If you have never seen a windsurfing competition you are missing out, even if you have no desire to take up the sport at all like most of us. Competitions take place all over the world and remind a lot of people of watching hot air balloons launching into the sky. Windsurfing competitions give fans and non fans alike a chance to lie back on the beach and watch sails of many colors dot the coastline. Aruba is a very cool place to watch some of the best in the world as they hold their version of the event every year called the Hi Winds Windsurfing Competition.
This summer was the 23rd anniversary of this annual event which also happens to be the largest amateur competition for windsurfers in the entire Caribbean. It all went down at the Fisherman’s Huts and Boca Grandi on Aruba and had some of the best competitors from windsurfing and kite boarding from around the world. The fact that Aruba is known for trade winds that never die down but also calm seas is a winning combination for this sport. There were events in freestyle, long distance and course racing for both pros and amateurs alike.
This event began back in 1987 as a truly professional race but the island realized that fun is more important than winning so in 1997 they made a change that really boosted the race’s appeal. They turned the event into a fun version which began to attract amateurs along with the professionals. After all fun is what Aruba is all about. Freestyle was added recently and everyone competes now for the King of the Huts competition. Kite boarding is the newest addition and has proved to be a huge success. By the way this new sport which is similar to kite surfing involves a person on a surf board being pulled by a kite.
Aruba is known for fun in the sun and this event fits in perfectly. If there was not reason enough to come to this happy island then here is one more. So make some plans, grab your board (or if you are like most, just come to watch) and head on out to Aruba. The colorful sails add to the colorful sunsets and can make for a fantastic vacation for a few days to a week or more. For some, a lifetime of Aruba is still not enough.
The island of Aruba is known for many beautiful and adventurous sites from white sandy beaches to clear blue waters filled with tropical fish and ancient shipwrecks. One of the biggest tourist attractions though are the caves that dot this tiny island. Aruba is only nineteen miles long and six miles wide, but is filled with caves from tip to tip. One of the most famous is the Baranca Sunu Cave which locals call the Tunnel of Love. It is three hundred feet long and is found on the northern part of Aruba. In English, the name means ‘Naked Rock’. With five chambers deep inside, including one that resembles the Virgin Mary, the Tunnel of Love has become a big tourist attraction.
Don’t let the name fool you though, as the cave offers much more than just a chance for romance. Entering into the cave, you’ll find very steep and narrow stairs leading down into the dark and can be quite a challenge getting in and out. Currently, this famous cave is closed for preservation reasons while the island tries to reestablish its bat population. The two bats which are called Long Tongue Fruit Bats, and Insect Eater Bats, are very important to the island’s ecosystem as they help control pests that could bother tourists.
Another popular cave in Aruba is the Fontein Cave, which has drawings of an Indian tribe called Arawak. A tour of this cave can give visitors a real sense of the history of the island. It’s believed that in this cave, with the red drawings across the ceilings and on the walls, that Indians held ceremonies and rituals there during the days that they inhabited Aruba. The Fontein Cave is definitely one that you should put on your list if you are planning a vacation to Aruba.
The third cave that attracts many visitors is the Guadirikiri Cave, which is actually found at the base of a very steep cliff. With two chambers that are at times brightly lit by sunlight coming in through the holes in the top of the cave, this cave is also home to hundreds of bats. Like the Tunnel of Love cave, it is periodically closed so that the bats can reproduce in private. As you can see, along with the natural beauty of sand, sea, and waterfalls that Aruba has to offer, the caves are a great way to spend a day whether you are looking for a lesson in history about the island, or a time of romance.