It is difficult to beat the warm tropical island of Aruba. Located in the southern Caribbean, it shows everything you can expect in a picture of paradise – clean white sand beaches, a ski trip to a shipwreck and moving palm trees. Every day, cruise ships passing through tourists from neighboring islands to Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, eager to experience its thrilling nightlife or to purchase treats at one of the world’s most famous jewelry stores. The village is also a good base for water sports. Diving schools cater for all skills and offer ideas for everything from coral reefs to submerged World War II boats. The island’s cool climate also makes it a popular tourist destination for hiking and boating. Aruba is a sea mecca, which offers everything from quiet places to tropical sunsets. Located in Oranjestad, Eagle Beach is generally regarded as one of the world’s best beaches.
Below are the Top 5 Places to visit in Aruba.
De Palm Island Aruba
Looking for an escape route while in Aruba that offers a bit of everything? Then you will want to sign up for this secret island app. You can choose between a full or partial day trip, and your entry fee includes a number of activities, including but not limited to zipline, salsa courses and banana boat rides. It also includes morning and afternoon buffets and your own drinks. De Palm Island also has its own water park. And because it is a coral island, the surrounding water is full of colorful tropical fish, so snorkeling is another option. There are also other activities available for an additional fee, including massage. De Palm Island Aruba also offers an underwater helmet ride that allows swimmers to enjoy a scuba-diver-like experience.
Bushiribana Gold Mill
When explorers began to stumble in the New World, many sought after riches, especially gold. And in 1824, those rich dreams finally came true in Aruba when gold was discovered by a 12-year-old shepherd boy tending sheep. Eventually, more than three million pounds of gold was mined in Aruba. Some people even say that the name of the island may refer to gold. At one time, it was thought to be Oro Ruba, meaning Red Gold. Initially, digging in Aruba was done by individuals. But in the end all mining rights were granted to a Dutch company. Today, the magnificent ruins of ancient gold mines in Bushiribana attract tourists. They can be visited on foot or, if you prefer, you can see them as part of a horseback riding or an ATV tour.
Alto Vista Chapel
Even if you are not a Catholic, you will want to explore the Alto Vista Chapel, located on a hill near the town of Noord. Officially known as “Our Lady of Alto Vista,” this was the first Catholic church in Aruba. Yellow in color with a red roof, this little church contrasts sharply with the bright blue sea behind it. The Alto Vista Chapel is open daily from 5pm to 7pm, with a mass on Tuesday. Although the current building was constructed in 1952, there has been a church building on the site since 1750. If you decide to visit the Alto Vista Chapel, be sure to check out the Peace Labyrinth, where you can meditate or pray while traveling through its regions.
Oranjestad is the largest city in Aruba and its capital. It is also a popular port for cruise ships. So don’t be surprised if the streets are occasionally crowded with cruisers checking out the city’s shops and restaurants. If you walk around Oranjestad, you will find a mixture of colorful colonial buildings and high-rise resorts, restaurants, bars and shops. Oranjestad’s oldest building is Fort Zoutman, dating back to 1798. Today, the castle is home to the Bon Bini Festival, a local dance and music exhibition, held every Tuesday.
Traveling around Oranjestad is not a problem even if you do not have a car as there is a free tram service that makes half the city stop. Oranjestad also boasts of the longest line in the Caribbean. A key feature of the park is a paved trail ready for hiking, jogging and cycling.
The SS Antilla, the second-largest shipwreck off the Caribbean, has experienced a catastrophic collapse. In 1940, less than a year after the ship embarked on its first voyage, its German crew set fire to it rather than seize it. The ship was docked at Malmok Bay in Aruba when Germany invaded Holland. Not surprisingly, the Dutch government ordered the capture of all German ships in the Dutch Antilles, and that is where the SS Antilla disbanded and sank. Today the catastrophe, rife with tropical fish, is a popular destination for snorkelers and scuba divers. In fact, it is considered by many to be one of the best shipwrecks in the Caribbean.