Bezienswaardigheden op Aruba

From our villa Casa Familia, due to its perfect location, you can undertake plenty of great trips. Our villa is located about midway on the island and thus just 10 to 15 minutes from the beautiful beaches and the capital, Oranjestad. Also you never have to drive far to get to one of the many attractions.

There are lots of attractions for all ages. For children there are the donkey farm, butterfly garden, ostrich farm and Palm Island (water park and slides) to visit. For adults there is plenty more to see and experience. To give you a better indication of what you can experience here, we have compiled a short list of must-see attractions. You'll find that Aruba has everything you'll need for a nice, relaxed, active and cultural vacation experience with your family.

Bezienswaardigheden op Aruba

Alto Vista Chapel
The Alto Vista chapel is a colourful chapel and it's location can be called remarkable at the least: it is located on top of a limestone hill of over 230 feet in height on the rugged northern coast of the island. Alto Vista means "High view*quot;.

In 1750 Indians built a Catholic chapel on this spot - the current chapel dates from 1952. The old Spanish crucifix has moved along to the new chapel. On the way to the chapel you will see large white crosses where pilgrims stop to pray. Still, there are services every Tuesday in the chapel.

Arikok National Park
For Aruba's unique landscapes, flora and fauna protection, the Arikok National Park was established. The park covers about one fifth of the island. We have experienced the geological, natural and cultural-historical sights Arikok has to offer partly by car and partly on foot. The hilly terrain with its cactus forests, craggy rock formations and limestone caves is home to many rare plants and animals. Common and easy to spot animals are lizards, iguanas and the most colorful majestic birds. But Arikok also houses rare animals, such as the Burrowing Owl and the Aruban rattlesnake.

The park also has an impressive pair of bays with beautiful beaches. The sapphire blue water has enchanted the eyes. But beware: we're here on the east side of Aruba. The sea is too dangerous for swimming.

Parke Nacional Arikok in Aruba has a new visitor center. This was officially opened on July 26 2010 by Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven. The reopened museum is modernized and has become much more interactive. The museum has about six hundred artifacts and not only allows the public to view the information, but also to touch, hear and see it's collection.

By now you're familiar with the rocky landscapes with large cacti and aloe, beautiful white sand beaches and our dividivi trees, but did you know that in the northeast of Aruba you can also find some sand dunes?

The sand dunes in the most northeastern tip of Aruba are named after the famous ship wreck that lies off the coast, the California. Go here, just sitting on the top of the dune and enjoy spectacular views over the old stone lighthouse and rugged coastline.

Bird reserve
This Wetland is easy to oversee from the bird watching tower that is present on the north side of the reserve. The tower can be reached by following the path leading towards "Olde Mill". Then after about a 150 meters walk the tower is reached. From the tower there are almost always about 30 to 40 Caribbean coots watchable on a small lake on the west side of the sanctuary. In the large pond on the east side of the tower (looking towards the sea) large groups of Neotropical Cormorants, Great Egrets and American small egrets can be observed in the riparian zone vegetation shrubs and rushes. In the morning and evening twilight each small groups of these birds travel along the beach. In the morning from the north to the reservation, in the afternoon from the reserve to the north.

Little green heron and Kwak Blackcap can be seen regularly flying low over the vegetation. I am particularly happy with a photo of the little green heron that I was able to take at the ditch on the north side of the sanctuary. Nice to Bubali were further sightings of a passing American shear bill and a hunting Osprey. Other bird species which have been observed in this bird sanctuary and adjacent green stands are the Patagioenas (abundant), Eared mourning dove, Common ground dove, Caribbean dove, Yellow singer, Sugar sweetheart, Corn Parakeet, Tropical mockingbird, Orange oriole and yellow oriole. Also a few times a green hummingbird can be seen. It is very nice to see how this little bird is drinking nectar from the Passion Flora while flying. These plants grow freely in the wild here.

Butterfly garden
It is one of the greatest wonders of nature: the cycle from egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly. Therefore, a visit to the butterfly garden of Aruba is truly unforgettable. You step into a lush tropical garden and are immediately surrounded by all kinds of colorful butterflies. Between 500 and 800 of these elegant creatures from all over the world flutter freely here. Of course you can see how the animals transform from larvae to emerge as butterflies. Take a guided tour, and learn a great deal about these intriguing creatures. Tip: go early, you can experience how the new butterflies make their first flight!

Have you visited the gardens once, then you may continue to use your ticket for the rest of your stay to enter free of charge.

The butterfly garden can be found at Palm Beach, opposite Aruba Phoenix Aruba Resort Hotels. Open every day from 9.00 - 16.30 hours.

California Lighthouse
The California lighthouse marks the northern tip of Aruba. The old stone California lighthouse stands on the northern tip of Aruba and was named after the cargo ship California whihc sank near the shore on September 23, 1891.

Nowadays there is a restaurant next to the lighthouse. You can see the ocean and large parts of the island as well as the Tierra del Sol golf course.

Caves and goldmines
Aruba has many caves and gold mines. The four most important and most accessible caves are close together on the southeastern coast of the island. They are protected by the National Park Arikok. Pirates and buccaneers. Once inside these caves, there is little imagination required to imagine that these were once the hiding place for pirates.

The (Hoffie) Fontein Cave is the most popular because it is the only one that contains drawings of Arowak Indians, early inhabitants of the island.

The cave Guadirikiri is famous for the two internal areas where sunlight penetrates. The 30 meters long tunnel is home to hundreds of (harmless) bats. The Baranca or Huliba Sunu cave known as the "Tunnel of Love" and got its name from the heart-shaped opening at the entrance.
The Lourdes Grotto was built in 1958 under the leadership of priest Erkamp and parishioners. The cave is located in Seroe Pretoe (black hill) at San Nicolas.

Abandoned gold mines

In the fifteenth century, treasure seekers sailed the entire Caribbean in search of wealth and treasures. According to legend, they could be found on the island "Oro Ruba" (red gold). Hence the name for the island Aruba. Red gold was never found, or yellow gold. Pirates and hidden treasures are a part of the history of the island. Nowadays, visitors are able to come and see the remains of that period. On the north coast, halfway between the island lie the abandoned gold mines of Bushiribana.

Donkeyfarm
With the aim to save them, a non-profit organization started caring for donkeys started in 1997, exclusively by volunteers. Although donkeys are not native to Aruba, they have been known to be here for over 500 years. Initially, the donkeys where used as pack animals and for transportation, but that changed when the car was on the rise. In the '70s the survival of the wild donkey population on the island came in danger when a deadly disease struck almost all animals. Only 20 donkeys survived this epidemic.

Slowly but surely the population began to grow back in subsequent years, but by increasing traffic, many animals where hit or even run over - A problem for both humans and animals. Also, animal abuse and neglect of donkeys started to occur.

It was time to intervene. Fortunately, the Aruban donkeys found shelter on a farm residence where they receive medical care and attention and love. Each donkey has a name. We hope you will see the sanctuary, you'll certainly learn that there is more too them than you originally thought.

Donkeys are sweet but stubborn, they love attention and food even more. Apples and carrots are in their top three, so if you want, take along a snack for the animals. The shelter does not charge admission, but your donation helps to do the job, so they are very happy with your donation.

The volunteers will gladly guide. If you go early in the morning, then you may find it fun to help with the feeding, especially kids love this!. But if you prefer to only watch, then feel free. You can also enjoy a cup of coffee, a drink or to buy some food and poke around in the donkeyshop.

Haystack hill
The "Hooiberg" (Haystack) is a hill 167 meters high, that can be seen from any point in Aruba. Unlike the name suggests, the Haystack has nothing to do with hay. The Haystack consists primarily of hard rock, called haystack reed. This granite stone with white lime veins can only be found on Aruba and Iceland - nowhere else in the world.

It is a great challenge to conquer the 562 concrete steps to reach the top. Remember to bring enough water. Along the way there are no facilities to "refuel." We were lucky that day. It was clear weather which made it possible to see accross the ocean as far as that we could see Venezuela. A phenomenal experience!

Museums
The rich history and many cultural influences are also hidden in the architecture in Aruba. Your social status was previously reflected in your home. Farmers where living in the 'Cunucu', a farm that was always constructed in a manner that could provide a cooling breeze. The social elite lived in mansions, beautifully made with gates, porches, columns and European ornaments. These houses can still be admired in Oranjestad, eg. the town hall on the street Wilhelminastraat.

Of course you can enjoy Aruba all day by laying on the beach! Relax and enjoy the sun and the occasional cool down in the bluw paradise that is in front of you. But you can also enjoy a bit of the culture and look at one of the museums on Aruba. They are definitely worth it! The museums are small and intimate. They give a good impression of ancient cultures and rich colonial past. At the same time, they also clearly show that Aruba has its own culture, despite outside influences. If you str looking for modern art then you can visit one of the many galleries that Aruba features.

Mueseo Argeologico

The Archaeological Museum of Aruba is home to a number of finds from the pre-Columbian period. Especially since the excavations of 1995, much more is known about the daily lives of the Arawak Indians. The finds include pottery, shell, stone tools and ornaments. Visiting the Museum offers a glimpse into the life of the first inhabitants of the island.

Museo Numismatico

The Numismatic Museum has a collection of coins from 400 different countries. On 24 November 1955, Mario Odor was working in his garden when he found two old coins. This was the inspiration for him to collect ancient coins. The Numismatic Museum was established in 1981 and houses the private collection of Mario Odor. This collection consists of about 40,000 different coins from 400 different countries. Not only circular coins we know, but also coins with holes and even wooden coins are exhibited.

Historical Museum Fort Zoutman

In earlier times, one never knew what threat was looming from the sea. so in their defense Arubans built Fort Zoutman in 1796. The man after whom the fort was named, Zoutman, has never been to the Antilles, but the name of the fort is a tribute to the sailor of the Northsea who defeated the English fleet. Only twice have the guns of the fort actually been used for military operations: the first time by the Dutch to repel the British that wanted to take Aruba, the second time the other way around, by the British to try and foil an attempt by the Dutch to retake the island in 1805.

The fortress, the oldest building in Aruba was joined by the Willem III Tower in 1868 and after a thorough restoration in 1974 now also houses the Historical Museum, where every Tuesday also musical and cultural activities take place. There is a fully furnished living room in addition to many old Antillean utensils, as well as the production of aloe, the first 'industry' on the island. Sometimes there are exhibitions of the work of contemporary artists of Aruba. The Historical Museum of Aruba researches and maintains the historical heritage of Aruba. All finds and places from times past are carefully maintained.

Rococo Plaza, Museum of Antiquities

Tanki Leendert 158-G. In a building constructed with original materials from the seventeenth century you will find antiques from the time of Louis XV. But also other objects of Aruba and from Latin American countries will be exhibited in 23 rooms in this particular building. Hours: Monday - Friday 9.00 - 17.00 and Saturday 10.00 - 14.00 hours.

Aloe Museum

Pita Street 115. This museum will tell you about the 160-year history of Aruba Aloe. You see how farmers harvest aloŽgel of plants, using techniques that are centuries old. Hours: Monday - Friday 8.30 - 16.30 pm and Saturday 9.00 - 13.00 hours. For more information, visit www.arubaaloe.com.

Music
We can not do without the fireworks at New Year's Eve, but everyone in Aruba knows that it must almost be midnight when the tones of the guitar, the 'rasp', accordion and drums of the 'Dande group' can be heard!

And so it goes at every party and every event. Whether it is carnival, the celebration of the traditional feast of St. John or the launch of the holiday season: in Aruba they do it with music! In no time the music swells, everyone on the street and the entire island is infested with the rhythm of brass bands, steel bands, calypso music, the tumba or the unique 'Aruba Mars'!

Would you like to experience what it's like to celebrate at Aruba? During the weekly Bonbini Festival in Fort Zoutman in Oranjestad you are welcome to join the traditional celebrations of Aruba!

Music is not only important during major festivals, on Aruba music sounds all day. Salsa and merengue can not be missed during your stay! But 'hit chart' music is just played in bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants.

In theater 'Cas di Cultura' musicians give performances regularly, where you can experience the local music of Aruba. Also night clubs, hotels, restaurants and dinner shows regularly feature various performances.

Natural Bridge
On September 2, 2005 a small disaster took place on Aruba when the 30 meters long and 10 meters high Natural Bridge collapsed. The bridge was created by the power of the sea, but then fell prey to the erosive action of sea and wind.

The baby natural bridge is still in tact. The remains of the fallen landmark may also still be visited.

Aruba has several natural bridges. You'll find them at Addicuri, Wariruri and Black Stone Beach.

Natural Pool
The Cura di Tortuga is a hidden natural pool surrounded by beautiful rocks. The natural pool or "Conchi", "Cura di Tortuga", is a hidden swimming pool surrounded by rocks along the north coast. It is a perfect hideaway for a nice long rest.

To get here you must traverse one of Aruba's most rugged landscapes, making you feel you have "discovered" something. Jumping off the rocks into the pool with seawater is the main reason for many visitors to come to this place.

To reach this place you'll need a four wheel drive Jeep or a horse. Ordinary cars are not suitable. Take food, drinks and a camera. This secluded spot is perfect for photos!

Oranjestad
Oranjestad with its brightly colored houses is the capital of Aruba and is located on the south coast of Aruba. The typical Aruban houses form a striking contrast to the colorful houses on the Wilhelminastraat.

You should definately go and take a look at the fishing port, where fishermen sell their fresh catch. In the port tradesmen also sell vegetables and fruit which is shipped to the island every morning.

Taking a nice stroll along the boulevard and watching the yachts and cruise ships that moor there every day.

For example shopping in Main Street where "locals" and tourists like to come, a refreshing smoothie on a terrace, a delicious snack, just a few of the things Oranjestad has to offer.

You can participate with all major events (depending on time of year) in the streets, like the carnival, fireworks, party on Queens Day and various other celebrations.

The evening / night life plays out mainly in Oranjestad where several bars / cafes / karaoke bars / clubs / casinos and Latin bars are present. Several hotels offer shows.

Oranjestad also houses all major government buildings and headquarters of companies established.

Ostrich farm
The rugged countryside of Aruba is the perfect habitat for ostriches. They therefore feel quite at home on the ostrich farm. Here you not only come face to face with these large birds, but you'll also learn all about their behavior and habits. Tip: also very nice with kids! You can find the ostrich farm on the way to the (former) Natural Bridge. Guided tours start at 09.00 hours and are given all day until 16.00 hours. For more information: (00297) 5859630 or E-mail: greatoutdoors@setarnet.aw.

Palm Island
This small island is only 5 minutes by boat from the coast, and offers hammocks, beverage outlets, restaurants, (water) sports and a children's playground. It is the hot spot for snorkling, Snuba and scuba diving in Aruba. Equipment for Snuba and scuba diving is all around. Stunning coral formations and colorful blue parrot fish, an adventure for young and old! The Blue Parrotfish Water Park offers great slides.

The Palm Island is accessible to everyone.

Rockformations
Although Aruba is a relatively flat island, you will find many unusual rock formations inland.

Ayo rock formations

One of the biggest mysteries of Aruba are the rock formations of Ayo. To this day, scholars continue to owe an explanation. These rocks were once a sacred place for the former islanders, the Arowak Indians. And if you walk around Ayo you'll know why. The rocks radiate something mysterious, especially when combined with the calmness. You can also find ancient petroglyphs. There are walking trails present.

Casibari Pebbles

These huge rocks appear out of nowhere, emerging out of the sandy, flat area north of Haystack. They weigh a few tons, and are erratically formed. You can walk amongst the rocks by walking on specially constructed paths and stairs where you can enjoy beautiful views of Aruba.

Sand dunes
The rocky interior with large cacti and aloe, the beautiful white sand beaches and our dividivi trees you know by now. But did you know that in the northeast of Aruba also features sand dunes? You can not drive over them, but you can walk trough them.

"California Dunes" at Hudishibana

The sand dunes in the most northeastern tip of Aruba are named after the famous ship wreck lies off the coast, the California. Go here, just sit on the top of the dune and enjoy spectacular views over the old stone lighthouse and rugged coastline.

San Nicolas
On the southeast of the island, 19 kilometers from Oranjestad is Aruba's second city, "San Nicolas (St. Nicholas)" which is relatively quiet.

Since 1924 an oil refinery is located in the city which provides many people with work. Special places can be found here such as the beaches, the Indian Caves and Baby Beach. The atmosphere is very relaxed.

Also of interest is Charlie's Bar. This bar became known in 1940 when scuba divers started hanging their underwater treasures on the wall. To this day still their finds hang from the ceiling and walls.

The bar looks like a museum because it is filled with all sorts of strange things, such as shoes, life buoys, license plates and underwear.

Many tourists from around the world come to this famous bar.