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Oranjestad is the capital city of Aruba, located on the south west coast of the island. The city is the only port and gateway to this tropical island, situated just off the coast of Venezuela. Although the island was discovered and claimed by the Spanish in 1499, it was obtained by the Dutch in 1636 and still remains as an independent dependency of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island is surrounded by warm ocean waters, pristine sandy beaches and craggy, scenic coastline, whilst the inland landscape is mostly flat, littered with desert flora and fauna including large numbers of cacti. A variety of fantastic attractions including parks, gardens and historic landmarks as well as many other popular tourist hotspots can be found across the region. Aruba's unique environment, which only covers an area of 70 square miles, combined with its fascinating local culture and wonderfully warm climate creates a distinctive ambience on the fascinating and stunning Caribbean island.
Oranjestad and the rest of Aruba boast a collection of fantastic beaches, fascinating museums and a range of thrilling activities for tourists to enjoy. Visitors can try their hand at horse riding, scuba diving, rock climbing, windsurfing and fishing at various locations on the island. A range of other brilliant attractions are also available across Aruba.
Arikok National Park
Aruba's Arikok Nation Park covers around 20% of the island and is a sanctuary for a variety of native flora and fauna. The park's dramatic natural landscape is truly astounding and is also home to a an informative visitors centre, at visitors will find exhibits dedicated to several of the island's most endangered species such as the whiptail lizard, cat eye snake and rattlesnake. The park is also famous as an area where precious gems, indigenous to Aruba, have been found.
Bubali Bird Sanctuary
The Bubali Bird Sanctuary is a bird-watchers paradise. The sanctuary is home to over 80 different species of migratory bird, including herons, gulls and cormorants, and allows free entry for visitors. The park's observation tower is the best place to get a great view of these fascinating animals.
Historic Gold Mines
Aruba has a long history of gold prospectors arriving on the island in search of the precious metal and according to local legend; the island was originally named ‘Oro Ruba' which translate to ‘red gold'. A number of historic gold mines are still located on Aruba, on the northern coast at Bushiribana and near the Frenchman's Pass canyon.
Downtown Oranjestad is a great place to pick up provisions, gifts and souvenir from a range of excellent shops and stalls. Alternatively, the city's marketplace sells authentic local arts and crafts and fresh seafood can be purchase from vendor at the wharf.
An abundance of restaurants are located within the city of Oranjestad, serving a variety of local dishes and popular international cuisine. One of the island's local delicacies is ostrich burgers, which are readily available in many eateries due to the city's proximity to a nearby ostrich farm.
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