We stopped in Aruba for a short five day stop to help us get an idea of what the former Netherland Antilles was all about. First off, five days isn’t enough to get to know any country, but it did give us a taste.
We found a small, very dry island with an over abundance of cacti. They are everywhere. With the heat and the majority of plants being cactus, it certainly does not come across as a place you want to spend much time inland.
The view from Casibari Rock gives you a decent idea of the landscape.
If you look carefully you can spot California Lighthouse amongst the cactus. The lighthouse was named after a ship that wrecked off this northern point just before the lighthouse was built.
At the southern end of the island you can find this memorial to arguably the most important people to this country, the seaman.
As for wildlife here the largest you’ll find are wild donkeys. You can find them wandering pretty well all parts of the island, though they do tend to stay away from the largest concentrations of humans.
Aruba declared independence less than 35 years ago so it still has a very significant Dutch influence in culture and architecture. They are still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and this free tram in Oranjestad, the capital, allows you to easily see some of these sights.
Though Aruba is trying to find its economic place in the world. Its origins were in suppling goods to whichever country was claiming it at the time (Spain, England, The Netherlands). The ruins of the Bushiribana gold smelting plant on the rugged west side are evidence of this. That is our amazing rugged Kia Picanto rental which faithfully took us all around the island.
This view south from the Bushiribana ruins give you an idea of the lush nature of the island.
Having pointed out the harshness of the interior, it is only fair to note that Aruba seems to be making an effort to become a luxury resort type of destination. Along the east coast there are several high end hotels and all inclusive resorts that look beautiful.
We did stop for cocktails at one of the hotel beaches on the west coast to enjoy sunset. The beach was lovely and the cocktails were delicious. However they are not our “thing” so you will have to come here yourself and make your own judgments if you enjoy these locales.
The view from California Lighthouse towards one of the west side beaches. Certainly not lacking in beauty.
More our speed was this lovely little beach on the south end of the island, past the oil refinery.
We found a few tourists and plenty of locals on the beach. Watching the pelicans and terns diving into the water all around you made for quality entertainment.
Or if you simply want to relax and watch the clouds roll on by it is the perfect location.
We found that Aruba did very little to sell itself as a diving destination so we did not do any here. However Bonaire and Curacao were entirely another matter. Stay tuned.
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Great post 😊