Top 5 Must Do's in Aruba

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If you're going to be visiting Aruba, chances are you'll be spending the majority of your time soaking up the sun on the white sandy beaches that make up the island. But if you want a change of pace, here are five places to visit that are sure to satisfy everything from your sense of adventure to your desire to relax.

Arikok National Park

The national park of Arikok showcases most of the landscapes, flora and fauna that can be found in Aruba. The grounds range from volcanic rock to quartz to limestone, and feature caves complete with cave paintings, grottos, bays and sand dunes. If you're a birdwatcher be sure to visit at dawn or sunset for the most sightings. Reptiles are also plentiful. Many species of animals that you'll see are found only in Aruba. Apart from wildlife, Arikok also contains adobe houses and gold mining shafts that you can explore. Trails are suitable for walking or biking.

Natural Pool

You have to be brave to make it through the harrowing trip to the natural pool, but your reward will be a serene place to relax and un-tense your muscles. Located on the windward coast, the pool is accessible through seemingly pathless landscapes that will be at times dense and at times steep. You can hire a 4x4 to make the trip yourself or you can hire a guide to get you there either on an ATV or horseback without getting lost. Don't forget your snorkeling gear.

Fort Zoutman

This 18th century fort is one of the oldest buildings in Aruba and now contains a museum, as well as the Willem III Tower. When you're in Oranjestad be sure to stop by Fort Zoutman to get a feel for the islands history. Find out when the weekly Bon Bini Festival will be held before you go to experience some of Aruba's folklore.

Bushiribana

In the 15th and 16th centuries adventurous sea-farers searched for a land called "Oro Ruba," or Red Gold. Eventually called Aruba, the island reached a peak in the 19th century gold rush. Bushiribana is located on the north coast, and gold was first discovered there in 1824. Eventually over 3 million pounds of gold were removed from the hills. If you're excited by the prospect, stop by the ruins of the Balashi Gold Mill as well.

Beaches

Although rather obvious, the beaches are definitely a must-see in Aruba. Arashi Beach is beautiful, Palm Beach features calm waters and resorts, and Malmok Beach holds fabulous reefs. If you're into diving, head up to Eagle Beach to explore the sunken barge, Debbie II, or, an even bigger draw, the German WWI freighter, the Antilla. But whichever beach you choose, the white sands and beautiful waters are sure to keep you feeling like you've found paradise.

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August 24, 2009 new by tiffanymparker

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