Take The Island Safari Tour
We had actually booked a rental car to see the island, but after seeing how crazy the drivers here are, and how many tourists have gotten lost, we decided to cancel it, and take a tour instead. I called, and booked the "Island Safari" with ABC Islands tours, for the next day.
They have 4 different tours to choose from, a half day tour, a full day tour, a Baby Beach tour, and a private tour. My preferred tour, would've been the private tour, but it was too expensive, and we didn't have a large enough group, so we just took the full day "Island Safari" tour.
It cost over $100 per person, but it’s worth it, as it visits more, than other island tours. The price includes, transportation, lunch, refreshments, and snorkel gear.
They picked us up at our hotel at 7:45, and took us to their office, where they put everyone in jeeps. You can either have a guide drive the jeep, drive it yourself, or have another tourist drive. We went with the guide, but the other two groups had tourists driving. This can be requested through the phone, or upon arrival.
The tour is supposed to last from 8:30-5:00, but we got back a little later.
The first half of our tour stopped at California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, Wariruri Arch, Bushiribana Gold Smelter Ruins, Wishing Rocks, and Baby Bridge. As well as some scenic overlooks. We than went back to Noord for lunch.
On the second half of our tour, we stopped at Baby Beach for some snorkeling. Our guide than took us to see some wild goats and donkeys, before continuing on to Quadirikiri Cave. The final stop on our tour, was the Natural Pool. He again made a few extra stops at overlooks, and a car jumping track.
On the way back, our guide put us in a bus, and dropped everyone off at their hotel.
I have been on tours in other countries, and have been very disappointed. I expected this to be another lame tour, but it was anything but. Our guide Joal was amazing! He was friendly, funny, and very knowledgeable. He was crazy, but in a good way. He did a lot of off roading, crazy stunts, and took us to extra places that weren't even on the itinerary. He made the whole tour fun. I am the sort of person who researches everything before he goes, and I always find these "off the beaten path" places, where no other tourists go, and he took us to places, even I didn't know about, so we got to see the “real“ Aruba. It was better than I expected, and we had a great time! We got more than our $100 worth. I would book Joal for a private tour if possible. Best guide on the island.
The only thing I would complain about, is our guide didn't take us to Cunucu Arikok, and Balashi Ruins, two places I REALLY wanted to see. We were right next to Cununcu Arikok, so he could've at least squeezed that in. The tour was also a bit rushed, but I don't blame him. That was a lot to see in one day. There were some places though, where he could've given us less time, so we would have more time in other places, or see more stuff.
The racing track, was a waste of time. Our guide just wanted to show off. I would much rather have visited Cunucu Arikok.
Other than that, I cannot complain about this tour. It wasn't even a tour, it was an adventure!
Quadirikiri Cave, Bushiribana, and Natural Pool were my favorite.
Forget about renting a car! Take this tour instead. Trust me, you will see a lot more on this tour, than you will on your own. Plus there are some places you cannot take a rental car. It will not survive the journey.
A lot of people in our group, had rented cars, but returned them, and took this tour instead.
This is the best way to see the island. You will get to see the "real" Aruba. Not just the beaches, casinos, and hotels for which the island is known. This tour is a must! Even if you were planning to spend your entire holiday on the beach, take this tour. You will NOT be disappointed.
BEST TOUR EVER!!!!
If you are visiting the island on a cruise stop, you can take the half day tour.Related to:
Aruba Aloe Factory
Aruba Aloe Factory was oine of the visits that I made while in Aruba.
First I tried to go to the Natural Pool, but it was expensive for my pocket.
In Aruba Aloe Facotry offered me a tour and showed me interesting fact about the production, farming and use of the aloe.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Adventure Travel
PICK UP BALASHI BEER BOTTLES
Help beautiful Aruba stay that way – beautiful. You can do your part and get paid! What a bargain. Balashi Beer has a deposit on their BEER bottles. Oddly I found zillions of these laying around. I founds a rubbish bin full of them (pictured) and loads cast off in natural beauty spots. So, you can clean up after some idiot and get paid for it. The best thing? Balashi tastes great! So keep Aruba clean and Balashi recycling!
(Just take them back to any store that sells Balashi and collect your Cashi !!!!)Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Family Travel
- Beer Tasting
Bushiribana Gold Smelter Ruins
One of the island's most famous attractions, are the ruins of the Bushiribana gold smelter.
It was built in 1825, by the Aruba Island Gold Mining Company, to extract gold from the ore that was being mined in the nearby hills of Ceru Plat. It operated for 10 years, before shutting down.
The structure was actually built to look like a fort, so that it would scare off pirates.
Our guide told us not to climb the walls, because they are unstable, but you can climb on the rocks, to the top of the ruins, and get a nice view, of the surrounding area.
Just across from the ruins, is a wish garden.
There were a few small pits, and structures as well, but our guide didn’t give us a lot of time, so I didn’t get to explore the entire site.
These are the only ruins of this scale, in the ABC islands, so they are a MUST on any visit to Aruba. Almost every tour of the island, whether it be a bus tour, jeep tour, quad tour, or horseback tour, stops at these ruins.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Also called, "Indian Cave", the Quadirikiri Cave, is the largest, most beautiful, and most visited, cave on Aruba. It is actually a series of 3 caves, stretching for a total of 492 ft. (150 m), beneath the desert landscape. This spectacular cave, is located in the eastern section of Arikok National Park.
Of the island's 3 cave systems, this one is the most popular with tourists, because the several holes in the ceiling, provide natural light, for the caves many chambers.
The cave is home to bats, we even saw a few, but they won't bother you, if you don't bother them. I also read that one of the caves is filled with petroglyphs, but we didn't get to see them, because a section of the cave was closed, because of bats, but at least we got to see the most beautiful area. Sadly these days however, there is more graffiti in the cave, than petroglyphs.
There are stairs that lead up to the entrance, but other than that, the cave is completely wild. Shorts and a t-shirt is fine, but bring a flashlight. Several sections of the cave are naturally lit, and there are very distinct formations, so just pay attention to what you pass, and you won't get lost.
A somewhat dubious folk tale relates to a daughter of an Indian chief who fell in love and was imprisoned in the cave as her paramour was not acceptable to her father. Her beloved one was imprisoned nearby, in Huliba Cave (Tunnel of Love), but both lovers managed to meet underground. Legend says, both of them died in the Quadirikiri Cave, and their spirits vanished into heaven through the holes in the roof of the cave.
Caves are some of my favorite places to explore. I have visited dozens of caves, in 4 different countries, and the formations in this cave, were some of the most spectacular, and most unique, I've ever seen.
What I loved most about this cave, is that there were no artificial lights, so you could see the natural colors of the formations.
If I wasn't here with a guided tour, I would spend more time in there, and explore the little side chambers. It would've been cool to have the whole cave just to ourselves.
I had originally planned to visit all the caves, but our guide only took us to this one, and it was enough for me. This one is the most spectacular, so once you've seen this one, the others won't interest you, so you can skip them.
I thought our guide would provide flashlights for us, but he did not. Surprisingly, I was the only one smart enough, to pack one, along with a head lamp. I am glad I came prepared, because there were some sections where you couldn't see anything. I could hear people tripping. BRING A FLASHLIGHT, especially if you want to go deeper, or explore the side chambers.
I read you can rent flashlights for $5, but I have no idea where.
If you only have time to visit ONE cave, like we did, visit this one. Once you see this one, it will be enough.
It is easier to visit this cave on a tour, as we did, but if you want to venture here yourself, DO NOT enter the park from San Nicolas. It is a one way road, so you have to enter the park from the west, and go through the entire park. It is best to rent a jeep for the journey. A regular rental car, might not survive.
Aruba is one of the few islands in the Caribbean, that has caves, so you have to visit a least one.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
So, my wife and I did the ATV tour when we were in Aruba (Feb. 2014). I picked one of the ATV Tours on www.aruba.com (arubafuntours). I give it a 6 of out 10 stars. I've been riding ATV's since I was about 8 years old so I'm not new to ATVing at all.
Our tour was supposed to be a 3 hour tour and we were done in 2 hours. We were also supposed to go visit the "Natural Pool" according to their website and we did not get to visit it at all, not sure why. The ATV's were in "very used" condition, pretty beat up. The rear tires of our tour guides ATV and another ATV that went with us had basically NO tread on them at all. That's a safety concern in my book, makes it easier for the tire to blow if it hits a semi-sharp object. Ours luckily had very decent tread on them. I did hear a clicking sound on the left side of our ATV but don't know what it was. Also, when we would come to a stop, our ATV had very noticeable engine breaking right before we would stop, it didn't seem right. I also felt quite a bit of engine heat on my left leg, luckily aruba has a constant breeze. So, I don't know if I would do the tour again. I might do the UTV / Side X Side tour instead, seems a little more safe.
I've always enjoyed caves so we put this on our list for the day we rented a Jeep to explore Aruba. The caves are located within the Arikok National Park, along with several other lovely spots. You did need to stop at the Visitor Center and pay a $10/person fee to enter the park. The visitor center gave us a map that was easy to follow. The park hours are 8:00am-4:00pm
The caves were easy to get to and you could drive up and park right next to the entrance. There was a set of stairs to get to the entrance then the inside was mostly level. We didn't have flashlights, but that wasn't a problem because there are two large openings along the cave that let in sunlight.
There were a couple bats flying around, but they leave you alone if you leave them alone. :)Related to:
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
Bushiribana Gold Smelter Ruins
One of the places that was definitely off the beaten path and something you would want a jeep for was the Bushiribana Gold Smelting Ruins on the eastern portion of the island.
Plenty of room to explore and take photos of these ruins of a building. It was originally used to smelt gold from the ore in the nearby mines, and was built in 1825, but was only in service for about 10 years.
Visit the California Lighthouse
The California Lighthouse is located near Arashi Beach on the northwest corner of the island, Aruba. It was named for the steamship California, which wrecked in 1891 near this point. According to locals, it was open to the public until recently when someone committed suicide from it.
There is a restaurant called La Trattoria el Faro Blanco (Restaurant by the White Lighthouse), which has bathroom facilities, but they are for charge if you are not using the restaurant for dining.
Arikok Natioinal Park
We took a tour with De Palm Tours to the park. This is a wonderful ecological preserve where we saw wild donkeys, goats, hummingbirds and other species of flora a fauna especially the wind swept divi divi trees. It was nice to see an area of a place that was completely different from the beach and shopping areas. Arikok National Park takes up about 20% of Aruba's land. The weather here is warm and sunny and dry due to a Marine Climate. The island lies outside the hurricane belt. The walk was very easy because it was leisurely and was on a sidewalk where we walked beside massive diorite boulder outcroppings. The largest diorite rock is Mount Hooiberg aka Haystack. We also stopped at a cave that had Indian writing and symbols inside. Our guide was a park ranger, and we did not identify very many birds on this walk.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
Alto Vista Chapel
Alto Vista Chapel is a small Catholic chapel also known as "Pilgrims Church" that stands on the hills above the north shore of the sea and to the northeast of the town of Noord, on the island of Aruba, 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela. The church painted on the outside in stark bright yellow colour makes it a conspicuous religious monument for people to visit. The present Chapel of Alto Vista was completed in 1952 and stands in the same location as the original chapel, that was built by Domingo Silvestre, the Venezuelan missionary from Santa Ana de Coro, Venezuela, in 1750.
The Alto Vista Chapel was stated to be the location where conversion of Aruban Indians to Christianity started and the religious history of Aruba began.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Castles and Palaces
Eagle Beach is a beach on the island of Aruba.
Eagle Beach is considered the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean. At the Bounty Beach are several hotel chains that are separated only by a promenade. At the end of the beach in the north is the famous dividiviboom that much to see in commercials for the island of Aruba.
Eagle Beach at sunset
Eagle Beach is also called the Low Rise area. The other area, the High Rise area lies north of Palm Beach Eagle Beach. The distinction in these areas is in the construction of the hotels on the beaches. Palm Beach is mainly high-rise hotels along Eagle Beach, this is primarily low-rise hotels (less than four floors).Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Baby Beach is a beach in Aruba. The bay is in the 30s of the 20th century largely artificially created by employees of the Lago refinery in Sint Nicolaas, when it will have filled with sand and the beach was. The beach is located high in the southeast of the island near San Nicolas, is one of the tourist attractions of the island. The name was coined Baby Beach because it is extremely suitable for children. The beach is located in a small bay, and after just under 20 meters from the coastline still 1 meter deep. The water is clear and blue, which is like a popular snorkeling spot.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
Diving & Snorkling
Its breath taking beaches, its warm and crystal waters are what they offer for all tourists, regardless of budget, preference. Here in Aruba, there are plenty of water activities that offer for all tourists and Aruba Snorkeling is one of them.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Water Sports
Manchebo Beach is very similar to Eagle Beach, it has some of the nicest stretches of beaches that Aruba can offer, it host some of the low rise resort such as Manchebo, Divi Village and Tamarijn resorts and hotels.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
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
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Palm Beach Road, Noord 43E, Noord, Caribbean
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
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