Aruba April 14th - 23rd, 2011

Dutch island of Aruba

(favorite Caribbean Island)

April 14th - 23rd, 2011
Bob, Debe, Diana & Marty

We had a very early flight out of St. Louis but who cares when your destination is Aruba. We arrived there and headed straight to Budget to pick up our car, Hyundai Alto. ($300 for 9 days) Ok, so we had to hold the luggage to fit in and not have to make several trips to the hotel - but hey, not a long drive. lol So off to the Marriott for a couple nights before checking into the time sharing Diana/Marty have for the week. We are now in Paradise. (reminder - if you see a small photo and want to see it larger, just click on it. But remember to click the back button to take you back to the blog - Thanks)

The room at the Marriott was soooooooooo nice. And the pool area, beach - well just gorgeous. After getting checked in, we jumped in the car for a little drive around. During the drive we found a wonderful little BBQ place called BBQ HOUSE. Very reasonable in price and very good food. Then back to the Marriott to enjoy the pool and/or hotel.

The next morning, up bright and early, opened the patio/balcony door and saw this horrible view. Oh my gosh what a shame. We headed to breakfast then to the pool for a first day of sun. As the day continued, we decided to drive out by the California Lighthouse and see how the little car would do on the off road roads. lol Well, we didn't get around the back side of the island by no means but saw something that we had never seen in Aruba before. Burrowing Owls. Yes these small owls make their homes right in the leftover burrows from other animals. Cool Oh, guess we did see a jelly fish washed up on the beach also. lol

On Saturday we moved into the Caribbean Palm Resort. Very nice, two pools, nice rooms but a little away from the beach. We didn't care as we had a car and when not at the resort, we would be venturing around the island to beaches and things to see. So we settled in and bought groceries and relaxed for the day at the pool.

Over the next week, we would enjoy many times. And there are so many things to do. Below are some things to see that are quick stops. Left photo is the California Lighthouse just beyond Palm Beach. This is named after a US ship that crashed just off the shore in 1910. (2 yrs before the lighthouse was built) On the other end of the island you will find another light house called the Seroe Colorado Lighthouse. (after the town there) The next 2 photos are the Alto Vista Church (back NE side of the island) and the Clock Tower found right in the town of Oranjestad.

While heading to Baby Beach and/or the Seroe Colorado lighthouse, you will come across this huge Red Anchor which is a Memorial for the Lost Seamen. Another site to visit, on the back side of the island and very close to the Natural Bridge is the Gold Smelter Ruins. and/or Bushiribana Ruins. This was built in 1825 and used most of the 19th century.

Finally to the Natural Bridge. What a tourist trap but every time I am in Aruba I have to go there. Glad I did because I saw the entire bridge before the collapse of the large section in Sept 2005. In a photo below you will see the before and after photo of the original Natural Bridge. This bridge was 100 feet long and 25 feet high. Now tourist still visit but see the Baby Bridge as it is called which was just feet from the original bridge. My favorite thing is to visit the restaurant and have one of their fabulous smoothies. But be sure to apply by the rules. (Photo below) and if you need to use the bathroom, be sure you have some money.

The above shots are the baby bridge still standing. (1st Photo Diana/Marty standing on bridge & 2nd photo Debe sitting in front of bridge) Below is a photo of the original Natural Bridge collapsed.

Another site to visit is the Casibari Rock Formations. This is the second most tourist attraction in Aruba (with Natural Bridge being the first). You can climb these rocks with no charge but keep in mind you will have to go thru some rough places to get to the top. So worth seeing the view though. If you have the time - walk the trails around the entire place. Some neat things to see and trails are very good. A couple hours here is nice.

Another rock formation to visit and climb are the Ayo Rock Formations. These are not as good as the Casibari rocks and while we were there - climbing in the rocks had a high risk of getting stung by wasps. There were hornet nests everywhere. So be sure and watch out if you go here. Hopefully they plan to kill them so the tourists can enjoy this place. This is the smaller of the two rock formations though.

I know, you are all wondering, Aruba, white sand beaches and the talk/photos is just of tourist attractions. Ok, here you go. Our all time favorite beach in Aruba is Baby Beach. Very shallow waters, turquoise blue and very nice. Plus the added factor of a great snorkeling place. You will have to rent chairs, clams, pay for food, etc.... unless you chose to do like us, suffer with a towel on the ground and bring your own food. lol (chairs - best ones $8 and $6 for others) And of course, we brought our own snorkel gear. So check out the photos below. (while we were there, the Dutch Royal Marines were doing some physical training. Wow was it tough)

And with the winter we had - I loved someones sense of humor. lol

From Baby Beach we drove just over a little and saw this gorgeous beach. Coco Beach. Nothing much there but looked like the locals went there to fish and swim. Very beautiful.
And now for an entire day trip. Yes, to really enjoy it take a day. Even though we didn't really see it all in our day trip. This is the Arikok National Park. This was free but the roads have been upgraded somewhat and since this small island mainly has tourist attractions that are free - it is to be expected that they now charge. We didn't go to the Natural Pool in the park since you must have a jeep or ATV to do that. Years ago you didn't have to go thru the park to visit it but you do now. Still so much to see. Three caves (even though the photos only show two) Fontein and Quadirikiri Caves. (3rd id the Tunnel of Love) Fontein will have a ranger there but Quadirikiri is only a short clif and then walk into it with sunlight coming from above. Very nice. You will see some awesome beaches, rock formations, sand dunes and more in the park.

As you head over by the newly built windmills, you can expect to see lots of goats (well you will see them all over Aruba) and some donkeys. But one cool thing happened while we were there. A group of goats came running thru the desert/volcano surroundings areas and all together ran down to this only fresh water pond for a drink. It sounds trivial but it was so cool to watch.
A first time visit for us was to the Lourdes Grotto. We found it on a map and decided to drop in to visit it. Built into the rock formation on the hillside was this grotto that looked to be used for maybe church services/weddings/etc..... Across the street from it was another one but smaller. Kinda neat.

One of the exciting things on this trip was stopping at this snorkeling spot. (photo below) We had seen boat tours stopping there and people were snorkeling from off the shore in a couple places so one day we decided to do it. It was one of the best snorkeled ever. We saw a sea turtle, morey eel and tons of fish. We had never snorkeled here before and what a huge treat it was.

And of course, from this snorkeling site you can look back at the hotels dotting the shores of Palm Beach.
Now, you can't visit Aruba without going to the main town of Oranjestad. Many casinos (as you will find all along Eagle and Palm Beaches) along with shopping. Lots of it. From Louis Vutton to tourist vendors. Lots of great restaurants and snacks to eat. Take a look in the Renaissance hotel on the land side or walk along the shore on the ocean side. Just take it all in. The Dutch feel of the island with the Dutch structure of the buildings is fantastic. And the locals so welcoming. Well, what more can we say. Our favorite Caribbean Island.

We end this trip with a night of sunset photos. Yes, all from the same night. But what is amazing to us, a person can get sunset photos with so many different elements around, that no one can tell they came from the same place. Cactus, weeds and sailboats along with sand and tiki roof pavillions built for shelter. All in the same place. Amazing and beautiful.

What a wonderful trip this was. Again, one of our favorite caribbean islands and can now possibly one of my sister and her husbands favorites also. We did so much and enjoyed every minute of it. Who cares that we cooked and ate in the room, that we drove a small vehicle, that we weren't on a beach the entire time - we had a great trip and memories that will last a lifetime. We hope you enjoyed this trip and it is on your list of places to visit. As it will always be on our list. Thanks again for visiting our blog


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