Aruba is the Caribbean’s westernmost, located 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela and 42 miles west of Curacao. The island is a mere 75 square miles, ranging 20 miles at its widest point, and 6 miles at its longest. We pulled into Aruba’s southern coast, where Oranjestad is the historic Dutch capital city of Aruba. It is home to all of Aruba’s government buildings, main offices, and shopping districts. The official language here is Dutch, but everyone speaks excellent English. We found the Arubans to be welcoming, friendly and carefree.
24 Mar: Oranjestad, Aruba
Woke up for an early morning workout at the gym, before grabbing a big breakfast. Since we had booked an all day tour today, we were unsure if lunch was included and wanted to ensure that we wouldn’t be starving at midday. Becky had researched the island before our arrival and decided that an all day ATV tour would be the best option to keep us entertained. Our 0830-1600 tour with Kini-Kini (www.kinikinitours.com), a family run business, was quite the bargain in comparison to its competitors. The positive reviews on trip advisor and cruise critic had us sold, and we were glad to see that a Kini Kini representative was waiting for us just as had been promised. We were taken directly to Kini Kini’s office, which actually is the owner’s house, where we paid for the tour and met our guide for the day.
Our tour guide, Michael, was a young and personable guy who smiled as he informed us that our excursion would consist of the three of us. Awesome! Once we were outfitted with helmets and given a quick ATV orientation and briefing on the road rules, off we went on our very own private island tour. Aruba is a dry and dusty island (think semi-arid), so we were glad that we brought along our sunglasses to keep the dirt away from our eyes. Our point and shoot didn’t fare as well, with the dust soon enveloping it and preventing the shutter from closing all the way. Regardless, we had a blast zooming around the island and checking out the sights, which included the Alto Vista Chapel, Bushiribana Ruins, Ayo Rock Formation (ancient cave paintings), natural pool, Fontein Cave, Boca Prins, Quadiriki Cave, and Baby Beach. To our pleasant surprise, lunch was included and consisted of BBQ ribs & chicken…yum. We thoroughly enjoyed our full day excursion with Kini Kini but be forewarned…wear your grungiest clothes as they will get filthy after a day’s riding on an ATV! Loads of fun though, and we would absolutely do it again. After filling up our ATV with gas, we headed back to Oranjestad where Michael dropped us off near the port. We headed down town to wander Oranjestad’s streets to grab some shopping bargains. Happily, we ran into a 2-for-1 happy hour deal at one of the friendly bars, where we ordered margaritas & pina coladas. Great way to end the day even though we did have to rush back to the Celebrity in order to make our boarding time. Tonight was formal night so we didn’t have much time to spare before our lobster dinner and baked alaska desert. Great day…love Aruba.