Top Ten Aruban Attractions

Top Ten Aruban Attractions

       Aruba is a 33 km-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, located 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela and 130 km (approx.) east of Guajira Peninsula (Colombia). Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, it forms a group referred to as the ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles, the southern island chain of the Lesser Antilles. Aruba is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten whose citizens share a single nationality: Dutch citizen. Aruba has no administrative subdivisions, but for census purposes is divided into 8 regions. Its capital is Oranjestad. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather. It has a land area of 179 square km (69 square mi) and a population of 101,484 (2010). It lies outside the hurricane belt. It is also home to the endemic Aruba Island Rattlesnake.

  1. Oranjestad

    Oranjestad, “Orangetown,” is the capital and largest city of Aruba, which is in the Caribbean north of Venezuela. Oranjestad is located on the southern coast near the western end of the island country. In the local language, Papiamento, Oranjestad is often referred to simply as “Playa.”
    Links: Top Ten Fountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oranjestad,_Aruba,
  2. Palm Beach

    Palm Island is a small private island near Aruba that is an important tourist attraction. The island is a 5-minute ferry ride from the mainland, making it ideal for day trips and excursions. The island includes a small beach and a water park. The beach area extends a short distance into the ocean. However it is forbidden to go far from the beach, so walls were built to keep small children from wandering off. Snorkeling is one of the main activities on the island and Aruba boasts many species of fish including the famous blue parrotfish. It is forbidden to fish or take any wild animals away from the island. Due to this strict rule, the fish that swim in the shallows are used to the presence of people, and do not swim away when swimmers and divers are nearby. You also can pet them if your lucky. Palm Island closes at 5:00.
    Links: Top 100 Beaches, Top 100 Fish, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Island,_Aruba,
  3. San Nicolaas

    San Nicolaas is 19 km (12 mi) southeast of Oranjestad, and is Aruba’s 2nd largest city. As of 2008 it has a population of 18,126, most who originate from the British Caribbean. Known as the island’s Sunrise Side, San Nicolaas was once a bustling company town, when Lago Oil and Transport operated its oil refinery from 1924-1985. The refinery was closed from 1985 to 1990, when Coastal Corp reopened the oil refinery. It was then sold to Valero, and it was open for a number of years, and closed in 2009; in December 2010, Valero announced plans to reopen the refinery. San Nicolaas was named after a Mr. Nicolas van der Biest (1808-1873), who owned a big piece of the land there. Landowners were then addressed by their subordinates by their first names preceded by ‘Shon’ meaning ‘master.’ So he was called ‘Shon Nicola,’ as was the area. It is thought that the change from Shon Nicolas to San Nicolaas was due to the influence of Spanish. Close to San Nicolaas, a Dutch marine camp is off Commanders Bay near the fishing village of Savaneta. Charlie’s Bar, in operation since 1941, once had a colorful reputation as a hangout for rowdy sailors and oil refinery workers. Pictures, business cards and license plates grace the walls of the bar while the hundreds of items hanging from the ceiling include hats, Frisbees, an inner tube, a life jacket and even shirts from the Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers. Charlie’s Bar and the town of San Nicolaas are featured in two novels by American author Daniel Putkowski, An Island Away (2008) and Under a Blue Flag (2011). A section of San Nicolaas’ main street has been converted to a picturesque promenade with shops containing souvenirs, crafts and local snacks. In nearby Seroe Colorado, there is a small natural bridge, not to be confused with the bridge at Andicuri. To view the bridge follow the road to its terminus, then hike approximately 200 feet (61 m) down old lava and coral formations.
    Links: Top 100 Beaches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sint_Nicolaas,_Aruba,
  4. Arikok National Park

    The National Park takes up approximately 18% of the island, including 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. Aruba is home to several species which only live 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 Arikok National Park almost exclusively. Inside the park are some of the island’s oldest Arawak paintings and has since drawn attention from the government. The two snake species are the cascabel (Crotalus durissus uni-color), and the santanero (Leptodeira bakeri), called the (Aruban) Baker’s cat-eyed snake. The shoco (Athene cunicu-laria arubensis), known as the Aruban burrowing owl, and the prikichi (Aratinga pertinax arubensis), the Aruban parakeet. Another indigenous species, the kododo blauw (Cnemido- phorus arubensus) is the Aruban whiptail lizard. First designated as an important national area in the 1980’s, Arikok National Park is home to popular hiking trails, covering all kinds of terrain from hills to gold mines and even plantation ruins.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten North American National Parks, Top Ten Cave Paintings, Top Ten North American Cave Paintings, Top Ten Snakes, Top Ten Lizards, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arikok_National_Park,
  5. Links: Top Ten Islands, Top Ten North American Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aruba,