Bask in the Opulence of Oranjestad
Year-round sunshine, gorgeous beaches, a colorful colonial town and lively culture all make Aruba’s capital city a hot travel destination. Read on to learn more about Oranjestad, Aruba.
Oranjestad’s sun-kissed beaches are among its top attractions. Characterized by their soft sands, turquoise waters and swaying Palm trees, the beaches range from crowded and lively to remote and quiet. The most popular beach is Palm Beach, home to high-rise hotel resorts, restaurants and shops. With its shallow waters and colorful coral reef, the lagoon of Baby Beach makes a great snorkeling and swimming spot. Other attractive beaches include Malmok, Eagle, Druif and Manchebo.
Significant landmarks that are well worth your visit include Fort Zoutman. Built by the Dutch in 1798 to protect the city, this historic military fort is Aruba’s oldest structure. Home to the Historical Museum of Aruba, the fort also hosts the weekly Bon Bini Festival.
Also known as the Saint Franciscus Church, the Alto Vista Chapel is a charming 18th century church rich in history and culture. The beautiful countryside surrounding the church offers scenic hiking trails.
Within easy walking distance of downtown, the Wilhelmina Park presents a lovely waterfront setting where you can relax and enjoy views across the ocean or admire statues of historic figures like Queen Wilhelmina and Anna Frank as well as encounter native wildlife like iguanas.
Butterfly, Ostrich and Donkey Farms
Nature lovers will enjoy visiting the different animal farms and sanctuaries in Oranjestad. Located in Palm Beach just five miles outside of the capital city, the Butterfly Farm features a tropical environment teeming with multi-colored butterflies and exotic flowers. At the Ostrich Farm, you can view more than 80 ostriches and emus as well as beautiful vistas of Oranjestad. The Donkey Sanctuary shelters a herd of donkeys retired now from their job as the city’s former mode of transportation.
Arts and Culture
Oranjestad packs many cultural museums such as the Museum of Aruba. Housed within the Fort Zoutman, the museum displays exhibits of artifacts and art works that trace the history of Aruba. At the Aloe Museum and Factory, you can learn how the aloe plant became Aruba’s greatest export. You can view an impressive collection of paper money and coins from all around the world at the Numismatic Museum. Other interesting museums include the Sports Museum, Bible Museum, the Museum of Antiquities and the Archaeological Museum.
You can experience Aruba’s culture through live performances of dance and music at the Cultural Center as well as at the weekly Bon Fini Festival, which is presented every Tuesday night.
The Arikok National Park offers a number of outdoor activities that include wildlife viewing, hiking, horse riding, swimming, kayaking, fishing and exploring ancient ruins.
Shoppers will love the variety of Oranjestad’s shopping scene that ranges from upscale malls like the Renaissance Mall to street-lined vendors that you can haggle with for a bargain on unique handicrafts.
Like the rest of Aruba, the climate of Oranjestad is one of the primary attractions. Except for the potential storms in the fall, the city features mostly sunny skies, warm temperatures and pleasant trade winds all year round.
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