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Discover Aruba Tour: A Great Vacation Day Trip
Lots of people from all over the world like to take vacations to tropical beach locations in the Caribbean. Many of these people take cruises that have a number of stops in various locations. The exact locations vary by the region visited. There is the question of what to do when on a shore excursion.
Other people decide to fly and stay in one location for several days. Baking on the beach is fun, but there is usually quite a bit more to see on tropical islands that can interest just about anyone. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep see fishing are popular options. However, when on the tropical island of Aruba, the Discover Aruba tour by De Palm Tours is a great option to see many of the major sites on the island.
Signing up for a Discover Aruba Tour
Most of the tourists who come to Aruba will stay in one of the many nice hotels and resorts available on the island. A large number of these lodging options will have a representative of the tour company on-site who can then sign up passengers for any of the tours that De Palm has available.
The Discover Aruba tour is a 5-hour trip that picks up passengers in front of their respective hotel lobbies. The official timer starts when the last passenger is picked up, so those who are among the first picked up may have a tour that is closer to 6 or 7 hours. This may be an important fact to keep in mind if a tourist is planning other activities for a day. The Discover Aruba tour has six official stops and costs $59 for each adult. There are discounts available for children.
Keep in mind that this is only one of the many tours available from De Palm Tours, so if leisurely sight-seeing is not your cup of tea, there are other, more physical options.
The first stop on the tour is the California Lighthouse on the northern point of the island. This particular lighthouse has not been in operation for some time, but it spent many years pointing the way for vessels in the vicinity of Aruba. The lighthouse is named for a ship that sank in the waters near the coast many years ago. There is an Italian restaurant near the site for those who choose to return on their own. This stop is only 15 minutes, so there is no time to eat.
Alto Vista Chapel
The second stop on the Discover Aruba Tour is the Alto Vista Chapel. This small chapel was erected in 1952 on the site of another earlier church that dated to 1750. It was in this area near the town of Noord, that a Venezuelan missionary attempted to convert the local native Indians to Christianity when Aruba was under Spanish rule (it is now a member of the Dutch kingdom).
The third official stop on the tour is the Baby Bridge. This stop used to also have a larger natural bridge, but the Natural Bridge collapsed within the past few years. These natural phenomena have been created by water undercutting the rock formations on the eastern coast of the island over many years. Tourists are not permitted to walk on the Baby Bridge because of the possible danger that would occur if the land bridge were to collapse.
The fourth stop on the Discover Aruba tour is a lunch at a local restaurant. I personally took this tour, and the tour stopped at the B-55 restaurant. The tour guide will take a census at one of the earliest stop and give the dining options for the day. My tour had a choice of Barbecue Chicken and Ribs or Fish. The meal was quite tasty and set in an open-air environment overlooking the southern tip of the island. While not visible on this day, very clear days can allow for views of the Venezuelan coastline, which is just 15 miles from the southern tip of Aruba.
This unique site is the next-to-last visit on the Discover Aruba tour. A Catholic priest erected the shrine in 1958. The Lourdes Grotto commemorates the more famous shrine in France. On February 11 each year, a procession takes place from a local church in San Nicolaas and a mass is read at the site which is located in a cave.
The final stop of the Discover Aruba tour is at the famous Baby Beach on the south side of the island. There is a large pool that is quite shallow and protected by a breakwater. The shallow nature of this pool leads to the name Baby Beach because it is considered safe for babies. The beach is quite wide and popular. There are a few snack opportunities on-site, including Big Mama's. The only downside of the Baby Beach experience is the sight of a now-defunct oil refinery, which just stopped production in 2012.
Going Back to the Hotel
After the one-hour stop at Baby Beach, the tour ends at the front door of the hotels. The tour is a great way to see many of the more famous sites on the island in a short time. The tour guides are quite knowledgeable and point out many other items of note as they drive around the island between the official stops. A word of advice is that it will be necessary to pay for restroom facilities at all but the eating stop (where facilities are even available). The trip is a great investment and is more economical than some of the other tours that are available.