Bedrock to Aruba?

aruba dino
Yaba Daba Do!

Okay, so in the last blog I joked about moving back to the beach and not knowing where Aruba was. Well, I did know where it was, it’s in the south Caribbean about 17 miles off the coast of Venezuela, South America. I know we live in Belize and there are so many things to do and see here, so why would we need to go anywhere else. Well, this is our 35th wedding anniversary and we thought we should go somewhere special. Since we had never been to Aruba, it sounded like the place to go and besides didn’t the beach boys have a song about it. Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you… I know you are singing it in your head now. Anyway, Southwest Airlines has a flight direct from Belize to Florida and then nonstop to Aruba and since we still have miles and a companion pass on Southwest, it seemed like a great getaway for our anniversary. Our anniversary isn’t really until this Easter Sunday, but you know how the beaches are on Easter weekend.

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Beautiful clear waters of Aruba.

Aruba is an island that is only 20 miles long by about 6 miles wide, so in our rented jeep it really didn’t take long to explore the whole island. Everything that really happens is on the west side of the island where there are beautiful turquoise waters and soft silky sandy beaches. This is the side where there are also a lot of high rise hotels, restaurants, tours and beach activities. By that, I mean very touristy.

aruba beach
Not a shell or rock to be found anywhere.

Since tours and big crowds are not really our thing, we jumped in the Jeep and decided to explore the other side of the island. The east side of the island is a very rugged and windy coastline with basically no water or beach access. Here the waves crash against the shore sometimes breaking as high as 50 feet or more. We were told that it is always very windy here, which explains why it’s an island with mostly cactus and not much vegetation at all.

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The very rough east side of the island.

This is also the side where there is a wind farm with big wind generators, which make sense. The day we were cruising around there was a herd of goats just hanging out at one of the wind generators, don’t know why, as far as we know they live inside the generator and just came out for some sun.

aruba goat
Goats, what more can I say.

On the east side of the island, there is a national park with a few natural attractions. After paying our entrance fee we explored a couple of wind-blown caves that have been there about 1,000 years or so. These caves did have some great formations in them and even a few old cave paintings from past inhabitants. After checking out the caves and driving around in the windy desert we stopped at this little outdoor bar in the middle of nowhere for a couple of cold beers. It was so windy there that their drink coozies were actually carved out of stone so your drink would not blow away. The kid serving the beer in the stone coozie even said: “Welcome to the Flintstones”.

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Entrance to one of the caves.
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Cool formations inside the cave.

We had heard about this small town where they had painted murals on a lot of the buildings in town, so it was off to find them. After all, how hard could it be to find them on a small island? No problem, we found them and wow were they amazing. In 2016 the first art fair was held there to highlight the growing art scene and every year since there are more murals and art added to the buildings.

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Very cool iguana mural.
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Fish on a two-story building.
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Amazing how the artist got it to look metallic.
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Mosaic tile work.

Since we were in Aruba, we thought we might as well go fishing one day. So we reserved a 38’ boat just for the two of us for a day of deep sea fishing. They had been catching Mahi Mahi, Tuna and Wahoo, and since neither of us had ever caught a Wahoo before we asked them to try and target them. First of all, I never would have ever considered going out on a windy day like it was, but then the deck hand told us that it is like this 365 days a year and they go out every day. So what the hell, it’s only a 20-25 mph wind, let’s go fishing.

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The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed….

So off we go, we start trolling about 10 minutes out of the marina and head towards the north end of the island where they have been catching Wahoo. Like I said, this is very rough water and it got even worse as we approached the end of the island where the current came around. The boat was really rocking and sometimes dropping onto the next wave, but when the wave came over the side of the boat that’s when I said we need to turn this boat around and start heading back. Kelley did have one hookup that we were hoping was a Wahoo, but it turned out to be just a Baracuda. We are just glad we are not big fishermen and live in Aruba where it’s always this rough and windy.

aruba fish
Hook up!

Aruba is full of very high-end restaurants as well as every fast food joint you can imagine. We ate a lot of good food there, everything from pizza, seafood, pasta, Asian, escargot, and steaks. One place we really enjoyed was this steak house where they come by your table with skewers of different kinds of meat and just serve you till you say stop. We laughed at all the fast food places and said that we did not come to Aruba to eat fast food, but there was one day when we needed a quick snack. Okay so we stopped at a Wendy’s for a quick burger, after all they don’t have them back home in Belize, so it was sorta a treat.

aruba steak
Good food and good wine make for a happy Kelley.

After five days in Aruba here is our take on it…the beaches are beautiful and very clean and the people are very friendly, after all it is called “One Happy Island”. There are a few beaches where there are not that many people and they were great.

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A typical beach tree in Aruba.

It is a tourist destination with lots of cruise ships and flights arriving daily which makes for a lot of people everywhere. There are high-end retail shops and jewelry stores everywhere you look. From Prada, Gucci, Bulova and so many more that I don’t recognize, but they are in a prime location so they must be expensive. There are food chains everywhere, Taco Bell, Mc D’s, KFC, Dominos, Hooters, Hard Rock, etc. which sorta takes away from the island feel.

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Statues of blue horses around town symbolize the horse trading from the past.

I know it is an island and everything has to be brought in, but it is very expensive. They recently imposed a sin tax on alcohol, tobacco, sugar and such. A local beer at a restaurant or bar will run you $5-$7 usd, and they are only 7 oz bottles. That’s about a $1 an ounce for local beer, plus tip. That gets real expensive spending a day at a beach bar having some beers. Being a desert island with a strong year-long wind and really no tropical plants or feel to it, it just wasn’t for us. This is just our take on it, we are glad to have experienced Aruba, but there are many other places in this world to explore.

It’s good to be back home in Belize to our tropical surroundings and our own bed. While we were gone the garden and other plants have grown quite a bit, a big tree has fallen near the house that needs to be cut out and there were three toucans near the entrance to welcome us home. It’s great to be back. Now it’s back to work, projects and getting everything ready for our next little build. Lots of things to do here at home and it sure feels good to be doing them.

6 thoughts on “Bedrock to Aruba?”

  1. Good report on Aruba. I think it will be hard to beat what you have in Belize. Happy anniversary! Carol and I just celebrated our 36th last month.

    Brad & Carol Drew

  2. Happy Anniversary! Thanks for the report on Aruba. We’ll leave Belize at the top of the list of places to visit!

  3. Great photos and commentary as always!
    I read this on Saturday the day before Easter 🐣 so Happy Anniversary tomorrow!

  4. I have enjoyed all your blogs….so full of wisdom from your experiences. I felt like I was with you in Aruba with your details. Guess what? Not somewhere I need to explore and I thank you both for saving me money!! Ha!!! Happy Anniversary!! 35 years is quite the accomplishment. 🙌🏻♥️🍻

  5. Looks like a great time! I was in Aruba years ago and pretty much agree with your over all opinion… the murals were my favorite part, which were not there when I was there! Happy Anniversary to you guys~ thanks for sharing your adventure 💕

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