Scrolling Aruba Gallery

  • Orangestaadt scene

    Orangestaadt waterfront. - - - - - - - - - - - Please scroll this gallery to see the rest of our Aruba images.

  • Aruba buses

    Typical Aruba buses - we caught one in Orangestaadt.

  • Tony and Gill on bus

    And here we are onboard, en route for Palm Beach, Aruba

  • wild iguana

    When we got there we sat drinking coffee and watching a big iguana.

  • coconut trees

    The area had quite a few coconut trees providing shade.

  • Aruba beach

    The Aruba beaches are just stunning.

  • Aruba sailing boat

    Water sports are particularly popular in Aruba as well as snorkelling.

  • yellow bird

    Although almost desert-like there are birds and other wildlife.

  • Palm Beach Aruba

    Our photo of Palm Beach is almost the same as the one IKEA sells!.

  • Tony texting home

    Of course Tony had to text home to the grandchildren.

  • green iguana

    A bit later we added another iguana - this one green, to our `collection`.

  • Gill, Jacky and Nigel

    As the beach was too hot the team went back to Orangestaadt in time for lunch.

  • cactus

    Typical cactus all over this almost desert island close to Venezuela.

  • Celebrity Galaxy

    We had come to Aruba onboard the Celebrity Galaxy.

  • Iguana Joes sign

    Approaching our lunch target in Orangestaddt.

  • Iguana Joes frontage

    Iguana Joes boasts an impressive frontage looking out over the waterfront.

  • Iguana Joes stairs up

    Iguana Joes is located up stairs above the shopping area.

  • Pink Iguana drinks

    The rum based `Pink Iguana` was originally created here - magic!

  • calamari

    Calamari battered rings.

  • Jacky and Gill have lunch

    Daughter Jacky and Gill enjoy some light refreshment.

  • coconut shrimp

    Tony`s coconut shrimp was to die for!.

  • fried plantains

    As was his fried plantains..

  • fancy painted buses

    Typical Aruba buses - we caught one in Orangestaadt.

  • interior of Iguana Joes

    A view inside Iguana Joes - looking towards the bar.

  • typical fishing boat

    Typical Aruba fishing boat on the way out of harbour.

  • Royal Plaza Aruba

    The RoyalPlaza shopping mall in Orangestaadt plus a green Mitsubishi Grandis.

  • Aruba shopping mall

    Another view of the shopping mall.

  • Orangestaadt waterfront market

    Orangestaadt waterfront market.

  • Tony at the market

    Tony considers some new clothes.

  • Celebrity Galaxy alongside

    Celebrity Galaxy alongside Orangestaadt.

  • Another view of the mall

    Another mall view.

  • shopping upstairs

    Shopping upstairs in the mall.

  • The Love Machine

    Typical Aruba bus - the Love Machine.

  • departing dinner

    Departure was with a wicked seafood meal.

Useful or Interesting Links and other `stuff` website

Aruba tourism website link Aruba tourism

Visit Aruba website link "Visit Aruba"

Aruba travel guide website link Aruba travel guide

Geographia Aruba website link Geographia page

Trip Advisor website link Trip Advisor

Tripbase website link TripBase - Aruba

Fodor website linkFodors - Aruba

Main narrative stuff

paragraph ARUBA.

Aruba has a rich, layered heritage. The first people to inhabit the island were a nation of Arawak Indians. (The name Aruba seems to have derived from the Arawak Indian word oibubai, which means guide.) In 1499, the Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda laid claim to the territory for Queen Isabella. Nearly 200 years later, the Dutch captured the islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire from the Spanish, and much of that heritage can be seen in its pastel Old World architecture. "One Happy Island." This, the official motto of Aruba, is plastered on each taxi's license plate.

There are casinos, duty-free shops, more than two dozen dive sites, noteworthy shipwrecks and a championship golf course, lined with cacti and populated by friendly iguanas. Aruba's trademark divi divi trees always point in a southwesterly direction (due to trade winds that blow from the northeast), but we like to think they're leading the way to the sandy beaches that ring the island in the shape of a cheery smile.

Best of all, there really is no bad time to visit Aruba. Located only 20 miles north of Venezuela, temperatures are consistently pleasant (lows in the 70's, highs in the 80's), there's no "rainy" season, and its location is far below the Atlantic hurricane belt, so it's less likely to be impacted by storms. Aruba's dry climate is home to large Mondis (forests of cacti), and you may feel like you are in Arizona, rather than the Caribbean!

Palm Beach offers water sports facilities such as scuba and parasailing. Other activities include beach volleyball and banana boat rides. Many of the large resorts are located right on Palm Beach, so gamers can duck into one of the hotel casinos for an added diversion. California Lighthouse, on the northwest tip of the island, was named after a ship called the Californian, which is famous for having received distress signals from the Titanic (though legend has it they were ultimately ignored because the radio operator was asleep at the time).

Perhaps this bad karma ultimately sealed the Californian's fate -- the ship sank off the coast of Aruba in rough seas a few years later, and the wreck is popular among divers. Kids with energy to expend can try "dune surfing" on the California White Sand Dunes surrounding the lighthouse, which involves sliding down the steep dunes (sturdy jeans or pants required!).

Travelers looking for a secluded stretch of sand should head for Rodger's Beach, on the eastern tip of the island. It's a picturesque spot (if you can ignore the view of the refinery) known for its lovely shade palms and crystal-clear, reef-protected waters. Facilities include showers, beach huts, bars and snack stands. Arashi Beach, on the northern tip of the island, is another quiet option. A fun diversion for both children and adults is the Butterfly Farm, located across from the Wyndham on Palm Beach. The Butterfly Farm is a huge, enclosed tropical garden, home to hundreds of beautiful butterflies. Tip: The best time to visit is in the morning when you can see the new butterflies emerging from their chrysalises.

It may not be Las Vegas, but Aruba is certainly up and coming on the gambling scene with 11 casinos island-wide (in fact, the World Poker Tour stopped there in 2004). Many of the hotel casinos are quieter during the day (slots open, for example, but tables closed until early evening), but Crystal Casino, close to the cruise port, is one of a few 24-hour joints -- and it's always hopping with slots and table games. Baby Beach is a good stop for small children or inexperienced swimmers. The water, in a shallow pool created by man-made rock breakwaters, is no more than 5 feet deep. One drawback: There are only a handful of food stands.

Rum may immediately come to mind when you think of Caribbean spirits, but Aruba is home to another award-winning brew. Daily tours are offered at the Balashi brewery (or Brouwerij Nacional Balashi). Guests are walked through the pilsner's production from fermentation and filtration to bottling and distribution. Next to the brewery is Balashi Gardens, an open-air bar and restaurant overlooking undisturbed Aruban countryside.

Go snorkeling at Malmok Beach, which has small coral bays filled with plenty of colorful fish just 10 feet offshore; the wreck of Antilla, a WWII German freighter, can be seen peeking out of the water here (note that no facilities are available). Are you an experienced snorkeler? Bachelor's Beach is a little rough for leisure swimming but offers adventurous snorkeling aficionados all kinds of underwater sights on its coral-covered bottom.

Iguana Joes Igua-na-chos, Quesadillas, Club Sandwiches, USDA Burgers, Jerked Chicken, Coconut Shrimp, Sizzling Mahi-Mahi Fajitas, "Best Ribs in the Caribbean" plus their own `Pink Iguana` rum-based cocktail. Caribbean award-winning cuisine freshly prepared and enjoyed in a colorful, fun downtown restaurant with legendary bar serving frozen fresh-fruit cocktails and half-liter specialty elixirs.