“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Travel Haven Journal — Family Trip to Aruba, Part 2

Tuesday

On Tuesday, Torrey wasn’t feeling very well, so Kaley and Mike stayed home with her while Arn, Alisa and I went to Baby Beach and Rodgers Beach, two more on the “top ten” list that were right next to each other. On the southern tip of Aruba, these seem to be visited mostly by locals. In general, the roads in Aruba are not very well marked; signage is almost non-existent outside the tourist area of Oranjestaad. So finding Baby Beach and Rodgers Beach proved to be a little bit of an adventure.

During our exploration, we found the prison, the refinery, a beautiful beach with a beachcomber’s hut of driftwood, and a stretch of rocky shoreline with what looked like a weekend fishing camp—about a dozen huts (shacks with sand floors) built of colorful wood and tin metal roofs right at the high water line. The shacks did not have running water or electric or furniture, but some had 3 or 4 rooms. We also discovered huge rock outcroppings and caves and, oh yes, about a hundred goats. From here, we could see the coastline of Venezuela, which is only about 19 miles away.

After asking directions three times, we finally found Baby Beach and it was worth the search. The water at all the beaches was so clear! You can stand in four feet of water and still see your toes! At Baby Beach, the water was about waist high until you crossed the rocky reef and then it dropped off to about neck deep. There are lots of rocky reefs in Aruba so water shoes are definitely recommended.

aruba-baby-beach

Baby Beach has a crescent shape and at one end there is an area with a couple of small restaurants, cabanas, and such amenities. At the other end, where we chose to set up camp, there were only tiki huts (we got the last one available) and the beach. The tiki huts consisted of four upright wooden posts buried in the sand with a wood truss roof frame covered with dried palm fronds. It was about twelve feet square and could hold all of us on our chairs when we wanted to get out of the sun. Most people were up around the cabana area which left the other end for us and maybe a half dozen others. It was like our own private beach!

When we were out into the water looking west, the refinery sort of spoiled the view, but I’m sure it provides jobs for a lot of people on the island, so just look in other directions for the beauty.

The beach started getting more crowded around 1:30 (maybe 25 people on a quarter mile stretch). We left about an hour later anyway to get ready for the Bon Bimi Festival held every Tuesday at Fort Zoutman in Oranjestaad.

We got home, cleaned up, dressed in shorts and t shirts and set out for our first night on the town in Oranjestaad. Torrey was feeling better, so we could all go. We decided to take a taxi so we could all comfortably indulge in adult beverages. The taxi was $25 one way (be sure to call way in advance, as it took us almost an hour and calls to two different taxi companies to get a cab). But our cab driver was wonderful, very personable and very funny!

The Bon Bimi Festival was written up in every tour book and brochure we read as a celebration of the culture or Aruba, including dance, song, drinks, food and handicrafts. Well, I guess it was but it certainly was small (1 food vendor (serving goat soup), 1 drink vendor (terrible drinks), and about 4 artisans with jewelry). The entertainment wasn’t too good either and there were about 40 people there, including the six of us. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by Orlando, though I certainly didn’t expect a Disney production, but it was so widely written up that I did expect something better than it was. We stayed about a half hour and then opted to find entertainment (and food!) elsewhere. Somehow the thought of eating goat soup was not appealing to any of us—even Mike who is usually very food adventurous!

We soon figured out Tuesday nights are dead nights in Oranjestaad. Apparently the partying starts on Wednesday. So we had dinner at The Paddock, which is painted to look kinda like a cow (white with black spots). The food was decent and the setting was waterfront, so no complaints. Then we went to a little bar and had a drink, got a cab and went home. It was an early night, but a good day.