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Where have you been? Trip reports and questions about places you travel when not visiting Aruba.

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Old Saturday, August 29th, 2009, 06:44 PM
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TomR TomR is offline
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Default Sanibel, Florida

My friend MaryJane and I just returned from a week in Sanibel, Florida. We stayed at Casa Ybel through an II timeshare exchange and had a wonderful vacation.

I'll try to make a few comparisons between Sanibel and Aruba, but my comparisons are purely subjective. Both places have a lot to offer and we would return to either in a heartbeat. In fact, we are going back to Aruba in December for 2 weeks staying at the Marriott Surf Club this trip. We would like to trade back into Sanibel although that probably won't happen next year as we are pretty much already scheduled out, including another trip to LaCabana, our home resort .

Weather. It was hot in Sanibel, over 90 just about every day. No cooling breeze like Aruba has, but we had no problem with it and enjoyed our time in the sun. We had some late afternoon showers but they didn't last long. I can see where some people would not be able to tolerate the summer heat in Sanibel, and there is always the threat of a summer hurricane.

Beach. Sanibel does not have the white sand that we are use to in Aruba. What it does have, however, is some of the best shelling in the world. Shelling was amazing at least in the minds of two New Jersey folks who are used to finding clam shells at the Jersey shore. We found some beauties and were able to get them home. Now it is up to MaryJane to do something with them.

Ocean Water. Sanibel is on the Gulf of Mexico. The water is not the beautiful light blue water found in Aruba. It is brown and visibility is poor. No need to bring snorkel equipment there. But, and this is a big but, the water temperature was warm, much warmer than the Caribbean. We loved it and spent more time in the water on this vacation than on any other beach vacation we have taken. I guess the hot sun had something to do with that as well as the warmth of the water.

Friendliness of the People. We dealt only with service personnel and the folks we met on the beach and around the pool. Everyone was friendly.

Restaurants. Lots of restaurants to choose from, just like there are in Aruba. Lots of good food there too, just like Aruba. The fresh shrimp in Sanibel is hard to beat though, and surprisingly we thought the prices at all the restaurants we went to were lower than what we had estimated. They certainly were lower than what we pay for meals in Aruba.

Activities. Can't say too much about this subject as we are not big on activities. Sanibel, while lacking in snorkeling/diving, does have some good boat cruises to outer islands. We took a cruise to Cabbage Key for lunch and enjoyed it. A pod of Dolphins followed the boat for a while. We didn't do a sunset cruise but they have them there just as they do in Aruba. Sanibel does have the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. We drove the 5 mile Wild Life Drive and saw a lot of birds but no alligators. There are no casinos in or near Sanibel which was a big negative for us as we enjoy spending time after dinner in front of a Video Poker machine.

Summary. Our Sanibel vacation was just about perfect, although different in the sense that there were no nightly trips to a casino , and we did miss that. In spite of that, we would return to Sanibel at the same time of year. We liked the hot weather, the warm water, the shelling and the lack of crowds. Cost wise, it was probably cheaper than our Aruba vacations, mainly due to no casinos (we ain't exactly what you would call winners), but also in part to cheaper airfare and restaurant meals offset somewhat by the higher cost to rent a car at the Fort Meyers airport.

Our next scheduled trip is to Cancun in October. I will be interested to see how MaryJane compares it to Sanibel. No casinos there either, and the water is not as warm.
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Old Friday, February 26th, 2010, 11:28 AM
WeezieAlbar WeezieAlbar is offline
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Cool Re: Sanibel, Florida

We like to go to an all-inclusive on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico.
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