If you’ve ever been to Aruba, you may have noticed the bent Divi-Divi trees dispersed throughout the island. The Divi Divi — or Watapana — grow at a 45-degree angle because of constant wind.
Originally imported from Africa, it’s easy to imagine the 25-foot tree in the African safari, surrounded by lions and giraffes. However, they also thrive in the Caribbean, and are found on the islands of Bonaire and Curacao, where it is actually the national tree.
In the late 1980’s, the tree was used in advertising campaigns to promote the island. Today, they represent the awards at the Aruba International Film Festival. Stars like Richard Gere have been presented with the Golden Divi Divi during appearances at the event.
While exploring the island, tourists may get lost while caught up in the beauty. The Divi Divi trees also act as a compass, pointing visitors back to their hotels. Because of the trade winds blowing east, the trees are always pointed west. But no matter how strong the wind blows, the sturdy tree stands its ground. Thanks to this import, it will be hard for anyone get stranded on the island.
Besides acting as a compass, the tiny flowers hiding in the twisted branches actually produce a strong fragrance. Sitting under the shade of the tree, looking out over the turquoise waters, the sweet blossoms make the moment even more tropical.