The Bubali Bird Sanctuary can be reached from the capital via the inland northern road. Special interest excursions in different languages are carried out for those interested in archaeology, bird and nature lovers. The California Lighthouse rises in the lonely dunes at the northern tip of the island. Divers can take boats to an old German freighter that sank here during WWII. The Alto Vista Chapel in Altovista on the north coast is also worth a visit. There are several cave systems on Aruba. The Fontein Caves were formerly inhabited by the Arawak Indians, the original inhabitants of Aruba. The cave walls are decorated with paintings that probably once served as part of Indian sacrificial rituals. Wild bats find shelter in the caves of Quadirikiri. The island’s best-preserved Native American drawings can be seen in Arikok National Park. Almost exactly at the geographic center of the island is the ancient settlement of Santa Cruz, where the island’s first cross is said to have been erected. On the plain northwest of Santa Cruz rises the Hooiberg (“haystack hill”). A few hundred steps lead to the summit (165 m) from which you can see as far as Venezuela. Northeast lies the village of Noord, responsible for the Church of Saint Anne is known. The oldest church in Aruba has a beautifully carved oak altar. The road from Noord leads to the California Lighthouse (see above). Continuing along the road leads to Bushiribana, which flourished during the Aruba Gold Rush era. Gold was found here in 1824 and mined until the outbreak of World War I. Smelting kettles and furnaces have been preserved. Not far from there are the ruins of a pirate castle. Gold has also been found at Balashi to the south. In the southeastern part of the island is Aruba’s second largest city, St. Nicolas. In eastern Seroe Colorado, home to Aruba’s iguanas, there are other gorgeous beaches.
- Topmbadirectory: Offers information about politics, geography, and known people in Aruba.
Pastel-colored gables and a windmill, imported bit by bit from Holland and now home to a restaurant (De Oude Mole), are typical testimonies of Dutch heritage in the capital, Oranjestad. The daily market in the Paardenbaai (schooner harbour) offers fish, fruit and vegetables. The Historical Museum is housed in the Zoutman Fort, the oldest building on the island (1796). The Willem Tower was built in 1868. Every Tuesday, a mini festival with music takes place in the courtyard, giving an insight into the island’s culture. Also worth visiting are the Archaeological Museum, the Geological Museum and the Numismatic Museum. Oranjestad is known for its good shopping opportunities, with the Caya Betico Croes shopping street offering the greatest selection. But there is also a great offer for those interested in culture: city tours that shed light on the history, architecture and culture of the Dutch Caribbean island.
Shopping in Aruba is virtually duty-free, and stores stock goods from all over the world. It is worth shopping for perfume, tablecloths and bed linen, jewelry, watches, cameras, crystal glass, china and other luxury items. Downtown Oranjestad is home to numerous modern and architecturally interesting shopping malls, including Palm Beach Plaza (website: www.palmbeachplaza.com), Renaissance Marketplace & Mall (website: www.shoprenaissancearuba.com), and Sun Plaza (website: www .sunplaza-aruba.com). Local handicrafts such as island-themed paintings and prints, pottery, objects made from kwihi wood or metal, or models of the cunucu, traditional Aruban cottages, are popular souvenirs. Since Aruba is an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, typical Aruban souvenirs also include windmills and wooden shoes in a Caribbean ambience. The days of the gold rush are long gone, but you can still find very beautiful pieces of jewelery at reasonable prices from the local jewelers. Aloe grows in abundance in Aruba, and toiletries are produced and sold locally. At the weekends, the flea market on LG Smith Boulevard in Oranjestad attracts many tourists. Here you will find a wide range of Aruban handicrafts, clothing, leather goods and souvenirs as well as Caribbean snacks and grilled specialties.
Mon-Sat 09.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.00. Some larger shopping centers are open until 8:00 p.m. A free, nostalgically designed shuttle bus takes tourists on a shopping tour through the capital’s business district.
Above all, Aruba’s nightlife is colorful. For the islanders, music is an expression of pure joie de vivre, and there is plenty of that here. Fiery rhythms from the bars and nightclubs penetrate the streets every evening. Salsa and merengue sounds invite you to dance along, but you can also hear pieces from the American charts, European house music, rock and jazz. The most boisterous event of the year is Carnival, when a month of carnival parades, competitions and street parties bring fantastically costumed participants to Caribbean tunes. In addition to the colorful and cheerful carnival atmosphere, the warm-up parties are also about enjoying the beer. Year-round downtown Oranjestadt offers chic cafes, cozy pubs and hip cocktail bars. There are also several discotheques and nightclubs with revues and live shows in Oranjestad. Latin American dance performances and live concerts are also regularly held in Aruba’s theaters and performance halls, as well as in some restaurants and hotels. The party buses (Internet: www.kukookunuku.com or www.bananabusaruba.com) offer a special evening program, transporting their guests from one party to the next. Aruba is also known for its numerous casinos, which are open from 11 am until the early hours of the morning (admission from 18 years and older). The drive-in cinema and the only other cinema show the latest American, European and South American films.
Traditional Aruban cuisine has been shaped by Spanish, South American and Dutch influences. Only a few foods grow on the island itself, but there is still a wide range of culinary delights. Fish and seafood have always been a staple of Aruba’s diet. Cheeses such as Edam and Gouda are a must. There is also a large selection of international dishes. Aruba offers one of the largest restaurant densities in the Caribbean.
Local specialties include stobà (lamb or goat stew), cala (fried beans), keshi yena (cheese casserole with chicken or beef and vegetables), pastechi (meat or cheese-filled pies), ayacas (meat rolls wrapped in leaves) and sopito (thick fish soup).
Hotels charge a 15% service charge on food and beverages. Some restaurants charge a 15% service charge; if not, a tip of 10 to 15% of the bill is appropriate.
The drinking water is obtained in one of the largest seawater desalination plants in the world and is considered one of the best in the world. The Balashi beer, brewed according to the purity law, is also exported to the neighboring islands of Bonaire and Curacao and even to Holland. As everywhere in the Caribbean, alcoholic mixed drinks and cocktails are often refined with a strong dash of rum. The deep red Coecoei liqueur is made from agave and is often used in cocktails. The wine pressed in Aruba is a special feature: the grapes of the sea grape tree are processed into a full-bodied wine and only served on special occasions.
Minimum age for consumption of alcoholic beverages
In Aruba, you can drink alcohol from the age of 18.
Most hotels on Palm Beach and Eagle Beach offer a very high level of comfort. Many of these luxuriously appointed hotels are beachfront, have swimming pools, shopping, sports facilities and nightly entertainment. Hotel prices are significantly lower in the summer as the peak season here extends through the winter. 16.6% tax and service are added to the hotel prices, and 15% on meals. Categories: All accommodation is divided into luxury and 1st class. Further information from the Aruba Tourism Authority in Seeheim (see addresses) or from the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association (AHATA), PO Box 542, LG Smith Boulevard 174, Oranjestad. (Tel: (8) 2 26 07).
80.8% of the population are Roman Catholic. There are also Protestants, Hindus, Muslims, Confucians and Jews.
Social Rules of Conduct
Social manners: Arubans are very hospitable, but invitations to private homes are still rather rare. Most social encounters take place in a casual atmosphere in the hotels. The manners and customs are influenced by Dutch, indigenous and African traditions. American manners and customs are increasing. The usual courtesy formulas should be observed. They shake hands to greet each other. Dress code: Casual attire is accepted, but bring formal wear. Light cotton clothing is recommended. Locals don’t wear shorts in town, but they’re used to it from guests. Swimwear belongs on the beach. Some hotel beaches have separate zones for topless sunbathing. People often dress smarter when going out in the evening, especially when visiting the casinos. A jacket is not required, except for official functions. Smoking: Smoking is generally allowed everywhere. However, some hotels divide into smoking and non-smoking rooms. Non-smoking zones should be observed. Tipping: Hotels and restaurants usually charge an extra 15% for service. A service charge of 10-15% is appropriate where this surcharge is not charged. Taxi drivers only receive tips if they help with luggage. In this case, it is appropriate to round up the invoice amount by 10%.
Best travel time
The Passat cools you down at an average temperature of 28°C. Short rain showers can occur between October and December.
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