Date: August 13, 2018
As the tour bus roamed the mud-caked roads of Aruba, I was thoroughly surprised.
I thought the island would be a scene of vibrant greens with flowing blue streams, but instead, the world was coated in cacti and sand.
The houses too, seemed to be built in the middle of a desert. Everything was just so dry, as if it hadn’t rained in years. It was nothing at all like what I had expected, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, I loved Aruba!
I had an amazing tour guide who was well versed in the history of his island. While many people are bored by history lessons, I found it very interesting to not only see how the people lived their lives on this island, but also learn about personal experiences from a native.
Our first stop was at an aloe vera farm. Yes… you heard me right, a place where people farm the popular houseplant, aloe vera.
I found it very weird, as where I’m from people mostly farm corn and wheat, but as I learned from the farmers in Aruba, aloe vera has plenty of uses.
A friendly guide took us on a tour through their production facility where they make dozens of products from this plant. They make healing soaps and oils and teas, all of which are apparently very good for human health. It was very fascinating, and everyone there was extremely friendly.
We stopped several more times throughout the day to explore interesting landmarks, like an old lighthouse.
It was a long way up a winding and bumpy road to get to the lighthouse. Many times I thought the old vehicle was going to just give up and break, but it held strong and powered through.
Not all the buses were so fortunate. On our way up, we passed by another tour bus that had been defeated by the road. The tourists inside did not look at all happy, and I couldn’t blame them; they were stuck in the middle of nowhere under a very hot sun, and on vacation too.
Our stop at the lighthouse was short but sweet. It was a good place to stretch my legs, while having the powerful breeze cool me down.
The best stop of the day was at the Casibari Rock Formations.
These boulders are a popular tourist stop in Aruba, and fortunately, we arrived just before the stampede. The view at the top was perfect for seeing Aruba’s volcano, Hooiberg, also known as the haystack. Our guide told us that up close it looked like a massive mountain of hay.
As my family and I explored the rock formations we found colourful little lizards scurrying across the sandy surface.
Their bright blue colouring made them easy to spot against the dull brown and grays of the land.
Finding these lizards made my trip to Aruba all the better; I got to add another cool animal to my photo collection!
It was near dark by the time we arrived at our final destination.
A very large beach!
We hopped out of the bus for a short walk around the shore, enjoying the cool breeze, while learning more interesting facts from our guide.
He told us that he studied marine biology when he was younger, and explained his love for animals, which my family very well connected with. We talked a while, and learned that sea turtles often come up on this beach to lay their eggs, which was why certain areas were fenced off with bright orange tape.
Then our time on Aruba came to an end, but our next adventure was soon to begin. The next day, we would be arriving in Curaçao!
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