Aruba Sightseeing & Points of Interest
While you are on vacation, be sure to do some Aruba sightseeing. Aruba has some unique points of interest to take in, if you can pull yourself away from the gorgeous beaches.
Sightseeing can be done on your own, or with a group tour.
Places that you must see:
The California Lighthouse
If you wish to do your Aruba sightseeing on your own, you will need a vehicle, preferably a Jeep. Many of the sights are on the map, but, keep in mind that most of the streets and roads have no signs. On the north side of the island in particular, some of the roads are little more than gravel paths created by regular use.
Scott had reserved a Jeep in advance, since we knew that we wanted to go and explore the island on our own. But, Jeeps and 4WD vehicles get rented very quickly. So plan ahead.
One of the Boardwalk hotel employees gave us a map and marked off places that he thought we might enjoy, including a few local pubs that most tourists never see. We started at the northern tip, stopping at the California Lighthouse for some really spectacular views and photos. (we started out early morning so we didn’t get the full effect of the sunset at the lighthouse but, the view was incredible).
We continued up and around the northern coast, past the Alto Vista Chapel, following the ruts in the rocky sand. We stopped at the Gold Smelter Ruins (not to be confused with the abandoned Gold Mines), past the Ostrich Farm and the Baby Natural Bridge. We had attempted to see the Natural Pool, but, we could not find it, and got very lost in the process. We were told later, that the only way to reach the pool is via All Terrain Vehicle or on horseback.
There are some very good guided tours that expertly take a group up through the unmarked rocky desert hills that lead to the pool. But, if you don’t know the way, apparently, you will not find it.
We left the North-Eastern coastal road, and past the Donkey Sanctuary and Ayo Rock. Goats run free in Aruba. We were a little surprised to find a group of 10 or so crossing the road in front of us. (Below - picture of the goats from our Jeep.)
We did get ourselves lost on our Aruba sightseeing adventure. We got disoriented trying to find our way back to either Oranjestad or San Nicolas. When we were sure that we were completely and utterly lost, we stopped at a local pub to see if they could direct us to the main road into town…. Not open, until the sun went down.
As we were standing in the parking lot, looking at the map with what I am sure was a combination of concern, concentration, and bewilderment, wishing the map came with a “You Are Here” dot, a very friendly local woman noticed our distress as she drove past. She stopped, and although she did not speak any English, and we did not speak any Dutch, and my Spanish is VERY LIMITED, we communicated that we were lost with gestures to the map and the road. She waved her arms and we knew that she wanted us to follow her.
We jumped back into our Jeep and followed her down winding unmarked gravel roads, until she honked her horn as we passed a sign indicating the way back to Highway 7. We honked and waved back as we veered off in the direction of the sign.
Our guardian angel? Maybe, but, it seemed everyone we met in Aruba is just as welcoming, friendly and eager to help. We ended our day of sightseeing with a extraordinarily romantic dinner at The flying Fishbone. We sat at a table where we could dangle our feet in the refreshing Caribbean waters and watch the sunset.
There are so many points of interest to see, and we had a limited time. In our future visits, we will have to go on other Aruba sightseeing excursions. The horseback tour sounds exciting….
The California Lighthouse
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