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.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Pisang, Nepal,

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Ngawal when the last snow faded.
Architecture & Design

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Miyajima Island, Shinto and Buddhism, Japan, Gateway to a Holy Island
Ceremonies and Festivities
Miyajima, Japan

Shintoism and Buddhism with the Tide

Visitors to the Tori of Itsukushima admire one of the three most revered scenery in Japan. On the island of Miyajima, Japanese religiosity blends with Nature and is renewed with the flow of the Seto Inland Sea.
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

The Legacy of an Historic Shuttle

The founding of Colónia do Sacramento by the Portuguese generated recurrent conflicts with their spanish rivals. Until 1828, this fortified square, now sedative, changed sides again and again.
Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

The conflict with Pakistan and the threat of terrorism made filming in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh a drama. In Ooty, we see how this former British colonial station took the lead.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
jet lag avoid flight, jetlag, turbulence
Jet Lag (Part 1)

Avoid Post-Flight Turbulence

When we fly across more than 3 time zones, the internal clock that regulates our body gets confused. The most we can do is alleviate the discomfort we feel until it gets right again.
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

The Pueblos del Sur Locainas, Their Dances and Co.

From the beginning of the XNUMXth century, with Hispanic settlers and, more recently, with Portuguese emigrants, customs and traditions well known in the Iberian Peninsula and, in particular, in northern Portugal, were consolidated in the Pueblos del Sur.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Estancia Harberton, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

A Farm at the End of the World

In 1886, Thomas Bridges, an English orphan taken by his missionary foster family to the farthest reaches of the southern hemisphere, founded the ancient homestead of Tierra del Fuego. Bridges and the descendants surrendered to the end of the world. today, your Estancia harberton it is a stunning Argentine monument to human determination and resilience.
El Cofete beach from the top of El Islote, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

Fuerteventura's Atlantic Ventura

The Romans knew the Canaries as the lucky islands. Fuerteventura, preserves many of the attributes of that time. Its perfect beaches for the windsurf and the kite-surfing or just for bathing, they justify successive “invasions” by the sun-hungry northern peoples. In the volcanic and rugged interior, the bastion of the island's indigenous and colonial cultures remains. We started to unravel it along its long south.
St. Trinity Church, Kazbegi, Georgia, Caucasus
Winter White
Kazbegi, Georgia

God in the Caucasus Heights

In the 4000th century, Orthodox religious took their inspiration from a hermitage that a monk had erected at an altitude of 5047 m and perched a church between the summit of Mount Kazbek (XNUMXm) and the village at the foot. More and more visitors flock to these mystical stops on the edge of Russia. Like them, to get there, we submit to the whims of the reckless Georgia Military Road.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Terraces of Sistelo, Serra do Soajo, Arcos de Valdevez, Minho, Portugal
Sistelo, Peneda-Gerês, Portugal

From the “Little Portuguese Tibet” to the Corn Fortresses

We leave the cliffs of Srª da Peneda, heading for Arcos de ValdeVez and the villages that an erroneous imaginary dubbed Little Portuguese Tibet. From these terraced villages, we pass by others famous for guarding, as golden and sacred treasures, the ears they harvest. Whimsical, the route reveals the resplendent nature and green fertility of these lands in Peneda-Gerês.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
El Tatio Geisers, Atacama, Chile, Between ice and heat
Natural Parks
the tattoo, Chile

El Tatio Geysers – Between the Ice and the Heat of the Atacama

Surrounded by supreme volcanoes, the geothermal field of El Tatio, in the Atacama Desert it appears as a Dantesque mirage of sulfur and steam at an icy 4200 m altitude. Its geysers and fumaroles attract hordes of travelers.
Women at Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan, India.
UNESCO World Heritage
Jaisalmer, India

The Life Withstanding in the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer

The Jaisalmer fortress was erected from 1156 onwards by order of Rawal Jaisal, ruler of a powerful clan from the now Indian reaches of the Thar Desert. More than eight centuries later, despite continued pressure from tourism, they share the vast and intricate interior of the last of India's inhabited forts, almost four thousand descendants of the original inhabitants.
now from above ladder, sorcerer of new zealand, Christchurch, new zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand's Cursed Wizard

Despite his notoriety in the antipodes, Ian Channell, the New Zealand sorcerer, failed to predict or prevent several earthquakes that struck Christchurch. At the age of 88, after 23 years of contract with the city, he made very controversial statements and ended up fired.
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, Landing
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

Santa Maria and the Atlantic Blessing of Sal

Santa Maria was founded in the first half of the XNUMXth century, as a salt export warehouse. Today, thanks to the providence of Santa Maria, Sal Ilha is worth much more than the raw material.
Cape Espichel, Sanctuary of Senhora do Cabo, Sesimbra,
Albufeira Lagoon ao Cape Espichel, Sesimbra, Portugal

Pilgrimage to a Cape of Worship

From the top of its 134 meters high, Cabo Espichel reveals an Atlantic coast as dramatic as it is stunning. Departing from Lagoa de Albufeira to the north, golden coast below, we venture through more than 600 years of mystery, mysticism and veneration of its aparecida Nossa Senhora do Cabo.
Flam Railway composition below a waterfall, Norway.
On Rails
Nesbyen to Flam offer, 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.
Kogi, PN Tayrona, Guardians of the World, Colombia
PN Tayrona, Colombia

Who Protects the Guardians of the World?

The natives of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta believe that their mission is to save the Cosmos from the “Younger Brothers”, which are us. But the real question seems to be, "Who protects them?"
Coin return
Daily life
Dawki, India

Dawki, Dawki, Bangladesh on sight

We descended from the high and mountainous lands of Meghalaya to the flats to the south and below. There, the translucent and green stream of the Dawki forms the border between India and Bangladesh. In a damp heat that we haven't felt for a long time, the river also attracts hundreds of Indians and Bangladeshis in a picturesque escape.
São João Farm, Pantanal, Miranda, Mato Grosso do Sul, sunset
Fazenda São João, Miranda, Brazil

Pantanal with Paraguay in Sight

When the Fazenda Passo do Lontra decided to expand its ecotourism, it recruited the other family farm, the São João. Further away from the Miranda River, this second property reveals a remote Pantanal, on the verge of Paraguay. The country and the homonymous river.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.