It’s Friday. Approximately 2:20 in the afternoon. My husband and I decide to travel to Oranjesad, Aruba the next day! Yes, crazy and so spontaneous!
And so, we pack two weekenders that night, and the next day hopped on a flight scheduled to land in Queen Beatrix International Airport around 12:00PM.
I must say, I was not entirely sure what to expect. Of course, I until now spent over half of my life on an island before migrating to the States. Therefore, I should for the most part know what to expect when going to a Caribbean island, right? Nevertheless, my expectations were blurred by that island’s proximity to South America in general.
For those of you who aren’t geography geeks like my husband (yea I am not one of those either lol), Aruba is situated approximately less than 20 miles north of Paraguaná, a Venezuelan peninsula. The island is a self-governing part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and has been since 1986. In the past it was claimed by Spain and Great Britain Needless to say that it is not uncommon to find some Arubans speak over four languages in addition to their native Papiamentu. Quite an impressive melting pot!
DAY 1: Alto Vista Chapel / California Lighthouse / Palm Beach
Sun and wind greeted us as we step foot outside of the terminal to pick up our rental car. It has been said on numerous blogs and by the locals (and I can certainly confirm it here on this blog) that the best way to discover Aruba is by driving around the island. I am sorry to disappoint you if my title mislead you for scuba diving and / or snorkeling adventures. No my friend, our Aruba Explorations comprised of zero of these typical tourists island adventures (no offense at all to any of you out there). Site seeing, and blending with the local culture, that is truly what excites us when we travel my husband and I.
And so soon after we got the keys to our rental, we set sail North of the island.
The Alto Vista Chapel, the first religious building to be built on the island, stood charmingly on top of the hill. The chapel was very picturesque and small. Slightly secluded, therefore felt very peaceful. My husband and I had just enough time to respectfully step inside, say a quick meaningful prayer and admire the grounds and ocean views before the tour bus we passed on the way up the hill offloaded all of its tourists.
Alto Vista Chapel
Unpaved road and views behind Alto Vista Chapel (we probably we not supposed to be there 🤫)
Tourist Bus (we eventually passed them)
When we made it, twenty minutes later and farther north of the island, to the California Lighthouse, it was nearly 3PM. The sun was at its highest. Built over 100feet tall and mirroring the French style architecture (according to our friendly and most knowledgeable tour guide Luigi), the lighthouse was certainly one of the nicest and well-kept ones we have seen in a while. We climbed the steep and narrow staircase to the top, and boy how gusty it was! The view of the ocean definitely made up for that wind 😊.
View from the California Lighthouse
Hey there pretty woman!
It was well within the allotted check-in / check-out time when we parked in front of the Boutique Wonders Hotel, around 5PM. We spent the remainder of the evening in Palm Beach, where the major resorts and tourist nightlife seem to be. Despite the touristy feel of the area, it was a pleasant way to end the evening, and dinner at Tango Argentine Grill did not disappoint.
Driving through Oranjestad and the pretty building we noticed.
The Palm Beach Area
Hubby and I…Wonders Boutique Hotel’s lovely backyard
DAY 2: Baby Beach / Lourdes Grotto / Ayo Rock Formation / Hooiberg
Yes, we got up early, and set course for the South portion of the island. Our mission that day was to discover the remainder of this 69.1-square mile- island. Early bird gets the worm as they say…
A short drive near the airport, through Pos Chiquito, Savaneta, Village and we arrived at Sero Colorado. The views on that end of the island were magnificent. Very peaceful once again. Seems the tourist do not regularly venture this far out. We spent time soaking in the aqua and clear color of Baby Beach, dipped our feet in the water and walked along the beach. It was a beautiful moment that I would not want to share with no other than my partner in crime…
After our visits to Ayo Rock Formation park where we admired the views over the island and Hooiberg, to Hooigberg – which we clearly did not climb up the 550 stairs under the blazing heat – to the unexpected and sacred ground of the Lourdes Grotto right in the middle of the street, it was time to head back to the airport.
Ayo Rock Formation
Until next time Aruba… and who knows, maybe we’ll be snorkeling or scuba diving next time around.