I just got back from Aruba as our honeymoon destination. Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to go to the Caribbean if I ever got married. I've been to several places in the Caribbean before I got married, so for our honeymoon, I wanted to go REALLY deep Caribbean. Some place where we might not normally be able to go.
So we chose Aruba! Right off the coast of Venezuela, it's pretty much as far south Caribbean island as you can go!
Aruba has the most turquoise sea and white sugar sand beaches that goes on for miles and miles that I've ever seen.
But the wind surprised me. I heard that Aruba was windy, but I wasn't prepared for how strong they were! My broad brimmed sunhat stayed in the closet for most of the trip. It took me by surprise at first, but I came to like it. When the wind died down, the heat was very uncomfortable. The wind on Aruba helps the comfort level walking around. Just hang on to your hat!
One of the other things that surprised me about Aruba is the diversity of the landscape. I didn't do much research on the island before going because I wanted it to be a new discovery. As an only child, my main toy growing up was my imagination. I read lots and lots of books, my favorite genre being science fiction and fantasy. I wrote short stories where I created new worlds. Some of my favorite video games were exploration based. Oregon Trail, Seven Cities of Gold, and Pirates were my favorites. Because of the game Pirates, I knew something about the 17th century history of the Caribbean, and I wanted to discover Aruba like a 17th century explorer might have seen it. New and alien.
So I was surprised that Aruba is a true desert island, like the Robinson Crusoe sort. Cactus and lizards are indigenous to the island. Having grown up in the desert southwest, in some parts, I felt that I could have been looking at New Mexico or Arizona. With one glaring exception. There is the Caribbean Sea surrounding the desert!
The west side of Aruba is sandy white beaches, and the east side is rocky desert. Before going, I knew Aruba was a small island, so I was worried there wouldn't be enough to explore. This wasn't a problem, as it turned out. In fact, I wished we had rented a Jeep instead of a standard rental car! Who would have thought you could go offroading on a Caribbean island!
There's much more I can say about Aruba, but I need to wrap things up. Exploring the island, we found dozens of different flowering cacti. We had one rain shower during our stay, and it turns out this was lucky. Apparently this rain shower is the last one before the start of the dry season, and the cacti flower. So we were treated to numerous flowering cacti.
All over the island are these trees call Divi-divi trees. They are quite interesting and exotic. Apparently because of the high winds on the island, they grow to always point West. So it is easy to get your bearings. The large ones also provide respite from the sun.
This landscape inspired me to make a cactus garden when I got home, to remind me of our time on this amazing island. I can't use the indigenous plants, so I just found similar ones at my local garden center.
I found a little bonsai tree that looked similar to a divi-divi tree. I didn't plant it in the pot because it has different watering/lighting needs than the cactus. It is in its own container I can take in and out as I need to.
And this is my little Aruba in a pot.