Aruba: The Island in the Right Place

Sign warning of the power of the trade winds in Aruba.
to West Punt
Rough Atlantic Ocean at the northern tip of Aruba.
Menu of the day
Menu of the day, written in color on slate.
Conviviality in Palm Beach
Lively patrons at a Palm Beach beachfront bar
jolly pirates
The sailboat maneuvered by the Jolly Pirates of Palm Beach.
The Alto Vista Chapel
Dogs sleep, protected from the wind, at the entrance to the chapel of Alto Vista.
Altar Vista Alta
Altar of the oldest church in Aruba.
Cross of Via Dolorosa Alto Vista
Cruz signals one of the Via Crucis stations in Alto Vista.
fruity cactus
Bright flowers contrast with the prickly green of one of Aruba's countless cacti.
Cactus core on the north coast of Aruba.
shades of aruba
Mobile home and pick up, but close to the California Lighthouse.
California II Lighthouse
Cacti surround Aruba's California Lighthouse.
The California Lighthouse
Cactus also around Aruba's northernmost lighthouse.
The Fofoti trees
Aruba's most iconic trees lean into the water.
Deceased Cute
A fluffy tree felled by the waves of the Atlantic.
The Caribbean of Aruba
Speedboats off the beach lined with Palm Beach hotels and resorts.
a Melocactus
One of the most dangerous mines and plant traps in Aruba.
Conviviality by the Sea
Bar customers and catamaran about to depart.
Cups in the Wind
Tops of coconut trees bent by the strong and constant wind.
Caribbean beach
The attractive hues of the Caribbean Sea in northwest Aruba.
It is believed that the Caquetío natives called him oruba, or “well situated island”. Frustrated by the lack of gold, the Spanish discoverers called it a “useless island”. As we travel through its Caribbean summit, we realize how much more sense Aruba's first baptism always made.

The trade winds explain a lot.

They are residents of the parched south of the Caribbean Sea. They blow with such vigor that they undo the few clouds that venture there.

This is one of the reasons why, over Aruba, the sky remains clear and blue, because the sun shines with tropical power and contributes to making Aruba the “Happy Island”, as it is also known.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Caribbean Sea

Half an hour after leaving the capital Orangestad, we arrive at Eagle Beach, on the edge of the Bubali Bird Sanctuary.

We turn west and towards the seaside. Jonathan, the guide who was leading us, parks on the side of an uneven sand.

From the Fofoti Zigzag Trees to the Sasariwichi Dunes

A limestone rock threshold separates the sand from the Caribbean Sea.

The protection it affords from the Atlantic fury and the gale against the direction of the surf smooth the sea. They turn it into an emerald lake.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, fototi

The expressions of the trades do not stop there.

Two almost twin trees stand out from the sand, with twisted trunks in a strange contortion.

On an island full of cacti and thorny bushes, these are the fometi trees (conocarpus erectus) and its counterparts in the interior divide divide (watapanas), have become emblematic, an unavoidable symbol of Aruba.

Over time, the natives still got used to using them as a compass. Today, they continue to point to the Southwest, so that utility remains intact.

In a few minutes, the beach is composed. A few bathers sprawl out on chairs, sheltered from the wind, with their backs to the sea and a rare, shortened rainbow.

From Eagle Beach, we go around the Bubali Sanctuary. We progress towards the northern domain of Arasji, passing through salt pans and other beaches, Hadicurari, Malmok, Boca Catalina and Arashi, the latter at the entrance to the vastness of the Sasariwichi dunes that extends to the northwest tip of the island.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, California Lighthouse

The California Lighthouse Nautical Monument and the Cactus Forest that Surrounds it

We detour to the high middle of the peninsula.

From there, a six-storey lighthouse emerges, crowned by a reinforced bell against the wind that, at that height, is blowing more furiously than ever.

The lighthouse was inaugurated in 1916. The name it bears has a nautical and tragic reason for being.

Honors the steam"California” which, on the 23rd of September 1891, shaken by the treacherous currents and the swell off the coast, ended up sinking.

The navigation of those who visit the lighthouse proves to be complicated. Too many bathing tourists come in flip-flops or similar fragile footwear.

They come across a ground of sharp coral rock, as if that weren't enough, full of cacti of different species.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, cactus

We stay on the lookout.

We avoid the opuntia, the devil's fig trees popularized by guides as Mickey Mouse cactus due to the rounded leaf tips, similar to the Disney character's ears.

Above these, hedges of the ever-erect cadushi, (cereus repandus), the predominant ones in Aruba, as in neighboring Curaçao e Bonaire.

At ground level, authentic vegetable mines, there are still the most dangerous ones, the peach cactus, equipped with large sharp spines, arranged in a star shape.

We circled around the lighthouse, determined to photograph it surrounded by cacti.

Completing the mission costs us time we didn't expect to remove spikes from the soles of hiking sandals, feet and hands.

We return to LGSmith Boulevard, the last paved road north of the lighthouse.

From there, we wander through the sandy and wavy immensity of the Sasariwichi (arashi) dunes, attentive to the flora that decorates them.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, West Punt

Jonathan sees us lost in photos. Rescue us.

It takes us to Boca Westpunt and to the fountain generated by the fury of the waves that break against the jagged slab of the coast.

We had reached the northern end of Aruba and the ABC archipelago.

To the north, just an empty stretch of the Caribbean Sea that stretched close to the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo, in which, by mere coincidence, more than four months ago, we had inaugurated our tour of the Antilles.

The Demand of the Secular Chapel of Alto Vista

The dead end of Aruba forces us to turn around. This time, we went down the east coast, as exposed or more exposed to the Atlantic than Westpunt.

We pass in the vicinity of a Druif Beach, with rough waters, but which, whenever the wind and sea give a truce, turns into an almost turquoise lagoon.

We continued down. We left the Aruba Shack beach and the multicolored Ranchero Curason behind.

Finally, we return to the middle of the island, in search of the Alta Vista area and the Catholic chapel that blesses it.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Via Dolorosa Cross

If the “California lighthouse was surrounded by an assorted fauna of cacti, the cactus forest around the chapel proved to be even denser.

They formed it, above all cadushi slim and tall.

Some cacti branched out in the form of spearheads, a genetic event that occurs in other cactus species (for example in saguaros of the Sonoran Desert) and which gives them an extra-surreal look.

The wind didn't give much rest in these parts. It made the cacti tremble. It dragged drifting bushes and raised irritating dust.

The western storm was such that it made even a bunch of stray dogs suffer.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Alto Vista Chapel

The Alto Vista chapel is known as the pilgrims' church. Marks the end of a Painful way dictated by crosses on the homonymous road.

Visitors appear. Believing tourists, not so much true pilgrims. Part of them enters the Labyrinth of Peace drawn on the ground, behind the yellow temple. Others shudder through the unusual carpet of dogs at the door.

They are spread out on the checkered floor and appreciate the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary with the Christ child in her arms, nestled above the altar.

Others still sit down. Whisper your prayers.

One of the Longest Used Continuous Churches in the Caribbean

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Alta Vista chapel altar

The Alto Vista chapel is said to be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) continuous used church in the Caribbean. The current version was erected in 1952.

It replaced the original building, built in stone and thatch, in 1750, by Domingo António Silvestre, a missionary from the Venezuelan city of Santa Ana de Coro, charged with converting the indigenous people of Aruba to Christianity.

Domingo Silvestre arrived in Aruba almost two hundred and fifty years after the discovery of Américo Vespucci and Alonso de Ojeda.

The Spanish Discovery and Subsequent Dutch Colonization

In 1499, navigators claimed the island for the Spanish crown. Impressed by the superlative stature of the Caquetío natives, they described it as an “island of giants.

Shortly after, enticed by the cotton and brazilwood samples displayed by the duo, the Spaniards inaugurated the colonization of Aruba.

But cotton and brazilwood were of little value compared to the gold and silver found on the island of Hispaniola.

In 1508, Ojeda was appointed governor. Five years later, the Spaniards began to enslave the caquetíos and to subject them to forced labor in the mines of Hispaniola.

That's how they kept a good part of the indigenous people until, in 1636, in the context of the Thirty Years' War, the Dutch captured the three ABC islands.

They appointed the famous Peter Stuyvesant governor, later governor of New Amsterdam.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, beach

And they used the native Caquetío who had survived the Spanish yoke in the creation of the cattle with which they happened to supply other Dutch colonies.

By the time of Domingo Silvestre's mission, however, the population of caquetíos had drastically decreased.

His successors housed and converted the natives on the windy top of Alto Vista when, unexpectedly, fate condemned the mission.

A plague spread among priests and natives. It proved so deadly that it forced the survivors to defect to Noord, where the second oldest church in Aruba, St. Anne's, had been erected.

From the ex-Lair of the Pirates of the Caribbean to the Dock of the Jolly Pirates

With Aruba in the hands of the Dutch – historical rivals of the growing Hispanic Empire – the new settlers made it possible for the island to be used as an operational base for pirates and privateers.

Dutch, English, French (later even Americans), all of them pursuers of Spanish ships and their valuable cargo.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Jolly Pirates

Aruba remained a Dutch territory, today considered a constituent country of the Kingdom of Países Baixos.

It is by far the most Americanized of the three ABC islands.

We see this again when, in the afternoon, we enter the Palm Beach jetty, a beach surrounded by hotels of the inevitable multinational brands, at the pinecone of Gringos fleeing the northern hemisphere winter, hungry for sun and fun.

On that same beach, under opportunistic squadrons of pelicans, we boarded the pleasure boat of some Jolly Pirates. We walked along the nearest Aruba coast.

We disembark in secluded coves, swim among corals, gaudy shoals of fish and little elusive turtles.

Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Turtle

When we disembark, we find a group of young Americans preparing their own expedition, carrying dozens of cases of beer, on a trailer and on their shoulders.

In Aruba, the sun, the blue sky and the emerald-turquoise sea were, as they always are, acquired.

They endeavored, with apparent exaggeration, to ensure that they did not lack the refreshing fuel of evasion.

Rincon, Bonaire

The Pioneering Corner of the Netherlands Antilles

Shortly after Columbus' arrival in the Americas, the Castilians discovered a Caribbean island they called Brazil. Afraid of the pirate threat, they hid their first village in a valley. One century after, the Dutch took over this island and renamed it Bonaire. They didn't erase the unpretentious name of the trailblazer colony: Rincon.
Willemstad, Curaçao

The Multicultural Heart of Curaçao

A Dutch colony in the Caribbean became a major slave hub. It welcomed Sephardic Jews who had taken refuge from the Iberia Inquisition in Amsterdam and Recife. And it assimilated influences from the Portuguese and Spanish villages with which it traded. At the heart of this secular cultural fusion has always been its old capital: Willemstad.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

The Longest Colonial Elder in the Americas

Santo Domingo is the longest-inhabited colony in the New World. Founded in 1498 by Bartholomew Colombo, the capital of the Dominican Republic preserves intact a true treasure of historical resilience.
Soufriere, Saint Lucia

The Great Pyramids of the Antilles

Perched above a lush coastline, the twin peaks Pitons are the hallmark of Saint Lucia. They have become so iconic that they have a place in the highest notes of East Caribbean Dollars. Right next door, residents of the former capital Soufrière know how precious their sight is.
Lake Enriquillo, Dominican Republic

Enriquillo: the Great Lake of the Antilles

Between 300 and 400 km2, situated 44 meters below sea level, Enriquillo is the supreme lake of the Antilles. Regardless of its hypersalinity and the stifling, atrocious temperatures, it's still increasing. Scientists have a hard time explaining why.
Lagoa Oviedo a Bahia de las Águilas, Dominican Republic

In Search of the Immaculate Dominican Beach

Against all odds, one of the most unspoiled Dominican coastlines is also one of the most remote. Discovering the province of Pedernales, we are dazzled by the semi-desert Jaragua National Park and the Caribbean purity of Bahia de las Águilas.
Barahona, Dominican Republic

The Bathing Dominican Republic of Barahona

Saturday after Saturday, the southwest corner of the Dominican Republic goes into decompression mode. Little by little, its seductive beaches and lagoons welcome a tide of euphoric people who indulge in a peculiar rumbear amphibian.
Oviedo Lagoon, Dominican Republic

The (very alive) Dominican Republic Dead Sea

The hypersalinity of the Laguna de Oviedo fluctuates depending on evaporation and water supplied by rain and the flow coming from the neighboring mountain range of Bahoruco. The natives of the region estimate that, as a rule, it has three times the level of sea salt. There, we discover prolific colonies of flamingos and iguanas, among many other species that make up one of the most exuberant ecosystems on the island of Hispaniola.
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Home Silver

Puerto Plata resulted from the abandonment of La Isabela, the second attempt at a Hispanic colony in the Americas. Almost half a millennium after Columbus's landing, it inaugurated the nation's inexorable tourist phenomenon. In a lightning passage through the province, we see how the sea, the mountains, the people and the Caribbean sun keep it shining.
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

Gorongosa was home to one of the most exuberant ecosystems in Africa, but from 1980 to 1992 it succumbed to the Civil War waged between FRELIMO and RENAMO. Greg Carr, Voice Mail's millionaire inventor received a message from the Mozambican ambassador to the UN challenging him to support Mozambique. For the good of the country and humanity, Carr pledged to resurrect the stunning national park that the Portuguese colonial government had created there.
Thorong La, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, photo for posterity
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 13th - High camp a Thorong La to Muktinath, Nepal

At the height of the Annapurnas Circuit

At 5416m of altitude, the Thorong La Gorge is the great challenge and the main cause of anxiety on the itinerary. After having killed 2014 climbers in October 29, crossing it safely generates a relief worthy of double celebration.
Architecture & Design
Castles and Fortresses

A Defending World: Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
Kente Festival Agotime, Ghana, gold
Ceremonies and Festivities
Kumasi to Kpetoe, Ghana

A Celebration-Trip of the Ghanian Fashion

After some time in the great Ghanaian capital ashanti we crossed the country to the border with Togo. The reasons for this long journey were the kente, a fabric so revered in Ghana that several tribal chiefs dedicate a sumptuous festival to it every year.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Zapatismo, Mexico, San Nicolau Cathedral
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
Gothic couple

Matarraña to Alcanar, Spain (España)

A Medieval Spain

Traveling through the lands of Aragon and Valencia, we come across towers and detached battlements of houses that fill the slopes. Mile after kilometer, these visions prove to be as anachronistic as they are fascinating.

combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Manatee Creek, Florida, United States of America
Florida Keys, USA

The Caribbean Stepping Stone of the USA

Os United States continental islands seem to close to the south in its capricious peninsula of Florida. Don't stop there. More than a hundred islands of coral, sand and mangroves form an eccentric tropical expanse that has long seduced American vacationers.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
portfolio, Got2Globe, Travel photography, images, best photographs, travel photos, world, Earth
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Portfolio Got2globe

The Best in the World – Got2Globe Portfolio

The Little-Big Senglea II
Senglea, Malta

An Overcrowded Malta

At the turn of the 8.000th century, Senglea housed 0.2 inhabitants in 2 km3.000, a European record, today, it has “only” XNUMX neighborhood Christians. It is the smallest, most overcrowded and genuine of the Maltese cities.
Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Azores, from historic capital to World Heritage, urban art
Angra do Heroismo, Terceira (Azores), Azores

Heroina do Mar, from Noble People, Brave and Immortal City

Angra do Heroísmo is much more than the historic capital of the Azores, Terceira Island and, on two occasions, Portugal. 1500km from the mainland, it gained a leading role in Portuguese nationality and independence that few other cities can boast.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
Pitões das Junias, Montalegre, Portugal
Montalegre, Portugal

Through Alto do Barroso, Top of Trás-os-Montes

we moved from Terras de Bouro for those of Barroso. Based in Montalegre, we wander around the discovery of Paredes do Rio, Tourém, Pitões das Júnias and its monastery, stunning villages on the border of Portugal. If it is true that Barroso has had more inhabitants, visitors should not miss it.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Viewpoint Viewpoint, Alexander Selkirk, on Skin Robinson Crusoe, Chile
Natural Parks
Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

Alexander Selkirk: in the Skin of the True Robinson Crusoe

The main island of the Juan Fernández archipelago was home to pirates and treasures. His story was made up of adventures like that of Alexander Selkirk, the abandoned sailor who inspired Dafoe's novel
Bathers in the middle of the End of the World-Cenote de Cuzamá, Mérida, Mexico
UNESCO World Heritage
Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

The announced day passed but the End of the World insisted on not arriving. In Central America, today's Mayans watched and put up with incredulity all the hysteria surrounding their calendar.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Network launch, Ouvéa Island-Lealdade Islands, New Caledonia
Ouvéa, New Caledonia

Between Loyalty and Freedom

New Caledonia has always questioned integration into faraway France. On the island of Ouvéa, Loyalty Archipelago, we find an history of resistance but also natives who prefer French-speaking citizenship and privileges.
Burning prayers, Ohitaki Festival, fushimi temple, kyoto, japan
Kyoto, Japan

A Combustible Faith

During the Shinto celebration of Ohitaki, prayers inscribed on tablets by the Japanese faithful are gathered at the Fushimi temple. There, while being consumed by huge bonfires, her belief is renewed.
Flam Railway composition below a waterfall, Norway.
On Rails
Nesbyen to Flam, Norway

Flam Railway: Sublime Norway from the First to the Last Station

By road and aboard the Flam Railway, on one of the steepest railway routes in the world, we reach Flam and the entrance to the Sognefjord, the largest, deepest and most revered of the Scandinavian fjords. From the starting point to the last station, this monumental Norway that we have unveiled is confirmed.
Ijen Volcano, Slaves of Sulfur, Java, Indonesia
Ijen volcano, Indonesia

The Ijen Volcano Sulphur Slaves

Hundreds of Javanese surrender to the Ijen volcano where they are consumed by poisonous gases and loads that deform their shoulders. Each turn earns them less than €30 but everyone is grateful for their martyrdom.
herd, foot-and-mouth disease, weak meat, colonia pellegrini, argentina
Daily life
Colónia Pellegrini, Argentina

When the Meat is Weak

The unmistakable flavor of Argentine beef is well known. But this wealth is more vulnerable than you think. The threat of foot-and-mouth disease, in particular, keeps authorities and growers afloat.
Hippopotamus in Anôr Lagoon, Orango Island, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau
Kéré Island to Orango, Bijagós, Guinea Bissau

In Search of the Lacustrine-Marine and Sacred Bijagós Hippos

They are the most lethal mammals in Africa and, in the Bijagós archipelago, preserved and venerated. Due to our particular admiration, we joined an expedition in their quest. Departing from the island of Kéré and ending up inland from Orango.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.