As we wrap up our ‘obligated’ 2 weeks of Aruba, we can safely say that it has been a great start of our journey to relax at this beautiful island.
Some more beaches
As we continued to explore the island, we have seen more beaches in the 2nd week and found that we have quite a bit of comparison to help decide on the best beaches of Aruba; check our blog on the topic. We added beautiful Malmok and Boca Catalina to the list, and discovered some rugged beaches up north. Biggest highlight was the stunning snorkeling we had at Mangel Halto beach, a lovely small beach surrounded by mangroves where you have the opportunity to get out to the reef straight from the coast!
To finish on a high though, we went back to our favorite: Baby Beach. It was nice and quiet this time around but with a bit more wind… We were not sure if this was the reason for it, but the beach was visited by multiple turtles throughout the day! A small one kept ‘making rounds’ right along the beach, and 2 large ones were out at the wave breakers all day. It was an absolute treat to see them this close, especially for our boys, and we managed to snap some good pictures of them as well!
Rock formations & Arikok National Park
We spent a full day in the hinterland of Aruba, discovering more about the flora & fauna and how these massive boulders we had seen strewn across the island ended up there. Casibari and Ayo rock formations are set in a walled-in park-like surrounding with of course the opportunity to climb to your hearts content! To top it all off, we ran into a lovely couple of Shoco owls, Luc’s favorite bird.
The Arikok National Park we were a bit concerned about as many reviews state you can not go in by normal car. Now those of you who know us (or me) know that I enjoy getting myself into hair-raising roads with cars that should not be there (Ibiza? Alsace? Anyone?), so we decided to take the plunge with our Kia Picanto. Luc is already very annoyed when we hit gravel (which we already have a patch of outside our resort), but when we get even more adventurous he can get really on edge! We can not imagine what his response will be when we hit a gravel road with our 27ft RV later on so better to start the prep here.
It turned out to be absolutely fine (read our blog on the details), and Arikok NP should be on anybody’s list when visiting Aruba. From nature walks to dramatic beach cove breaks – from colorful caves to free fish spa – from mountain climb to natural seaside pool; Arikok has it all. All that for 11 dollars p.p., kids under 17 are free! Our car came out in one piece, and we all had a good dive in the pool to wash of the dust and dirt we gathered along the way.
We decided to tick of some more options along the way, one of them being the Ostrich Farm. There was a local farmers market which was filled with local merchants selling their fare, but the ostrich farm itself was a letdown. The tour was rushed and simply not that interesting, the only luck was that there were baby ostriches to enjoy.
A much better option is going to Oranjestad and take the free streetcar through the main street. The streetcar was free and a really enjoyable ride, leaving us right on the doorstep of one of the better museums we have seen; the Archeological Museum of Aruba. We spent over 1 hour here learning about archeology in general, but also about Aruba’s original inhabitants and how its people developed over time. It gives a good feel about the location of the island globally and its heritage and was a great conclusion to our trip.
Prepping for our flight to the US
Which is no small picknick! As the weeks have passed it has become clear our decision to take the Aruba-detour was the right one, as there is still no movement in the travel restrictions for Europeans into the US. To get into the US we of course need the regular ESTA (already cleared months ago…), but on top of that there are attestations to fill out, Covid-19 tests to take (unfortunately, even though we are vaccinated) and other paperwork to handle. Thankfully we all tested negative so that hurdle is taken and our Verifly-app says we are good to go!
Our luggage is the next challenge as American Airlines only lets you add luggage 24hrs before the actual flight. Unfortunately this is not possible even in Aruba, which means we will have to get the luggage added on the spot at the airport in the morning before the flight… Fingers crossed we get our 2 big bike boxes checked in! We managed to get rid of quite a bit of weight through all the sunscreen we used, but considered to add half a kilo of Dutch peanut butter hahahaha.
So how are we doing?
I would say overall we are doing quite well, in part caused of course by the ‘holiday-vibe’ we have sitting on a tropical island. We have found a routine that works for Aruba, but RV life is going to be very different. Bo wants to go home and misses grandpa and grandma when he is tired/hungry which we hope will get less over time, Luc missed our cat once, but seems quite happy to be traveling. They are the same traveling as they are at home: Can not live WITH nor WITHOUT each other ;-). Sleeping together in one bed also takes some getting used to, but we just caught them asleep holding hands, so I think we will manage…
Coming up next week: Our arrival in the US (Seattle to be precise) and our RV remodel + our first days of camping! Check our other blogs as well as they come out!