Unlike Curacao, I certainly had heard of its near neighbour, Aruba. Admittedly I didn’t know a whole lot about the place, but I’d seen lovely pictures of the beaches there and of course I’d heard it mentioned in that Beach Boys song. The rain that we’d seen in Curacao the previous day was soon a distant memory – we disembarked in Oranjestad with the sun beating down on us and it made even just looking for a taxi to the beach an arduous task. Our nice taxi driver drove us to Palm Beach and told us about the island. The journey wasn’t long, but from what we saw, the landscape of the island seemed to be much more arid than Curacao. It wasn’t what I’d expected, but it was difficult not to keep an open mind when the taxi driver was speaking about his home with such positivity.
The beach, though not visible from the road, was just a short walk between two hotels from where the taxi dropped us. I spotted two green parakeets before they disappeared into the leafy trees by the path but my poor wife missed them because some guy was following us down the path trying to be our guide (probably so that he could sell us a sunbed when we got to the beach). We headed straight for the watersports hut and I told them I wanted to rent a catamaran. This time, my wife said she’d come with me as long as I could assure her that there wasn’t much danger of capsizing. We reapplied our suncream, handed in our stuff and made a beeline for the water’s edge. We launched our little Hobie Wave, and in moments we were clear of the beach with bright blue water on every side of us. The wind was light but our little boat didn’t need much to keep it bopping along. We tacked back and forth horizontal to the shore, chatting about where along the beach we’d most like to own an apartment. The view was spectacular and the sea was blue and turquoise. This was the Caribbean as we’d imagined it. Eventually, the company rescue boat told us that our hour was up and it was time to sail in. Our pale complexion were taking quite a beating from the sun by this stage, so it was probably for the best.
We didn’t have a lot of time on the island, so there’s not too much more to this story. We relaxed on the beach and went for a swim of course. We took a few minutes respite in the shade and got some fruity tropical drinks. And before we left, we took a stroll over to the wooden pier reaching out from the beach that had a bar where sailors could come alongside for a drink! My very first impression of Aruba hadn’t been exactly what I expected, but the beach was pretty special and that’s all I’d ever looked at in the photographs. We got what we came for!
Coming soon: Jamaica.