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Aruba: ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!

  • July 10, 2015
  • By 50 Shades
  • 20 Comments
Aruba: ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!

Remember in the cartoons when Speedy Gonzales of Looney Tunes fame would race around crying out  ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!? I found out that this common Mexican saying roughly translates to a good old Lleighton Hewitt “come on”! Although not even remotely Mexican, Aruba, a tiny Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, with its azure blue seas lapping arid desert terrain, Yatu Cactus plants growing wild and abundance of Iguanas lazing in the sun, gave the impression of “real” Mexico.

Aruba-Map

At stop four of our Caribbean cruise, the Caribbean Island of Aruba, for some reason this saying just kept coming to mind – arriba Aruba! Maybe I had been out in the sun too long or I was getting my islands confused! Here are my hot Aruba travel tips.

White sandy beach in Aruba

White sandy beach in Aruba

Aruba prides itself on offering a “mañana” (or tomorrow) way of life blended with cooling tradewinds, friendly locals, great shopping, world-class modern resort hotels and glitzy casinos. Dutch-style buildings and windmills predominate the island and the quaint Alto Vista Chappel sits atop one of Aruba’s highest points with spectacular views to the north.

Interesting looking home in Aruba

Interesting looking home in Aruba

Interesting Fact: Aruba is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The citizens of these countries all share a single nationality: Dutch.

We set off on a mini-bus tour of the island with the very personable Dickson to see the sights. First stop was at an Aloe Vera Factory just out of Oranjestad where they process this desert growing plant into remedial gels and creams.

Aloe Vera Plants in Aruba

Aloe Vera Plants in Aruba

In the centre of the island we found the Casibari Rock formations. A path leads you to the top of these giant boulders from which you have a great view of Aruba’s landscape.

Casibari Rocks in the centre of Aruba

Casibari Rocks in the centre of Aruba

Heading over to the wild windy unprotected side of the island we took in the spectacle of The Natural Bridge that was formed naturally over the centuries by the pounding sea. Unfortunately this natural bridge which spanned more than 30m collapsed in 2005 but it is still a popular landmark.

Natural Bridge and wild coastline of Aruba

Natural Bridge and wild coastline of Aruba

We visited the California Lighthouse, an impressive landmark in the barren, almost lunar-like landscape, surrounding it. Its location allows commanding views of the north coast, the sand dunes area, and also towards the high-rise hotel area.

California Lighthouse, Aruba

California Lighthouse, Aruba

A drive up a winding road with crosses marking the stations of the cross reaches the site of the Alto Vista Chapel high above the sea. This small Catholic chapel is also known as “Pilgrims Church” and dates back to 1750. It was a beautiful place for peace and contemplation whilst enjoying spectacular views of the North Coast.

Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba

Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba

We finished off the day with a refreshing drink and some nachos to munch on the balcony of Senor Frogs bar in Oranjestad. Naturally we also took a stroll through the local markets and souvenir shops.

Oranjestad, Aruba

Oranjestad, Aruba

Aruba was such a contrast of beauty with its desert-like arid centre and gorgeous azure blue seas fringed with white sandy beaches. On an island that cannot grow anything apart from aloe vera and cacti, and has to import absolutely everything from nearby Venezuala, it is a surprising survivor of the barren wasteland that it is. A most intriguing island.

For more things to do and see on the island of Aruba see 27 Fun Things To Do In Aruba Beyond The Beach

Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday

Linking up with Weekend Travel Inspiration

 

 

 

 

 

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By 50 Shades, July 10, 2015 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 20

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

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20 Comments
  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    July 10, 2015

    Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I want to take ya
    Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
    Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go, Jamaica

    That’s what it makes me think of. It looks positively DIVINE! I want to go now Kathy!

    • Kathy
      July 10, 2015

      I am so impressed that you know all the words to this song! The Caribbean was positively divine – I wish I was back there right at this moment! :)

  • Jenny P
    July 10, 2015

    How interesting and really beautiful. The colour of the water is stunning. What do they make from the harvest of aloe vera?

    • Kathy
      July 10, 2015

      For a tiny desert island it was surprisingly beautiful. The Caribbean does have amazing sea colours – so many shades of blue and aqua. The aloe vera plants are used to make gels and creams. It is particularly good for burns and skin irritations but they also have a beauty range as well.

  • Linda
    July 11, 2015

    Gorgeous series of photos! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tour! :)

    • Kathy
      July 11, 2015

      Thank you Linda for visiting my blog. The world is such an amazing place with so much diversity. I adored Aruba it was an intriguing place.

  • Ruth
    July 11, 2015

    Looks amazing. I am from the Caribbean but have never visited Aruba. I feel like I need to discover more of the area where I grew up.

    • Kathy
      July 11, 2015

      Hi Ruth. I had never even heard of Aruba before the cruise trip. It was such an intriguing place with an interesting history. I think we all need to explore our backyards a little more! :)

  • Mary {The World Is A Book}
    July 12, 2015

    Aruba is beautiful and your pictures truly captured it. I love that little island. We did this same island tour during a cruise stop a few years ago. We missed the natural arch though. We asked to be dropped off at one of the beaches and spent a wonderful afternoon. It’s unreal to see all the cacti around an island.

    • Kathy
      July 12, 2015

      Thank you Mary. The beaches were very spectacular for such an arid desert island. I think that was what I liked about it – a contrast of landscapes.

  • malaysianmeanders
    July 12, 2015

    I really like that white sandy beach with that lone tree. Looks like a great place to relax. That Alto Vista chapel looks so unexpected out there. I’ve never been to Aruba but perhaps a cruise will also take me there someday.

    • Kathy
      July 12, 2015

      The beaches of Aruba were amazing. Such an interesting island with an intriguing past. Definitely one for the bucket list! :)

  • Paula McInerney
    July 12, 2015

    Michelle Weaver beat me to it. Nice island.

    • Kathy
      July 13, 2015

      Thanks Paula. Aruba was a little different compared to the other islands we visited in Central America and the Caribbean. I loved the contrasts of its landscapes. :)

  • Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
    July 12, 2015

    What a wonderful tour of Aruba you took us on with your pictures and words! Would love to visit one day.

    • Kathy
      July 13, 2015

      Thank you so much Ellen. Although I was a little hesitant about going on a cruise holiday, it was one of the best holidays I have been on. Central America and the Caribbean is an amazing place to see. :)

  • budget jan
    July 17, 2015

    It is amazing how that tree survives on the beach. I wonder if it used to be further inland and time has changed it’s location?

    • Kathy
      July 17, 2015

      It is amazing, especially since Aruba doesn’t grow much apart from cacti and aloe vera. Maybe it was part of Venezuala at some point. :)

  • Nancie
    July 17, 2015

    That water looks so inviting. Love the color. I have always wanted to go to Aruba. I find the name enticing. One of these days I might get there. Thanks for linking up. #TPThursday

    • Kathy
      July 18, 2015

      The colours of the Caribbean were amazing and the water was very inviting. We swam or snorkelled at most of the places we visited as it was pretty warm. I hope you do get to travel here one day. :)

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