The sights and things worth knowing about Aruba.
The Aloe plant has very thick leaves that contain a lot of slime and juice and have thorns on the side. If you have sunburn you should take one of these leaves and apply the juice on the burned spot. It doesn't smell to good but the pain from the sunburn will decrease almost instantly. You should stay out of the sun for a while to let you skin heal from the sunburn.
On the north side of the island, outside the inhabited area is the Maria-chapel of Alto Vista. In the early days there were no priest's on the island but the fiscal's did the praying ceremony's. One of them, fiscal Silvestre, started building a chapel in 1750. This chapel was used until 1816 but then it fell into decay. Though there was nothing more than just the foundations of the chapel, people kept coming and praying there. In 1952 the new chapel was build and every year on the first sunday in october a pilgrimage takes place. Inside the chapel is an antique Spanish ornament that used to stand in the first chapel.
Arikok, national park
On the north side of the island, near the hill Arikok, lies the national park Arikok. In 1972 the STINAPA got control over an area of 870 acre in order to make a national park and to manage this. To make the inhabitants and the tourists aware of the unique plants and animals of Aruba a walking-tour was set out through the national park. During this walk you would see some special places. Also an old cunucu house has been build to show the visitors how the people used to live here in the 19th century.
The California Lighthouse
The California Lighthouse is located on Westpunt (the west point). If you would like to see a beautiful sunset you can go here. This is not the highest point on Aruba, but it overlooks a big part of the island and the ocean. And if you want to discover the rough north side of the island, this is the place to start. From the California Lighthouse runs a road that stretches across the entire north side of the island and passes every sight worth seeing there.
In 1762 already, plans were made to build a fort but it would take until 1796 to make this happen. The fort was called Fort Zoutman after the Dutch admiral who became famous during the fourth sea war in 1781 between the Netherlands and England. The fort had 4 cannons which were only used twice. After 1816 the fort was neglected, and in 1889 it was even used as an aloe farm and 200 aloe plants were planted inside the fort. In 1980 the tower and the fort were restored and in 1983 the Museo Historico Arubano (the Aruban historic museum) was housed here. Every tuesday the bon bini festival is held inside the fort.
The Rock formations
When you go in the direction of Paradera you will find the rock formations Ayo and Casibari. These rock formations have several holes in them from erosion. These holes are very big and allow you to walk trough the rock formations and stand inside them. If you go on a jeep tour one of these rock formations will be visited.
The first time gold was found in Aruba was in 1824. At first the way to mine the gold was to collect the gold that came free because of erosion. Later (after 1839) the stones with gold in them were collected and crushed to get the gold out. This was done in the gold melting plants in Bushiribana and Balashi. The ruins of these plants are still there. The plants were not used for long and in 1916 the mining for gold was over because of the lack of necessaries for purification. Though gold-mining is not profitable here, you can still find some gold.
On the north-coast, near Fontein and Guadirikiri are the most interesting caves. The caves of Fontein have beautiful indian drawings on the cave ceiling. You can get in to this cave easily, it has a total length of about 95 meters. The caves of Guadirikiri are also easily accessible and consist of two large chambers that have holes in the roofs where the sunlight shines trough. The total length of these caves is about 150 meters and has several low passages that don't lead to any other caves. The 'Tunnel of love' is a subterranean passage. The floor is uneven and difficult to walk on and you will definitely need a flashlight. The Hulibacave is a same type of cave. This one consists out of two large areas which are connected with a tunnel. The maximum depth is 35 meters and the highest chamber is accessible trough an opening in the roof and a stair with 18 steps. If you go trough the tunnel you can get into the second chamber.
In the middle of the island you will find a cone shaped hill, about 168 meters high. If you climb the stairs you can get to the top of the Hooiberg from which you can see the entire island. If you plan on doing this you should make this trip early in the morning or late in the afternoon, otherwise it will be hot and very exhausting. The stones on the hill are magnetic and unique, its called hooibergiet. Though some people think the Hooiberg is the highest hill on the island it really is not. The Yamanota is highest with 188 meters and the Arikok is the second highest with 176 meters. The Hooiberg is the third with 168 meters.
You can also take a tour over the island in a helicopter. If you would like to do this you can check with your hotel or you can go to the pier behind the conference center at the harbor in Oranjestad, or you can go behind the Amsterdam Manor resort. There you will find a small building were you can get information and make an appointment.
If you've been to Aruba you must have seen the north side of the island. On this side are practically no houses and no road's. This is what everybody calls the rough side of Aruba. On the north side the sea is coming in with force. There are no beaches and you can't swim here, the sea is much to dangerous and sharks have seen at some occasions. But here you will also see the natural vegetation of Aruba, no palm trees here! Apart from some beautiful sites like the fallen natural bridge, the natural pool and a look under water at baby beach, you can also find a lot of historic places like the indian caves and the old gold melting plant. If you want to discover this side of Aruba there are different ways of doing that. You can take a guided tour, either in a touring-bus or you can take a jeep tour. If you decide on the jeep tour, bear in mind that four people go in one jeep and one of them has to drive. Of course you can rent a car and make the tour one your own. To do this you will need a four wheel drive and a map of the island. And in all cases, don't forget the sunblock.