There is a unique combination of land and sea activities. Calm, glittering turquoise waters fringed by marshmallow-soft ivory beaches neighbor a national park encompassing a wild windward coast and unsettled rugged interior.
Quiet horseback rides and leisurely beach walks are good for the soul. Hikers can explore twenty rugged miles of trails in Arikok National Park. Golfing combines the challenge of constant trade winds and tropical sun with desert beauty and sweeping Caribbean views. Tour the island from the comfort of an air-conditioned motor coach or on a jeep safari. Be sure to exercise caution on mountain bikes and all-terrain vehicles!
The water is calm and perfect for swimming at resort areas. Challenging wave conditions and constant trade winds attract an international host of windsurfers as well as kite surfers and wave sport enthusiasts. Hop aboard a pleasure boat or luxury catamaran for a day of sailing. Rent a jet-ski, sunfish, wave-runner or tube for some wet ‘n wild fun. Reel in dinner on a fishing excursion or kayak tranquilly along the mangrove coast. Shallow coral formations await snorkelers but reef and wreck diving reveal a brilliant underwater fantasy.
World-renowned beaches off-the-beaten path along the wind-whipped coast afford magnificent panoramas. See the sights! Explore natural wonders throughout Arikok National Park, the Casibari and Ayo rock formations and Indian caves. Walk through history at the Bushiribana gold mill, Aruba Aloe Factory and Alto Vista Chapel. Museums in downtown Oranjestad include the new state-of-the-art Historical Museum and the fascinating Numismatic Museum. You will enjoy the creatures at the Butterfly, Ostrich Farm and Donkey Sanctuary.
Much of the seven-mile strip along the west coast is lined with resorts and packed with activity. Beachgoers relax on their comfortable lounges, lost in their favorite book or enjoying people-watching. Swimming, snorkeling, kite surfing, waterskiing, tubing, parasailing, banana-boating, and all kinds of wet ‘n wild adventures are just steps away.
In contrast, the beaches along the windward coast are in more secluded and undeveloped areas. Here magical coves carved out of limestone and inlets formed by the relentless pounding of waves are overlooked by craggy desert terrain. Because of strong undertow and crashing waves, swimming here is not recommended. But the beaches on Aruba’s wild coast do afford tranquility, privacy and unique natural phenomena. Both coasts afford spectacular, glittering Caribbean views that will surely take your breath away. All beaches are open to the public. Popular beaches include Palm Beach, Baby Beach, Malmok Beach, Arashi Beach, Eagle Beach, Druif Beach, Manchebo Beach, Hadicurari Beach and Mangel Halto.
Aruba nights add excitement to the island’s quiet desert island persona. Mingle with locals at any of the scores of casual beach and pier bars that dot the southwest coast from downtown Oranjestad to the far end of the high-rise strip. Weekly cocktail parties and daily happy hours are island traditions.
Cruises depart from Palm Beach piers; hop aboard for a sunset sail, romantic nighttime interlude or a wild party with rope swing. The high-rise area now rivals downtown Oranjestad for trendy venues and after-hours haunts, from karaoke and martini bars to upscale bistros and casual pubs. The strip comes alive after dark with shops, kiosks, movie theatres, cafés, restaurants and bars. Let loose on a wild and wacky barhopping bus. Some of the most popular bar and clubs amongst students are: South Beach Lounge, Local Store, Café Rembrandt, Gusto, Señor Frogs, Café the Paddock and Confessions Club.
On Aruba, the abundance, full flavor and diversity of cuisines
prepared by world-class chefs; fine international wines; casual, elegant and creative ambiances, and attentive service combine to create very special dining experiences.
The high-rise strip is now home to over 100 resort and independent restaurants. This bustling area is dotted with an eclectic patchwork of shops, malls, cafés and restaurants. But do venture downtown and off the beaten path to discover local favorites and trendy new establishments. No matter where you go, you will find an eclectic menu of delicious ethnic and international fare.
Classical delicacies such as frogs’ legs, duck, venison, foie gras andchateaubriand join fresh Caribbean catch such as mahi-mahi and wahoo, Argentinean churrasco, Middle Eastern shoarma, Japanese sushi and teppanyakiselections, Spanish tapas, Indian curries, Caribbean jerk ribs, homemade pastas, USDA choice steaks, Maine lobster and local goat stew and keshi yena. Indeed, the tiny island nation of Aruba provides an impressive world culinary tour rivaling the most cosmopolitan of cities.
Most of Aruba’s inhabitants are Roman Catholic, but just as so many nationalities live harmoniously side by side, so do those of various religious beliefs. Tourists are welcome at all houses of worship.