Happy New Year readers! My first trip of 2013 was back to Aruba. If you haven’t been to Aruba and want some place warm and tropical to visit, go there for New Year’s Eve- it’s incredible! The people are so kind and as you will read, there is a LOT to do!
One of our favorite places to eat on the island is the Old Fisherman. They have this delicious fried corn bread that comes with goat cheese on top- it comes with dinner but for lunch you have to order it on the side… unless you’re like us and have to get multiple orders!
My personal favorite meal there is the Calamari. This is what my lunch platter looked like and the dinner platter is pretty similar. Actually, looking at this picture is making me hungry.
So to give you all a little background information- the people of Aruba believe that by lighting off fireworks/firecrackers every New Year’s Eve, it keeps the bad spirits away the upcoming year. Most families spend half of their yearly income on fireworks because they take it so seriously. The result: a spectacular show throughout the island starting in the morning on New Year’s Eve!
Our hotel had strings of firecrackers through the walking paths and set them off in the morning followed by a champagne toast!
In downtown Oranjestad, the hotel, Renaissance, has crates full of firecrackers and they shut down the roads, unravel them through the main street, and it ends with a big boom!
The end of the firecracker line
Holiday bells in the shopping area
Downtown Oranjestad’s Christmas display
Now take these pictures times a thousand and that’s what it looks like all over the island at midnight on New Years!
Family dinner on New Year’s Day
Dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe is one of our Aruba traditions
Our hotel has tons of lizards running around. This one I named Hank
Jewelry tables set up in the hotel zone
Waterfalls at the Hyatt
The California Lighthouse
My dad and I did a 4x4 adventure one day and got to drive a Yamaha Rhino around the island. We got to see beautiful beaches and scenes that are only accessible by four wheelers and 4x4s.
Tourists make rock sculptures along the sea representing their families and this strip was covered!
Of course my dad had to make a sculpture!
One of our stops along he sea
The Alto Vista Chapel
The signs that lead to and from the Chapel
Our next stop was at the Bushiribana Ruins
Driving the Rhino
The Bushiribana Ruins
The original Natural Bridge collapsed but now a Baby Natural Bridge has started to form
Hanging out at the Baby Natural Bridge area
Dad got a bit adventurous and drove the Rhino up a rocky hill. Since we couldn’t find any places to turn around, we just kept going up higher and higher!
Beautiful views of the sea
Natural Rock Formations
We also visited Arikok National Park. This was our first time visiting and it was unlike any National Parks that I’ve been to. It was filled with cactuses and wild goats. Also, we found out after the fact that this park was the only place in Aruba that has rattlesnakes.
I’m guessing they saw a rattlesnake…
Beaches that are only accessible through the park
Inside a cave!
Dad driving the Rhino!
So many cactuses combined into one
Wild goats on the ledge heading for shelter from the inevitable downpour.. that we got caught in
After we found a dirt bike track, took the 4x4 on the track, did a nose dive off of a jump, and managed to make it off of the other jumps unscathed- we found a herd of wild donkeys. Glad we skipped the donkey sanctuary tour!
We drove past this last year and searched for it again this year. Finding Hitler is still just as awkward.
People in Aruba take their pets very seriously and have a cemetery just for them
Downtown Oranjestad during “rush hour”
Traffic signs are so different from America
Our traditional family picture
My dad got out to the beach at 7am to get us this cabana for the day
Cabanas on Eagle Beach (the best beach in Aruba)
America (in Aruba)
Walking on the boardwalk at sunset
I think that all tropical places are required to have breathtakingly beautiful sunsets every night
Finally got to see the Dutch windmill
Stray dogs up by the California Lighthouse
Walking out on the rock wall
Splashing water is just so fascinating! And makes for great pictures
Our third trip to the Lighthouse!
Parents before dinner on the last night
My beautiful mother
A wonderful way to end our vacation: a gorgeous sunset on Palm Beach
…and dinner at Tony Roma’s with delicious desserts! (Brownie sundae and Apple Crisp)
Writing this post makes me want warm, sunshine filled days instead of the cold and snow! I hope whoever is reading this gets a chance to visit this island and get to experience what it has to offer. Hopefully we will get to go back soon!
Check back for more photo shoot blogs and tutorials this year! I’m hoping to do new things!