A donkey sanctuary has been set up on the island and is run on a voluntary basis. There were lots of ill treated and hungry donkeys wandering the island and most of these have now been rescued. I did see one fine healthy specimen still wandering wild, but it turned out that was in the National Park and this is one place where the donkeys are still safe and well fed.
I visited the sanctuary and although it's a little small it's a place where the animals and obviously well taken care of. You can feed them, but be careful what you give them.
There's no charge to enter but contributions are gratefully accepted.
The donkey sanctuary is situated very close to the Turtle Rock.Related to:
Not nearly as easy to get to as the Natural Bridge. Sheltered from the fierce north shore (and its reported sharks!) the Pool is located east of the Bridge. We reached it by horseback. Be sure to carry all your snorkeling gear down the many steps to the pool - you won't want to make the hike back right away!
This is one of the most popular attractions on the island. The local name for it is "Conchi", which is the Papiamento word for "Natural Pool".
The pool is located in Arikok National Park, in one of the most inaccessible parts of the island. I say inaccessible, because the only way to get here, is to take a jeep or ATV tour. If you try to come out here with a rental car, it won't survive the journey. We visited the pool as part of an all day jeep tour.
As beautiful as it is, be very, very careful. The pool is located on the island's violent east shore, infamous for its enormous waves, and rip currents. Our guide had planned for us to snorkel here, but the water was too rough. He said if someone wants to, they can swim, but the only people in the water were tour guides. Everyone else opted to stay out of the water. Don't climb the rocks or go in the water, unless your guide says it's okay. If you enter the water, or climb a rock at the wrong time, you will never be seen again. I have been to a lot of coastal areas, and have never seen waves as large as the ones here.
Despite the danger, it is a beautiful area, so as long as you listen to your guide, you will have a great time. Our guide said that when the water is calm, it's a really great swimming and snorkeling spot, but if it's unsafe to get into the water, just walk around the little tide pools. You can see a lot of small fish and crabs.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
I'm putting this tip under "Off the Beaten Track" because I hope that when you're on holiday you don't have to come here.
I ended up at Accident & Emergency with my Mum as she had an accident and broke a couple of bones.
The hospital looks shabby from the outside and A&E does nothing to inspire confidence as it's painfully (pardon the pun) slow, like most A&E's and equally shabby. However there's a nice enough waiting room with a TV and outside there's a soda machine. Bring plenty of coins with you as you're going to be thirsty waiting in that heat.
Before anyone saw Mum she had to register with the hospital and pay a cash deposit of just under $90. This was set against her eventual bill.
Once we got beyond the waiting area the hospital inside is modern and cool, well equipped, and with helpful and knowledgeable staff. They all seem to speak English and several other languages, too. We left after four hours feeling well looked after. The total bill for examination, X rays and consultant's opinion was about $400 which you must pay on the spot.
The hospital is the only one on the island and is situated in the low rise hotel area. Within a stone's throw of this there's a whole road of private clinics, all recently built and very swish looking.Related to:
The Colours of Aruba
Everywhere you go in Aruba you will find amazingly coloured buildings. The locals love to paint their houses in the most amazing shades, and on one occasion our taxi driver entertained us with a tale of how he painted a house for two English men but hated the colour.
The colour of the moment in Aruba appears to be a sort of lime green.
If you drive around the island you will see some greatly colourful buildings, but for now I'll leave you with some pics of those I spotted, starting with that lime green.....Related to:
- Arts and Culture
See the North Shore by 4x4
The drive (by rented 4x4 jeep that we picked up from Hertz at our hotel) from the California Lighthouse along the north shore (Atlantic side) of the island is well worth the effort. Lots of beautiful vistas of crushing waves and a craggy coast. The natural bridge is a great photo op, and a nice place for meditatively watching the surf.
We walked over to Fort Zoutman, Willem III Tower, and Museo Arubano. The Museo Arubano is supposed to be a museum with information on Aruba’s history. It was established by the CCA - Cultureel Centrum van Aruba - (Cultural Center Aruba Foundation) in 1983 and I thought it might be interesting. But it was not open, even though it was within the hours that were listed for it to be open (Mon-Fri 8:30am-4:15pm). There were no signs to indicated that it was a museum or to show why it was not open. I am guessing that it was closed because of Christmas week. The second time we visited it was not open either. Admission is $6 if you find it open.
So we walked around the fort. This is the oldest bit of Dutch architecture on the island and dates from 1796. It was named after Dutch Rear Admiral Zoutman who outwitted a British convoy on the North Sea during the 4th British War. It is situated on what was then the shoreline and is armed with four cannons. For almost a century, government offices were housed in Fort Zoutman, with a police department and a prison making use of the building at other times.
Although I would have been interested in the museums, my primary interest was the Willem III Tower because that originally served as a lighthouse when it was added to the fort in 1868. It had Aruba's first public clock and was also used to sight pirates.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
- Road Trip
dirty north shore adventure
near the california lighthouse, there is a path barely visible which takes you up the north side of Aruba. the ocean is rampant and rocky.. I believe you can hire a Jeep tour -but we rented our own.
it is desolate and windy.
There is no where to stop off until you get to the natural bridge -so pack some beers or something to drink.
It takes about an hour or so depending how often you stop. there are clever rock piles and ocean rock about.
we used it as a nice refresher -a day trip after a long day in the sun.
Named for the California, a ship which wrecked off the north shore.
The lighthouse is located at the far western tip of the north shore, accessible by car from the resorts, or by ATV/horseback if you're so inclined. It is not open to the public, so you can't go inside, but it makes for a nice photo op.
Wariruri Natural Bridge
This is a less known natural bridge on the island. In fact, it's so little known, that it's not even marked on my map. I had no idea it existed, until our guide stopped here. The reason it's so little known, and isn't even marked on my map, is because there isn't even a road here. You have to go off roading, to get to it. Its remote location, means you can have the whole place to yourself, if you are able to make it here.
The bridge is located at Wariruri Bay, between the Alto Vista Chapel, and Bushiribana ruins. We visited the bridge on a jeep tour, but if you have a quad, or your own jeep, you can visit the bridge yourself. It's not difficult to find. Just travel along the ocean, on the eastern coast of the island, and you will reach it.
The bridge is less than a mile from Bushiribana, so if you have a rental car, you can park it at Bushiribana, and walk to the bridge.
I actually liked this bridge better, than the more popular, Baby Bridge. Baby Bridge can only be viewed from above, so you can't really see the whole bridge. This one is exposed, and can be viewed from the ground, so you can actually see that it is a bridge, and it's not packed with cars, buses, and tourists, like Baby Bridge.Related to:
The west coast of Aruba is dotted with ship wrecks, one of the highest concentrations in the Caribbean. The most famous, and most popular is the Antilla, but there are around 7 or 10 of them. Some of them stick out of the water, some of them are shallow enough to snorkel, while others are completely submerged and require scuba diving. There are several companies on the island, which offer wreck diving tours. Most tours visit the Antilla, which can be explored by snorkeling. The others require scuba diving, but if you don't want to go through all the preparations required to scuba dive, you can take the Atlantis submarine tour, which visits 2 shipwrecks. That's how we got to see them.
You can often see fish and coral, living on and around them.
If you want to see a shipwreck without getting wet, the Baboo is a nice wreck, that can be seen from Malmok and Arashi Beach, as well as the road traveling to California Lighthouse. Not sure if you can snorkel at this one.
Other famous shipwrecks are the S.S. California, Jane Sea, and the Star Gerren, which has been nicknamed, the "Cindarella of Shipwrecks".Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Diving and Snorkeling
The dividivi (Caesalpinia coriaria) from the Fabaceae family (Leguminosae) is a tree that is common in the Caribbean.
The copies are known by the trade winds are formed. A tree that grows as in one direction is sometimes called fan beam.
In Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, this tree often.Related to:
Head towards the lighthouse on the western tip of the island. The last beach on the south before the lighthouse on the western tip is much more quiet then anything you'll find in the over populated hotel row.Related to:
Oh Island In The Sun
The much heard question "Is there anywhere worth visiting" and the answer "In a word, NO!" is a bit out of proportion. You're on an island, so ... ... ...
Yep, you can get some excellent marine equipment and instruction for a sea-dive, water-skiing, parasailing, go for a windsurf, jet-ski or charter a boat for a great fish (tuna, marlin). Watch the dolphins off the coast of Savaneta ... we could see the boats leaving the mainland every morning ... when we had to work hard for our money !!!Related to:
- Water Sports
- Diving and Snorkeling
I don't know if this is a well known beach in Aruba, but we've never knew it until we drove upon it. BocaCatalina is a beautiful beach along the west coast of Aruba, on your way to the California Light House.
The water there is just so clear, and the beach is all white sand. We put on our swimming goggles and did a little snorkeling right off the beach. For your convenience and for exotic measures, big straw huts along the beachs are availble to store your belongings or just hide out from the sun. Across the street while driving along to the california light houses you see some big mansions with palm trees in the court yard. Beautiful mexican style, south american style houses.
Been here many times. My opinion is it is the best overall resort on the island for value, luxury,...more
LG Smith Boulevard 55-B, Oranjestad, Aruba, 1347, Caribbean
Good for: Business
Palm Beach Road, Noord 43E, Noord, Caribbean
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
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