02 Apr The Caribbean Islands of Aruba and St Croix
Author: Ronnie Greenberg
Photos by: Joe Hilbers
5310 Dubois Ave
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
The Caribbean Islands of Aruba and St Croix
By: Ronnie Greenberg
Photos: Joe Hilbers
The fabled Caribbean islands have always spun enchantment for fun and sun seekers throughout the ages.
Delight in nature’s bounty vigorously trekking along pristine trails, meandering valleys, and sea cliffs overlooking dramatic crafty seascapes. Keep binoculars ready for up close land sightings that include flittering butterflies. Place yourself in the midst of the endless valleys of sugar cane, bananas, pineapple, and coconut groves grown in abundance on these exotic islands.
Regional food, colorful historic buildings and many street cafes in each of the islands radiate authenticity and relaxation. Peek into the strong cultural ties, festivals and folklore of the islands thanks to their rich colonial heritage. Stop by the open air markets, food stalls and beach shacks and give in to the joy of dancing to the infectious music of the steel pan drums that run with a beat that accompanies you everywhere.
Water lovers will marvel at the close encounters of the underwater kind, found in the soft kissed coves and iridescent water. All are home to every water sport conceivable including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, paragliding, water skiing and sailing over aquamarine waves.
A fiery orange sunset is the downbeat of a symphony on Aruba whose picturesque streets are dotted with pastel colored gabled houses under red tile roofs. The city radiates of authenticity and relaxation. The locals like to spend their free time outdoors and around the sea. Despite the youthful atmosphere, the island looks back on a rich history. Dutch is the official language, but Papiamento, a local island dialect as well as Spanish and English are also spoken here.
The desert like island rises to its highest point at Mount Yamamoto a 617’ cone shaped hill. The harsh terrain of rocky parched landscape and volcanic rock formations defines much of this island. Also dotting the island are aloe plants and the native divi-divi trees gnarled by the trade winds into contorted bonsai-like figures. Stunning white sand beaches are found along the western and southern coast of the island.
Where to stay:
The Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort is an adult romantic European style boutique resort. Set along the west coast, the resort’s Tara Suites were designed as an ideal setting for a tranquil retreat. All suites are oceanfront and feature large balconies or terraces and king beds with views of the ocean. Step out of your suite and your feet are in the white sands of the widest and most secluded section of Eagle Beach, where your palapa and beach chairs are waiting. The intermezzo is a cozy lounge where you can enjoy a quiet American breakfast buffet (included in the nightly rate) and afternoon tea. Couples can take in the scenery with a private champagne dinner for two on the beach, a sunset cruise or simply lounging around the infinity pool or the beach. The Resort offers a full health and wellness program.
The resort has been committed to sustainable tourism long before it was trendy to be green. It is certified Green Globe 21 for the 12th consecutive year.
For complete information and reservations visit www.bucuti.com
Every morning merchant sailors sell fresh fish, fruits and vegetables on a colorful floating market.
Explore the Natural Bridge formed by the action of the wind and sea that was once a cave entrance. Now eroded, it forms an arch 100 feet wide and 25 feet above the sea.
Other highlights are the unusual rock gardens of Carisbari and Ayo where huge boulders weighing thousands of tons are scattered near and far,
The ghost town of Balashi once the center of the 9th center mining; the caves of Canashito with hieroglyphics dating from 12 to 15 centuries; Dos Playa, for the Aruban sport of dune sliding and surfing; and the California Point Lighthouse (named after a ship wreck).
For a change of pace visit the island’s Museums; Archaeological, Numismatic, History, Model Trains and Aruba’s Sport and Fame.
A favorite excursion is the Aruba See and Sea Tour taking you around the island and under the sea. Board the Seaworld Explorer, a state of the art semi submarine that does not submerge, but instead drops you into the hull of the vessel, where you sit in air conditioned comfort five feet below the surface of the water. View amazing sea life in this cruising underwater observatory through large clear-glass windows. The Seaworld Explorer takes you to the wreck of the Antilla, a 449 foot huge German freighter destroyer downed during World War II The ship lies on her side in 60 feet of water, and provides a nesting place for pelicans that frequent it. Beautiful coral heads have grown on the vessel and you can spy on thousands of tropical fish that have made her their home.
For more information contact www.aruba.com
Purchased from Denmark, St. Croix became a district of the United States in 1917. Now a popular Caribbean playground, St. Croix is the idyllic base of operation for snorkeling, diving, dining and duty free shopping.
The city looks back at the 176 acre Buck Island Reef National Monument, the only underwater national park in the U.S. Buck Island is surrounded by aqua waters and excellent coral reefs.
On land Christiansen National Historic Site, a complex with five significant building has one as the Danish West India & Guinea Company Warehouse, where Alexander Hamilton worked as a young man before making his journey to the colonies in America.
Fort Christiansvaern, is the brightly colored Danish fort structure dating back to 1738.
Where to stay: Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa, located on a stretch of white sand surrounded by rainforests. The property features carved wood furnishings.
Their Mermaid and Grotto Beaches each have a water-sports center complete with kayaks. For more information contact: www.gotost.croix.com