Off the beaten track in Aruba

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Today our local guide in Frances, Frances, returns with a look at “off the beaten track” activities on the island of Aruba. Frances is a local guide who moved to Aruba from the Netherlands many years ago. She works closely with her sister-in-law Esther, a native-born Aruban; this partnership gives her strong insight into the European/Island culture that is unique to Aruba.

Sights off the beaten track in Aruba are harder to come by nowadays as the island is fairly populated. Having said that, both Esther and I know where to find them...! We try not to divulge them too much, in case of the competition catching on and bringing more crowds. After the collapse of the island's famous Natural Bridge people became more aware of the lesser known spots, one of which I believe is much better than the more famous one. To get there though you need to be very fit as it involves a climb down a rocky path. Once there, the reward of doing so is fantastic. Photo opportunities without doing the exercise are also possible...!

The donkey sanctuary is a local charity after my own heart. I love going to see my "family" there and show them off to our visitors. We still have wild donkeys roaming on the island but there lot is not always comfortable. The sanctuary helps those donkeys that need a little extra help.

Oranjestad our capital, has recently undergone a facelift. Our monarch, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, will be visiting this October and the city has been painted, re-planned and cleaned up. Traffic has also been banned from the inner city and this now makes it very interesting to go about on foot.

The new linear park, which is to lead from the airport to the tip of the island where the California lighthouse sits, is on schedule. This should be fun for both visitors to the island and locals to meet up with each other and enjoy pleasant time outdoors.

Last but not least I would like to mention San Nicolas. This town is where you will find the “real Caribbean” as I call it. Here is the melting pot of the Caribbean Islanders. The Refinery which is based there was an attraction for labour from the islands and many stayed and founded their own families on Aruba. Here you will hear the West Indian English spoken more often than the local Papiamento which is spoken on the rest of the island.

I should also mention that Arikok Park (the national park which covers almost one third almost of the island) is also a beautiful place, but a visit here will take at least 3 hours if you want to do it justice. Nature lovers can really enjoy themselves here while taking a look at the rough coast of Aruba.

Thank you Frances! It’s wonderful to get a local’s perspective on where to islanders like to spend time. If any travelers are planning a trip to Aruba sometime this fall or winter, consider starting a conversation with Frances. You can find her guide profile here.
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