Top Tourist Destinations in Aruba
Aruba is a small island in the Caribbean that offers a variety of attractions for visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you are looking for sun, sand, sea, culture, adventure, or relaxation, Aruba has something for everyone. Here are some of the top tourist destinations in Aruba that you should not miss on your next vacation.
1. Aruba’s Beaches
Aruba is famous for its beautiful beaches, which range from calm and white to rugged and wild. On the northwest coast, you can enjoy some of the most popular beaches, such as Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, Manchebo Beach, Malmok Beach, and Arashi Beach. These beaches offer clear turquoise waters, soft sand, and plenty of amenities, such as hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and water sports. You can swim, snorkel, sunbathe, or just relax on these stunning shores.
On the east coast, you can explore some of the more secluded and scenic beaches, such as Bachelor’s Beach, Boca Grandi, Boca Prins, Dos Playa, Black Stone Beach, and Boca Andicuri. These beaches are exposed to the trade winds and the Atlantic Ocean, which create stronger currents and larger waves. They are not recommended for swimming, but they are great for surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, or just admiring the dramatic landscapes.
Oranjestad is the capital and largest city of Aruba. It is a charming and colorful place that reflects the island’s Dutch heritage and multicultural diversity. You can stroll along the main street and admire the pastel-hued colonial buildings that house shops, galleries, museums, and cafes. You can also visit some of the historical and cultural attractions, such as Fort Zoutman (the oldest building in Aruba), the Historical Museum (which showcases the island’s history and culture), the Aruba Aloe Factory and Museum (which offers tours and products made from the local aloe vera plant), and The Butterfly Farm (which features hundreds of exotic butterflies in a tropical garden).
Oranjestad is also a lively and vibrant place that offers plenty of entertainment options. You can enjoy the nightlife at one of the many bars, clubs, casinos, or cinemas. You can also catch some of the local events and festivals that take place throughout the year, such as Carnival (a colorful celebration of music, dance, and costumes), Bon Bini Festival (a weekly show of Aruban culture and folklore), and Dande Festival (a New Year’s Eve tradition of singing and dancing).
3. Arikok National Park
Arikok National Park is a natural reserve that covers about 20% of Aruba’s land area. It is a place where you can discover the island’s diverse and unique flora and fauna, as well as its geological and historical features. You can explore the park by hiking, biking, horseback riding, or driving along one of the many trails that lead to various attractions. Some of the highlights include:
– The Natural Pool: A secluded pool of water surrounded by volcanic rocks that protects it from the ocean waves. It is a great spot for swimming and snorkeling.
– The Natural Bridge: A large rock formation that spans over the sea and was formed by years of erosion. It collapsed in 2005 but remains a popular attraction.
– The Quadirikiri Cave: A large cave with two chambers that are illuminated by natural sunlight through holes in the ceiling. It is home to hundreds of bats.
– The Fontein Cave: A smaller cave with colorful stalactites and stalagmites that also features ancient drawings made by the Arawak Indians.
– The Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins: The remnants of a 19th-century gold mill that was used to process ore from nearby mines.
– The Boca Prins: A scenic bay with white sand dunes and crashing waves.
4. California Lighthouse & California Dunes
The California Lighthouse is a landmark that stands on a hill near Arashi Beach on the northwest tip of Aruba. It was built in 1914 and named after a shipwreck that occurred nearby in 1891. It offers panoramic views of the island and the sea. You can climb up to the top of the lighthouse for a small fee or enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants at its base.
Nearby are the California Dunes, a series of sand dunes that create a contrast with the surrounding cacti-covered landscape. They are a fun place to slide down or take photos.
5. Aruba’s Dive Sites
Aruba is a paradise for divers who want to explore some of the best wreck diving sites in the Caribbean. The island has more than 20 dive sites that feature sunken ships, planes, and submarines that are home to a variety of marine life. Some of the most popular dive sites include:
– The Antilla: A German cargo ship that was scuttled in 1940 and is now the largest wreck in the Caribbean. It lies in shallow water and is accessible to snorkelers and divers of all levels.
– The Pedernales: A Venezuelan oil tanker that was torpedoed by a German submarine in 1942 and later salvaged and sunk again as an artificial reef. It is a shallow dive site that hosts many fish and coral.
– The Jane Sea: A cement freighter that was intentionally sunk in 1988 and lies upright on the sea floor. It is a deep dive site that attracts large pelagic fish and sharks.
– The Airplane Wrecks: Two planes that were sunk in 1990 and 2004 as artificial reefs. They are located near each other and offer an interesting dive site for advanced divers.
These are just some of the top tourist destinations in Aruba that you can enjoy on your next vacation. Aruba is a small island with a big personality that will make you fall in love with its beauty, culture, and people. So, what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Aruba today and discover why it is called “One Happy Island”.