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Best Places to Visit in Aruba, Top Attractions
This beautiful island – which is sometimes called The Happy Island – belongs to the Netherlands, is located near Venezuela, and is one of the most popular islands to visit in the Southern Caribbean. The paradise-like winter escape and is home to unspoiled and quiet white sandy beaches, excellent snorkeling, hiking, and diving opportunities. Beautiful Aruba is part of the so-called ABC islands, which include Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. These three islands lie south of the hurricane belt — the area in the Atlantic Ocean that is most likely to be struck by these destructive storms. This has made Aruba an especially popular choice for those wanting to vacation in the Caribbean during the summer and fall months. Aruba’s weather also tends to be less humid than a majority of the other islands in the Caribbean. Aruba really is "one happy island." Stunning blonde beaches, wind-sculpted desert landscapes, and some of the best wreck diving in the Caribbean are among the many reasons tourists flock to this Caribbean hot spot. Year-round sunshine and consistently dry weather are added perks.The best Aruba tourist attractions start with the famous Palm Beach as well as Arikok National Park and the capital city of Oranjestad. They will keep resort visitors busy all week and give cruise visitors plenty to do for an entire day. This small Caribbean island is known for great beaches. The Aruba government tourism office claims the island is the number one Caribbean destination for return visits. But it keeps people coming back for more than just the beaches. When someone needs a break from the sun, they won’t have a problem finding fun things to do.
#1- Arashi Beach
Arashi Beach, one of Aruba’s northernmost beaches, is a secluded spot popular with diehard divers and serious sunbathers alike. Arashi’s clear water, soft sandy bottom, and generally calm surf make it ideal for swimmers and snorkelers as well.
#2- Boca Catalina
Boca Catalina boasts unspoiled white sand beaches and calm, placid waters. The postcard-worthy scenery makes for pleasant sunbathing, while free public parasols offer some shade. Boca Catalina is also one of the best beaches for snorkeling. Here, you’ll see scores of fish, black coral structures, and more in the warm Caribbean.
#3- Philip's Animal Garden
A nonprofit organization that provides sanctuary for over 50 species of animals, Philip’s Animal Garden raises money through tours and donations to pay for the upkeep and rehabilitation of the animals it rescues. Here, visitors can observe and interact with an assortment of tropical birds, pigs, leopards, deer, alpaca, and other animals.
#4- Antilla Shipwreck
Due to the Caribbean’s treacherous rock outcroppings, the waters of Aruba are lined with shipwrecks. These wrecks create fruitful diving and snorkeling sites, as they host scores of marine life, plus enticing historical stories. Aruba’s most popular is the Antilla Shipwreck, named after theSS Antilla, a cargo ship that sank in 1940.
#5- Palm Beach
Aruba’s Palm Beach hosts many of the Caribbean island’s luxe high-rise hotels, which is no surprise, as these lovely two miles (3.2 kilometers) of sand are prime real estate. The beach hosts sunbathing vacationers, refreshment stands, and water sports booths. Two piers lined with restaurants and shops offer entertainment and some much needed shade.
#6- Aruba Aloe Factory & Museum
Aloe is native to Aruba and thanks to its medicinal and restorative properties, aloe has become one of the leading exports of the island nation. Visit the Aruba Aloe Factory and Museum to learn about the history of the plant and its connection to Aruba, plus see facilities such as the cutting room, testing lab, and packaging of products.
#7- Natural Bridge
For many years, Aruba’s natural bridge was a top tourist attraction on the island. The bridge sadly collapsed due to erosion in 2005. However, its ruins still remain, along with a smaller natural span known as “baby bridge.” The surrounding landscape is wild and beautiful, and the smaller bridge still attracts large numbers of tourists.
#8- Baby Beach
Gentle surf and waist-high waters earned Baby Beach its name and reputation as one of the most popular beaches for kids in the Caribbean. Add in soft, sugar-like sand and waters as warm as a bathtub, and it’s no wonder this sheltered man-made lagoon on the southeastern tip of Aruba is popular among locals and visitors alike.
#9- Natural Pool
Tucked away on the eastern coast of Aruba, in a basin formed by volcanic rock and fed by water from the Caribbean Sea, the Natural Pool is as simple as its name implies—but sometimes simple is simply the best. Unreachable by car, a trip to the Natural Pool in Arikok National Park is all about the adventure through Aruba’s less disturbed countryside, with a dip in pristine waters awaiting those who make the off-the-beaten-track journey.
#10- Alto Vista Chapel
With the blue Caribbean sky and calm sea as its backdrop, the Alto Vista Chapel, or “Pilgrims Church,” is one of the most photographed attractions on the island of Aruba. This bright yellow chapel, which also hosts weekly religious services, is visited by Christians and non-Christians alike and is a popular stop for small-group tours.
#11- Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins
Located in Aruba’s desert interior, the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins are the stone remains of a gold smelter that was established by prospectors in the 19th century. Once considered sacred by the indigenous Arawak people, the site offers a unique look at Aruba’s history and can be explored with a variety of guided tours.
#12- California Lighthouse
Located near the northwest tip of Aruba and the popular Arashi Beach, California Lighthouse is a landmark on this small tropical island. Known for impressive views of the Caribbean Sea, as well as the nighttime stars, the lighthouse is one of the most photogenic spots in Aruba.
#13- De Palm Island
Just off of the western coast of Aruba, De Palm Island attracts visitors from the main island looking for an all-inclusive beach day. In addition to hosting an array of outdoor activities, De Palm Island also offers simple rest and relaxation on its three beaches.
#14- Andicuri Beach
Andicuri Beach stretches for 230 feet (70 meters) along Aruba’s east coast, and is known for its turquoise blue waters and limestone cliffs that offer visitors a bit of shade. The beach attracts travelers in search of a tropical experience, but strong currents and serious waves make Andicuri less than ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
#15- Arikok National Park
With deserted beaches and rocky coves, dusty plains dotted with cacti, and ancient limestone caves, Arikok National Park feels worlds away from the luxurious resorts of Aruba’s north coast. Covering almost 20 percent of the island, the park, one of the best reasons to venture south, offers a spectacular backdrop for outdoor adventures.
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