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Aruba Places of Interest
 

Aruba may be a small island, only 20 miles long by 6 miles wide, but it has a wealth of places of interest enhanced by a topography and vegetation that are unusual for a Caribbean island.

Caves

Aruba’s unique geology has provided it with several caves that are fantastic places to visit. The most popular cave is known as the Fontein Cave on the northeastern coast and its popularity arises in part because on the ceilings are ancient drawings done by the early Arawak Indian settlers of the island. Another of the caves is the Guadirikiri Cave, which is slightly to the east of Fontein Cave and is famous for its two chambers that are illuminated by the sunlight streaming through holes in the roof. As you delve deeper into this 100 foot cave you encounter hundreds of harmless bats. The Huliba Cave, which is east of the Guadirikiri Cave, extends for 300 feet and lovers enjoy visiting this cave because of the heart shaped entrance that has given this cave the nickname "Tunnel of Love".

 

Gold Mines

Among the historic places of interest in Aruba are the remnants of gold mines. In fact it was legends of gold that gave Aruba its name. During the 15th and 16th centuries there were rumors of treasure islands and in one of these legends there was a treasure island named "Oro Ruba" which translated means red gold and gave rise to the name Aruba. Although the legends of gold existed from the 15th century it was no until the 19th century that gold was discovered in Aruba. At the midpoint of the island on the northern coast, not far from the Natural Bridge, lies the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins. This mill was used to process the ore that was brought from mines in the nearby hills. Near to the mill is also the remnants of an old pirate castle from the 15th century. Another Gold Mill that you can visit in Aruba is the Balashi Gold Mill which is at the tip of the Spanish Lagoon on the southern coast.

 

Sand Dunes

The Caribbean is known for beaches but not known for sand dunes, however Aruba is the exception, making the Dunes at Hudishibana one of the places of interest on Aruba. On the northwestern tip of the island are rolling white sand dunes colored with patches of green and brown that present a spectacular vista. Even more spectacular are the sunsets in this area. Popularly called the California Dunes after the ship wreck of the California, the area also has an old stone lighthouse.

 

Museums

Museums are always among a visitor’s list of places of interest and Aruba has several museums that are interesting places to visit. The Aruba Historical Museum is located at Fort Zoutman and Willem III Tower. This former Dutch fortress is the oldest building on the island. The museum contains artifacts from the Spanish and Dutch colonial periods. The Aruba Archaeological Museum is found on Zoutmanstraat in Oranjestad. Here pottery remnants and other artifacts from the original Amerindian inhabitants can be viewed. Coin collectors will enjoy the Aruba Numismatic Museum at Zuidstraat in Oranjestad which feature 30,000 coins from around the world.

 

Nature Sanctuaries

There are several nature sanctuaries on Aruba. In the 16th century the Spaniards introduced donkeys to Aruba as a means of transport. With the advent of motor vehicles the donkeys were turned loose to roam wild and they have survived in bands across the island. The Donkey Sanctuary was established to care for some of the remaining free range donkeys. The Donkey Sanctuary is located along the road to the Natural Bridge near the Ayo Rock formations. Over 80 species of migratory birds visit Aruba, including herons, egrets, gulls, skimmers, coots, cormorants and ducks. The Bubali Bird Sanctuary is a great location for seeing these migratory birds as here amid the lush vegetation surrounding two ponds, these birds rest and breed. There is an observation tower to allow you to get a good view of the birds. Located along the road leading to the Natural Bridge is the Aruba Ostrich Farm. Here amid Aruba’s rugged landscape African ostriches and Australian emus find the perfect home. You can take the guided tour and learn about these wonderful birds. Located at Palm Beach is a place that gives you the opportunity to walk among beautiful tropical landscaped gardens with exotic flowers and pools of Japanese fish in a tranquil atmosphere while hundreds of breathtaking butterflies from all over the world fly freely around. Known as the Butterfly Farm, you get to learn the life cycle of these fascinating creatures from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly while having some rare photo opportunities.

 

National Parks

The best location to see the real natural beauty of Aruba is in Arikok National Park, which lies in the hilly northeast section of the island. The park consists of rolling hills covered with thorn-scrub vegetation. The hill country of Arikok offers breathtaking views of the island, from the urban areas and resorts to the luscious green Caribbean. The park surrounds Mount Arikok and features some of the oldest Arawak drawings as well as trails that showcase the variety of plants and birds.

 

Churches

One of the most visited churches in Aruba is the historic and picturesque Chapel of Alto Vista. Sitting on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean Sea this chapel which was built in colonial times by the Indians and the Spanish simply creates tranquility around it. The Santa Ana Catholic Church which is located just outside Oranjestad was first built in 1776 and has a fantastic handcrafted altarpiece. The Protestant Church is an elegant building with a large tower and wooden shutters.


Natural Formations

Aruba’s topography has created several places of interest because of the natural formations that have emerged. The largest and most well known of these, on the east coast of the island, was called the Natural Bridge and was created by the pounding of the surf against the coral to create a bridge across the sea. In 2005, this bridge collapsed but there is still another natural bridge to the side of the original Natural Bridge. These natural archways also exist in other parts of the island and can be seen at Warriruri and at Black Stone Beach. Just north of Hooiberg, there is a strange geological formation of large boulders that sometimes looks as if a giant hand had simply dumped them on the spot. This collection of diorite boulders is called Casibari. There is a similar collection of boulders known as the Ayo Rock Formations not far away.

 

To learn more about Aruba, visit our other Aruba Pages.

An introduction to Aruba
Recreation Activities on Aruba
Explore Aruba's southern coast by Kayak
Windsurfing - Aruba's signature sport
Aruba's Beaches
Other Aruba Attractions

To learn about the other islands in the Caribbean, visit our Island Adventures Page

 

 

 

 

 

Free Aruba Travel Brochures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Aruba Travel Brochures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Last modified: November 07, 2009