Gorgeous turquoise water, soft sand, high-rise hotels, kiteboarding and umbrella drinks. Yes, Aruba’s got it all. But the “one happy island” also has a wild side, and even though I like my lounging time, I tend to prefer the wild side of things.
On my recent trip to Aruba, I went on the Natural Pool Jeep Adventure with De Palm Tours. It’s a good thing, too, because I spied plenty of people with rental cars trying to drive the rugged route along the northeast side of the island. Let’s just say they were a tad frustrated. On my Jeep tour, which was in a Land Rover, we stopped at the California Lighthouse, the ruins of a gold mill and along the road to stack rocks—the tourist’s idea of wishing stones. No, I won’t tell you what I wished for.
We also stopped to swim and snorkel in a natural pool at the edge of the island. The craggy rocks encircled the pool full of reef fish, and the occasional crash of a large wave made the otherwise calm pool fill with fizzy water. This sweet spot isn’t unknown to tourists. If you find the pool full of splashing people, it’s just not the same thing as getting it to yourself. It’s worth it to hang out until you get some quiet time.
While the splashing coast, stacked rocks and dusty terrain made for great memories, one of my favorite scenes was a small, colorful beer stand outside the gold mill ruins. Just a painted trailer and the pretty Aruban flag—as simple and refreshing as that part of the island.
I was in Aruba as a guest of the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, but the opinions in this article are my own.