Aruba is one of the most unique islands in the world. If you travel from one side of the island to the other, you feel like you’ve gone to two very different places. The north side of the island is wild and rugged, with high waves crashing against jagged cliffs. The divi-divi trees grow sideways due to their constant exposure to the tradewinds. Wild donkeys roam barren, cactus strewn plateaus, punctuated by gigantic boulders. This is one island you can experience when you travel to Aruba.
Aruba is only six miles wide, so you can practically walk across to the opposite coast, where you’ll see a completely different island. There the turquoise sea is calm and tranquil. White sands slope gently into crystal clear waters and even a child can safely wade far into the transparent Caribbean Sea. On shore, swaying palms provide shelter from the sun as you sip a refreshing tropical drink served from a beachside bar. This the other side of your Aruba Caribbean vacation.
Most of Aruba’s population and tourist traffic gravitates towards the island’s sheltered southwestern coast. Nearly half of Aruba’s native population of 70,000 lives in and around Oranjestad, Aruba’s colorful capital city. There you can find a delightful mix of traditional and modern culture and architecture, where wonderfully restored Dutch architecture blends with pastel colored limestone and mud Aruba traditional dwellings. Many of your adventures when you travel in Aruba will begin and end in Oranjestad.
Aruba was first discovered and claimed by the Spanish, who, legend has it, gave the island its name. They didn’t find the gold they were looking for, but they gave the island the name, “Oro Ruba” or “Red Gold.” The Spanish withdrew, finding nothing of interest to them, but the name stuck, over time being shortened to “Aruba.” That’s how the story goes, anyway. Read the rest of this entry »