De Palm Tours
The De Palm Tours is one of the many tours that you can take to explore Aruba. They offer a Full Day Tour and a 3-hour tour. It's a great way to see some popular sites and learn Aruba history and culture.
Stops Made Along the Tour
There were six official stops where we were able to get off the bus and explore. Here are some notes about our recent adventure on the De Palm Tour.
We were the last ones on the bus. The bus drove down the road for a bit and then pulled over.
- Basic introduction to the tour and how the day will play out.
- The tour guide will give some history of thier Island experience
California LightHouse - Stop #1
First stop is the California Lighthouse. You get 20 mins to explore the area around the Lighthouse.
- On the way up you learn about the history of the Lighthouse.
- You can't go up inside the California lighthouse, as the Lighthouse tour is only in the mornings.
- One of the truck vendors sells a coconut drink that served in a real coconut. There was a tropical bird which drew a lot of attention.
- There's a small replica of the California lighthouse in the La Trattoria El Faro Blanco. In addition, there's a small garden which makes a great place to take photos.
- Opposite of the La Trattoria El Faro Blanco is the northernmost tip of the island - great views of the ocean.
After the lighthouse the Bus will stop near the Antilla Shipwreck, near Boca Catalina Beach. You learn a little about the German ship that sunk just off the shore.
Chapel of Our Lady of Alto Vista - Stop #2
After leaving the California Lighthouse you have a nice drive over to the Chapel of Our Lady of Alto Vista. This is another 10 minute stop
- On the drive up to the chapel there are multiple crosses on the side of the road, these are the Stations of the Cross.
- This is good place to get rosary beads and holy water (Gift items)
- You can buy a candle at one of the vendors and light it in the chapel - there are matches inside.
- There is no "official bathroom" here. The driver joked about going into the desert to use the facilities.
Gold Mine Ruins (Bushiribana Ruins)
- We basically drove by the ruins, we thought this would be a stop.
- There were a few cars at the ruins but it didn't look like you could do anything other than taking pictures of the ruins.
- The driver side of the bus is the best views of the ruins
Sea Shore (Unscheduled Stop)
- We weren't supposed to stop here, but he did stop and let us get out for about five minutes to take pictures.
Natural Bridge - Stop #4
- You can buy Balashi, local Aruban beer, pretty cheap at the Souvenir store (I think it was $4 a bottle) Balashi taste like Budweiser.
- Each person on the bus gets a ticket to try some Pastechis. To get your treat, you go to the souvenir store and give the ticket to the person at the counter. You do not have to make any purchase to get your treat.
- Pastechi is a Caribbean pastry filled with Gouda cheese and fried up. It was very good.
As for the Casibari Rock Formation, you view it from the bus. The best view is from the side opposite of the driver.
Lunch at De Palms Island - Stop #5
After the Natural Bridge, you're on the bus for a while on the way to the De Palms Island for lunch. Once you arrive you take a short ferry ride to the Island.
- You'll have an hour to eat the buffet lunch.
- There are plenty of tables in the lunch hall.
- Each item on the buffet has an tag that highlights any allergy information (Wheat, Milk, Seafood)
- There were plenty of Gluten Free options - including fish and BBQ chicken.
- There's plenty of local soda options - a good chance to try out the different Aruba soda flavors!
- Since Baby Beach is the next stop, this is a good place to change and put on lotion.
Baby Beach - Stop #6
- You'll have an hour on the beach.
- The bus had plenty of snorkel equipment, they don't have flippers as you don't need them for Baby Beach.
- If you do go swimming, make sure to leave some time to dry off before getting on the bus.
After leaving the Beach, the tour comes to an end and it's time to head back to the hotels. It officially gets over when you arrive in Oranjestad.
We actually asked our driver if we could get dropped off at one of the downtown hotels to do shopping. He didn't mind, as it saved him a stop since we were the only ones at our hotel to get on.
Additional Notes about the Tour
- Bring towels, Camera, and some money to buy souvenirs.
- Make a note of the bus number as there are multiple De Palm buses at each stop.
- It doesn't matter which side of the bus you sit on, you get a great view of the island. Sitting on the driver's side allows you more views of the ocean. The other side had better views of the California Lighthouse.
- You can leave bags on the bus between stops and at lunch.
- The bus ride is a bit bumpy after the Natural Bridge.
- Many of the stops have bathrooms and they charge $1 to use them. (Only exception is De Palms Island where it's free to use the bathroom)
- The driver will tell you how long you have at each stop. Make a note so you don't miss the bus!
- There is plenty of cold water for your trip.
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