ARASHI BY CRUISE SHIP
I have always wanted to visit Aruba. Picking our cruise was based on getting to visit 3 new ports this time around...which one being Aruba. I was super excited.
Once we made it outside of the cruise port, there was a long line, right in front of the stairs and doors and we quickly jumped in. It was about a 10 minute wait (which honestly seemed longer to me) until we were in the cab and moving. We stood there for awhile with no cabs pulling up. It was really weird. Then when they did, there would be maybe 2 or 3 and a family would pile in and they'd leave and then we would wait for more to come. I thought it was a really weird way to do things knowing that everyone was getting off of the ship...you'd think they would be better prepared. I have NEVER been to a port where they are not just lined up waiting and rolling out one after another.
There's a very strict rule in Aruba...no more than 5 people to a cab! No exceptions!
We got in our cab and pulled away at 2:21pm
When I ask the cab driver about the taxi's not being there and ready to get passengers, he explained they were running thin that day because of the other ship arriving earlier. Other ship? Well holy cow, there was another ship in port with us. I hadn't even noticed but looked back and snapped a picture and yep, he was right. LOL
I would snap pictures along the way to Arashi. This included the divi divi trees, the Palm Beach area shopping mall, a beach with tons of kite surfers in the water, casino and so on.
Now I remember posting on the boards that I wanted a picture of the "Aruba" sign and was told "Sit on the right side of the cab/bus" and you'll pass it on the way to Arashi. I ask the cab driver about it and he said "No, it's on the left", so that's where I sat. WELL GUESS WHERE IT WAS??? On the RIGHT! My peeps on here are more knowledgeable than the people of Aruba that drive that route daily! Well, at least I knew exactly where it was now, which would be before the mall area and it was before the roundabout in the road on the way. I would just sit on the left side going back and catch it. No worries...
I really wish that I was in a normal cab car that I could roll the windows down and get good pictures without the glare and off balance colors from the tinted windows.
We pulled up at Arashi at 2:35pm. So, it was a total of 14 minutes there. Not bad at all. I honestly thought it was supposed to be a lot further than that since it's the furthest beach away going that direction (from what I've read).
My first glimpse at Arashi...=heaven!
So prices: Our cab to Arashi (for up to 5 people) was $23.00. Our driver gave us his business card and told us to call him and he'd come back and get us.
Ice Cream is $3.00
Pop is $2.00 for a can
For 2 chairs and umbrella $30
As we stepped on the beach, some guys approached us and at the entrance and ask if we wanted to rent chairs. I immediately told him we were waiting on another family and once they arrived, we'd get some. I wanted to check out the place first and see the best spot to claim as our real estate for the day.
I knew that the snorkeling was supposed to be toward the left facing the water. We first walked that way. But it didn't seem like the best place for swimming, which I knew Sakari would do most of the day. So an easy entry with sand would be a must. She immediately turned around and said "I wanna go down here" and headed in the opposite direction. But...she kept going. Going further than what I had originally wanted. The husband had to play referee at this point and said "We need a happy medium for the both of you girls. Just past the big rocks" which ended up being WAY past the big rocks. I lost the battle.
We stood there for a minute and he said "Why are we not getting chairs yet again?" I told him "I'm waiting on Kia (thrilled)". He said "We can't wait under an umbrella while relaxing on a chair facing the ocean?" LOL Ok, go get us some chairs then! And off he went in one direction while Sakari headed the opposite direction to the water. Yea, she's out there....
The vendor with the chairs came back with 2 loungers and an umbrella. They dug a hole, planted the sun blocker contraption and this was our view now.
Hubs immediately headed to the food stand to get some cold drinks... "Taste the Caribbean"...it kinda tasted the same as the US, except it had a better view to it!
Pelicans were everywhere here. It was fun to watch them dive into the water over and over.
I tried to stay turned around to watch for thrilled (a friend from the cruise ship) to arrive, but this caught my eye...the beach was lined with tents. A lot of them. I assume this is like a campground? Although it sounds amazing, I don't think I could do it...the sun is just too hot.
It was hot out and I headed for the water to check it out. It was amazingly refreshing and felt really good on this hot day. Sakari was busy putting on her mermaid tail (she was a peacock mermaid today...confused kid I tell ya...mermaid, nemo, peacock...she's just a mixture of all animals these days), and daddy was busy looking over us from the comfort of our new prime real estate location safe from the sun.
Then this child of mine morphed into a mermaid...a PEACOCK mermaid.
She immediately went after the diving pelican. She got really close before it actually took off.
Pirate ships were off in the distance. Aaaarrrgggghhh! This is in the area to the left and where boats kept coming to drop off people to snorkel. I knew this had to be the location everyone was talking about on these boards when they said go out and to the left around the rocks.
It was probably about 30 minutes or more before Kia and family arrived. They must have really got tied up for awhile. We flagged her down, she got a chair, then tried to be unsociable by putting it behind us to the side. Oh no, you are stuck with me at this beach girlfriend...pull up that chair!
We sat around most of the day chatting it up, telling stories, discussing the cruise and ship, telling about our previous days in port and getting to know each other really well. The kids played and had a great time and Sakari and Kia's daughter had a blast. I felt like I've known them forever.
A few kite surfers showed up at our beach too.
The girls enjoyed hanging out at the beach and I was so glad that Sakari had a friend(s) to play with.
They were uilding sand castles...or forts...or mermaid houses...who knows
We decided it was getting a little late and we should probably go check out the snorkeling. Since Kia has a munchkin too little to snorkel yet, we would rotate going out (even though the hubby fell in love with "little dude" and would have gladly watched him while we all went, but mommy refused) we decided that me and the girls would go out first.
Now I've been in situations before that I have been out snorkeling and my battery goes dead. I have a huge stock pile of 1) batteries and 2) sd cards...I will NEVER run out of anything again (not to mention back up camera's as well).
We were going quite a way down the beach, so the last thing I wanted to do was get out there and my battery go dead. I decided to replace the battery with a fresh one before leaving. For some reason, Sakari decided that she didn't want to even take her new camera with her.
We headed down the beach to the rocky area to go in.
I hope you enjoyed that last beach picture...because guess what...it's the last you'll get!
We head out into the water and it was rocky in areas and you really had to be careful with the waves crashing and making some areas kinda dangerous to be in due to the water going up and down and the rocks sticking up. We would wind in and out of paths of rocks, trying to make our way over toward the boats/snorkeling. The water was a little stirred up in that area, due to the waves, and the sun wasn't really bright and shining at that point, I find some coral...point, shoot, nothing. Wait what? What just happened? Over and over I try...my battery is DEAD!! Are you serious? I charged all of these batteries last night...but this one is dead. Man, I was really wishing I would have just kept my other battery in there. I just couldn't believe this. Then knowing Sakari didn't have her camera either. Ugh!
We continued to wind around the rocks, going further and further out. Things got a little better with the snorkeling and we were close to being where the other snorkelers were, but I honestly didn't feel it was the greatest snorkeling. Yes there were some big coral pieces, but for the most part, I was just seeing a lot of rocks, small fish and sea urchins. I was not thrilled, I was not happy about the camera, I was not happy about the waves throwing me around, Michaela was struggling with a snorkel that was letting in water (I believe it's not a dry snorkel and that was the problem), she kept asking me to fix it, I felt so helpless and thought it's probably from all the waves and getting into the snorkel from the top. I could only suggest "hold your breath if you can". Sigh. I felt so bad.
We did see some really big brain coral, and lots of fire coral...eek! There was mostly surgeon fish and grunts, but I did see a white fish with 3 black spots. I have no idea what it was and I still need to try to look it up....if only I could have gotten a picture of it! Darn. I did see some of the biggest squirrel fish that I think I have ever seen and a lot all in one place. They were amazing.
Finally I think we had all had enough and turned around. We found a few sea urchins (the "friendly" kind) and the girls swam back to our place in front of the chairs..wait, what chair??? They wanted to show everyone and get their pictures taken with them... since I didn't have a working camera at that time and needed another battery.
I would find that the guys came by and collected all the umbrella's and chairs!!! I guess the hubs and Kia wasn't too happy about that because we only had them for about 2 hours. They ask the name of the company that runs it and the workers reply was "I don't know, I'm new"....yea whatever...get the heck outta here with that story!
So...it looks like we were forced to sit in the beach and sand for the rest of the time.
So after returning, and putting another battery in my camera, then getting pictures of the girls holding the sea urchins, thrilled decided not to go out and experience the "tossing of the humans around the rocks" experience and I figured it was time to take some pictures of my scuba girl before I forgot. Once again, this is something new for me and I needed to remember this each time.
The sun was starting to set a little and I thought this was the perfect opportunity.
I thought this looked cool how the red bouncing off the scuba girl made the sand look reddish in front of her.
I noticed the lighthouse off in the distance. I was thinking what great pictures that would make from up there.
The beach was starting to clear out a lot (although I didn't think it really got that crowded there...like some other popular beaches do), so it was the perfect opportunity to take more pictures of the area.
This is the restaurant area. I thought it was pretty nice up there and it was also an actual building with a deck and picnic tables to eat at. I know this beach used to be just a beach with no amenities and this place was recently built. But I didn't picture it being this nice. I had just pictured a little shack with food.
I always love finding rocks by the shore and taking pictures of the water crashing over them.
Seeing a cactus on the beach is a new experience for me. It seemed odd, but yet very cool.
I continued walking around and taking pictures of the area. I found our chairs....
About this time, thrilled's son, Xander, has discovered that he buried one of his trucks in the sand and he can't find it now. The hubs and thrilled started dancing in the sand and praying to the sand Gods to help them find it. I found it so amusing the way they looked at the time and wish I had captured more from the beginning when it absolutely looked like more of some ritual they were doing. Dragging feet, bouncing up and down, going in circles in about a 10' radius around our camp...great times! As long as they were moving, Xander knew they were on the hunt...although they were just talking up a storm during the whole time, but movement meant they were still looking.
We all joined in on the hunt, but it was a hopeless case. The truck was gone. Sucked up by the sand gods, only to be found by the chair people some other day when they go to dig a hole for another cruisers umbrella.
The sun was continuing to set and it was beautiful out here. Too bad the clouds obstructed the sunset some. I can't believe we stayed this long. I'm so glad thrilled was with us because otherwise, I would have probably left by now. I'm not used to sitting on a beach and watching the sunset. Great experience.
You don't get many opportunities to take sunset pictures with palm trees when you are on a cruise and I was taking every opportunity I could.
We noticed that the restaurant area was closed up now and a swarm of beach-goers were heading to the parking lot. There were a lot of taxi's coming and going. Awesome. We started to slowly pack up our things.
We had to drag the girls out of the water...never an easy thing to do for me, but I left that up to thrilled because I knew if her daughter came, mine would follow...and it worked. But only for a minute and then they both went back out. LOL
But, eventually we were all packed up and headed for the parking lot. It was getting dark and the sun had set behind the clouds.
Once we got to the parking lot, there were only a handful of people there. There were a few kids on a 4 wheeler and 2 teen girls just sitting around.
We seen a taxi van pull up and a family getting in. The hubby went over to ask the driver about more taxis and I think he replied they usually aren't coming here this late unless someone called for them. He ask the driver if he could call a taxi for us and he said he would. However, a taxi never came.
We knew it was probably a good thing that we still had about 4 1/2 hours before we were actually considered a "no-show" back on the ship (it was almost 7pm).
We started to worry...just a little, because we weren't really seeing any more traffic coming and going at Arashi. The only traffic we seen coming completely passed us by and was heading toward the lighthouse. I guess if I'm going to be stranded, this is definitely the port I would want to be left behind.
After awhile, we ask the teen girls if they were waiting on a taxi and they said no. I ask if they were locals and they said yes. So the interrogation began..."Do taxi's come here this late?" "Where can we get a taxi?" "Where is the bus stop?" "How far from here is the main road?" "How far is the next beach where the bus stops?" "Where are you parents...don't you know bad things can happen to pretty young teens at beaches when they are alone?"....no just kidding, I didn't say that, but thought it.
I wasn't getting very encouraging answers from them. They didn't think cabs came there that late. They don't think the bus runs there, but it does down the street. They tried to give walking directions to the bus stop, but they were a little confused about which way to turn....wait, you live here? I ask if they could call a cab...since one of them had a cell phone in her hand. She said "I don't know how to do that". Ugh! She did tell me that if I had a number, I was welcome to use her phone, but how would I know numbers to cabs.... (then it hit me just last night...the cab guy gave me his card when he first dropped us off at the beach and told me I could call him for a ride back if needed...I didn't even remember this at the time and could have called him...I just wasn't thinking straight I guess).
So as desperation set in, the hubby found a lady walking in the parking lot to her car and explained our situation. She said she was happy to take us to the cruise port, but she had a very small car and there was a rule of no more than 5 people. Is this a rule for everyone and just not taxis? She said she could call her boyfriend, who had a truck and had just left the beach, to turn around and come back to pick the rest of us up. How nice is that???
About that time...the bus pulled up and a sigh of relief came over us! The hubs ran up to confirm that it was a bus, going to the cruise terminal, and we all cheered!
Then we were off....
I would continue to take pictures of the beautiful homes along the way...
I made sure to sit on the left side so that I was able to get my picture of the Aruba sign on the way back.
The hubby and I were watching where we were at and then we hit the roundabout and knew it was right after that except.....the bus turned. Wait what? What just happened? He was going a different way! Ugh. I wouldn't get my Aruba sign picture after all. He turned at the shopping mall, that we had planned on going to that night, and was heading toward that little town area. However, it was really neat to see that area. It looks like there's a lot to see and do there and plenty of food as well.
I was actually glad that we went that way when it was all done and over because it made me realize that I would actually really love to come here for a vacation and stay.
The hubby giggled and said "There's your Aruba sign"...so I took a pic.
Not the sign I was looking for...but it would have to do.
We arrived at our destination and I then realized this was the bus terminal that we would have walked to had we taken the bus earlier that day. Not too bad of a walk and I'll know next time.
I wasn't sure which way to go...then the hubby pointed at a sign that said "Cruise Terminal" and pointed. Oh, duh.
According to my picture time stamp, we were back at the bus terminal by 7:31pm.
We were slowly walking back to the cruise ship, because we really weren't in a hurry (other than being hungry, covered in salt and sand, but that's a part of being beach bums in every port), and I knew I must get my magnet and tee before heading back to the ship.
We searched at the little huts along the way and found a really cute magnet that I felt was a little different than what you see in most ports with the beach scenes.
Some of the stands were open and others were closed. It's too bad that the stand that makes these cute little family pictures were closed because I probably would have bought one of these cheesy little souvenirs. I thought they were adorbs!
This was our first time to Aruba. I had set my expectations high from everything I had ever heard or saw about Aruba. It did not disappoint. I was so glad that we were able to spend quite an amount of time here and not leave until late at night.
Arashi Beach was absolutely beautiful and we had an amazing day there just hanging out and swimming. I wouldn't say the snorkeling there was the absolute best, but then again, I didn't go all the way over to the left where it is supposed to be really good. Not having a charged battery and having 2 kids in tow was making it a little rough. Also, the area we were in was a little low and the rocks high, which can make it challenging to get in and out without touching or scraping the rocks. (***note***I will later return to Aruba and start at Boca Catalina, which is next to Arashi, and swim toward Arashi and managed to find the great snorkeling area everyone had told me about. Definitely worth it).
Bathrooms at Arashi cost $1 to use and there is also a place to wash off with clean water, which also cost $1. There is a new beach restaurant with cold drinks and food there as well, which makes it nice and not as primitive as it once was (from what I have heard).
The only complaint we had were the guys that we rented the chairs & umbrella from. They do not tell you that you can only have them up to a certain time before they take them from you...and they still charge you the same amount.
I highly recommend going to Arashi for a beautiful place to hang out and swim. I will return.