1/3/13

Aruba, Antilles, Caribbean

 In town (Orangestad)

Aruba is a 33-kilometer-long island of the Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, located 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela and approximately 130 km east of the Guajira Peninsula, Colombia.
Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, it forms a group referred to as the ABC islands of the Antilles. Collectively, Aruba and the other Dutch islands in the Antilles are commonly referred to as the Netherlands Antilles or the Dutch Antilles.

Oranjestad is the capital city, located on the southern coast near the western end of the island, is extremely picturesque with its Dutch colonial architecture in pastel colors. Over the past few years a lot of effort has been spent refurbishing the town and making it attractive for tourists. Along the wharf merchants come to sell fresh fish and produce right off the boats every morning. The downtown area and the Seaport Village are the primary shopping areas on the island.
 
 One of the many, many iguanas you can find in the island

Dreaming of lazy sunny days, powdery ivory sands, warm tropical breezes, swaying palms, sparkling turquoise Caribbean waters, a beach chair with your name on it? Just make your reservation and get out your suitcase, for paradise awaits!
  
 Colourful Aruba (back of chair in a bar)

The southern, leeward coast is lined with beautiful, sparkling white sand and is commonly known as the Turquoise Coast for the colorful tint of the water. There are many secluded sections of private beach or more popular strips by the hotels. Baby Beach down at the eastern tip is a natural wading pool that is perfect for families with small children. The northern coast is more rugged and windswept and can be dangerous for swimming.

 Palm beach

Things to do and see:

There are enough spots on the island to fill up your vacation. Get to know Aruba's culture, by visiting historical and natural places.



Sail and snorkel cruises. Relax and live it up while you cruise the ocean. There are lots of cruises to choose from: day cruises combined with snorkeling, sunset, dinner, dance & moonlight cruises. You can enjoy a great view of coral formations and marine life, as well as wrecks with a visibility at some sites of over 30 meters.

Bar hopping is more than just a tour that visits bars. It is an experience that makes you feel like celebrating. This party on wheels will give you the opportunity to meet new people, party with locals and dance the night away in local nightclubs and bars. If partying in one place is not enough for you then hop on board of one of the Bar Hopping buses and let your nightlife adventure begin. This will be a night you will never forget.
Discover Aruba underwater without getting wet! Take an exciting cruise in the submarine or semi- submarine. During the excursion you will get the chance to view Aruba's colorful underwater world and get surprised by a fabulous array of colorful corals and tropical fishes. You can also enjoy a spectacular view of two sunken wrecks.  

Scuba diving near Aruba's south coast is often fascinating and calm since this is the lee side of the island and as a result waves and currents are not as strong. The northern coast is also spectacular, though much rougher, as the sea splashes onto the shore with more momentum from a much longer distance. Off the south coast of Aruba, you can do a reef dive at Mangel Alto, which is located between Oranjestad and San Nicolas, near the drive-in cinema. There is an abundance of corals in all shapes and sizes; and colorful fish ranging from electric blue to bright orange.

Natural Pool (Conchi) - On the northern side of the island and only accessible via ATV or Trail Rated 4x4. This is a small pool of water hidden in natural rock formation that jut into the ocean, just off the shore of Aruba. This location makes for a great day trip - make sure your vehicle has a spare tire.

California Lighthouse - On the northernmost tip of the island. Many scenic views and is also the location where you can access the dirt trails to travel down the northern shores of Aruba.

Our Lady of Alto Visto Chapel - On the northern side of the island. The chapel is very picturesque and historic.

Aruba Aloe Factory - You can take a short tour and learn some interesting facts about aloe farming, production and uses.

Casibari Rock & Ayo Rock Formations – You can climb and explore these formations, the tops of which provide a great view of the countryside.

Natural Bridge at Boca Andicuri – There are 7 "Natural Bridges" in Aruba. The original (biggest and most famous bridge that people are referring to when they say Natural Bridge) collapsed in 2005 leaving a pile of rubble in the bay. There is a smaller bridge right next to the fallen bridge that still stands.

Bushiribban Gold Mill / Smelting Station – The ruins of the smelting station are the way to the Natural Bridge. Climbing the ruins you can get great photos of the coastline.

Aruba Ostrich Farm [4] – The tour walks you around the ostrich pens and incubator. The Aruba farm is more for educating people, while the meat that is used for food in Aruba actually comes from the sister island of Curacao. (Ostrich is a red meat, which is high in protein and low in fat.)

Boca Catalina and the Antilla Shipwreck – These are 2 of the many sites snorkel tours will take you. The Antillla Shipwreck is the remains of a scuttled 120 meters German cargo ship that was anchored off of Aruba during WW2. It was thought that this ship was supplying German U-Boats in the Caribbean and after The Netherlands was invaded in 1940, the captain was given notice to surrender the ship. Instead of surrendering the ship to the Dutch Marines the captain sunk the ship by blowing up the boilers. (The crew swam to shore, and were taken POW and shipped to Bonaire.) The joke you will hear is "They did not want to surrender the cargo and they also wanted to provide future tourists with a site to see." The remains are off of Malmok beach. After the war, the captain and his crew purchased their former POW camp and converted it into a hotel. Today the site is the Divi Flamingo resort.

Arikok National Park - The park consists of lava formations, a quartz diorite formation and a limestone formation extending inward from the coastline. These formations have played a pivotal role in the history of Aruba.

Hooiberg (Haystack Mountain) a.k.a simply "the Haystack" – Standing over 150 meters, the haystack is in the center of the country and provides a breathtaking view of Aruba. People suggest going on a cool & clear day because it will be easier to climb the 561 steps required to reach the top and you can see the coast of Venezuela to the south!

Butterfly Farm - set in a tropical atmosphere, tour guides at the Butterfly Farm will elucidate butterfly habits and metamorphosis.

Bubali Bird Sanctuary - over 80 species of migratory birds reside in the sanctuary. Get the best view of the birds, by using the observation tower.

De Oude Molen/ Windmill First built in 1804 in Holland then shipped to Aruba in 1906. Donkey Sanctuary. A home for many rescued donkeys, who roam wild on Aruba and are often killed by cars or dogs. Staffed by volunteers who offer information about the donkeys and the sanctuary program. For a small fee, you can feed the donkeys pellets or apples--petting them is free! All proceeds from the feeding program and the small but well-stocked gift shop are used to care for and rescue the donkeys.








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