Aruba January 7th - 14th, 2012


January 7th - 14th, 2012

Bob, Debe, Micah and Chelcy

Our travel days lately seem to always be an experience so we expected it today. We had a "noonish" flight so a relaxing day but between plane changes & flight delays we ended up getting to Aruba the following day at almost 1 a.m. That was after trying to land in Aruba, going right back up and being told Aruba was celebrating Carnaval and we had no one to clear us to bring the plane in. Amazing. So the below photo is Micah and Chelcy waiting for the rental car to pick us all up.

People are always asking me about where we stay in Aruba. So here is the time sharing we stay in. Complete with full kitchen and even outside grills. It has two large pools, one small shallow pool for kids and a couple hot tubs. Plus the ocean just across the street. Every thing you need for a great trip to Aruba.

Our first stop on day one is always for groceries. Even though Super Food isn't the cheapest place to pick up groceries, it is very easy to maneuver and find things. Including meat that is already seasoned and ready to cook. Yum yum
And again, it was Carnaval - which is Aruba's Mardi Gras. So below, you can see a little decorations around town.

We checked into our one bedroom unit but the next morning moved into a suite. It had two large bedrooms, two bathrooms and two balconies. The upper balcony's view.
After getting groceries and settling in, it was off for our first drive around part of the island. This day would take us from our time sharing, up around the California lighthouse, around the windy coastline and up to Alto Visa Church. After a good night sleep, it was off to our first snorkeling place. Arishi Beach is a great place for snorkeling with a walk in entry and reef very close to the shore. Today we saw schools of small fish which where so neat.

After a shower, it was off for some shopping and ice cream. So off to Palm Beach for some fun. We found an outside shopping area that had a water show every night. We didn't make it back down there to see the show but heard it was neat. After dinner we watched a gorgeous sunset. For our next day it was back to seeing the island. So today, off to the Natural Bridge or now called "Natural Baby Bridge" At the bridge, Bob walked the section that collapsed in 2006 while Micah and Chelcy stacked rocks like so many tourist do.

Very close to the Natural Baby Bridge you will fine the ruins from the Gold Smelter Mines. Bob, Micah, and Checly spent some time climbing the inside while Debe took photos. lol

From there it was off on the dirt road around the coastline of the island. You pass many beautiful areas including a couple of beaches. The final destination was back up to the Alto Vista Church for a shave ice and rest. Then some inland attractions.

There is a lot to see inland also. Including two favorite rock formations that send tourist running to them. The first, and most popular is the Casibari Rock Formations. A tough climb with tight areas but so worth the view from the top. A great place to see the Hooiberg Mountain.

The other Rock formation is called the Ayo Rock Formation. Even though the grounds are beautifully kept, the climb into the rocks has become dangerous. The last two times we have been there, wasp nest are everywhere.

As many times as we have visited Aruba, we have never visited the Donkey Sanctuary. So on this day, we decided to take a look at it. It is free but they do sell food to feed the donkeys and/or souvenirs to help support the place. Over 100 donkeys have been taken in and have to be fed. Worth the visit. And the food to feed the donkeys is only $1.00 a bag.

It was only halfway thru the day and we had seen so much. So a stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken kept us from going back to the time sharing unit. After eating it was off for more of Aruba.

So off to Baby Beach for some sun, fun and snorkeling. Baby Beach is a shallow beach even when walking very far out. But just between the reef you will find an opening that lets you find some great snorkeling. This is one beach that serves many many purposes. A must visit anytime at Aruba.

Very close to Baby Beach and just pass the Pet Cemetery you will fine the unattractive Colorado Lighthouse. Nothing like the beautiful California Lighthouse on the opposite side of the island.
As we headed back to Eagle Beach, it is always a stop at the Big Red Anchor - a memorial to the Seamen, for a photo. lol But just across from it, Bob always loves to stop at this vendor for some type of coconut candy. And some fresh coconut. Yum Yum Going from Baby Beach to Eagle Beach you pass thru Oranjestead, Aruba's main City. Here you will fine the statue of the Prime Minister of Aruba just in front of the Clocktower that was built in 1868. (clocktower is behind the statue in the below photo)
The next photos are Oranjestead Town. The buildings are Dutch and cool looking. The last photo is the soveneir stands built for cruise passenger to have a place to shop.

And with the new I LOVE ARUBA sign, it is a popular place to have your photo made. Can you find Micah and Chelcy!
After a very busy day, we decided to spend the next day relaxing at the pool and beach. In the first photo, Chelcy wasn't to happy to have a visitor under her chair. But the following photos show some great fun at Eagle Beach. Including the Snowman made out of sand that Micah and Chelcy made. Later at the sunset, the snowman had melted into the ocean. ;)

Before dark we rushed up to the Bushiri Go Cart track where father and son raced to the finish. Lets just say that Micah gave his dad several chances to catch up but still came out the big winner. After a realxing day it was time for another full impact day. So off to Arikok National Park for the day. Since they now charge $5 per person to come into the park, we decided to go around the back way to get into the park. And it worked. One thing we noticed is all the goats now hang out by the huge windmills. Hundreds of them. Also by the windmills are donkeys. We brought apples and Micah and Chelcy fed them.

As we continued around the National Park, we stopped at the Quadirikiri Cave. Even though it does have bats in it, you can walk into it for a short distance. On this trip we did not visit the Fontein Cave.
For anyone wanting to just drive into the National Park, eat at Boca Prins restaurant and go back out - just tell them at the gate and you save the $5 per person. Below is a photo of the restaurant which is just before the Fontein Cave. As we continued past the restaurant (remember we are going backwards because we came in the back side), we stopped at a beautiful beach area very close to the sand dunes. Gorgeous place.
I really wanted to post a photo so everyone can see the road leading into the National Park. This would be from the main entrance. You can do it in a car but go very slowly as the road has these dips in it for water drainage during rain. Just inside the entrance and to the left you pick up a dirt/rock road which is very rough and very steep. That road takes you to the Natural Pool (Conchi). This road can only be taken in a Jeep or ATV. Very rough.

So if you have made it to the Natural Pool, you did it by ATV, horseback, or Jeep. And it was an experience in itself. After arriving, you see a truck selling snacks and drinks but just past it is the rough steps that you use to climb all the way down to the natural pool. The pool is very small and you have to climb across rocks to get into it. So be prepared. If you brought a mask and snorkel, it does have fish in it. But you will have to look when the water isn't churned up from the crashing waves.

Our last day was back to the pool and beach for that last bit of tan but for dinner that night, was out to The Promenade Cafe. They had a menu but you could do the all you can eat appetizer which was absolutely great. Now, this is not a cheap restaurant but it is so good. The appetizers were like mini meals and were all delicious. So if you are ever in Aruba, you have to try this place. Highly recommended.

Before going to dinner the last night, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset just across the street at Eagle Beach. Aruba has very little rain so every night you can catch lovely sunsets. Even though I shared photos earlier in the blog, the following photos are my favorite photos of sunsets during the week. Yes, another trip to Aruba and with different people. That is because if we are ever ask where our favorite Caribbean Island is - we will always say Aruba. Great weather, great beaches, great fun. And everyone that goes with us leaves saying the same thing. So thanks again for taking this trip with us and I do hope someday, this will be your favorite Caribbean Island also.