First Port: Aruba

2010-04-08 Aruba - Toms (1) Just because your tour meets on shore at 7:45 doesn’t mean you have to pass up Louie’s omelets and a bowl of pineapple.  But it does mean that one’s day begins early.  Joy and I were in the offshore waiting room early.  Plastic chairs gave us a place to perch while we waited for our tour to be gathered.  Soon we saw a man carrying a placard saying “Aruba Sight and Swim”.  The Pied Piper led us to his bus.  While driving us between photo ops, he provided both insightful observations about his island and corny jokes.  We learned that while Aruba was autonomous it was a protectorate of the Netherlands and therefore had a governor.  We learned why no one lives on the north side of the island (it is a park and there are no utilities).  We learned how cisterns had been replaced by piped water from the second largest desalination plant in the world for drinking water, but the cistern water was still used 3for watering gardens and the like.  He showed us an old gold mine.  The rainy season is mostly December to February.  He went on with detail after detail, but never bored.

2010-04-08 Aruba - Toms (11)Our first stop was the Casibari Rock Formation.  With the island being so flat, climbing these rocks makes for a great place to catch a view.  We could even see our cruise ship, but it was too far away to get a picture.  The rock is situated in a desert garden in keeping with Aruba’s arid climate.

Perhaps the most entertaining part of the Casibari stop was a short African-American woman who could barely walk and hobbled around on her cane.  She and her tall very portly gap-toothed partner actually climbed the rock formation.  Since this involved crawling through a narrow hole, almost a cave, in the rocks this was no mean feat.  It took her forever to get up and forever to get down.  Of course we managed to get behind her going both ways which kept us standing in the hot Aruban sun.  Do you think they were rude?  I don’t know.  But I do know that I hope I will always be rude enough to live my life as fully as I can despite my more minor disability.  (No, Wayne, I’m not talking about the mental one, bro.(-; )

2010-04-08 Boys on Light House Steps Our next stop was the California lighthouse.  It too was set on a high point offering views of the more Ritzy end of the island.  There is a lovely Italian restaurant beside it that would make a great place to eat if one were staying on the island – a prospect I would definitely consider.  The beach near the light house had several good snorkel spots and it is the beach we will go to the next time we’re on a cruise ship that stops here.  All beaches in Aruba are public.  Just walk around the hotel and enjoy the beach.  Buses come at least once an hour.

2010-04-08 Aruba - Toms (22) The “big” natural bridge collapsed in 2004.  But as you can see in our pictures, a smaller natural bridge still stands in great photogenic glory.  It was a fun spot to watch the waves crash up on the rocky shore.

2010-04-08 Aruba -Joys (99) Lastly, we were dropped off at Palm Beach.  If you are older and infirm or traveling with small children, Palm Beach is a Caribbean beauty with nearly lake-like waves.  And boy was the water refreshing after a morning in the Aruban sun.

We also spent a bit of time kicking around Oranjestad.  The town is an easy walk to the ship and a pleasant place to explore.

Aruba is blessed with friendly people, a steady island breeze, and loads of sunshine.  May we live long enough to find our way back.


  • ris says:

    Wow. I’ve heard positive reviews of Aruba before, but your stories and photos have convinced me to add it to the vacation list. The Casibari Rock formations and the natural bridge are stunning. And the waters and beach look clean, inviting, and relaxing! Do you think if you weren’t doing all of this on an organized tour that you could still find you way out to the natural structures and enjoy the beach? How cool that all beaches are public! After reading your day 4 blog, it sounds like Aruba is still your favorite part of the trip so far! 🙂 Of course, the monkeys sounded like a close second! Keep up those fun personal observation stories. It gives us readers a chance to be transported there for a short visit, too. 🙂

    • Tom says:

      Yes. Aruba is quite small and easily navigated. It is a lovely port-of-call, but if one were considering a Caribbean destination for a longer vacation, I don’t think Aruba would be at the top of my list.

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