At our hotel, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Happy Hour is twice a day – 4:00-6:00 and again from 9:00-10:00. Just another thing we enjoyed at this wonderful place in Aruba.
Snacks – chicken tenders with dip, chips and salsa, jalapeno poppers were among the choices featured during the 4:00-6:00 Happy Hour. Add the sun, moving ever lower in the sky and setting right around 6:30 each evening, gave us the most spectacular sunsets as the trade winds swirled around us. Add to that, our favorite bartenders and servers – Jessica, Geraldine, Greg to name a few, who knew Spence likes the Aruba-brewed, Balashi and I either the Prosecco or when they ran out one evening, that same pink champagne that we enjoyed at check in. Here’s a few of our Happy Hour and sunset photos over our nine days in paradise.
Just up the road, situated along the coast between the low-rise and high-rise hotel areas in Palm Beach Aruba, is the Butterfly Farm. Spence and I spied it on our way to the California Lighthouse and decided we would go there the following day.
Arriving around noon, we entered through a nice gift shop with lots of pretty butterfly related items. A young man met us and said a tour was ready to start and that if we’d proceed into the butterfly farm, we could pay the tour fee when we were done.
Our guide was a very knowledgeable and exuberant Aruban girl. With her sparkling personality and beautiful smile, she taught us about mating practices, laying of eggs, different phases of the developement stages of the butterflies, showing us actual examples of these attached to certain plants. So much more than caterpillars! We learned of the different types of butterflies that have been brought to Aruba and the two climate zones within the farm – some with more sun, others shaded, water features and certain plants that butterflies need for food and propagating. And all this while butterflies were flying and landing on or around us. Spence and I spent many years in Costa Rica so that when we saw not one or two but countless Morpho Butterflies fluttering by us, we were thrilled. Morphos are like iridescent royal blue holograms in flight.
Being midday and given the water features, it was very steamy and by the time we exited, we looked as though we’d jumped into a pool fully clothed. That said, it was totally worth it and should be a place for young and old to visit while in Aruba.
The video is just a few of the many Morpho Butterflies in flight.
Our next stop in Aruba was to visit the quaint Alto Vista Chapel.
From Wikipedia: Alto Vista Chapel is a small Catholic chapel also known as “Pilgrims Church” that stands on the hills above the north shore of the sea and to the northeast of the town of Noord, on the island of Aruba, 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela. The church painted on the outside in stark bright yellow colour makes it a conspicuous religious monument for people to visit. The present Chapel of Alto Vista was completed in 1952 and stands in the same location as the original chapel, that was built by Domingo Silvestre, the Venezuelan missionary from Santa Ana de Coro, Venezuela, in 1750.
The Alto Vista Chapel was stated to be the location where conversion of Aruban Indians to Christianity started.
From Wikipedia: The original church was constructed in 1750 by Caquetio Indians and Spanish though the island did not have a priest yet. The pioneering work of establishing the church and converting local Indians into the Catholic Christian faith was the sole work of Domingo Antonio Silvestre of Venezuela, which he achieved with his own funds. It is said to be the first church to be established in Aruba. This first church was built with stone walls and a straw roof. It was dedicated to Mother St. Mary, the “Mother of the Rosary” and hence considered exceptional in Aruba. A one-foot cross, which was brought from Venezuela by one of the priests, was installed here. Subsequent to Domingo Antonio Silvestre’s death Miguel Enrique Albarez (a son of the second fiscal) took control of the church, and then by Domingo Bernardino Silvestre son of the pioneer priest of the church. When the tragic plague stuck the place, many of the inhabitants of Alto Vista died and the remaining residents vacated the place and moved to Noord where the second church of Aruba was built. The Alto Vista Church was deserted from 1816 and went into ruins and the old wooden cross went under possession of many priests. This cross which was at the original altar is now seen in the St. Anna church in Noord. However, Francisca, a school teacher in Aruba, with single-minded dedication proceeded to revive the historic church of Aruba by locating it amidst the ruins after she came across by chance a picture of St. Mary’s with flowers. She collected funds of about 5000 Florins from local Arubans, got a statue of St. Mary’s made in Netherlands and brought it to Alto Vista and installed it at the new church built at the site of the old chapel, between March and May 1952, after obtaining permission from the Bishop in Curaçau. The statue was adorned with a golden crown studded with gem stones in 1954 with donations contributed by several Arubians. Unfortunately this statue was vandalized by a maniac. The statue has since been replaced by a new one. With this chapel, Catholic religion made inroads into Aruba.
The present day church, rebuilt in 1952, is visited by Christians and non-Christians for meditation. Services are held weekly by the priest from Noord.
The new chapel was redesigned and built in 1952 by the Dutch engineer J.A. Hille, deputy head of the DOW (Departamento di Obra Publico), at the same location of an old chapel that measured 50x16ft and with the same orientation. The chapel is encircled by semicircular pews. There are also stone pews on the outside in order to accommodate additional worshipers. It has a few crosses enshrined in it; the ancient Spanish one is one of the oldest European pieces of art in the Dutch Caribbean. An altar statue of Virgin Mary installed after the earlier one was vandalised has local devotees. The structure does not have any stain glass panelled windows but presents a very serene atmosphere for offering prayers. At the border of the old chapel marked by stones, a few graves are also seen. White graves with crosses marking the stations of the Cross surround the chapel. Graves of Domingo Antonio Silvestre and Miguel Enrique Albarez are located near the chapel.
When the chapel was initially built in 1752, priests visited it from Coro three times every year. People used to wait eagerly to celebrate mass and perform Catholic Services such as baptisms and marriages.
A pilgrimage is undertaken on foot by local Catholics of Aruba on Good Friday from Oranjestad to Alto Vista Chapel.
Initially Spence and I weren’t going to rent a car in Aruba but a few days before leaving, we changed our minds. I hadn’t been to Aruba for thirty years and Spence had never been. I knew there were sights I wanted to see again and introduce to him. Driving out of the Low Rise Hotel area (where we stayed at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts), passing the high rise hotel area, we headed out to the remote California Lighthouse.
The California Lighthouse is located near Arashi Beach on the northwest tip of Aruba, named for the steamship California, which wrecked nearby on September 23, 1891.
Immediately adjacent to the lighthouse is a restaurant called La Trattoria el Faro Blanco (English: The White Lighthouse Restaurant) where we stopped for a cocktail enjoying lovely views from this vantage point.