Aruba is an island you could easily spend a week or even a lifetime on. It is truly one of the most picturesque islands in the Caribbean. If you only have one day to spend on the island, check out these must-see's!
Hey, y'all! It's been awhile since I've featured a new destination on the blog. I've blogged a lot about my time in Belize, Honduras, and Mexico but I haven't really touched on many other countries I have visited. Over the last ten years, I have visited more than 20 countries across Europe and the Caribbean. One of my favorite countries has been the small 70 square mile island of Aruba.
Aruba is located in the Southern Caribbean, just north of South America. In fact, it's so close that you can see lights from Venezuela once the sun sets. Although this island is primarily inhabited by the Dutch now (as it is a constituent country of the Netherlands), it was originally inhabited by the Arawak Tribe from Venezuela. Since then it has changed hands from the British, Spanish and the Dutch making it a diverse culture. Aruba became a part of the Netherlands Antilles in 1845 and is home to many expats.
What surprised me most about Aruba was its terrain. I was expecting lush green hillsides, much like the rest of the Caribbean. However, much of the island is actually a desert. Although it does have beautiful beaches, the island is completely different than any other Caribbean I've been to.
If you ever get the chance to visit Aruba, take it. Don't hesitate, just go! There is so much to do on the island, you could keep yourself busy for a week! Many of the island's visitors arrive by cruise ship and have only a day. There is still plenty for you to see and do in just a few hours that will give you an excellent introduction to the island.
We booked a tour with ABC Tours Excursions and had the absolute best time ever! From start to finish, it was absolutely incredible! The tour includes a bit of history, sight seeing and adventure! You are carted around the island in a customized 4x4 Land Rover that will take you off roading through the desert and skirt along the gorgeous, rocky coastlines. It is seriously one of the coolest things I've ever done- and I've done some awesome things!
Our tour visited an Ostrich Farm, the Ayo Rock Formation, Arikok National Park, the Natural Bridge, Bushiribana Ruins, the Chapel of Alto Vista and the California Light House.
Our first stop was the Ayo Rock Formations, once a sacred site for the Arawak Indians. The natives used to visit the rock formations so they could hear incoming thunderstorms. The caves are filled with paintings, or petroglyphs, which you are able to glance at. A walking trail and steps have been set around the rock formation so you are able to explore this natural wonder.
One of the island's most famous landmarks is the California lighthouse. It is open to the public to climb up to the top for panoramic views of the northern point. The lighthouse was named for the steamship California, which wrecked nearby in 1891.
One of the coolest things we did while in Aruba was visit an ostrich farm. Yes, an ostrich farm. In Aruba. If you're near the Natural Bridge, do yourself a favor and pop in. The ostriches are super excited to greet you and love the attention! You can even feed the ostriches, which was a neat experience.
One of the most visited attractions in Aruba is the Natural Bridge. Although it collapsed in 2005, visitors still flock to the area for the incredible views. The arch, which spanned 25 feet, was the remnants of an ancient cave. The pools around it are absolutely stunning and offer incredible views of the turquoise blue waters surrounding the island.
One of my favorite stops was the Buhiribana Gold Mill Ruins. This stunning structure is what is left of a Gold Mill built by the British in 1872 during the Gold Rush. Although you probably won't find any gold here today, you will find absolutely incredible views and one of the most picturesque locations on the island.
Aruba is absolutely stunning and "small town friendly". I was so in awe of my surroundings throughout my entire visit. I cannot wait to go back to this incredible little island.
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