Gripp's Travels - Aruba
"It never rains in Aruba" is what was written on every wall and sidewalk on our first visit to Aruba a few years ago. This trip, not only did it rain, but the slogan was changed to "I Love Aruba" much in the style of "I Love NY".
What makes Aruba Different than other islands? The Divi-Divi trees, its desert like atmosphere, great shopping and size. Travelers can see all the major attractions of Aruba in an 8 hour span.
Our stay in port this trip was only about 6 hours, so our focus was on the attractions we have not seen. We docked in Oranjestad, Aruba's capital city, and opted for a shore excursion offered through our ship (Island Princess). Aruba is tourist friendly, we probably could have gotten more bang for our buck going on our own, but the time constraint worried us. We let Princess do all the transportation arrangements, leaving us free of the worries of returning to the boat on time.
We we're picked up by a tour bus, then were driven around the island. "Papa" was our tour guide, who immediately bonded with our group, and provided us with a well appreciated summarized history of the island.
The Butterfly Farm – Home to hundreds of exotic butterflies.
"You guys are so Lucky" said the butterfly specialist. “The rainy weather will provide us with the opportunity to see rain forest varieties of butterflies and moths, which normally don't come out in the sun.”
I started to silently sing “Rain, Rain, go away! Come back another day!”
How exciting can Rain forest butterflies be?
We sat through a 15 minute lecture, where we learned all the specifics about the lifespan of a butterfly. We then took about 20 minutes to try and get a few photos - not easy!
(Butterflies really don't follow direction well. )
We saw amazing sights, and now consider the transition from caterpillar to butterfly more magic than science. The picture above is of a cabinet used to protect the future butterflies and moths while developing
The Rain forest variety of butterflies and moths are absolutely stunning. Maybe rain is not so bad?
Aloe Vera Factory -
Our next stop was the Aloe-Balm factory. We were brought into a building, to an observation deck, that looked down into the factory and laboratory, much like the observation area of an operating room.
Our tour guide explained what each machine did, what their products were, and brought us right into the retail store, where we were given the "Great Opportunity" to purchase their products.
We learned that aloe is cheaper at CVS, Wal-Mart, Eckert’s, etc.
Ayo Rock Formations-
Our tour bus and guide then transported us to the Ayo rock formations. It was a series of boulders, and natural gardens a trail made of slate pieces. We took some pictures, stretched our legs, walked around, and then got back on the bus. The formations are interesting to look at, but, there are other rock formations on the island that are far more impressive.
We were back on the ship as promised, by noon. We have now completed our list of the must see sights in Aruba.
We have not yet planned our next trip to Aruba, but we plan on spending at least a week at sipping frosty drinks on the beach, trying to figure out a way we can grow a Divi-Divi tree in our yard.
High Tides: (Aruba itself)
Great weather – even when it rains!
The Butterfly Farm
Nice blend of history, entertainment, and culture
Low Tides: (Specific to this excursion)
Low energy / low excitement activities
Tourist trap factory tour
Limited picture taking opportunities
Aruba is an exceptional vacation destinations. Please do not let this review dissuade you from visiting this fabulous island.
We are currently working on Joe Gripp’s Guide to Aruba. The document is a complete review of the island, activities, and resort suggestions.
If you would like a copy of the information, or have questions about cruising, please contact us through our website:
More to come in our next blog entry – Gripp’s Travels: Cartagena, Columbia