Rain in the Desert
Having been in Aruba for 3 months, this day was the first day I saw rain and boy did it rain!
De Palm Island is Aruba's premier all-inclusive beach theme park. Set on an islet from the main land, a full day of activities is on offer including snorkelling, zip-lining, banana boating, salsa dancing and more. It's a lot smaller than I expected. However, the island of Aruba is only 20 miles long, so it could only be so big. Although the entry price is a steep US$110 each, it's still worth checking out. Very much a family focused day out with a kids activity area and a stretch of beach filled with loungers, which you'll need to be quick at getting one, as it gets busy. The entry fee includes ferry ride to the island itself and one can utilise the activities as many times as possible, between 9am and 5pm, when the park closes. Best of all, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are included along with all you can drink cocktails, spirits, beers and soft drinks and ferry to and from the park.
I had been wanting to visit De Palm Island for ages! But I was put off by the entry fee. That's a high price for a budget traveller. Not to mention, most of my local friends, who pay AWG$100 (local currency), had already been several times so they were in no rush to go again. Thankfully, I held off and my friend invited me compliments of his workplace and it cost me nothing!
However, it rained ALL DAY. Aruba is desert hot most of the year. You'll see more cactus' during your stay than palm trees. On the day I decided to go to, having been on the island for 3 months, was the first time I saw rain and it rained hard! Grey clouds and stormy business!
We caught the first boat out, (less than 10 minutes), arriving at just after 9am and took the last boat back to land 5/5.30pm, when the park closed. I was excited to go to #palmisland Aruba's beach theme park, even more excited that I was going for #free💃. But due to the weather that day, which started as we got on the ferry to the island, so there was no turning back, half the rides were closed and everyone stayed under the shelter. But that all you can eat and drink was the lick 🍉🍍🍕🍟🍗🍿🍤🍨🍦🍫🍰🍹🍸🍷
As I mentioned, De Palm Island is SMALL. Take note of that. Thankfully I read some reviews, good and bad, beforehand, so I was aware. Online reviews of Palm Island vary from "...Great" to "... An expensive waste of time". All are true. Yes it’s very focused on family, which is great for those travellers. However, as a group of travelling adults, you might get through Island in less than 2 hrs (crowd depending). However the all you can eat and drink is always a good selling point, that’s what kept me there on a raining day. If you go with the intention of having fun and it’s not the most important part of your trip, you’ll enjoy the day and the buffet food and the open bar. Can't go on about that enough! Do take extra care when snorkelling. The stretch of water where the activity takes place is coral heavy and one can easily get cut on the sharp, natural rocks. Not sure why that spot is still used. But as I mentioned, it is small.
There are Palm Island shuttles from most hotels. If you are driving, it's slightly off the beaten track to the ferry pick-up point. But in Aruba, no where is really far or hard to find. We took the bus from Oranjestad directly to the pick-up point, which costed about AWG$10 each way (US$ are accepted) for a 20 minute journey. I thoroughly enjoyed myself ... probably because it was free.