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.
We boarded our open air 4WD Land Rover and headed towards the countryside.
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.
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.
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.
Jostling along rough roads with the wind blowing through our hair, we went on to the Ostrich Farm,
where we were introduced to the life cycle and living habits of these fascinating creatures,
and then to the Aruba Natural Bridge
surrounded by a beautiful beach where I built my own Wishing Tower.
Next we visited the Chapel of Alto Vista,
a small but beautiful spot for contemplation and prayer.
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.
And that’s how Nathan ended up driving us to our final stop, the California Lighthouse.
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
After seeing the lighthouse, we went to the nearby Tierra del Sol Resort, Spa and Country Club
where we relaxed on one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen
and splashed in the turquoise waves.
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
where we had a bite and local beer.
At the end of our adventure-packed day, it was easy to follow the directions on this sign.
I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our cruise ship vacation as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you!