Aruba's natural terrain hosts a myriad of flora and fauna. The dry desert and shimmering deep turquoise seas create a backdrop for beautiful scenery around the island.
Aruba's landscapes are full of natural cacti and distinctive divi divi trees. And it would be hard to go a day without seeing a mountain goat, one of Aruba's most populous animals. Also be sure to keep your eyes open for the many beautiful iguanas that run wild.
...Aruba's famous wildlife and plant life...
Aruba's historical sites include the amazing Arikok National Park. This park, which makes up 18 percent of the island, takes its name from the local Mount Arikok, marking the virtual center-point of the island. As you walk down the park's several well-maintained trails, you'll see Aruba's famous wildlife and plant life in their most natural setting. The government is very conscientious about environmental concerns and does its best to keep the park nature-friendly, employing only ecologically sound organizations and businesses to maintain the grounds.
There are three predominant rock formations to the park itself: a limestone foundation, a quartz diorite formation and the Aruba lava formation. These formations support a network of unique wildlife that is exclusive to Aruba. Careful watchers can spot the cascabel, the unicolor crotalus, the santanero and the cat-eye (Aruba's indigenous snakes); the shoco and athene burrower (indigenous owls); and the prikichi (indigenous parrot).
The Bubali Bird Sanctuary consists of two connected man-made lakes, one larger and one smaller, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful bird-watching locations in the Caribbean. The attentive birdwatcher can spot several species of birds in their natural habitats, including herons, egrets, gulls, skimmers, cormorants and various ducks. Additional bird-watching sites include the four San Nicolas Bay Keys, which are home to a variety of species of terns. The Bubali sanctuary itself has become a crucial resting and breeding area for more than 80 species of migratory birds annually. Surrounded by lush and beautiful vegetation amid the arid desert, the sanctuary provides beautiful scenery for terrain and animal life.
In addition to the attractions discussed above, you can learn about more important natural attractions below.
|Arikok National Park||8.0 mi. (12.8 km) East of Oranjestad|
|Aruban Donkey Sanctuary||5.0 mi. (8.0 km) East of Oranjestad|
|Bubali Bird Sanctuary||0.9 mi. (1.5 km) South West of Palm Beach|
|11.9 mi. (19.2 km) Southeast of Oranjestad|
For a truly unique natural experience, visit Aruba's Butterfly Farm. The farm's garden is a sight to behold, with beautiful flowers, trees and landscaping that cater to the needs of the butterflies. The collection of fluttering friends at the garden includes many species from around the world, and you can observe these natural wonders from the earliest stages of their life cycle, emerging from cocoons. Tour guides supply information on the natural miracle of metamorphosis of butterflies and will point out to you the various species floating around the garden. For excellent photography opportunities, this is the place to be.
After visiting the Butterfly Farm, you may be inclined to further explore Aruba's other parks. These include the following:
|5.2 mi. (8.4 km) East-Southeast of Noord|
|Northern part of Sabana Lider|
|2.3 mi. (3.7 km) Southeast of Noord|
|0.6 mi. (1.0 km) South West of Palm Beach|
|0.6 mi. (1.0 km) South of Oranjestad|
|Aruba Ostrich Adventures||3.9 mi. (6.2 km) East-Southeast of Noord|
|The Butterfly Farm||0.6 mi. (1.0 km) South West of Palm Beach|
To visit the more active side of Aruba, try visiting the famous desert sand dunes on the northwestern tip of the island, where you can go for an adventurous Jeep or scooter ride on the desert terrain or go "dune sliding." Guides usually know good and safe sliding areas where tourists can take part in this thrilling activity.
Travelers looking for adventure won't want to miss the opportunity to go caving on Aruba. With a long-standing tradition of piracy and hidden gold stories, Aruba (which means "red gold") is full of twisting and turning caves.
You'll find these interesting natural attractions all around the island. The following table will help you to do so.
|Fontein Caves||9.1 mi. (14.7 km) East of Oranjestad|
|Guadirikiri Caves||9.8 mi. (15.8 km) East of Oranjestad|
|Tunnel of Love||10.2 mi. (16.4 km) East-Southeast of Oranjestad|
|Ayo Rock Formation||Rock Formation||4.5 mi. (7.2 km) East of Oranjestad|
|California White Sand Dunes||Hill||3.4 mi. (5.5 km) North of Palm Beach|
|Casibari||Rock Formation||2.9 mi. (4.6 km) East of Oranjestad|
|Cura di Tortuga||Lagoon||7.4 mi. (11.9 km) East of Oranjestad|
The Cura di Tortuga is Aruba's natural pool, tucked away on the windward coast of the island. Clandestine and shaded, the Tortuga is a great escape from reality. The pool is surrounded by rough land that makes it accessible only to those who know the way, like the secret getaways of fantasy stories. To get here, you will need to hire a local guide and rent either horses or a vehicle with four-wheel drive.
Once one of island's most important feats of nature was Aruba's Natural Bridge, which was carved into the surrounding land after many years of rough surf pounding against it. This coral limestone structure rose 25 feet above sea level and crossed over 100 feet of water over a rocky and gorgeous area, full of exciting sea and animal life. Unfortunately, one night in September of 2005 the bridge was washed away. Despite the collapse, visitors still make the trek to the Natural Bridge where they can view the ruins and stop by the refreshment stand before making their way over to the smaller natural bridge nearby. Aptly named, the bridge has been dubbed Baby Bridge.
The various cacti and the unique divi divi trees are hallmarks of Aruba's natural vegetation, but the island's most significant plant is aloe. This agricultural tradition dates back to 1890 and provides Aruba with a good portion of its economic livelihood. The arid desert climate of Aruba is ideal for growing and harvesting aloe. Excellent aloe products, including lotions, soaps and cosmetics, are organically made and sold across the island.
Over all, Aruba's natural environment is healthy and robust, providing for many memorable and one-of-a-kind natural experiences.
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