Sights in Aruba

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Alto Visa Chapel

Alto Visa Chapel

Tropical Aruba has more to offer than just a beach lined with resorts. Aruba has its own rich cultural history. About two thousand years ago an Indian tribe, the Arawak, migrated to what is now Aruba. Later in 1499, Spanish explorers landed here and claimed Aruba as their own. The Dutch took the island away from the Spanish in 1636. The oldest buildings on the island, the fortress of Fort Zoutman and William III Tower, were constructed at that historical time. The fortress now contains the Historical Museum of Aruba, which attracts tourists from around the world.

In the southwestern portion of Aruba is the capital of Aruba, Oranjestad. This Dutch colonial city is filled with ornate pastel colored buildings. You will feel as if you may have landed in Oz. There are shops and restaurants to explore as well as several parks and gardens around the city. This is a great place for pictures.

The Alto Visa Chapel is a popular tourist site in Aruba. This simple church was built in 1952 on the site of the first Catholic church constructed in Aruba. The original church was built in 1750, by a Spanish missionary. This small and humble church is surrounded by the countryside and is a great place to go to get away from the crowds and recharge on spirituality.

Another famous site in Aruba is the California Lighthouse. This historic landmark is named after a U.S. state because the ship Californian went down off the coast of Aruba. You might recognize that name because this is the same ship that missed the distress signals from the famed Titanic voyage because its captain was sleeping. While you are there check out the California White Sand Dunes.

Arikok National Park is the place to go if you want to get back to nature and see cave drawings from the Arawak Indians. Aruba respects its natural resources; this park and the Costal Protection Zone occupy approximately 25% of the island. The park is centrally located as it is close to the center of Aruba. Well kept trails escort you through the park where you can see the native flora and fauna of this marvelous Caribbean island.

If you have a penchant for dining in a windmill you will need to take a visit to De Oude Molen. De Oude Molen is a windmill originally built in 1804 in Holland. This commemorated windmill was then deconstructed one piece at a time and then shipped to Aruba for reconstruction.  There is a restaurant inside that offers continental dining at reasonable prices.

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