Well I decided to venture on the road again so I visited one of my favorite islands, Aruba. It is one of the ABC (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. It is an ideal place anytime of the year because of its tropical weather all year round. It is quite hot even without the blazing sun with a constant trade wind giving some well deserved breeze. Currently their requirements for visitors are stringent but protect all: so if you are planning to visit familiarize yourself with the information online particularly the one related to COVID-19 testing. If you choose to be tested upon arrival in Aruba you will be required to quarantine in your hotel/resort room until the test result returns. There is a cost of US $75 for the oropharyngeal test and results return to your email within six to seven hours could be less depending on the day of arrival. The hotel/resort is very accommodating of quarantined guests room service etc. Masks are required in public places such as lobbies, traveling in taxi, and any establishment that requires it. The restrictions for masks were decreased this week where visitors have the option to go without and depending on each individual businesses requirement.
A few things I noticed that you might encounter include, straws are not used with beverages, there is a move to not handle cash but credit cards instead. However although credit cards are accepted some of the souvenir shops accept American dollars and change is returned in American currency. With the requirement for testing to enter the US most resorts have made accommodations for on site testing for $50. or $75 depending on the test; make your appointment as soon as possible. If not done on site they offer options for other sites. The cost for a taxi ride is standardized so if you are going downtown from one of the resort, for example, you can ride the local bus but up to five people can travel by taxi for the flat rate then less costly. If taking a taxi on Sundays there is an additional $3.
Aloe is a staple product of Aruba and they supply worldwide. The aloe products include lotions, soaps, hair products etc. There are daily tours at the aloe factory and of course a store where you can purchase. During the tour you are able to test some of the products and observe workers in action. Due to the pandemic sampling is limited but there were a few things you could test such as different flavored lotions.
A visit to the California lighthouse offers a beautiful view of the coastline and if in that region for the sunset it is breath taking. There is a restaurant close by that offers a great view also. For the adventurous ones a 100 flight of steps will take you to the top of the lighthouse. There are vendors selling refreshments, coconut water seems to be popular.
Situated on the hills overlooking the north shore is the Catholic Chapel, Alto Vista also known as the Pilgrims Church. The church still maintains its reverence and currently used by by the natives throughout the year and also with a pilgrimage on Good Friday.
Fourteen of these crosses are seen along the roadside heading to the chapel. They represent the Stations of the Cross.
We made a stop at the Casibari Rock Formation to get a closer look and to climb to get a view around the area. With a closer look and a bit of imagination you are able to depict formations looking like a whale, a fish or a bird. Steps climbing are rugged but with care and enough time it should be beautiful.
Cunucu houses have a distinct design built by the earlier settlers. A note worth mentioning is that there is a restaurant Old Cunucu House serving authentic Arubian cuisine to include iguana soup, not for me.
This is a typical Cunucu house. Heading over to the Eastern side and to one of the most popular sites to visit is the natural bridge where the constant erosion of the rocks by the waves forms a bridge. Currently there is what is being called the baby bridge since the larger one collapsed in 2005. There are signs cautioning visitors that the area around the bridge is collapsible. Therefore although you can walk over the surrounding area one needs to be mindful.
This is the remains of the large bridge that collapsed in 2005.
Driving downtown you get the sense that things are coming back to life for tourists on land but in the ship port there are several cruise vessels (NCL) anchored with no activity. While dining one evening we noticed one leaving port but clearly not with passengers as the deck lights were off not the usual flurry when leaving port.
A favorite of mine is Baby Beach on the south-East side of the island which is great for non swimmers sheltered by a reef so no heavy waves.
There is a restaurant, canopies and chairs for rental. A well spent week back feeling rejuvenated.