Mother: Our second port of call on our cruise to Panama was Oranjestad, Aruba. I had been to Aruba probably 20 years ago with some girl friends, back in the day when we were all single ladies. Aruba is beautiful and the people are very nice. We chose to do a Catamaran Snorkel & Beach Getaway. We weren’t getting to Aruba till after 12 in the afternoon and our excursion didn’t pick us up till 1p. We have snorkeled many times before so we knew this was something we would enjoy, plus you were served all the rum punch you could drink. lol The day was warm and sunny, the boat ride out to where we were snorkeling was fun. The guys driving the boat and serving the punch were full of information about Aruba and why it is the Happiest Island in the World. And if the rest of the island were as friendly and fun as these guys were then it lives up to its reputation. The guys handed out the masks, fins and life preservers and explained how to put them on. I never wear the fins though because for some reason I just can’t swim with them on. Husband got a head of me in line some how so I was a few minutes behind him hitting the water. Big ol surprise when I did jump in, the water was Cold. So cold it took my breath. Husband had been waiting on me and when I came up shivering we got back on the boat. lol I knew the water had been cold a couple of days before in the Bahamas but thought it would be warmer in Aruba, not so much. We spent the afternoon talking to our boat mates and drinking rum punch and a good time was had by all. The above picture and the one below show a couple of the beaches in Aruba and a hotel.
We left Aruba and headed to Willemstad, Curacao. It is pronounced Curasol. We had booked an excursion from a private company because nothing the ship was offering was anything we wanted to do. It felt like it was 90 degrees when we got off the ship in Curacao. All of the local people were running around in jeans and sneakers and husband and I were sweating in our light summer clothes. I wish I could remember the name of our guide, she was so nice and very helpful and her daughter who had just graduated from college was with her and they knew about everything there was to know about Curacao. This is one port of call I highly recommend, lots of beautiful sights to see.
We started by going to some caverns, which I didn’t make the trek up the hill to see, but did enjoy the plant life, beautiful cactus and aloe plants.
We then went to see flamingos. There was a large water pool right beside of the road and there were all kinds of pink flamingos in it. And across the road we got the chance to see a baby flamingo which has grey feathers.
We drove over the Queen Juliana bridge that is pretty spectacular. It is four lanes wide and it goes across St. Anna Bay. You get great views over Curacao and all of the pastel houses and buildings.
We visited a Blue Curacao distillery and sampled all of the different liqueurs and could purchase if we wanted some to take home. Blue Curacao is made from the laraha plant, which developed when Spanish explorers brought Valencia oranges to Curacao. The region was too dry and the soil wasn’t good for growing the oranges and it produced a small bitter fruit. The flesh was not edible but the peel kept the essence of the Valencia orange. The peel from the fruit is used to give the liqueur its’ flavor. The liqueur is clear and colorless but blue coloring is added to give the liqueur the familiar blue color. Also being sold in the distillery is something called Alcolada Glacial which they spray on your arms and legs when you walk into the distillery. It is very cooling and refreshing and takes a sun burn away very quickly. Husband got some sun burn a couple of days later and we were glad we had bought a couple of bottles.
We were dropped off near the shopping area Punda where no cars are allowed. There is the open air market, the Floating Market and both the Old and New Market. It all looked nice but we had had a long day and decided to do the short walk back to our ship.
We really enjoyed this part of the cruise. Both Aruba and Curacao are places we would go back to visit. We haven’t always been able to say that about some of the places we have cruised to. lol
Next port of call Cartagna, Columbia and Colon, Panama.