Off the eastern coast of Central America, bathed equally by the pristine waters of the Caribbean and the benevolent rays of the equatorial sun, lies a tiny island that has become synonymous for Happy.
They say the only thing warmer than the weather here is the hearts of its 100,000 inhabitants. The island regularly features on lists of the most picturesque and idyllic vacation spots in the world but there is more to the island than just pretty scenes and beach culture.
- On the north of the island is a rare piece of Aruban history that has withstood the ravages of time. Bushiribana Gold Mine was set up by the Aruba Island Gold Mining Company in 1872 and its smelting works were housed in a construction of solid stone. Now, almost a century and a half later, the building still stands and is safe to wander into and explore – a testament to the quality of the build. And perhaps to how much its owners were afraid of robbers. When you discover a single compound occupies almost a fifth of a nation, you can be reasonably content that you have stumbled upon a good clue to that nation’s character.
- Arikok National Park, taking up 18% of Aruba’s land surface, encompasses great tracts of land in the north-east. Within its bounds is a perfect example of the rich biodiversity of Aruba together with a link to the past through Indian drawings found in caves. Either hike or travel by car within this treasury of exciting discoveries.
- If you are an animal person, perhaps a trip to the Aruba Ostrich Farm residence might pique your interest. Home to almost one hundred animals, the farm is an ideal opportunity to get up close and personal that we usually observe from afar in zoos. Despite the name,the farm also has emus and the interactive tours offer a great insight into these interesting birds.
- Spanish Lagoon is so named because it was the docking point for their entry to Aruba when they arrived over five hundred years ago. The spectacular blue of the shimmering waters boasts an impressively diverse array of marine life while many species of birds fly through the air above. Specific sites have been isolated for water sports like kayaking, snorkeling, and sailing. Nearby is also a fish market where you can get the freshest catch of the day.
- Well, we cannot talk about Aruba and completely ignore its beaches, can we? Eagle Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world, has won the title of the world’s most beautiful more than once. However, it is famous for one other reason – turtles! Around the middle of the year, Eagle Beach is replete with red and white markers that indicate turtle nests. Thousands of eager turtle-watchers flock to the site to see the little hatchlings take their first steps into the ocean where they will return years later to hatch their own young. The exact timing of the hatching period varies by year so it is best to check for updates before planning a turtle viewing trip.
Aruba is busiest during the December to March northern winter, and this is when rates and occupancy is at its peak. However, because the weather is virtually constant through the year, it’s always a good time to visit!