Today at the airport I noticed an unusual visitor to Aruba. It is a United States government aircraft, serial number 90003. Generally these aircraft make a technical stop in Aruba, before continuing their journey down south.
Rarely does it stay long on the island. But this aircraft is scheduled to stay in Aruba for two days, meaning a high US government or military official or delegation is on the island on business.
I remember a case last year where United States Secretary of State, Dr. Rice was en route to Brazil and made a refueling stop on the island. This time around there is no word (not to me at least) who is visiting. Welcome, nonetheless.
Several days ago I was ‘inspecting’ the grounds at Marriott and came across a sign with good tips. Indeed things can grow around the ropes in the water and it will irritate your skin if you decide to touch or lean on them.
It goes without saying that while you are snorkeling along corals the same tip applies: don’t touch them. Additionally you help protect the coral if you don’t touch them.
The other day someone asked me if those ropes in the water where markers or some sort of net to keep the sharks out. In the shallow waters on the west and south side of Aruba sightings of sharks are very uncommon. Last year’s sightings of dolphins were equally rare. Naturally those ropes mark the boundaries as to how close motorized crafts are allowed to approach the swimmers and beach.
When I feature a beach in the section ‘hidden beaches’, it doesn’t mean the beach in question is hidden as such, but rather not visited as much. The unfamiliarity of the beach and perhaps its location are to blame.
Boca Catalina is a small beach by the main road going to Arashi Beach and the lighthouse. This beach perhaps epitomizes the calmness and tranquility the Caribbean is known for, especially in light of rigorous changes many islands are going through in terms of development and growth.
This hidden beach isn’t wide but there is plenty space. It generally doesn’t get crowded, especially during week days. There are in total 10 huts which offer some welcome shade. The most appealing feature of this beach must be the presence of a coral edge on both sides of the beach [see above photograph]. If you are lucky you might see some nice things under the water.
It is relatively easy to get to Boca Catalina. There is a main road just by the beach there is public transport available.
In my quest in finding the best and quiet hidden beaches I found one which isn’t popular but surely is nice: Savaneta. The town of Savaneta was where the high commander of the time established himself. In fact, the first concrete house ever build in Aruba, was for the commander. Because this was the place where he lived first, it became the de facto capital of Aruba. Nowadays Aruba’s governor resides ‘temporarily’ in Savaneta.
Savaneta also became a fisher town. Fishing still plays a major part of Savaneta, where nowadays many people visit Savaneta to get their daily fresh fish at Zeerovers.
To mention a beach at Savaneta specifically as being the best is difficult. There are many spots where the water is crystal clear, calm and quiet. There are several areas where one can swim by the mangroves. It’s just a question of searching in the quiet town of Savaneta.
The latest high profile American food chain to establish in Aruba is TGI Friday’s. It opened its doors recently at Paseo Herencia shopping mall. This would become the fourth Caribbean island where TGIF has a presence. TGIF is already active in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
This Palm Beach location where TGIF opened has a lot of potential. There was a time when Palm Beach strip was quiet and lack luster after sunset. The last few years Palm Beach is coming along nicely. Paseo Herencia might become the true engine of activity in Palm Beach. Though, construction of another mall east of Paseo Herencia, namely Palm Beach Plaza, is ongoing therefore nothing can be said yet about this project.
Paseo Herencia Aruba at Palm Beach
Normally I’m relatively skeptical on new developments as sometimes I label them ‘same old thing’ or ‘lacking creativity’. Before I give an opinion on the matter, I thought it would be wise to take a stroll down the boardwalk at Palm Beach during the week to educate myself. You would be surprised how little we – locals – really do that, as work and school really impedes a trip to Palm Beach during week days.
I must admit I was pleasantly surprised as I recognized a variety of vendors at Palm Beach. The prices tend to be on the high end, however, there is enough competition in food, retail and leisure for the consumer to choose from. There are small kiosks and I even saw the some culture and art represented at the short strip at Palm Beach.
Concluding, with some steering and guidance (by officials?) the boardwalk could become a vibrant multi-cultural area where locals and visitors alike come together. It could even be a jewel in the Caribbean. The challenge is to keep the projects small, variety broad and creativity flowing.