Aruba: One Happy Island
By Kristin Batista
Two weeks in Aruba! In addition to relaxing on this southern Caribbean Dutch island, I spent my time sailing, snorkeling, horseback riding on the beach, exploring beautiful landscapes, visiting natural bridges and pools, walking on barefoot beaches, enjoying perfect 83-degree days with cooling trade winds, trying out endless restaurant choices, and meeting new people. And, of course, beachcombing for amazing sea glass.
You could also choose to spend your time golfing, scuba diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, hiking, biking, exploring the island in 4x4 vehicles, shopping, and spending time in the casinos. There is an almost endless list of ways to occupy yourself in Aruba—you can be as relaxed or entertained as you like. You can rejuvenate and reconnect with yourself, or you can enjoy the nightlife and make new friends on an island whose inhabitants take pride in calling their home “One Happy Island.”
Aruba is part of the ABC island group, along with Bonaire and Curaçao, located just off the coast of Venezuela. It is approximately 20 miles long by 6 miles wide, with 20 percent of the island being made up of a national park. The population is diverse with 90+ nationalities represented in the population of around 112,000 people, who are welcoming and helpful.
Aruba truly is a perfect vacation destination for so many reasons. The flights from most major cities are convenient, with many direct options. The hotels and resorts offer a variety of price points, all of which offer a safe and beautiful stay. The weather is almost always beautiful at a steady 82 degrees and an annual rainfall of 15 inches. The beaches are made of crushed coral and shell, which creates a sand that is cool and powdery, allowing you to go barefoot even in the hot sun. And the trade winds from the Northeast keep you cool at night. Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt so there really is no bad time to visit.
I have been to Aruba many times and was looking for locations that have plenty of sea glass. And, Aruba does not disappoint. In addition to the beaches on Aruba where I have found sea glass in the past, I was able to go on several guided tours to the small strips of islands not far off the coast, where sea glass was abundant. This is where beachcombers find marbles, stoppers, kick-ups, grapeshot (small limestone cannon shot), pirate glass (black sea glass), and other rarer sea glass finds such as the frosty, well-worn shot glasses that were on my list of favorite finds.
On the mainland beaches you will find beautiful sea glass in a blue-green color that seems to be specific to Aruba, as well as the whites and browns and occasional cobalts. The sea glass requires more hunting on the resort beaches, and I’ve only found glass on these beaches in December, mostly coming in with the waves. And, beach glass is more difficult to find on the West End beaches, including Malmok Beach and the beaches by the California Lighthouse.
On small islands just offshore, you will find a much bigger variety of colors, including my favorite: grey. The sea glass is so abundant on these small islands that rather than combing the beach for sea glass, you will find yourself combing through sea glass to find special pieces. These islands can be accessed by boat tours, and the guides are helpful and friendly—and completely worth hiring. The other guests that I met on the sea glassing tours also went out multiple times with our guide, Captain Ky, because their experience was so wonderful.
Other areas worth exploring include Baby Beach on the far southeast end of the island, with its shallow waters sheltered by a lagoon. It is a calm and tranquil beach with truly spectacular coral formations and sea life, perfect for snorkeling. On the opposite end of the island is the California Lighthouse, which is one of Aruba’s most well-known landmarks, named for the steamship California, which wrecked off the coast in 1891. You can check out nearby Arashi Beach and Malmok Beach for sea glass, both snorkeling and on shore.
For nightlife there are many choices. We liked Moomba Beach Bar & Restaurant, located between Eagle Beach and Hadicurai Beach, and Surfside Beach Bar, which is a family-friendly restaurant and bar that is located right on the beach near the airport.
One of my favorite experiences was horseback riding to the beach with Rancho Notorious who provide personalized riding tours. (Be sure to ask for Nestor to be your guide!) We did find sea glass at the beach but only a piece or two—the real treasure was being with the horses as they enjoyed us and the beach.
There are plenty of choices for sailing adventures, too. There are many tour companies that provide sunset cruises and sails or snorkeling adventures, and they all have something different to offer. We’ve gone on several over the years and have never had a bad experience. I recommend checking out Tranquilo Aruba for a more personalized and more immersive experience, with just 15 people on a boat instead of 50. Anthony runs this decades-old family business and brought us on his famous lunch cruise that included drift snorkeling at a secluded reef and an absolutely delicious lunch.
I experienced a great deal of sea glass and a great deal of serenity during my time in Aruba, and I hope to share the experience with others through oceanside retreats that my business partner and I provide through our company, Seaglass and Serenity (SeaglassandSerenity.com). Our trips are for people who share a passion for sea glassing, love meeting new people, and enjoy an all-inclusive travel experience. I hope to meet up with you on this happy island!
Contact Captain Ky the Sea Glass Guy to purchase sea glass maps for Aruba and Curaçao at Facebook.com/SunsOutTonguesOut and be sure to follow him on his sail around the world in search of unknown sea glass beaches at YouTube.com/TheBoredPirate.
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine July/August 2022 issue.
Join Ky Davis who is sailing the world with his dog, LC, in search of undiscovered sea glass beaches and rare beach glass. You'll get a look at how Ky got started on his worldwide sea glass hunt and come along on some of his beachcombing adventures.
Join us for a trip to a remote sea glass beach in the Caribbean with Ky Davis. This video takes you down flooded streets, off-road trails, down a cliffside, and into underwater caves, where Ky finds beautiful, rare sea glass and more. You'll get a peek at his life living on his sailboat as he travels the seas to find untouched sea glass beaches.