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Aruba - The 'Island Of Aloe'

Jan 26, 2008
Whenever you visit the grocery store or pharmacy, it is probably hard to miss the scores of products featuring Aloe Vera. Known as one of the world's wonder plants, Aloe Vera has been incorporated into many everyday products in recent decades because of its healing properties. As the plant is used most often as a skin moisturizer, it perhaps comes as no surprise that world's best Aloe Vera comes from one of the sunniest and most exotic destinations. Today, over a century after the first plants were harvested, the island of Aruba remains one of the world's top growers of Aloe Vera. When visiting Aruba, tourists can see the influence of the plant in many facets of Aruban culture, purchase the some of most luxurious Aloe Vera products ever created and even tour the plantation where the modern world's fascination with this wonder plant took root.

Though some might believe that Aloe Vera was native to the Caribbean, the plant actually found its way to Aruba and other islands during colonial times. In fact, Aloe Vera was completely unknown in Aruba until the mid-19th century when numerous trade vessels from Africa visited colonial Caribbean islands. Aruba's own Aloe Vera industry started with a modest 150-acre plantation near Hato and, within just a few decades, came to dominate the island. By the end of the 19th century, Aruba had become the world's largest exporter of Aloe. Today, with nearly two-thirds of the island's surface now supporting both naturally growing and harvested Aloe Vera, it is no wonder that Aruba is commonly referred to as the 'Island of Aloe.'

The Aloe Vera crops in Aruba are helped by the same thing that draws visitors to the island from throughout the world each year - the weather. After the initial crops were planted, it was realized that Aloe Vera grows incredibly well in Aruba because of the arid conditions and consistently sunny Caribbean environment. As time went on, researchers and growers found that the climate of Aruba also enhances the healing capabilities of the plant, allowing the island to produce some of the most potent Aloe Vera gel in the world.

Some of the best Aloe Vera products are manufactured by Aruba Aloe, a company that still utilizes the island's first 150-acre plantation. Six days a week, this legendary facility opens its doors to travelers for informative tours that shed light not only on Aruba's fascinating Aloe Vera history, but on the entire world's historic fascination with the plant. In tracing the legend of Aloe Vera from Ancient Egypt to Aruba's colonial period and documenting the many historical uses of the plant, Aruba Aloe offers curious travelers a rare glimpse into the world of a wonder plant. During the daily tours, visitors will also have a chance to see the harvesting of the Aloe Vera plants and the production involved in converting the raw gel of the plant into some of the world's finest medicinal and health care products.

With the original 150-acre field as the company's centerpiece, Aruba Aloe produces a full line of products incorporating the island's purest, most potent Aloe Vera gel. Known internationally as some of the finest Aloe-based products available, Aruba Aloe has spent years crafting everything from hair care products to specialized lotions and moisturizers. Meanwhile, the company has also been on the cutting edge of botanical research, developing new uses for the plant and perfecting the art of harvesting the world's best Aloe Vera. If you visit the Aruba Aloe factory when on the island, you will have an opportunity to sample and purchase all of the diverse products crafted from this simple, but remarkable plant.

Just as it is hard to miss the name Aloe Vera at your local store, you will notice the impact this plant has had on Aruban culture as soon as you reach the island. From the large plants dotting the Aruban countryside to the scores of products and images filling local galleries and stores, Aloe Vera tells one of Aruba's most important stories. Though you may visit the 'Island of Aloe' to enjoy the beaches and luxurious resorts, this wonder plant can add an exciting element to your Caribbean vacation. After spending a few days in the vibrant Caribbean sunshine, Aruba's Aloe Vera will probably come in handy for your sunburn, too!
About the Author
This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes select pieces about vacationing in the Caribbean and travel in Aruba for the Marriott Resorts.
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