10 Reasons Why You Should ABSOLUTELY Visit Aruba
Aruba, the ‘Caribbean Paradise’ as it is often called, is among the most beautiful and popular Caribbean islands. A country of friendly and amicable people, the license plates of the vehicles are inscribed with the words ’One Happy Island’, which in itself is the biggest endorsement of the joyful island and reason enough to visit Aruba!
Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, is full of brightly colored houses built around the harbor and in the downtown area. The pronounced Dutch influence on its architecture makes this charming city look really picturesque.
Whether it is a family holiday being planned, or a romantic honeymoon, or else a solo adventure trip where you do not want to go to a ‘run of the mill destination’, Aruba is a great choice! The beautiful island has many attractions and activities for holidaymakers of all age groups.
Best Attractions in Aruba
1) Sun Bathe Or Splash Around The Spectacular Beaches
Aruba is primarily a beach country, and all beach lovers will be captivated by the beauty of its white sand beaches. The famous Eagle Beach is ranked among the ten best beaches of the world. The water is absolutely blue and clear as crystal and the soft white sand extends for miles!
Eagle Beach is known for jet skiing, tubing and other sports. It is also a wonderful beach for lazing and relaxing. The signature divi divi trees on Eagle Beach provide a fantastic backdrop for photographs here. In fact the locale is a popular choice for all wedding pictures in Aruba!
Baby Beach, on the southern tip of the island, is a very pretty beach with its lake shaped like the crest of the moon, and all around it are ‘palapas.’ These are open sided shelters similar to huts with thatched palm roofs.
The name ‘Baby Beach’ is indeed appropriate, because the water here is less than five feet deep, making it safe for children to wade in it while their feet can still touch the bottom of the sea. It is more like a big bathing pool! The shallow water of Baby Beach makes it a perfect place for snorkeling.
Palm Spring and Druif Beach are the best beaches for swimming. The water in both these beaches is calm and tranquil, thus making swimming a pleasurable activity here. The white sandy Arashi Beach is another good choice for swimming. It also has palapas and huts to provide shaded shelters.
Boca Catalina is yet another popular beach. Here too, the sand is white and the water crystal clear. Being a small secluded bay, it provides ample opportunities for private swimming as well as snorkelling as there are plenty of fish in this area.
The narrow stretch of Malmok Beach between the limestone terrains has a lot of pebbles and stones, but the sand is so soft and white that if feels like powder! This area with its shallow water is suitable for snorkelling, while the limestone reefs in the vicinity are good for diving.
Located between Malmok and Palm Spring beaches, the rocky Hadicurari Beach is popular with surfing enthusiasts. This beach area is also known as Fisherman’s Huts, as most of the fishermen in Aruba lived in the vicinity.
2) Get Enthralled By The Attractions In Palm Island
A five minute ferry ride from the mainland, takes you to a popular tourist destination known as Palm Island. This small privately owned island has a small beach and a water park called the Blue Parrotfish Water Park with water slides and a small exclusive pool, which makes it a big draw for a family outing with the children.
Being an all inclusive destination at a reasonable price which includes a lavish buffet spread, Palm Island is just the place to go for a fun filled day trip! Another attraction here is the not so common blue parrot fish which can be spotted along with other kinds of fish as you explore the underwater creatures while snorkeling.
3) Discover Interesting Aspects of Aruba’s History By Visiting Its Captivating Museums
A visit to Aruba would be incomplete without visiting its museums in order to be acquainted with its culture and heritage. The two main museums are the Archaeology Museum and the Historical Museum in Oranjestad.
The National Archaeological Museum is well worth a visit. It houses a varied collection of items of stone, shell and ceramic which help in understanding the life and traditions of the people of Aruba through the ages, from 2500 BC to the 19th century.
The Historical Museum of Aruba also has a good collection of exhibits and paintings from different periods of its history, from the earliest settlement, through the colonial period up to the present.
Apart from these two museums, the Numismatic Museum and the Aruba Model Train Museum are also interesting places to visit.
4) Explore The Scenic California Lighthouse
On the north-western tip of the island, near Arashi Beach, you can see the California Lighthouse which was built in 1910. It is named after the ship SS California which sank years before the lighthouse was built.
Perched on an elevated seaside area with sand dunes near it, this old stone tower is now a popular tourist site. More than being just a lighthouse emitting coastal warnings to passing ships, it has become a scenic landmark which offers the most spectacular views of the fascinating island’s sandy white beaches and rocky shores.
The best time to visit the lighthouse is in the evening, so that you can watch the awesome spectacle of the orange sun going down into the sea and merging with it. Then again, who knows, you might get lucky enough to see the elusive ‘green flash’ as the sun changes its hue before dipping into the Caribbean!
5) Admire The Historic Alto Vista Chapel
Close to the lighthouse, is the island’s first Roman Catholic Church, which was built around 1750. It is also known as Pilgrims Church. Standing on an elevation on the northern coastal stretch, the picturesque and historic Alto Vista Chapel is a vantage point for viewing the beautiful sights of sunrise and sunset on the island.
6) Walk Around The Corridors Of Fort Zoutman
A military fortification built by the Dutch in 1798, Fort Zoutman in Oranjestad is the oldest structure in the country. The fort has been restored and converted into the Historical Museum of Aruba.
7) Participate In Adventurous Water Sports
Aruba is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts and lovers of water sports. There are plenty of beaches such as Baby Beach, Palm Spring, and Malmok with calm shallow waters conducive to snorkeling.
Additionally, there are several charter companies that offer sail and snorkel tours, and provide snorkel gear and refreshments also. These tours have yachts which sail out to the coral reefs where you can see a lot of marine life.
Reef diving is popular on the western coast of the island, which is protected from the rough ocean currents. Aruba has some of the best coral reef gardens, which along with the clarity of the water, are a great attraction for divers.
There are a large number of outstanding reefs such as Skalahein Reef, Mas Bango Reef and Plonco Reef, which are the best places for diving and a wonderful opportunity to explore the flora and fauna of the sea world.
The SS Antilla is what is called a divers’ bliss! The Antilla Shipwreck is the remains of a scuttled German cargo ship that was anchored off Aruba during the Second World War. The entire wreckage is approximately 400 feet long, and several parts of the ship are still intact.
It provides the largest shipwreck dive in the Caribbean Sea, and is truly a diver’s delight with all the corals, lobsters, shrimp and orange anemones covering it!
Wind Surfing and kite surfing are other activities for which Aruba is known. The annual windsurfing world championship is held at Hadikurari Beach every year in the month of June.
Besides all these sports facilities, Aruba also has jet skiing excursions at Eagle Bay and a few other places for those who love speed and thrills!
8) Revel In The Natural Pool Aruba
Known as ‘Conchi’ or ‘Cura di Tortuga’, the Natural Pool is located in a remote area in the northern part of Aruba. The small basin of water has been created by a unique formation of rock and volcanic stone circles.
The ‘Natural Pool’ as it is called by visitors, is a small pool of tranquil water, partly hidden in this natural geological wonder protruding into the ocean, just off the shore of Aruba. It is a lovely place for a day trip.
9) Appreciate Nature And Wild Life
Aruba is the perfect choice for an environmentally friendly holiday, and provides you with the opportunity of seeing so many different and uncommon species of wildlife. A ‘must see’ place is Hooiberg, a 165 meter high volcanic formation located in the middle of the island which can be seen from all places on the island. 562 steps take you to the top of the mountain, but the view from the there is breathtaking and well worth the effort.
A visit to the sprawling Arikok National Park transports you to the rough and rugged terrain with tall cactus plants, and protected flora and fauna of this island country including certain indigenous species of birds and reptiles here.
Philip’s Animal Garden, a lovely sanctuary for rescued animals, is a delightful place and very popular with children, who simply love the animal garden! The Aruba Ostrich Farm, too, is a nice place to visit.
A trip to Donkey Sanctuary, a home for stray donkeys in the island, is a totally different kind of experience. You may pet the donkeys, and for a small fee, you can also feed them!
Another interesting place to visit is Butterfly Farm, which is actually a wonderful educational tour wherein tour guides ensure that you have a real learning experience.
Bubali Bird Sanctuary has more than 80 types of migratory birds, which are delightful to watch. The sanctuary is equipped with an observation tower, so that bird lovers can get the best view.
10) Enjoy The Throbbing Aruba Nightlife
Holiday makers who want more than beaches, sports and day time activities, will be thrilled with the exciting night life in Aruba. It is said that in this island country, the fun does not end when the sun sets! There is a night tour bus which offers hotel pick up service and provides a wonderful tour of the city by night with champagne, dinner and bar hopping all included in the fairly reasonable price!
A host of activities are always on in Aruba, to make the night scene vibrant and lively. You can paint the town red with the numerous cocktail parties, beach barbecues, tropical nights of song and dance, karaoke clubs and nightclubs! To top it all, the all night casinos will ensure that there is never a dull moment!