Attractions and Sights in Aruba
There are enough sightseeing locations on the island to fill up even a three week vacation! Aruba's beaches are a big attraction, and although its great to spend long days just relaxing on the beach and listening to the ocean, there are also plenty of opportunities to get to know Aruba's most attractive sights, historical and natural attractions, and museums. Here is a quick list including convenient links to more detail on the most popular sights, natural attractions, beaches and museums.
The happiest island in the Caribbean is so much more than just sun, sand and sea. Our exotic, yet desert-like island is covered with diverse terrain, landscape, beaches, vegetation, wildlife, and not to mention a whole-lotta room for adventure. Take a look at some of our favorite snapshots of Aruba!
Popular Sights & Places
- Alto Vista Chapel
- Bushiribana Ruins
- California Lighthouse
- Fort Zoutman and King Willem III Tower
- Grot di Lourdes
- Plaza Daniel Leo
- San Nicolas
- Seroe Colorado
- The Old Mill
Alto Vista Chapel
Alto Vista Chapel is located on the north shore of Aruba and was built by Domingo Antonio Silvestre. This small Catholic chapel is also known as "Pilgrims Church". The restored chapel dates back to 1750.The winding road with crosses marking the stations of the cross reaches the site high above the sea. Alto Vista Chapel is a special place for peace and contemplation and enjoys spectacular views of the North Coast. It is also a great starting point for walks or mountain bike rides along the many trails in this part of Aruba.
Tours that include Alto Vista Chapel
The Antilla is the largest wreck in the South Caribbean and is one of the most popular dive sites on Aruba, either for day or night dive site, where everything that lives under the sea can be seen. This German freighter was confiscated at the start of World War II. The German crew opened its valves and let it sink rather than be confiscated.
Tours that include Antilla
In 1872 the Aruba Island Gold-mining Company Ltd. built a large smelting works at Bushiribana on the North coast for the gold that was being mined at Seroe Plat and in its surroundings. Although the smelting works were only in use for 10 years, the construction was so solid that the impressive ruins still remain. One can walk into the ruins and also take pictures there. A nice picture to take uses the intact windows of the ruins as a natural picture frame for a picture taken towards the ocean.
Tours that include Bushiribana Ruins
The lighthouse was built between 1914 and 1916 according to a French design. It was named after the steamship California which was wrecked nearby in 1891. Standing more than 90 feet high, the lighthouse is an impressive landmark in the barren almost lunar-like landscape surrounding it. Its location allows commanding views of the north coast, the sand dunes area, and also towards the high-rise hotel area.
- The Protestant Church - built in 1846, this is an architectural gem nestled up against the newer bigger edifice which serves the community and visitors to the island. On the premises is a Bible Museum which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.
- Santa Anna Church - built in the 1770's and well known for its oaken wood carved altar, a prime example of neo-gothic design which won the exhibition award in Rome in 1870.
The oldest remains of the Dutch settlement and Aruba's oldest building, Fort Zoutman, was built in 1796 for protection against pirates and enemies. In 1868, the Willem III Tower was added to the Fort and served as Aruba's first public clock and as a lighthouse equipped with a spire and petrol lamp. After the light was extinguished in the tower, Fort Zoutman housed for almost a century different organizations like government offices, police department, library, post office and a prison. Today the buildings house the Historical Museum, which is a museum displaying many artifacts from Aruba's earliest through those reminiscent of colonial times up to the present day.
Every Tuesday night the Bon Bini Festival takes place at the 18th century assembled Fort Zoutman in Oranjestad. Featured here are Aruban folkloric acts and typical foods at bargain prices.
Rent a car visit the Historical Museum of Aruba's Bon Bini Festival.
Grot di Lourdes
The Grot di Lourdes is located in Seroe Preto, on the southeast coast near San Nicolas and is a commemoration of the appearance of Virgin Mary in Lourdes, French. In 1958 the Grot di Lourdes was created under the direction of a priest called Erkamp. A statue of the Virgin Mary was placed in the grotto and a year later the statue was blessed by Monsieur Holterman.
Tour operators: Explore Aruba Adventures and De Palm Tours.
Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba and is named after 'Huis van Oranje' (Orange House), the name of the Dutch Royal Family in 1824 during the Dutch colonization. Most of Aruba's government buildings are located in Oranjestad and it is also the place for shopping and along the seaside you will find merchants sailing Aruba art and local handcrafts. Oranjestad features some traditional Dutch multicolored buildings.
Tours in Oranjestad
Plaza Daniel Leo
Plaza Daniel Leo, named after a local politician, is located in Oranjestad in front of Renaissance Mall. The plaza features some of the most picturesque Dutch multicolored colonial buildings. These buildings are housing all kind of shopping stores.
San Nicolas is the second largest city of Aruba and is named after a man, Nicolaas van der Biest, who owned a big parcel of land in that area. San Nicolaas is the hometown of the famous hangout "Charlies Bar". That bar has become an attraction due to all the discoveries and souvenirs that were put on the wall. Another recently added attraction is the Carubbian Festival, a local culture show.
Tour operators: El Tours.
Seroe Colorado is the home of Baby Beach, Rodgers Beach and Colorado point at the southeast of the island. The name of this city, which translates to colorful hill, refers to the 30 meters high of pure limestone hill. The hill got its name due to the brown/yellow color of the limestone. Seroe Colorado is also known for the large ship anchor at the entrance to Seroe Colorado, which is a perfect spot for taking a beautiful picture.
Tours that include Seroe Colorado
The Old Mill
The Old Mill is a piece of Aruba's Dutch heritage. The windmill was built in 1804 in the Netherlands, meticulously taken apart, shipped to Aruba and reconstructed in 1960. The Old Mill currently houses a bar and restaurant.
Rent a car and drive by one of the remaining from the Dutch heritage.
Besides the above mentioned popular sights and places, Aruba also offer many Natural attractions such as the Natural Pool, Arikok National Park and Natural Bridge. For a full list and more information about these natural attractions, please click here.
You could also visit one of the Museums in Aruba. For a full list and more information about Aruba's Museums, please click here.