Visit Aruba

Flag of Aruba

A Bit About Aruba

Aruba is a medium sized island at the southern edge of the Caribbean Sea and ideal place to visit. Currently, it holds a place within the Kingdom of the Netherlands along with the four other countries; The Netherlands, Curacao, and Sint Maarten. In addition to the Americans that visit Aruba each year, there are tons of international visitors as well.

The island belongs to a group of islands in the southern Caribbean Sea that it often referred to as the Dutch Caribbean. This is because all of the citizens living within this group of islands are Dutch nationals and hold all of the rights, freedoms, and privileges of such.

Country of ArubaAruba is located in the southern Caribbean Sea about 620 miles west of the primary part of the Lesser Antilles and around 18 miles to the north of the Venezuela Caribbean coast. The island spans a distance of about 20 miles in length while spanning a distance of around 6 miles at its widest point. “Aruba” is the “A” in the “ABC islands”. That three island group is composed of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. The ABC island group together with the other islands under Dutch influence in the area are collectively called the Dutch Caribbean.

Travelers will find that the island is well populated but not crowded. With a population of over 115,000 in an area over 69,000 square miles, there is still plenty of room to breathe.

Arikok National Park

Aruba’s Arikok National Park takes up a good amount of space on the island covering around 18 percent of the land. A visitor will be delighted to find and tour three primary geological formations: the Aruba lava formation, a quartz diorite formation, and a limestone formation that extends inward from the coast.

Aruba Lava Formation

According to geologists, the island of Aruba formed sometime in the last 145 million years. The say that it began in the Cretaceous, as part of the Lesser Antilles island arc. Aruba is built on a thick sequence of volcanic rock along with carbonate sediment deposits resulting from being submerged for certain times during its existence.

Quartz Diorite Formation

Quartz diorite is an igneous rock having been formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava. It’s also intrusive in that it is formed when magma penetrates existing rock, crystallizes, and solidifies underground to form “intrusions”. Between 5 and 20% of the rock is quartz.

Limestone Formation

Limestone is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms like coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. About 10% of sedimentary rocks are limestones and most cave systems pass through it. This is especially true of Aruba and you can see it for yourself while visiting Aruba’s Quadiriki Caves.

Fun Fact: Aruba is home to several species which only live on the island, including two unique species of snake and two bird species.

The active traveler will discover popular activities in Arikok National Park. There are popular hiking trails, covering various terrain from hills to gold mines, and even plantation ruins.

Visitors can visit traditional Aruban houses in the cas di torto style within the park.

Boca Grandi Beach

Beach in Aruba

Steady winds blowing towards the equator from the northeast and plentiful waves make Boca Grandi a perfect destination for advanced kite surfers. It’s also fun for interested and amused spectators! With very strong currents, it’s not for the weak or the faint of heart, swimming is discouraged.

It’s also a great place for beachcombers. They will discover all kinds of driftwood, corals and and other curiosities brought ashore by the ocean. The Boca Grandi Beach is only a 5 minute drive from downtown San Nicolas, the second largest city in Aruba. Visitors will recognize it by the bright red giant anchor marking the entrance.  

Palm Beach

Palm Beach is actually a tourism district more so than a “beach” a little under 4 miles northwest of the capital, Oranjestad. Travelers will find the standard well appointed accommodations like;  Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino, Aruba Marriott Resort, Occidental Grand Aruba, Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, Ritz Carlton Resort, and RIU palace Aruba. Palm Beach

Visitors will also have access to the Palm Beach Plaza Mall which is a  shopping district beside the hotels that was completed in 2009.  As you can guess by the name, this is a “beachy” area and there are multiple beaches available including; Malmok Beach, Hadicurari Beach, Arashi Beach, and Boca Catalina. And, the great thing about the beaches in Aruba is that they are all public! You’ll see smaller apartment complexes and luxurious holiday homes along a dead-end boulevard.

Ayo and Casibari Rocks
Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations

The Casibari Rock Formation is located near the center of the island of Aruba. It’s north of a prominent land feature, a high volcanic formation called the Hooiberg which can be seen from anywhere on the island. The formation is a “must see” for visitors to the island, similar to the Ayo Rock Formations which are located near Ayo village, a couple of miles from the natural bridge towards Casibari.The rocks in the formation are composed of quartz diorite. Prehistoric rock drawings still remain visible.

Boca Catalina Beach

The crystal clear and calm waters make this local gem Boca Catalina the perfect location for a private swim and snorkeling in Aruba.

In the Malmok Beach area, travelers will find Boca Catalina. It’s a small and secluded little area with wonderful clear, calm, and refreshing water. Literally steps from where you park your car, you can have the white sand between your toes. Reportedly, you can have this paradise all to yourself during the week as most of the fun tourist and family “action” happens on the weekends. This is a good move if you like to snorkel.

Mangel Halto Beach

This secluded beach makes for great sunning and snorkeling. There are calm, shallow waters teeming with sea life bolstered by an interesting network of mangroves.

Sun bathers that like a quiet beach and their privacy tend to go here. The public beach huts and shaded areas are great for a beach picnic with the family or for a couple having a romantic evening while watching Aruba’s sunset. The area offers a sand beach, a wooden sun deck, and access through the mangroves for open water kayaking and SUP boarding.

Mangel Halto Beach is notable in that it allows for great diving right from the shore. The drop off is so steep that you can walk out to the edge of the reef, look down, and actually see parrot fish, yellowtail snapper, sergeant majors and blue tangs as well as deep water gorgonians, sponges and anemones. The reef ecosystem reaches depths of around 110 feet. At that depth, divers will see octopi, morays and barracuda all around.

Quadirikiri Cave

Quadiriki Cave OpeningThe Quadiriki Caves are comprised of three caves that visitors have an opportunity to explore. Travelers will no doubt find them when they visit the  Arikok National Park. As limestone is a perfect material for cave formation, it;’s not easy to understand why the caves are located at the base of a limestone cliff. The cliffs contain Amerindian images that have been carved from or engraved on the rock. The name “Quadiriki” is of Arawak origin.

The Quadiriki Caves are comprised of three caves that visitors have an opportunity to explore. Travelers will no doubt find them when they visit the  Arikok National Park. As limestone is a perfect material for cave formation, it;’s not easy to understand why the caves are located at the base of a limestone cliff. The cliffs contain Amerindian images that have been carved from or engraved on the rock. The name “Quadiriki” is of Arawak origin.

Fun Fact: A mythical folk tale relates to a daughter of an Indian chief who fell in love and was imprisoned in the cave as her lover 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. Both reportedly died in the cave and their spirit vanished into heaven through the holes in the roof of the cave.

Natural Pool (Conchi)

The Natural Pool is a pool of water far off in a remote area in eastern Aruba. It has a unique look as a result of being formed by stone and volcanic rock circles.Together, these features create a depressed area that is filled with water creating a “natural pool”.

The "Natural Pool" of Aruba.

This natural pool is often referred to by other names such as “conchi” or “Cura di Tortuga”. Travelers need to know that because of the lay of the land, it is extremely difficult to get to the pool. You will ether have to go by all-terrain vehicle, ride a horse, OR grab a backpack a hike to it. Either way you go, it’s sure to be worth the effort

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