Aruba is situated about 12 miles off the Venezuelan peninsula. A small island, it is only twenty miles long and six miles in width. With its dry and sunny climate all year round it is also a popular stopover for Caribbean cruises.
Joining the guys on their weekend golfing trip to the Island, we flew to the capital – Oranjestad – and as we disembarked we walked into a wall of humidity. The breathtaking pristine beaches, blue sea and benevolent sun smiling down on us made us automatically relax.
After checking in at our hotel, the boys bid us farewell and headed off with the golf bags to the Tierra de Sol Golf and Spa Resort, which boasts an immaculate 18-hole course that has hosted many prestigious tournaments and won numerous awards.
Meanwhile us girls headed off to the Alto Vista Chapel some ten kilometers from the capital. Alto Vista is a quaint yellow chapel situated in desert-like surroundings. Visiting it is like stepping into an oasis in the middle of the Sahara. It is also famous as a pilgrimage destination, which Catholics from around the world pilgrimage to on foot, every Good Friday, along an untarred and dusty road.
Feeling spiritually rejuvenated we then splurged on a day pass to Renaissance Island, a private island comprizing of forty acres of barrier reef. The island has two beaches – Iguana and Flamingo. It is literally paradise on earth with its white sand, which contrasts exquisitely with the aquamarine sea. The afternoon was spent on the beach photographing graceful flamingos, almost oblivious to our presence. We then enjoyed some snorkeling amidst the colorful marine life. A craft was deliberately sunk here to encourage coral growth and provide a diversion for divers.
After a refreshing sleep and armed with water, a hat, sunglasses and good hiking shoes we headed off to Arikok National Park. The park covers roughly eighteen percent of Aruba and is home to various species of reptiles and birds. In the park are the Fontein and Quadiriki caves. These limestone caves are decorated with paintings said to have come from the Arawak tribe. The more recent depictions are thought to have come from the early European settlers. They have apertures in the ceiling which allows for some natura lighting. They are also home to bats and although mostly harmless we did a speedy tour of the caves.
A few hours later, hot and thirsty, we headed to the Boca Prins beach, another postcard perfect
Scene where waves crash against rocks in the crystal blue water. The day passed so quickly and on the way back to the hotel we took more pictures of the natural bridge. Made from limestone that collapsed it is twenty five feet high and one hundred feet wide.
On the final day of our idyllic break we took a five minute ferry ride to Palm Island. This is another breathtaking beach but visitors only have access to a limited amount of beach for conservation of the ecology.
We also decided to do a Sea Trek. I had never heard of this. Here you wear a space-like helmet with a shawl over your shoulders, which allows you to breathe underwater without the necessary breathing apparatus. You do not need any diving experience so it is ideal for non-divers and swimmers. We walked and swam along the sea bed and felt one with the colorful array of tropical fish and marine life.
There is something magical about island life that seems to melt the hardest of hearts. We met some amazing people who shared fascinating experiences. Reluctantly at the end of the day we headed off to the shops to purchase the obligatory gifts and souvenirs.
Later that evening we met up with the boys at the airport. It was sad to bid farewell to this enchanting island where the desert meets the ocean, but we left feeling rejuvenated and recharged while the boy’s left with aching backs from too many rounds of golf.
Aruba is the perfect destination to escape from a bleak cold winter and get some much needed Vitamin D, memories and photographs that I am certain you will cherish forever. You are guaranteed to be seduced by this magical island and definitely a place to put on your bucket list.