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5 MUST SEE places in Aruba

5 MUST SEE places in Aruba

While famed for our sunny shores, Aruba has so much more to offer than just some of the world’s most stunning beaches. The best way to see the sights in Aruba is in a Top Drive rental car - driving in Aruba is easy and accessible.

Here are our picks for 5 awesome sights you won’t want to miss while you’re visiting Aruba!

  1. California Lighthouse

The California Lighthouse is, arguably, Aruba’s most iconic attraction. Located at the northernmost tip of the island, overlooking the sand dunes, the California Lighthouse offers a spectacular, panoramic view of Aruba’s coastline from a height of 98 feet. The lighthouse’s brilliantly crafted stone masonry has been meticulously restored since it was built in 1910. The California Lighthouse is a major tourist attraction. It’s open daily from 9:00am - 7:00pm. Admission to the top is 5 dollars and no reservations are needed.

2. Oranjestad

You’ll want to earmark a decent chunk of time to explore Aruba’s vibrant capital. Modern times seamlessly blend with historical charm in this quaint, port city. You can park your car and walk around or catch a ride on the free trolley to explore Oranjestad. Beautiful, waterfront Wilhelmina Park is an ideal spot to Iguana watch and just a short walk away from the Aruba Historical Museum that’s located in the tower of Aruba’s oldest building, Fort Zoutman. Restaurants, galleries, and shopping opportunities abound on the colorful streets of Oranjestad. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and protection from the sun.

3. Sunrise City

San Nicolas was a booming town in the days of the Lago Oil Refinery. When the refinery closed, the epicenter of the island shifted to Oranjestad and, for a little while, San Nicolas became a shade of its former self. Dubbed ‘Sunrise City’ because it’s the first part of the island to be kissed by the Sun as it rises in the east, San Nicolas has recently experienced an artistic renaissance. The city, itself, has become a vibrant work of art as decaying building facades are transformed into murals that showcase the talents of local artists. You can visit the San Nicolas Community Museum, have a drink at Charlie's famous watering hole, eat delicious, local street food and experience the vibrance of life in Aruba. San Nicolas is fabulous anytime of day but especially in the early morning hours. After all, we don’t call it Sunrise City for nothing!

3. Hooiberg

The Hooiberg is the second tallest hill on Aruba but the most popular by far. Its location in the otherwise flat center of the island, makes this 541-foot tall, volcanic formation all the more impressive to behold. You’ll find a pathway of well-maintained concrete steps you can climb to the top. Halfway up, there’s a small gazebo that provides a shaded rest spot and an excellent place for pictures. The trip to the top covers over 500 stairs and takes about 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. At the Hooiberg’s summit you’ll experience sweeping views of Aruba, as far as the eye can see - on a clear day you might even see the coast of Venezuela. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, bring plenty of sunscreen and water and plan your trip before or after the hottest part of the day: between 10am and 2pm.

4. Alto Vista Chapel

The Chapel at Alto Vista is another of Aruba’s most widely recognized attractions. Located on Aruba’s north side, the Chapel’s history goes back to Colonial times. The original chapel was abandoned in favor of St. Anna’s Church in Noord in the 1800’s, then reconstructed in 1952. The chapel is easily accessed by car. On the cactus lined road to the chapel, you’ll pass the stations of the cross - a common pilgrimage for Catholic locals at Easter time. The chapel’s a sweet, little, yellow church surrounded by stone pews and framed by Aruba’s spectacular, coral coastline. Be sure to enjoy a moment of zen while you’re walking through the Alto Vista Peace Labyrinth, located on the chapel grounds.

Aruba has a wealth of culture - more than you can experience in just one visit. However, these 5 places are a great place to start getting to really know your favorite happy island.