Discovering Aruba’s Prickly Side

Cactus, Butterflies and Ancient Rocks in Aruba


There’s an element of Aruba that’s impossible to miss. This island in the southern Caribbean has an abundance of cactuses strewn dramatically across the landscape to the extent that it dominates the view literally everywhere you look. The sheer presence of these prickly plants was particularly evident from atop Casibari Rock  – an ancient formation of boulders that provides great views over Aruba.  A lovely garden filled with exotic plants and even more cactuses surrounds this site.

Aruba was one of several stops we made during a Caribbean cruise on the Azura and we got to see quite a bit of this island – which is an autonomous state under the Kingdom of the Netherlands – on a morning trip. Besides Casibari Rock, we also visited the Aruba Butterfly Farm to see stunning exotic butterflies fluttering around. I could have spent all day here! We saw the rugged, wave-crashed coast that strangely reminded me of Langness in the Isle of Man. Here we were shown the remnants of what was once a natural bridge that had collapsed in 2005.

Before heading back onto the ship, we had a wander in Oranjestad – the capital of Aruba. To be honest it felt and looked a bit tacky and we didn’t hang around for long. This represented the side of the island that I didn’t like; the side where huge hotels lined the streets and more seemed to be sprouting up everywhere. Tourism is the lifeblood of this island, but it just felt like it was becoming much too over-developed in places, to the extent that I wouldn’t want to return here. Saying this though, it was still beautiful. Take a look at my photos from a day in Aruba.

view from Casibari Rock in Aruba

The view from Casibari Rock.

butterly at aruba butterfly farm

A beautiful specimen at the Aruba Butterfly Farm.

tropical flower in aruba

A tropical flower at the Aruba Butterfly Farm.

buddha head at aruba butterfly sanctuary

Buddha and butterflies at Aruba Butterfly Sanctuary.

aruba coast caribbean

Aruba’s rugged coast.

stone art in aruba

Stone art on the coast of Aruba.

aruba garden sign

The welcome sign on the garden gate to Casibari Rock.

Oranjestad, aruba in the caribbean


buildings in aruba

A colourful building in Oranjestad.

reptile in aruba

the cruise port in aruba

Peaceful scene in Oranjestad.

coconut seller in aruba

A machete-wielding coconut seller in Oranjestad.

jet skier in aruba

A jet skier in Oranjestad.

Have you ever visited Aruba? What were your highlights?


  1. April 14, 2013 / 20:29

    I loved Aruba. We went out on a pirate ship and had so much fun. I would go back any time.

    • April 16, 2013 / 19:50

      Glad you enjoyed Aruba, the pirate ship does sound fun :-)