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Off the coast of Venezuela a small Dutch Caribbean island is nestled in the Lesser Antilles islands. The Lesser Antilles are several islands extending in an arc from Puerto Rico to the northern coast of South America. On clear days it is possible to see Venezuela from the eastern side of the island. Walk the streets and enjoy the contrast of Dutch colonial architecture to the bright Caribbean colors. Aruba is an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the official languages being Dutch and Papiamento while English and Spanish are spoken alongside them. Cruise ships arrive weekly on Aruba’s coast and over 150 flights from cities all over the world land on the small island to enjoy the white, sandy beaches and the island’s beautiful wildlife.
Things to do in Aruba
Eagle Beach is known as one of the best beaches in the world and voted number one beach in the Southern Caribbean by Trip Advisor. It is famous for its white, soft sand and is the widest beach in Aruba. Shaded picnic areas sprinkle the sand and a few months a year the beach sea turtles nest in the sand. Get there at the right time and watch the hatchlings find their way back home to the ocean. The Arikok National Park is 7,907 acres and takes up nearly 20 percent of the island. After you pay a small fee to get into the park, you can take advantage of the guided tours by park rangers, free of charge. The park is home to many rare animals, indigenous to Aruba. If you want to cool off, head to one of the beaches in the national park. Noord is home to Aruba’s first church, Alto Vista Chapel, Boca Catalina, one of the best snorkeling spots in Aruba, and the Natural Pool. The Natural Pool is a located in a very remote area, formed by rock and volcanic stone circles. Surrounded by some of Aruba’s most rugged terrain, it is impossible to access by car. Discover the Pool by reaching the site by foot, horseback, or 4x4 vehicle.
Day trips from Aruba
The north coast of Aruba is the most rugged terrain of the island but here you can enjoy the natural beauty of the Natural Pool. Some of Aruba's most visited sites such as the California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, Bushiribana Gold Mine Ruins and the Natural Bridge can be found along the north coast. Aruba's capital, Oranjestad, is located on the west coast. Oranjestad has museums, historical sites, casinos, dance clubs and much more to suit all who visit. On the west coast you will also find long stretches of white beaches and most of the hotels and all-inclusive resorts. Eagle Beach is also located along the west coast of the island. On the east side of Aruba is mostly taken up by the Arikok National Park. The park offers a great variety of landscapes from caves with Indian drawings, to sand dunes and beaches, to rough hills of volcanic lava formations and the natural pool. Tmanota hill, located in the park, is the highest point in Aruba. The south coast holds the village Savaneta, the oldest town in Aruba. You will also find Baby Beach and several great windsurfing and kitesurfing spots. Along the south coast the scuba diving is known for the wrecks surrounding the island. Amazing dive sites such as the wreck of Antilla, a cargo ship sunk shortly after World War II, awaits you in the deep ocean.
When you decide on a hotel or rental in Aruba, first decide what part of the island you want to stay in. Do you want to be along the coast, or closer to the capital? The west coast is a good compromise as it offers the capital of Aruba and one of the best beaches in the world. Tripping.com offers a variety of hotels, resorts and rentals that can bring you inland or right on the beach. With almost 2,000 locations you are bound to find the right place for your vacation in Aruba.
Transportation in Aruba
Driving is on the right of the road in Aruba, the same as North Americans and most South Americans if you choose to rent a car while on the island. There are plenty of rental agencies but it is suggested to rent in advance as they are usually busy with customers. The taxis don't have meters, the fares are set and approved by the government, but visitors should stay alert and confirm fares before you get into the taxi. The bus system, called Arubus, is one of the more popular methods of public transportation because it is a cheap, convenient and comfortable method of transportation. Bus stops are located in front of almost every hotel or resort, and wait time for a bus is usually less than thirty minutes.