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Published: February 20th 2018
A grey start to the day
Aruba The skies were a little overcast this morning, we were booked on an excursion which finished at a beach so we hoped the weather would improve. As we boarded our tourist bus a heavy downpour descended but as with most Caribbean rain showers within minutes the sun was shining and everything around us was dry again. We made our way through the centre of Oranjestad with its colourful markets and equally colourful Dutch Colonial buildings.On previous visits to Aruba we had stayed close to Oranjestad so was looking forward to getting out & about & seeing more of the island on this trip. As we drove through various villages the tall cacti plants seemed to pop up everywhere, it is not that easy to grow many trees or plants on this land because the soil is mostly crushed coral. It wasn't long before we reached our first stop of the day - Casibari Rock Formations where the landscape is shaped by a group of large diorite and granite boulders.The site was busy with visitors arriving by coach, happy bus, jeeps so I decided not to follow everyone else to the top but to wander through the ground level boulders with
Casibari Rock Formations
cactus over 10feet tall springing up throughout the boulders.We had plenty of time here before we set off for our next stop which took us to the north coast of the island, a very barren area with wide dunes and crashing waves along the rugged coast. This area for many years was the prime attraction on the island because of its natural bridge but sadly in 2005 the bridge collapsed, however, we were able to marvel at a smaller natural structure as there was a baby bridge close by. As the waves crashed against the shore it was easy to see how the powerful forces of the sea over years had carved through coral and limestone to create amazing formations and arches.
The Happy buses seem to be following us, so too the jeeps and we have now been joined by several groups on quad bikes who are weaving their way through the dunes.We are in a more sedate mode of transport, but our driver guide is full of colourful stories so we are all happy passengers. As we drove through this area we saw entrances to old disused gold mines & the remains of a fortress built to ward
Casibari Rock Formations
off pirates. Aruba is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, unlike many of the other islands who have the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean on the other. We continued to our next stop - Columbus Lighthouse - some 100ft tall which had been left derelict for many years but had been recently renovated. We did not venture up into the lighthouse, but the views from the base were still amazing looking out across the turquoise Caribbean Sea. We then move into the main tourist area of the island with its luxury hotels and celebrity style houses all dotted along the beach front.Eagle Beach was our last stop where there was time to swim if you wanted too.I took a leisurely stroll along the beach to a less crowded area to enjoy the warm sea and views. Our bus driver and guide was a very pleasant young man called Benjamin and his stories and information about the various sites we visited really made the trip even more enjoyable. One of his stories was as a young man he heard his grandma screaming loudly one evening, he went just across from his house to his grandma who was now silently pointing
Casibari Rock formations
at a 9ft boa constrictor which was hanging from a tree branch just a few inches from Benjamin's head.It was Benjamin's time to scream now! He went inside picked up a machete and was able to kill the snake. The government will give 6.00 USD to anyone who finds a Boa dead or alive because currently these snakes are killing far too many iguanas & to avoid the demise of the native iguana a reward is offered; live snakes are taken to the National Park area where they can be controlled.Benjamin did not take up the 6.00$ but that evening his family enjoyed a delicious snake meal. The skin Benjamin kept to remind him of his terrifying ordeal.I guess another way of life here in the Caribbean. As our tour came to an end and we left Oranjestaad the skies started to cloud over just as the captain announced that we would be encountering high winds during the evening and the following day as we made our way to Santiago de Cuba. There were a few empty tables at dinner and we certainly had to watch our footing as we made our way around the decks.We managed to have a
Natural bridge collapsed 2005
good nights sleep, probably from the rocking motion of the ship. Next Port of call Santiago de Cuba.
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