If you’ve been following me on social media, or on my site, you know I never turn down an opportunity to travel. When my girlfriend Kirsten told me that she had won a sweepstakes for a three night trip to Aruba at the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, I was ready to pack my bags immediately.
I’m a huge fan of traveling to anywhere in the Caribbean. My only trip there several years ago to Tobago had left me yearning for more of the white sand beaches and beautifully warm waters. As an added bonus, this was an actual vacation. It wasn’t some paying trip that we were expected to produce any amount of content, so we could either lounge around or explore as much as hearts desired. Naturally of course, being photographers and explorers, we chose the latter option.
We decided to rent a car for the three days since we wanted to come and go as we pleased. I had saved some points of interest on my Google Maps and I wanted to make sure we could hit up as many as we could. After landing in Oranjestad’s Queen Beatrix International Airport, we picked up our car and drove straight to our hotel to check-in.
One thing I immediately noticed upon arriving was how incredibly windy it was. I knew that Aruba was prone to high trade winds, but I had no idea that it would be nonstop. The incessant 25-30mph winds effectively grounded capturing any content with my DJI Phantom 3 Drone – a disappointment considering this was the first trip I took it with me and I was eager to try it out.
Our first day we spent relaxing at the beach while we let our bodies adjust to the incredibly humid and windy conditions. The next two days we spent in the car, hoping from beach to beach. Among the spots that we visited were Baby Beach, Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, Arashi Beach and Boca Catalina Beach. You can get a list of beaches in Aruba by visiting Aruba Tourism’s site. I will admit however that I was not impressed with the snorkeling in Aruba. The lack of any great coral reefs made it a little underwhelming (and depressing), although there are some interesting fish to see.
By far my favorite spot that we visited was Conchi, or The Natural Pool, located in Arikok National Park. The route that Google Maps had taken us required quite a hike, from parking our car at Rancho Daimari to walking the nearly one mile long trail to the natural pool. Later on we discovered that there were tour groups getting to the spot via ATV and other vehicles. Although the sun and wind was punishing, I actually preferred walking along the coastline of Arikok – it was incredibly stunning and provided for some great photos. We even witnessed a few surfers braving the incredibly violent sea in a small inlet along the way.
If you visit Aruba, visiting the Natural Pool is not to be missed; it’s a great natural formation to enjoy a soak in the sea protected by the rocks that surround it from the open ocean. Although our trip was short & sweet, I enjoyed Aruba. I’m sure we only scratched the surface, but I’m also eager to explore other islands in the Caribbean.