Visit some of these Aruban attractions during a Caribbean cruise
Aruba is a stop on many Southern Caribbean cruises. It’s well known for its beautiful beaches and unique architecture, but it offers so much more. If you want to take a break from sunbathing during your time in Aruba (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), be sure to check out some of these attractions:
Located on the north shore of Aruba, Alto Vista was built in 1750 by Spanish missionaries and is considered to be the first permanent church established in the Caribbean. To reach the small yellow chapel, visitors must walk up a winding road lined with white crosses. The church underwent major renovations in 2012, and is known for its hand-carved altar. As its name implies, Alto Vista is one of the the highest points on the island. It’s a great place to visit on a hike or bike tour.
Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins
We often associate gold rushes with California and Alaska, but Aruba also had a 19th-century gold boom of its own. In 1872, the Aruba Island Gold Mining Company built an extraction facility on the Bushiribana region of the island. The structure consists of towering stone boulders placed in unusual designs. Visitors to the area today can walk through the ruins of the mill. It’s a quiet place and offers a unique view of the north coast of the island.
Built between 1914 and 1916, the California Lighthouse was named after a steamship that wrecked nearby in 1891. The structure stands 90 feet high and is an impressive contrast to the almost barren landscape that surrounds it. Although the interior of the lighthouse is not open to the public, the elevated land that it sits on allows dramatic views of the north coast, sand dunes and clusters of luxury hotels.
Fort Zoutman and King Willem III Tower
Built in 1796, Fort Zoutman is the oldest remaining structure of the Dutch settlement. It was constructed to protect the island against pirates and invading nations. The Willem Tower was added to the fort in 1868 and served as a lighthouse as well as Aruba’s first public clock. Today the buildings house Aruba’s historical museum. On Tuesday nights, the Bon Bini Festival celebrates Aruban folkloric acts and traditional foods.
If you’re a history buff and a seasoned diver, you must visit the Antilla. It is the largest shipwreck in the Southern Caribbean. It was a German cargo ship that was attacked at the start of World War II. Instead of allowing the ship to be confiscated by Dutch authorities, the ship’s crew opened its valves and allowed to sink to the bottom. Today the Antilla is one of Aruba’s most popular dive sites. The location is ideal for day or night diving, and visitors will see plenty of coral formations and a variety of tropical fish.
The staff at CruiseExperts.com loves to explore, and we hope that you enjoy some of these suggestions as much as we did. If you’re thinking about going on a cruise to the Southern Caribbean, now is the time to start planning. At CruiseExperts.com, we can help you pick out an itinerary and develop an activity schedule. Not too keen on going to a hot climate like the Caribbean? No problem! There are plenty of Alaskan and European cruises that you may want consider. Call us at 1-888-804-CRUISE (2784) or visit our website, www.CruiseExperts.com.
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Linda Brandt joined the team at CruiseExperts.com in November 2011. She has been working with the marketing team in many capacities. Her new role is to pass on the expertise of the agency to help travelers understand the world of cruising through blogging. She studied journalism and writing in college and was a writer for The Campus newspaper for two years at the College of the Sequoias. She is also currently working on her Bachelor’s degree.