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There is much more to Aruba than fun in the sun on the beaches. Visit caves with ancient indian drawings, visit an antique wildmill once used in Holland to pump water, explore the Cunucu (countryside) where you're likely to see herds of goats and donkeys wandering freely. Visit a Butterfly Farm, a Donkey Sanctuary and an Ostrich Farm. Marvel at ancient giant boulder formations that no one has been able to explain. Tour an Aloe farm and factory and the Balashi brewery, Aruba's national beer. Climb a mountain, hike at Arikok National Park covering 25% of the island. See portrayals of Aruban music and dance, find museums, slide down sand dunes, visit an art gallery. Swim in a tranquil pool known as "conchi" or "Cura di Tortuga," more familiarly known by visitors as the Natural Pool.

There's plenty to do in Aruba.
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Oranjestad (literally Orange Town in Dutch) is the capital and chief administrative center of the Island of Aruba, a Caribbean nation that is located in the West Indies under the jurisdiction of Netherlands. Oranjestad is located on the western coast of the island on an enclosed harbor, large enough to handle modern cargo and cruise ships. The town's major industries are tourism and trans-Atlantic shipping. Oranjestad is well known for its brightly colored buildings and admirable residential districts. The area that would later become Oranjestad was originally settled by Arawak Indians who had traveled north from their settlements on the South American mainland. The Arawaks flourished in the area for some 1,500 years. Spanish explorers began to arrive in the area at the beginning of the 16th century. By the mid-17th century the Dutch arrived and colonized the area around modern Oranjestad. Fort Zoutman was built in 1796 partly to protect the settlement from nearby pirates as well as the British and French who were also active in the Caribbean. By the mid-1820s Dutch colonial leaders named the settlement Oranjestad after the first King Willem van Oranje-Nassau. The people of Oranjestad and Aruba in general, are mostly ethnically mixed. They are often of Arawak ancestry in combination with Dutch, Spanish, and African ancestry. Aruba had few slave-based plantations and thus people of predominantly African descent form a small part of the population.


Imagine walking through a lush tropical rain forest amidst flowers and trees, ponds and a trickling waterfall with butterflies flying overhead and all around you in their own natural paradise. This is a dream come true at The Butterfly Farms in St Martin and Aruba. Within large meshed enclosures you can see hundreds of real exotic butterflies flying freely, a beautiful display of the most spectacular species from all over the world. Entrance includes a free return pass for the duration of your vacation! Open all year, daily 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (last tour starts at 4pm ). Guided tours run all day, they last for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and you are welcome to stay for as long as you like. Photography and video no problem! Where are we located? check our map...


An activity in Aruba you can't miss! When you think of Aruba, you probably think sea, sun and beach. But Aruba has more to offer than that, there are different sort of activities you can do. A must see when you are at Aruba, is the Aruba Ostrich Farm. Although Africa is the native land of the ostrich, this intriguing bird finds a perfect home in Aruba's rugged landscape. The Aruba Ostrich Farm welcomes you to come and meet its 80-count flock of the largest living species in the world...


Balashi Beer is the only beer brewed in the Southern Caribbean. Our beer is produced in a fully automated process with the highest sustainability standards ensuring high quality beer at all times. As a result, Balashi received international recognition winning a Gold Medal in the "Monde Selection" category in Brussels 2001 and 2004. In 2013, "Chill" was awarded the international "ITQI Superior Taste Award", Both Balashi and Chill are available at hotels, restaurants, bars, supermarkets and Reina Beatrix International Airport Duty free shops...


Visit Fort Zoutman, an old military fortification and the oldest building on the island located in Oranjestad and enjoy our famous Bon Bini Festival, a weekly local folk music and dance festival where you can catch the flavor of the island, its people, music, crafts, art, cuisine and hospitality. "Bon Bini" means "Welcome" in Papiamento, and that is the perfect word to describe the enthusiastic environment of this festival. The festival takes place every Tuesday from 7:00-9:00 p.m. There is a nominal entrance fee.


Founded in 1997 as a non-profit and completely volunteer run organization, our mission is simple. Save the Donkeys! Although not originally native to the small island of Aruba, they have existed here for 500 years having been the primary mode of transportation until cars began to be introduced on the island in increasing numbers. At that point, many Arubans no longer had the need for their formerly beloved donkey and sadly in the 1970's a dangerous and rapidly spreading illness nearly caused their extinction leaving behind a population of only 20 wild donkeys. Thankfully they now have a safe haven where each donkey is given a name and receives food and water, shelter, quality medical care and lots of love. We highly encourage you to plan a visit to the Sanctuary and see for yourself what so many others have discovered, that there's more to a donkey then what you think you knew. There is no admission fee, but your generous donations are greatly appreciated and are what continue to allow us the ability to care for our donkey family, which has 130+ members at the moment...


Tour the Aruban "Cunucu," or countryside, along genuine donkey trails up to the Alto Vista Chapel dating back to 1750. Wind your way down along the northeast coast where you'll enjoy the sounds and views of the waves crashing wildly onto the rocky shore. See the famous Rock Wish Garden, where you can make some wishes. With the northeastern Caribbean wind at your back, you'll pass the Tierra Del Sol Golf Course and the Coral Plateau, home of the California Lighthouse, named after a steamship that sank nearby in 1891. Here, you'll have a chance to stretch your legs and take photos of the magnificent views.


Fort Zoutman is a military fortification in Oranjestad, Aruba's capital city. Built in 1798 by the Dutch army, it is the oldest structure on the island. The Willem III Tower was added to the west side of the fort in 1868. The fort and tower were restored and re-opened in 1983 as the Historical Museum of Aruba. At the request of lieutenant governor J.H. Ferguson in 1866, construction began on a lighthouse at the fort which could also house the town bell to be rung on the hour. The completed Willem III Tower was named after King Willem III of the Netherlands and lighted on his birthday, February 19, 1868. Archways at its base were designed to serve as the west entrance to the fort. The original kerosene lamp was replaced by a petrol lamp and then an acetylene lamp in 1930. Electrical lighting was added in 1935. The tower ceased to function as a lighthouse in 1963 with the removal of its lamp. Over the years, it has also functioned as a clock tower, courtroom, library, post office, tax office, watchtower and a station for the Aruba Police Force.


You will find this Aruba landmark near the Palm Beach high rise hotels, right where J.E. Irausquin Blvd makes a jug handle turn near the Aruba Butterfly Farm. Currently a restaurant, this Windmill has an interesting history. It is an authentic Dutch windmill, built in 1804 in Friesland, Holland. It was originally used to drain water from low lying land, and later used as a grain mill. in 1960 the was purchased by a private merchant, who had it carefully disassembled and shipped to Aruba. Once it arrived in pieces, it was reassembled. This project was officially recognized as the first privately financed tourism initiative on the island.


The first gold discovery in Aruba was made at Bushiribana in 1824, some 24 years before the start of the famed California Gold Rush. The lucky prospector was a 12 year-old sherpherd boy who came across a glittering rock while looking for wayward sheep that had strayed from his flock. Soon after a young girl found more gold nuggets, and the Aruba Gold Rush was on.

Initially, locals, or anyone else who wanted to take a stab at prospecting, were allowed to dig wherever they pleased. Anyone lucky enough to strike gold could only sell it to the government, which did little else to regulate the Rush. Then, in 1854, a major new gold deposit was unearthed and a more structured mining industry was born.

Gold mining continued on the island through the early 20th Century with more than three million pounds of the glittery precious ore extracted over the years. But of course, it couldn't last. A shortage of mining materials brought on by WWI, combined with the discovery of oil in 1924, spelled the end of the Aruba Gold Rush.


Hooiberg, also called the Haystack, is a 541-foot high volcanic formation located almost in the center of Aruba. You can see its classic cone-shaped presence from virtually anywhere on the island. Visually the Haystack appears to be the tallest point on Aruba, but 617-foot Mount Jamanota in Arikok National Park holds that status but Jamanota is absorbed into the surrounding hills and doesn't stand out like the prominent and isolated Hooiberg. The beautiful panoramic view from the top of this local landmark is the reward for climbing the 561 steps that lead to the summit. On a clear day you can see as far as Venezuela and you are always treated to magnificent views of Aruba. As you climb the steep concrete steps to the summit, be sure to stop and enjoy the island vegetation. Yellow poui trees and kadushi cacti are the dominant species along with the famous windblown divi-divi trees. The summit, like most other island high points, is covered with TV antennas and communication towers, but just find your way to one of the rock outcroppings and you will soon be enjoying the well-earned bird's eye view.


Prior to Sept 2, 2005, there was a very large arch here spanning over 100 feet and standing 23 feet above sea level. Unfortunately, this arch collapsed sometime during the night but there still is a smaller bridge nearby. "Baby Bridge" is about 25 feet long and about 3 feet above sea level. It has a crack it, so nobody is allowed to walk on it but it is still a very popular tourist attraction. There is no fee to visit and there is a gift store and refreshment store nearby.


One of the unusual and notable rock formations is the Casibari Boulders, which are tonalite rocks seen to the north of Hooiberg. They are reddish brown in color and rise above the desert landscape giving a panoramic view of the island. They are located amidst cacti, and lizards are commonly encountered here. The boulders have unusual shapes resembling birds and dragons. There is no plausible explanation yet for the presence of these unusual wind-carved boulder formations on a flat sandy island. However, the geological formations seen on the island are of volcanic origin in its eastern sector, and some areas which are of coral formation are ascribed to the sea which was at higher level. However, in the diorite rock formation region, the Ayo Rock Formations are seen in a heap of monolithic boulders. Walking trails and steps have been set around the formation. They pass through several narrow tunnels which make the access through a single line quite difficult. Casibari formations are approached 3.2 km from the Highway 4A/B. At the entrance there is a formation named Dragon Mouth. On a clear day, the entire island and even the Venezuela coast line can be seen from the formations site.


A gem within Arikok National Park, Boca Prins can be easily bundled with Dos Playa as they are only a 15-minute walk along a coastal trail from one another. Like Dos Playa, Boca Prins receives surf too strong to actually swim in. However, stunning grass covered sand dunes make the perfect backdrop for photos, picnics or lounging in relative seclusion. Take note, you'll need an ATV or strong 4 wheel drive vehicle to reach this destination, and there are no rest rooms or food facilities.


Arikok National Park takes up approximately 20 percent of the island and includes three primary geological formations: the Aruba lava formation, a quartz diorite formation, and a limestone formation that extends inward from the coast. These formations have directly influenced Aruba's human settlement, as well as its natural wonders. The park is home to several species which live only on the island, including two unique species of snake and two bird species. Rock outcroppings also create micro-climatic conditions to support these unique plant and animal species, as well as settlements. These are located within the park almost exclusively. Inside the park are some of the island's oldest Arawak paintings, and has since drawn attention from the government. First designated as an important national area in the 1980s, Arikok National Park is home to popular hiking trails, covering all kinds of terrain from hills to gold mines, and even plantation ruins. In the national park some traditional Aruban houses in the "Cunucu" style can be visited along with Cunucu Arikok, an early farm that has since been restored for preservation and is open to visitors. Abandoned gold mines in the Miralamar area of the park are also visible. After closing in 1916, the gold mines and surrounding structures are now largely overgrown.


The Guadirikiri Cave is notable for its two large dome-shaped chambers which are illuminated with sunlight through holes in the ceiling. Entry to the cave is at the base of the cliff. This 492-foot (150 m) long cave is also a nesting site for numerous small nocturnal bats, which are harmless. In order to preserve the natural habitat of the cave for the bats to breed, one of the caves is closed to visitors.

The Fontein Cave is a small cave near Boca Prins on the northern part of the island and well known for its native Arawak drawings on the wall decoratively etched by Amerindians. The cave is accessible from an "escarpment of a terrace of coral limestone" and has a width of 3m (9.8 ft) and a height of 2m (6 ft 7 in). The entrance hall, open for visitors, is 4m (13 ft) in height and extends to a depth of 50m (160 ft) and contains colorful stalagmites and stalactites in very odd shapes and sizes. Long tongued bats nestle in the holes of the cave.

The Huliba Cave is nicknamed the "Tunnel of Love" for its heart-shaped entrance through a steep and narrow stairway. It has five entrances. At places, one must crouch to see the formations. Flashlights are needed to explore the 300 feet (91m) long passageway. The cave is studded with stalagmite and stalactite formations in limestone rocks. Two bat species residing in this cave include the Southern Long-nosed Bat and long-tongued Fruit Bat. The exit from the tunnel is through a series of steps carved on the rock face and quite risky.


The Natural Pool, also known as "conchi" or "Cura di Tortuga", is a natural pool of water located in a very remote area in east Aruba. It is formed by rock and volcanic stone circles. The rugged terrain surrounding the pool makes it accessible only by four-wheel drive, all-terrain vehicles, horseback, or on foot. There is a hiking trail leading from the Arikok National Park entrance.


Alto Vista Chapel is a small Catholic chapel also known as "Pilgrims Church" that stands on the hills above the north shore of the sea and to the northeast of the town of Noord, on the island of Aruba, 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela. The church, painted on the outside in stark bright yellow, makes it a conspicuous religious monument for people to visit. The present Chapel of Alto Vista was completed in 1952 and stands in the same location as the original chapel, which was built by Domingo Silvestre, the Venezuelan missionary from Santa Ana de Coro, Venezuela, in 1750. The original church was constructed in 1750 by Caquetio Indians and Spanish though the island did not have a priest yet. The pioneering work of establishing the church and converting local Indians into the Catholic Christian faith was the sole work of Domingo Antonio Silvestre of Venezuela, which he achieved with his own funds. It is said to be the first church to be established in Aruba. This first church was built with stone walls and a straw roof. It was dedicated to Mother St. Mary, the .Mother of the Rosary. and hence considered exceptional in Aruba. A one-foot cross, which was brought from Venezuela by one of the priests, was installed here. Subsequent to Domingo Antonio Silvestre.s death Miguel Enrique Albarez (a son of the second fiscal) took control of the church, and then by Domingo Bernardino Silvestre son of the pioneer priest of the church. When the tragic plague stuck the place, many of the inhabitants of Alto Vista died and the remaining residents vacated the place and moved to Noord where the second church of Aruba was built. The Alto Vista Church was deserted from 1816 and went into ruins and the old wooden cross went under possession of many priests. This cross which was at the original altar is now seen in the St. Anna church in Noord. However, Francisca, a school teacher in Aruba, with single-minded dedication proceeded to revive the historic church of Aruba by locating it amidst the ruins after she came across by chance a picture of St. Mary.s with flowers. She collected funds of about 5000 Florins from local Arubans, got a statue of St. Mary.s made in Netherlands and brought it to Alto Vista and installed it at the new church built at the site of the old chapel, between March and May 1952, after obtaining permission from the Bishop in Curaau. The statue was adorned with a golden crown studded with gem stones in 1954 with donations contributed by several Arubians. Unfortunately this statue was vandalized by a maniac. The statue has since been replaced by a new one. With this chapel, Catholic religion made inroads into Aruba.

The present day church, rebuilt in 1952, is visited by Christians and non-Christians for meditation. Services are held weekly by the priest from Noord.


Embark on a journey to one of the most famous landmarks in Aruba, the California Lighthouse. The newly renovated lighthouse has been restored to its original glory. You will experience unmatched 360 degree panoramic views of the island. Each step and every window offers a unique view of Aruba's scenic coastline. With it's unparalleled vistas, The California Lighthouse will definitely offer you an incredible backdrop ideal for taking pictures and creating new and lasting memories.

Built during the years 1914 - 1916, the California Lighthouse is located on the northernmost point of the island of Aruba. The tower of this magnificent master piece is made of stone blocks that were hewn on-site and is 100 feet high. The metal top of the lighthouse, containing the light that sets a romantic setting, is 25 feet in diameter. Although standing on a hill called Hudishibana, the lighthouse is called California Lighthouse. The point of land called California is named after a vessel that shipwrecked at the coast near Aruba's northernmost point. The ship "California" was traveling from Liverpool to Central America with passengers, merchandise, provisions, clothing and furniture. Ironically, when the ship hit the coast, at midnight sharp on September 23, 1891, the passengers were partying on board. It was not until daybreak that the inhabitants of Aruba saw and understood what happened. The crew of the California had thrown much of their cargo overboard when the boat hit the coast. This meant that everybody was able to salvage the merchandise out of the water and take it to Oranjestad to sell. The nearby restaurant building was once the dwelling of the lighthouse keepers.


The population of Aruba is predominantly Catholic, a fact that can be seen by observing the number of Catholic churches located in all districts of the island. On a drive to the northeastern coast from San Nicolas, you'll drive by a unique Roman Catholic shrine built into the rocks. The Lourdes Grotto was created under the guidance of a priest named "Erkamp" and parishioners in the year 1958. The grotto is located in Seroe Pretoe (black hill). The year 1958 was an important year as it was 150 years before that the Holy Virgin appeared in front of Bernadette, as legend has it in Aruba. Bishop Holterman blessed the statue of the Holy Virgin and Bernadette. The statue weighed 700 kilos and one Mrs. Maria Geerman played an important role in the development of the grotto. Eight people were needed to hoist the statue and place it in the grotto. Mrs. Geerman's wish was to be buried in the same box that carried the Holy Virgin and this wish was granted. Every year, on February 11th (feast of Lady of Lourdes) a procession leaves from the St. Theresita church in San Nicolas to the grotto, where a mass is performed.


Established way back in 1941, Charlie's ranks among the most legendary watering holes anywhere in the world, its fame carried across the seas over the years by the many oil men and sailors who've been stationed in Aruba at one point or another. The bar is located in San Nicholas, a town so tied to the oil business that it's safe to say that it wouldn't exist if not for the large, decaying refinery that dominates the area. In the boom times, the town was alive with bars, banks, brothels and other businesses catering to the steady stream of refinery workers. Today, San Nicholas is as sleepy as its refinery. Charlie's is the town's central attraction; a warm and welcoming place to stop in for a few drinks and make new friends. When you first walk in, prepare to be overwhelmed by the massive and infinitely eclectic collection of artifacts displayed all over the bar. Virtually every man or woman that ever set foot in the place left something behind. An expired West Virginia driver's license, old baseballs, classic cameras, cell phones, trumpets, cowboy hats, stuffed animals; the list goes on and on. There's even a portrait photo of the Old West outlaw Jesse James donated, alledgedly by the descendants of one of the guys who caught him. Whether you're looking for a good time, or a little bit more, no visit to San Nicholas would be complete without a stop at Charlie's...