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Southern Caribbean Cruise, Part 3: ARUBA

By Pam Asberry

The fourth and final port on our southern Caribbean cruise on board the Carnival Freedom was the beautiful island of Aruba, also known as One Happy Island. We chose to spend the day on the North Coast Beach Safari. It was one of our favorite shore excursions ever.

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We boarded our open air 4WD Land Rover and headed towards the countryside.

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Our tour guide, Ivo.

Our first stop was the Ayo Rock Formations, ancient rock formations that were used in religious ceremonies by the Arawak Indians in religious ceremonies, who are credited with drawing the petroglyphs.

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Next we visited the Bushiribana Ruins, the remains of a gold smelter that was built of natural stone in 1825 and remained in function for almost ninety years, producing some three million pounds of gold.

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This is also the location of Wishing Stone Beach. It’s not until you get up close that you can see that these are not natural rock formations; rather, they are man-made towers of individual gray stones. Each tower is seven stones high; each stone represents a wish. Anyone can create a wishing stone tower, but locals ask that you create new rock towers out of rocks that are loose on the ground, rather than disturb one that someone else lovingly created.

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Jostling along rough roads with the wind blowing through our hair, we went on to the Ostrich Farm,

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where we were introduced to the life cycle and living habits of these fascinating creatures,

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and then to the Aruba Natural Bridge

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surrounded by a beautiful beach where I built my own Wishing Tower.

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Next we visited the Chapel of Alto Vista,

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a small but beautiful spot for contemplation and prayer.

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That’s when the fun really began for my then seventeen year-old son, Nathan. He and our driver, Coco, had really hit it off, and when Coco learned that Nathan knew how to drive a stick shift, he gave Nathan the opportunity to get behind the wheel.

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Nathan and Coco

And that’s how Nathan ended up driving us to our final stop, the California Lighthouse.

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We don’t call him RockStar for nothing.

The lighthouse was named after the S.S. California, which wrecked nearby on September 23, 2891.  It was formerly open to the public until a suicide occurred, prompting authorities to restrict public access to the lighthouse

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After seeing the lighthouse, we went to the nearby Tierra del Sol Resort, Spa and Country Club

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where we relaxed on one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen

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and splashed in the turquoise waves.

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It was hard to say goodbye to Ivo and Coco and the beautiful island of Aruba. Before getting back on the ship, we stopped at a cute little place called The Portal

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where we had a bite and local beer.

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At the end of our adventure-packed day, it was easy to follow the directions on this sign.

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 I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our cruise ship vacation as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you!

Blog: http://pamasberry.com
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Mary Preston - March 28, 2014 - 3:31 am

Thank you for sharing. It all looks & sounds so amazing.

Marilyn Baron - March 28, 2014 - 7:07 am

Another great travel post. You take the best excursions. I’ve been to Aruba but all I remember was the main town which was really nice but I don’t remember any excursions. The beaches look beautiful almost like Bermuda. Great pictures.

Maxine Davis - March 28, 2014 - 8:46 am

Pam, The picture are awesome! The trip was absolutely beautiful. I very much enjoyed traveling through your eyes!

Connie Gillam - March 28, 2014 - 9:24 am

Pam-

That makes me want to get on a PLANE (lol) and fly to those countries. I love the sun and water (as long as it’s not above my knees). My kind of vacation.

Pam Asberry - March 28, 2014 - 9:33 am

It really was, Mary. I would do this itinerary again in a heartbeat!

Pam Asberry - March 28, 2014 - 9:34 am

Thanks, Marilyn. I always check out the options on Cruise Critic before I book our shore excursions. Since the ship is usually only docked for one day, I try to see as much as possible while I’m there – and if I can work in a beach, so much the better, LOL!

Pam Asberry - March 28, 2014 - 9:35 am

Thanks for coming along, Maxine! :-)

Pam Asberry - March 28, 2014 - 9:36 am

I love the cruise lifestyle, Connie, but I’m with you when it comes to the water. If the water is over my head, I wear a life jacket. I love everything about the ocean except swimming in it!

sandra Elzie - March 28, 2014 - 1:32 pm

Pam,
Thanks for sharing with us…and love, love, love all your pictures. Oh, and I’m with you about swimming in the ocean. I’ve done it before (snorkling) but I don’t really like it. It’s so much more powerful than I am that it scares me.

Eric Asberry - March 28, 2014 - 2:09 pm

I feel sorry for that poor ostrich with his head on the chopping block. Did it taste like chicken?

Pam Asberry - March 30, 2014 - 11:13 am

I am happy to sit on the beach with my Kindle while others snorkel, Sandy! Glad you enjoyed my pictures.

Pam Asberry - March 30, 2014 - 11:15 am

No ostriches were harmed on this shore excursion, Eric! :-P

Debbie Kaufman - March 31, 2014 - 10:17 am

Oh my, I so want to go. The wishing stone beach was cool! I am totally jealous and happy for you at the same time :)

Carol Burnside - March 31, 2014 - 2:02 pm

Ah, that looks like a perfectly lovely day. Love the sign at the end!

Pam, remind me to tell you my two tales of snorkeling (I don’t swim). Once at Hanauma Bay, Oahu and once in the ocean off Nassau. I still can’t believe I did it. lol

Pam Asberry - March 31, 2014 - 3:39 pm

Go for it, Deb! Aruba is amazing!

Pam Asberry - March 31, 2014 - 3:40 pm

Will do, Carol! :-)

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