Monday, 9 December 2013

Cruising - Aruba

Coming into Aruba we were struck by two things; the large hotel section and the large industrial section. There were more than 20 cargo ships waiting to come into the port (we had noticed about 8 at Curacao, none at the other islands)
Hotel area. We learnt later it is along the best beaches and all the hotels are 5 star.
Industrial area.
Getting off the boat we walked out of the terminal and into a tourist shopping area though it was obviously not exclusively for the cruise ships as there were hotels, casinos and excursion operators there. We walked around a nice, clean marina and along a path in front of some hotels to a beach and then back.
There were Iguana of all different sizes and colours in the landscaped areas of the hotels.
And on the rocks by the ocean. Those of you who may have read my posts from Merida',
Mexico, know I have a thing for Iguana.
On getting back to the boat for lunch we discussed how we didn't have a real feel for the island so decided to take one of the 2 hour van tours being offered just outside the terminal area. We had a tour with 8 other people and saw most of the North end of the island.
George always had a thing for cacti so I have lots of pictures of Aruba's huge specimens.
We were surprised but Aruba turned out to be a very dry environment with scrub trees and cacti. The opposite shore to the cruise terminal was very rocky and rough with hardly any vegetation.
We were taken to a bridge of rock beside the ocean and could really see the effects of the pounding surf. The driver emphasized the importance of tourism to Aruba's economy and also talked about the difficulties in maintaining housing in the constant salt air.
Next stop was the lighthouse at the far North end of the island.
On the way to the lighthouse we passed an extensive, lush development surrounding a golf course. All for sale to tourists.
A lovely view from the restaurant beside the lighthouse, down towards the hotel zone.
The drive back to the cruise terminal was through the hotel zone. Beautiful beaches. Palm trees. Catamarans at anchor ready to take scuba and snorkelling excursions. Restaurants and shops as few of the hotels are all inclusive. It was a dramatic change from the natural simplicity of the native Aruba.
The ship left port in time for us to watch the sun go down but no dramatic pictures this time. The next day we were at sea and that evening we had our most expensive meal yet, in the Cagney's Steakhouse. George had a fabulous steak and I opted for the lobster and shrimp.
Sorry, we dived right into the food and the picture wasn't taken until we had half finished.
The next day we were in Cozumel.

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