By Katy DeHaven
The last port we are going to look at for now in the Caribbean is Aruba, this virtual vacation is by inspired by some of our Trips with Angie clients who are currently celebrating the holidays there!
Located north of Venezuela, Aruba is known for its stunning beaches, desert landscapes, and some of the best wreck diving in the Caribbean. Aruba is part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, so the official language of the islands is Dutch, but English is widely spoken. The capital is Oranjestad, and also the main port on the island. Located south of the hurricane belt, direct hurricane hits to the island are rare, making it a great island getaway any time of year!
Did you know that Aruba experienced a gold rush in the late 1800’s? In 1872 the Aruba Island Gold-mining Company Ltd. built a large smelting works at Bushiribana on the north coast of the island. The smelting works were only actually used for 10 years, but the impressive ruins still stand today. Check out this short tour of the ruins.
If you enjoy a good hike while on vacation, check out the Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations. This cluster of cacti and boulders offers a beautiful panoramic vista from the top. For more information about the area and a virtual walking tour, click here.
Arikok National Park is another wonderful place to hike and explore, the area’s natural wildlife as well as the caves, sand dunes, and limestone cliff’s that populate the area. There is also a natural pool within the park’s limits, perfect for cooling off. For a look at this beautiful park, click here.
Aruba’s Ostrich Farm, located on the eastern coast offers visitors an up close look at this bird species as well as the emus that live at the farm. Did you know that the ostrich lays the largest eggs of any bird species? Visitors enjoy learning all kinds of facts both interesting and trivial during their visit. Check out this video of the farm.
The Butterfly Farm is home to hundreds of exotic butterflies from around the world. Guided tours are offered throughout the day and last 20 minutes. During the tour visitors learn about the evolutionary cycle of butterflies. Visit during the morning hours for the best opportunity to see butteries hatching. For a short tour, click here.
Did you know that donkey’s used to the be the main form of transportation on the island? The Donkey Sanctuary Aruba is a nonprofit dedicated to educating locals and tourists on their care. Visitors describe the animals as sweet, docile and anxious to interact with people. To learn more about the donkeys on Aruba, click here.
Visitors wishing to learn about Aruba’s storied history should visit the Aruba Historical Museum, located in the King Willem III Tower at Fort Zoutman. The tower was originally built as a lighthouse and a pirate-spotting vantage point.
Located on the northern tip of the island and featured on many postcards and brochures of Aruba is the California Lighthouse. It was named for the S.S. California which sunk off the coast. Admission to the lighthouse is just $5, it is also a great spot to view the sunset and enjoy panoramic views of the island. Check out this short video.
Located minutes away from the hotel area is the Aruba Aloe Factory Tours are complimentary and held every 15 minutes. Visitors can also tour the museum on their own to learn about the process of making Aloe-based skin care.
If enjoying the local cuisine is on your list of must do’s when you travel check out this culinary adventure in Aruba.
Those over 18 looking for a fun night out on the town should check out Kukoo Kunuku, a fun-filled party bus with a full-service bar that visits a variety of bars, clubs, and watering holes in Aruba. Several different tour options are offered including Pub Krawls, Wine Tastings, Dinner & Nightlife and Nightlife & Beach tours. View this video from Kukoo Kunuku to get an idea of the tours available.
Some other types of excursions offered on Aruba include kayaking, ATV tours, skydiving, horseback riding, fishing charters, scuba diving, snorkeling, and pirate cruises.
Beaches recommendations on Aruba
Eagle Beach - The widest beach in Aruba offers beautiful ocean views, plenty of parking, shaded areas, beach hut, and a variety of water sports. Did you know there are four species of sea turtles that nest on Aruba? Most turtle nests are found on this beach. Check out these beautiful views of the beach.
Palm Beach - Quieter than Eagle Beach, the beach here has bright, blue, clear water and soft white sand. The sunsets are memorable and the Tiki Bars plentiful. Check out these views of the area.
Just off Palm Beach is Pedernales Wreck, a World War II lake tanker that was sank by the Germans. This is an excellent dive site for beginners with abundant wildlife and clear conditions. Enjoy this amazing virtual dive of the site.
Hadicurair Beach- This beach, located just past the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is the perfect spot for windsurfers and kiteboarder due to the strong windy conditions. The shallow water here, also makes it a good spot for snorkeling. Click here to see what this picturesque beach has to offer.
Other great beaches to check out include Malmok Beach, Arashi Beach, Andicuri Beach, Baby Beach, and Blackstone Beach.
We hope you enjoyed this look at Aruba! What would be on your must-do list on Aruba?
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