The Hidden Gems of Aruba
Hidden Gems abound in Aruba. This amazing Island culture is unlike any other Caribbean Island. The land can be lush and green in some areas and arid and rough in others. Calm turquoise waters at some beaches, and rough waves and wind in others.
Exploring the Island is an adventure in itself. Make sure to talk to locals and you will most likely be surprised to have just made some amazing new friends for life!
Known as a "Ghotst Ship", the Antilla is also the largest shipwreck dive in the Caribbean. The Antilla was a German freighter that was being used by the German's to supply their vessels during World War II. In 1945, the Germans made the choice to skuttle the freighter in order to prevent the Dutch Marines from seizing it. Now is is laying on it's port side, just 500 yards offshore and about 60 feet below the surface. At night it's quite the spectacle being illuminated by flourescent cup corals.
Arashi Beach is an ideal snorkeling and swimming location. Located just a quick 10 minute walk from Malmok Beach. Arashi Beach is a fairly narrow stretch of beach that is a favorite with the locals. The sandbars and mini cliffs that surround Arashi are filled with vibrant marine life and offer beautiful scenery both above and below the surface.
Aruhiba Tobacco Farm
Cigar aficianados can check out the Aruhiba Tobacco which is farmed locally on the Island. It is very similar in nature to the very popular Cuban cigars. They are the only handmade cigars offered on the Island.
Balashi Gold Mill Ruins
The once very active and bustling Balashi Gold Mill turned into a Caribbean ghost town back in 1985 when the Mill's refinery shut down. What remains of the Gold Mill is fun to explore. It's also a popular location for photo shoots. Located near the tip of the Spanish Lagoon, and near Frenchman's Pass. It's also widely known as being one of the most "haunted" spots on the Island.
Black Stone Beach
Black Stone Beach is Aruba's only beach with "black pebbly sand". It is located in the Arikok National Park, and is a popular spot for photo shoots and picnics. This unique beach is something you won't soon forget.
One of the most popular spots with Aruba locals is Boca Catalina. It is located by continuing past the popular Palm Beach and Arashi Beaches. It's a favorite spot for fishing due to it's shallow water.
Bova Grandi is an incredible place to view the many kite surfers that come to Aruba from around the globe. Characterized by soft sugar sand and surrounded by fields of Sea Grapes. This beautiful location is truly known as a kite surfers' paradise. The winds are strong and the waves are high. Bring a picnic and a beach chair, take in the awesome views , and be amazed as you watch the kite surfers' fly over the waves.
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Conchi or Natural Pool
Within Arikok National Park, is found one of the most amazing spots on the entire Island. The Natural Pool. The locals call it Conchi, as the view from above is reminiscent of the shell. The Natural Pool is surrounded by rugged cliffs and rocks. It is only accessible via a 4-wheel drive vehicle, ATV, Horseback, or Hiking in. Once you arrive, you will know you have seen something very special. The pool is perfect for a refreshing swim, while witnessing the great crashing waves as they hit the rugged rocks that protect the Natural Pool. There is truly nothing like the experience. Make sure to check off The Natural Pool on your Aruba bucket list.
The Fontein Cave is an amazing must see spot on the Island. Inside the cave you will be witness to pictographs that were left by the Arowak Indians. The pictographs are brownish-red in color and portray the rich ancestral history that continues its storytelling among the thousand-year-old stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is shallow in depth and in height. Visitors can be scene crawling through the space, enjoying discovering these tidbits of history at every turn.
The narrow canyon known as The Frenchman's Pass, is home to hundreds of chattering Parakeets and majestic Egrets. The legend that surrounds Frenchman's Pass is that in the early 17th century, French pirates tried to invade Aruba, but were met by Indians in the narrow passage. During the failed invasion, many Indians and Frenchmen alike were killed. Since then, the passage has been named Frenchman's Pass or Rooi Frances (the Papiamento phrase meaning Frenchman’s Pass).
The Guadirikiri Cave is one of several limestone caves located in the Arikok National Park. It is also a favorite for photographers. It has beautiful streams of natural sunlight that peek through holes around the cavern. It is fairly easy to access and when you do, you can explorers the various areas throughout the cave. Be aware that there are bats in the cave, but don't worry, they are used to people and seem to be quite undisturbed by people invading their home.
Near what is known as the Spanish Lagoon, and located in Pos Chikito, you will Mangel Halto. It's name comes from the mass of Mangrove tree's surrounding it. The shallow inlets of the turquoise water are refreshing and also filled with sea life. There is a protected barrier reef that allows you to view some of that sea life in vivid color. Mangel Halto is also a location for the more experienced snorkelers. There are guided dives that take place here daily. It's also the perfect spot for a picnic as the Mangrove's supply ample shade.
SS Pedernales Wreck
The SS Pedernales was a World War II tanker ship that was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. The SS Pedernales was en route to the refinery in Aruba when it was sunk. Now it is a well known but secret dive spot. You will find the wreck submerged about 25 feet below the sea just off the shore of Palm Beach.
Rodger’s Beach and Baby Beach
Rodger’s Beach is a small secluded beach
just around the around the reef-protected bay from Baby Beach. While it
is lesser known, it is worth a visit. The
nearby dock is dotted with some of the
traditional and colorful fishing boats that
Aruba is famous for. There are usually
local families and only a handful of tourists taking up residence here. One of the
delights of Rodger's Beach is that if you
visit on a clear day, you can actually see
the coast of Venezuela off in the distance.
Legend has it that The Spanish Lagoon wasonce a favored hangout for Pirates. Today,it is known for the protected wetlands
that surround it. Located between Pos
Chikito and the Balashi Gold Mill Ruin. The Spanish Lagoon is literally a birdwatcher’s paradise. You can see Egrets, Herons, Frigates, Parakeets, Pelicans, Bananaquits,
Troupials and ground Dove's to name just a few. There is also three different types
of mangrove's growing here, Red, Black,
and Buttonwood. The best time to see the birds is early in the morning and around
sunset in the evening. Snorkeling and
paddle boarding is also quite popular in
this tranquil setting. There are plenty of
Cabana's and shade abounds so bring a
picnic and spend some quality time here.
Paddle boarding, Kayaking and more are some of the most adventurous sports available on the Island.
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Yamanota is the island’s highest elevation point. Once you reach the top, you are guaranteed an amazing panoramic view. From this vantage point on the Island, you can see the many curves and contours of the Island. You are also able to see all the way to both the northern and the southern points of the Island. A photographers dream! Capture some of the most amazing views of the Island from the peak of Yamanota. The hike is worth it, and not difficult to reach the 620 foot summit.
While Zeerover's is not what one would call a typical tour stop, it is indeed a Hidden Gem of Aruba.
Located in the sleepy fishing town of Savaneta, Zeerover’s is a fisherman’s wharf promising heavy local flare. Locals line up at the window to buy fresh caught fish or order the deep fried catch of the day – barracuda, mahi mahi, shrimp and more – tossed in a big plastic bowl with homemade fries, plantains and pan bati. Those who choose to stay awhile on the waterside deck enjoy fresh breezes, fish fry aromas and a cold Chill beer, as they crank up the jukebox to hear vibrant Caribbean calypso beats and watch fisherman cart their catch by the net full.