Our first look at Aruba
As has been the norm on this trip, there were showers greeting us in Aruba. We didn't dock until 11:00 am and found out that a holiday had closed most of the shops for the day. A few were opening for the cruise ships in port, but worked limited hours. Our first order of the day was to go shopping. The shops were opening at noon, so we had an hour to shop the marketplace near the port. These were mostly local people selling typical tourist items. By noon, other stores were beginning to open.
Our side trip for the day was a snorkel adventure on an old sailing vessel. Included was snorkeling at a reef in 10-12 ft. of water, deep water snorkeling at a shipwreck, rope swinging near the coastline, and an acrobatic show in the ropes of the sails.
Our snorkel ship! (Photo courtesy PhinsandGills)
We boarded the "Banana Bus" for the short ride to the starting place. A brightly painted, open air bus provided us with fun, upbeat music. First, the reef yielded beautiful fish. From the very small to some nice sized, we swam in the crystal clear Caribbean waters for 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour. The motion of the ocean provided a challenge at the shipwreck site. Also in this area, there were several other snorkeling groups which made for some difficult swimming. We were allowed about 1/2 an hour to explore the wreck.
Once again back on board, we moved to the coastline. A trapeze type rope swing was made available to the hail and hardy for an exciting swing into the water. Though myself and my husband didn't try it, my daughter and her husband participated several times to the cheers of our shipmates.
Crew and friend swing and flipping! (Photo courtesy PhinsandGills)
The crew would even do flips and twists to the delight of the spectators. Two women got to "piggy back" on a crew member to experience a flip or two. Others were allowed to snorkel and swim away from the landing area or just relax in the late afternoon sunshine. Unlimited drinks, alcohol or not, were served complimentary by a crew member.
As the sun was beginning to set, the old sailing vessel with some very tired people set off for our starting point. During the ride, a crew member put on a trapeze type performance in the ropes high above our heads. Definitely accomplished at the feat, he provided us with entertainment none of us would try!
Desiring something different than the traditional ship choices, we set out to find a unique restaurant in Aruba.
A little blurry, but on the outside patio looking in at Iguana Joe's restaurant.
Since some were closed for the holiday, we chose a place close to the dock - Iguana Joe's. This spot seems to be a popular choice for fun dining. Located on the second story of a building, Iguana Joe's had a huge covered open air dining room. There several items on the menu, both unique to the area and tranditional burgers and sandwiches. They also serve their signature drink concoctions with something for everyone. My cheeseburger and french fries hit the spot! Our waitress was fun and served us very well. I'm glad we ventured out for the local scene.
Aruba is a much busier and touristy island compared to the others. The snorkel trip was fun, including the bus ride to and from.
The sun setting over Aruba
There were stores I wish would have been open, but I still had plenty of time to shop for local trinkets. Being in port until 10:00, we tried to experience the nightlife of Aruba, but we were either too early or establishments were closed due to the holiday. I'm glad to say I've been to Aruba, but I wouldn't rush right back there. It is a haven for spring breakers at all inclusive resorts, and there are several with more being built all the time. If you desire a great tasting cheeseburger and a good time, I recommend Iguana Joe's. Oh, and if you can, ride the Banana Bus - a fun time!