It’s a warm, sunny morning in June. Sipping on your coffee and browsing through the newspaper. You mutter to yourself as to how all headlines are the same. Discordant similitude every day. The same old stories about gruesome attacks and macabre assaults. The price of petrol gone up by a few cents; the favourite team lost to another sports opponent; the economy spiralling downward and monsoons are delayed like careless trains. Your life too is reflective of the same monotony. The same faces, the same problems, the same old cubicles; smelling of office politics and inertia.
You try to go out for a bowling game with your colleagues, hit the bar and catch up with classmates yet deep down, you’re still feeling the same. Tired and bored of the monotony. You want a break but don’t know where to go. You want to run away from these concrete jungles yet remain close enough to civilisation to have a good time. You may a reverie amidst the lap of nature, with beaches, lazy shores and chirpy birds for company. Maybe some sports to get back the much-needed adventure that you are missing in your life. You want to run and surf and snorkel and jump and breathe once again.
Well, if your heart has agreed to any or all of the things above, you need to visit Aruba once. Get on your travelling boots (or, slippers if you please) and run….no, fly to Aruba! A magical Dutch Caribbean island, off the coast of Venezuela where you can have breath-taking experiences and fun-filled holidays all at once. Aruba is known for its beaches and quaint little islands, magnificent wildlife and some ancient ruins that could transport you through history.
Here are the top five places that you could visit in Aruba:
Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba is primarily a cruise ship port, filled with colourful Dutch type colonial architecture and replete with parades and Carnivals on one hand and museums on the other. There are many historical attractions. Taste a slice of history at King Willem III Tower at Fort Zoutman or the Aruba Historical Museum, which were military fortifications built by the Dutch Army in 1798 and restored as late as 1983! Witness the Bushiribana gold Mine Ruins and the Numismatic Museum on lazy afternoons with coins from as back as 221 BC.
For nature enthusiasts, attractions include the Butterfly Farm, which houses several species of colourful butterflies, the Aruba Ostrich Farm where tour guides help you know more about ostriches and their curious habits and Seroe Colorado. A geologic formation with rugged cliffs overlooking the emerald blue ocean. Take a ride in the Aruba Streetcar and visit local spots like the Alhambra Casino, Royal Plaza Mall and the Renaissance Mall to enjoy a relaxed evening, with food and shopping.
Visit the Wilhemina Park and enjoy an afternoon of serenity withholding the statues of Anne Frank and Queen Wilhemina, with only iguanas for company. Splash Park Aruba is a must visit water park for the tiny tots and in case you want to go on a hiking trail or outdoor activities with your partner, follow the Aruba Trail Runner’s without a second thought. Do visit this city if you want to feel the pulse of this quaint little island!
The attractions include Boca Catalina, a beach famous for colourful corals and snorkelling, the Alto Vista Chapel and St. Anne’s Catholic Church which reeks of perfumed candles and divinity, and the California Lighthouse, which provides a panoramic view of the lighthouse and pretty food joints to satiate your hunger! The Philip’s Animal Garden is a must visit for the kids, where you can meet and greet with the good-natured animal friends.
The Natural Pool, or the “conchi”, located in the Windward Coast is known with its rugged choppy waters and scenic beauty. The Hadicurari Beach, famous for water sports is another star attraction. The Pedarnalis is a haven for divers who wish to explore the remnants of a 35-foot oil tanker that was torpedoed during World War II by a German submarine. Try parasailing and paragliding from Frank’s Place Waterplace and try a hand at gambling at Glitz Casino or Trop Club and Casino. With its beaches and natural rock formations, Noord is sure to enthral you in minutes.
There are multiple tourist spots in here. Start with touring the monument of the Anchor in Memory of all Seamen, which is a memorial dedicated to people who lost their lives at sea. Visit the Baby Beach for witnessing colourful corals and reefs along with water sports. Visit the Roger Beach if you want to sunbathe on the white sand without snorkelling; probably a must visit site if you are travelling with the too young or the elderly. The Rodgers Beach with cavanas and overlooking a giant oil refinery is a great spot for the science buffs.
The Colorado Point Lighthouse provides a great view for clicking pictures. Enjoy the sunset at this point, grab a bite at the Italian restaurant beside it and see the waves kissing the rugged shoreline. Do a mountain hike up the Grapefield Climbing Area if you are in the mood for a rocky climb to burn those calories that you picked up or simply laze around in the Museum of Industry, in case you missed one in Oranjestad! You could also visit the Community Museum or the art gallery, Cosecha Aruban Craft Design and Heritage, to buy handicrafts made by the local artisans. Overall, visit this place if you want a respite from the usual surfing and beach activities and are looking for something subtle yet spectacular.
Visit the Arikok National Park, if you are tired of the beach and want to explore the sands of the desert instead! For shutterbugs, this place has caves, ocean views and rock formations galore! Witness large boulders decked with Indian painting in the Ayo and weather-beaten Casibari formations ad go picnicking on the Natural Bridge of Anicouri, amongst strong winds.
Visit the Fontein Caves, which are now a source of freshwater but which were born out of volcanic activity to understand the history behind the geography of these myriad caves and the paintings on them. Visit the Andicuri Beach and the Boca Sprins Beach for some jet skiing and water-skiing, or the secluded Dos Playa Beach, if you are looking to spend a quiet afternoon with your partner. Complete your tour by visiting the Stonehenge of Aruba, and basking in the beauty of geological formations and rare varieties of cacti and hooting owls.
Of all the beaches that you could frequent in Aruba, this is the most famous one. Both the Palm Beach and the Eagle Beach are white stretches of silver sand, with the sky-blue waters of the ocean reflecting the hues of the sky. Snorkelling, diving, and swimming aside, enjoy the shade of the palm trees and build sandcastles with your child. Choose either between the Antila and the Catalina Bay, which are sunk German warships now turned into diving sites or the pirate sail and cruise at the Malmok Reef. Stay at the Le Cabana Beach Resort and Casino to enjoy a royal treatment amidst the oceanic blues. Visit bars and casinos which are dotted on this beach such as the Excelsior Casino or the famous Orchid Casino. Thus, if you are looking for a truly Caribbean experience of endless beach and flowing beer, visiting this place is a must.
So, come to Aruba and discover the life within and around once more!