sailing cruises, diving, horseback riding, parasailing, waverunners, and water skiing for an additional fee. Transportation during your vacation: Aruba has a public bus system, plenty of taxi service and you can rent cars right from the lobby of the Marriott or Holiday Inn for about $30-$40 per day.

Tipping: 

A service charge will most likely be added to your restaurant bill. This does not go to the waiter and it is normal to leave a tip for the waiter as well. Gratuities of are appreciated for good service by all other service-industry employees, including the team at Vela Aruba!

Emergences: 

Should an emergency necessitate an early return home, we will do all we can to get refunds for you. Standard hotel cancellation fees usually exceed any unused balance, but hotels are quite often understanding of emergencies. To assist us in this you must get written verification of check-out date from your hotel front desk and also from the windsurf staff.

Airport Arrival: 

You'll fly into Aruba's International Airport. When you arrive at the airport you will go through immigration and pick up any checked luggage in baggage claim.

Taxis / Transfers: 

We suggest that you use taxi service to reach your hotel. Taxi drivers are very familiar with the location of all properties. It takes about 20 minutes and costs about $40 per taxi. A taxi is much faster than the airport bus service and works out cheaper for 2 or more people. Note that the taxis in Aruba don't have any meters since the rates are based on destination, and these rates are set by the Aruba department of Public Traffic. All prices are per taxi not per person. On official holidays and after midnight an additional charge to the regular rate may be applicable. Taxis can also be hired at an hourly rate, so if you'd like to plan to pickup anything before you check-in at the hotel, ask the driver what the rate would be to stop at a market along the way!

Transportation during your vacation: 

With a great local bus system and a bus-stop located less than 100 yards from the Vela center, you can get around the island - downtown dining options or to the supermarket - very easily and inexpensively. As you will likely be visiting Vela Aruba most (if not all) days, many guests find no need for a car. However, rentals cars are available either for the entire trip or day by day depending on your level of wanderlust. Advanced kitesurfers planning to bring their own gear may want a car to make the trip to Boca Grandi on the eastern edge of the island, 30 minutes drive away.

Hotel Checck-In: 


The normal check-in time is at 3:00PM for all properties, although we can request early check-in if available. Vouchers are not required for check-in. Simply arrive at the front desk and give the agent the last name of the person who made the reservation. If there are any questions, please show them the email invoice that you should print and take with you. NOTE: If you are arriving after 9:00 PM, you must call us with your arrival information immediately and no later than one week prior to arrival at 800-223-5443 / 541-387-0431 (unless you have already given us this information). The hotel's front desk may be closed after 9:00 pm unless Vela is able to notify them of your late arrival.

Hotel Check-Out: 

Check out time is 12 noon for all properties. Make certain to go over your final bill carefully. Personal charges such as bar tabs, laundry, telephone calls, and such are your responsibility. DO NOT let the hotel charge you any tax or service fees on accommodations prepaid by Vela. We always prepay tax and service charges for you. Should an emergency necessitate an early return home, we will do all we can to get refunds for you. Standard hotel cancellation fees usually exceed any unused balance, but hotels are quite often understanding of emergencies. To assist us in this you must get written verification of check-out date from your hotel front desk and also from the windsurf staff. Important note: If you have an early flight, make arrangements for a taxi to the airport the day before your departure and leave plenty of time to get to the airport. If you are leaving on a late flight, sometimes there is a courtesy room available for storing luggage and taking a shower.

Getting To Vela Aruba: 

Getting To Vela Aruba: 
Our facility is located at the north end of the Marriott Hotel property and fronts the Fisherman's Huts sailing area. The Holiday Inn is about 200 yards down the beach. The Boardwalk is about 150 yards to the beach and our new center. Getting to your accommodations: You'll fly into Aruba's International Airport. When you arrive at the airport you will go through immigration and pick up any checked luggage in baggage claim. We suggest that you use taxi service to reach your hotel. Taxi drivers are very familiar with the location of all properties. It takes about 20 minutes and costs about $30-40 per taxi. A taxi is much faster than the airport bus service and works out cheaper for 2 or more people.

Checking In To Get Started: 

Our staff will be anticipating your arrival and will plan to greet you at our beachfront equipment center. You can find our staff members at the equipment area wearing T-shirts that say "Vela" or "Staff". Give any team member your name and they will set you up with an orientation. A credit card (sorry, no Amex) is required for safety deposit and for setting up your account at the center.

Kitesurft Equipment: 

Vela Kitesurf Aruba, our integrated Vela kiteboarding school is powered by the latest Cabrinha equipment including Convert, Switchblade, and Crossbow kites, plus a range of Twin-Tip boards. If you are an independent kiter we encourage you to travel with your own gear, and we will help to keep on eye on you when out on the water. New for 2014, we can offer full rentals for experienced kiters or students who become independent during the trip. Students who are ready to get more time on the water without formal instruction but who prefer more dedicated supervision time will be able to use our Launch & Land service, which is basically a "lesson without the lesson". This runs $100 per 2-hour session including use of school equipment. Each session runs alongside a normal lesson with boat-guided assistance if you get in trouble. Note: if a rescue is necessary this is the end of your session and you must stay in the boat until the other students on the boat taking lessons are finished. If you are not ready yet, consider signing up for more lesson time instead.

Damage to equipment: 

You will be asked to leave a credit card as deposit when you take out equipment during lesson time. Once in your care, it is your responsibility to return it in the same condition. To minimize the possibility of damage, please choose equipment that suits your ability level and conditions, and handle equipment carefully at all times. Items that need replacing will be charged at cost plus 10% for parts and labor. For items that can be repaired, standard charges will apply. This must be paid directly to the center in full upon return of the damaged equipment.

Kitesurf Lessons: 

Vela Kitesurf Aruba school offers boat-guided lessons for all ability levels and excels at getting beginners up and riding in the fantastic flat-water conditions Aruba has to offer. If you have already booked lessons please make sure to check-in at Vela the day before your lesson. All lessons are water-based from the first day, utilizing the smaller inflatible Relaunch kite from Cabrinha, which is a helpful way to learn the basics of kite flying as well as how to "relaunch" the kite from the water. Lesson start-times are either in the morning (08:30) or afternoon (14:00), and dependant on wind conditions. We always recommend booking lessons in advance to ensure your spot on the schedule. Contact us if you need to reserve some time on the water.

Complete Beginner: 

Starting with the basics you will 1st spend the first 2 hour lesson steering, turning, and flying of the kite, learning the "power window", using the harness to hold the kite power, line management, as well as how to relaunch the kite from the water. All of this will be in preparation for the Body Drag. Your 2nd lesson is gets started with setting up the kite, learning all safety features, learning control of the larger kite, a review of relaunching the kite, then the "Body Drag" where you will learn how to pull yourself through the water with the power of the kite. Finally, and understanding and practice of how to power / depower the kite. For the 3rd lesson you will have a review of the Body Drag, then learn control of the kite with one hand so you can get the board under your feet. By the end of the lesson the goal is to learn kite positioning for "Water Starting" and taking your first attempt to get up and ride! 
Cost is $375 per person, maximum 2 students per instructor.

Continuing Student: 

Once you have learned the basics you may need some more time on the water. If so, our instructors are ready to get you back out to become an independent kiter!
Cost is $150 per lesson per person, maximum 2 students per instructor.

Windsurf Equipment: 

Vela Aruba is equipped with the latest in high performance gear featuring NeilPryde sails and rigs, JP Australia, and Starboard. Sails include the very latest V8, Street Racer, Zone, Search, Core, Expression, Raf Jet, Saber and Spirit. The new JP-Australia line includes the Wave, Freestyle Wave, Freestyle, Magic Ride, and X-cite Ride and SuperSport models. For beginners we feature the popular JP Funster and the Starboard Go (the Starboard Start is also available). Please help us maintain the high quality of our fleet by handling with care.

Getting On The Water: 

Equipment is available for check out beginning at 9 am and must be returned by 5:30 pm. Every day you windsurf, you must sign out yourself and the equipment that you are using. This enables us to keep track of our equipment and know that our guests have returned safely. All procedures and safety concerns will be explained during the orientation. Please note that equipment fee is per person and not transferable.

Pre-booked Beginner Rental: 


If you are pre-booked on the Vela discounted Beginner Program, you will have use of our novice equipment and receive one beginner lesson that covers first day basic sailing skills. Additional beginner lessons covering Beach Starts and Harness Use are available and encouraged.(If you are not pre-booked on the discounted Beginner Program, you may purchase Beginner lessons on-site and rent equipment as desired).

Getting Your Gear: 

You will be given an orientation session before checking out your equipment. All guests must use the equipment sign-out / sign-in sheet located at the equipment area to check out equipment. If you want to change your board or rig during the day, simply return the first board or sail to the rack and use the sign in on the sheet, then sign out again, indicating your new board and/or rig choice on the sign-out sheet. All this will be covered in your "Center Orientation" on your first day sailing with us.

Sailing Conditions and Safety: 

Beautiful, warm, crystal-blue and clear water with several hundred yards of sandy bottom. Make a path through our flags marking the reefs, and you get closer towards the more exciting conditions outside on "The Blue Highway" with rolling swell and a bump & jump playground. Strong off-shore winds are often already getting started by the time we open our doors, and building throughout the day. Winds are a bit lighter inside allowing beginners to catch a break even on the windiest of days.

Rig Adjustments: 

Each of the different types of sails available for check out have been rigged in a manner best suited for that particularsail. If you would like to make adjustments to the rig, we ask that you first get a short orientation to that particular sail from one of our staff. You will be responsible for any incorrect handling of the rig that damages the sail.

Damage to equipment: 

br />You will be asked to leave a credit card as deposit when you take out equipment. Once you sign out a board and sail, it is your responsibility to return it in the same condition! To minimize the possibility of damage, please choose equipment that suits your ability level and conditions, and handle equipment carefully when launching and coming in to shore. Items that need replacing such as fins, sails or mast will be charged at cost plus 10% for parts and labor. For items that can be repaired, standard charges will apply. This must be paid directly to the center in full upon return of the damaged equipment. If you purchased travel insurance through Vela, you can claim any charges ($1,000 coverage limit, less a $100 deductible) for equipment damage or loss upon your return.

On-Site / Walk-Up Rentals: 

If you have not paid for equipment as part of your vacation, note that rentals will only be available after the staff is satisfied that all pre-paid guests have had their first choice. Complete board and rig rentals only. 
2 Hour Beginner: $60 per person (includes 1 hour lesson + 1 hour board & sail rental after)
2 Hours: $50 per person
Full Day: $80 per person
Rates are subject to change. Again, we cannot guarantee equipment availability unless you pre-book with Vela with advance reservations.

Gear Storage: 

Sorry, we do not offer any space to store your personal gear due to lack of available space.

Vela Wind Warranty: 

In the event that there are 4 or more days of non sailable wind using any of our equipment, you may request a NO-WIND CLAIM FORM that will allow you credit towards a future trip to any Vela destination. Note that you may receive higher credits if you return to the same center. You must get this form before you leave the center.

 

Lesson Program: 

Our Aruba school is without question one of the best in the world. All instructors are highly trained each with years of teaching experience. Group lessons ranging from first-time beginners to advanced sailing are available on a daily basis. All lessons are scheduled and paid for on-site. Lesson are taught at 9:30am, 11:00am, 2:00pm, and 3:30pm and follow our College of Windsurfing Core Curriculum (see link for complete details)

Beginner Lessons: 
All beginner lessons (listed as 101 through 105 at the link above) are 1-Hour and are conducted in a group format with up to 6 students at a time. If you reserve windsurf rentals in advance, lessons are only $45 per hour. (Want to get the most out of the week? You may also purchase our "Beginner Package" including a series of 5 1-Hour beginner lessons at the discounted rate of $200). If you are not quite ready to dedicated your time to full-day rentals and lessons, we offer a lesson including a 2-Hour session: 1-Hour beginner group lesson, followed by 1-Hour gear use to practice afterwards for only $60. (Want a little more time? We can also help with a "Discover Windsurfing Package " with 3 2-Hour sessions for $180. Want to keep the gear the rest of the day after you lesson? No problem! This would be only $25.)

Advacing Lessons: 

Ready to move your sailing up by another level? Plan on some reserved time with our professional staff to get you there! All "Advancing" level lessons (201 and higher, based on the curriculum listed above) are 1-hour sessions that can be reserved in either Private lessons or a Group lessons.  Private / Semi-Private sessions are $150 per hour. Group lessons (max 4 students, but normally only 2 students) are $75 per hour, or discounted to only $65 per hour when you reserve at least 3 lessons in advance. This will help you to dedicate some training-time and get the most out of your stay in Aruba. Note that gear is not included with "Advancing Lessons", and a separate windsurf rental package is required.

Please note: 

Unless you reserve lesson time in advance, all lessons are subject to instructor availability upon arrival to Aruba. Lessons are normally scheduled to begin on your first full-day in Aruba, though the exact lesson schedule is subject to wind conditions as well as other factors. Any unused pre-booked lesson time can be retained as a credit towards a future trip or towards additional services while on your current trip

Make sure to say goodbye to our staff before you go. Check to see if you have left anything at the center or if you have taken care of your final tab for additional services you may have purchased. If you have had some bad luck in the wind department, make sure to get you No Wind Claim Form before you go, and we hope that you have still had a great vacation overall in spite of Mother Nature!

 

READY TO GO? ARE YOU SURE? PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU DEPART. HAVE A GREAT TRIP AND DON'T FORGET TO WRITE!

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