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With its seemingly endless supply of white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters, ARUBA is one of the more popular Caribbean destinations for many sun-worshipers and cruise-ship passengers.
Aruba is the most western of the Netherlands Leeward islands and situated between 12 degrees, 30 North latitude and 70 degrees West longitude. The total length of the island is 19.6 miles and the widest cross section is scarily 6 miles. The total area is 70 square miles.
Known for its powdery white sand and turquoise waters, there’s no better place to throw down your towel than Palm Beach. Its golden 3 -kilometre strip offers a choice of restaurants and bars, as well as a variety of water sports. There’s also a paved walkway which allows you to easily navigate all areas of the beach.
This is probably the most beautiful beach of Aruba for those who want to be seen. It used to be the location of the Veronica Beach volleyball tournament. "inhabited" by celebrities, important people, and of course people who think they are important.
The swimming conditions are excellent, with calm water. The beachside has beautiful white powder sand. You can use the public areas of the nearby hotels for changing and buying refreshments. All hotels also offer their own watersports center.
The harbourside capital Oranjestad attracts many of the visitors, as do resort-filled Eagle and Palm beaches just north of town. Over one million visitors a year come to this tiny island of 90,000 to indulge in the glitz associated with its luxurious beachside resorts, elegant restaurants, 24-hour casinos, shops and boutiques.
Named in honor of the Dutch Royal House of Orange, Oranjestad has been Aruba's capital since 1797 and has served as the island's main port ever since.
Today, the small harbor continues to attract schooners, fishing boats and cruise ships from all over the world.
The tiny capital on the southwest shore bustles with activity as thousands of visitors descend upon it each day to shop, dine or try their luck at one of the many casinos.
The streets that make up the downtown core are lined with modern imitations of pastel-colored Dutch colonial houses adorned with ornate gabled roofs; a good number of them have been renovated into shopping complexes, administrative buildings, museums and restaurants.
A handful of older buildings, including Fort Zoutman and the lofty King Willem III Tower, offer reminders of Aruba's past. Just a hop and a skip away from the city is the island's main beach strip and resort area.
In this town architecture reminds of the colonial Dutch history, although the Dutch probably never used the colors in which a lot of the buildings are painted now. During the past ten years people are working very hard to renew and upgrade the town.
A lot of hotels and shopping malls were build. For shopping Oranjestad is the place to be, with its covered malls and lots of small shops just behind the boulevard. This boulevard (L.G. Smith boulevard) is the main road from the east to the west of the island.
For many tourists, the first glimpse of Oranjestad is along the busy palm-fringed thoroughfare of L.G. Smith Boulevard , the island's main artery connecting the capital with the hotel district and the northwest and with San Nicolas in the southeast.
Running parallel to the harbor, the downtown stretch of the road is lined with shopping malls, boutiques, casinos, government offices and parliament buildings.
Unless you plan to shop 'til you drop or while away the hours gambling, the city's sights won't occupy too much of your time.
There are, however, a number of interesting cultural attractions, best explored, like the city itself, on foot, as everything you'll want to see is concentrated in a small area.
Savaneta is the village where the Dutch first came on the island. The Spanish and Dutch came to land through a bay. These high rank officers called 'commandeurs' build their headquarters, so they called the bay Commandeursbaai. At the end of the 18th century the commandeurs moved to the Paardenbaai (Oranjestad). Years later the town near the Commandeursbaai was called Savaneta. Savaneta is papiamento for small meadow.
You will notice that every little town has a water tank situated on a nearby hill. If you drive up this hill in Savaneta you can look all around.
Actually this is a 'secret' place, but we had so much fun here it would be a crime not to tell you about it. As long as you keep it the way it is, we're pleased to show you this place. Zeerover (means pirate) is kind of a fish auction.
Translation: Attention After 5 o'clock in the afternoon, fish cutting is being done by Pau Dirksz. For his services you'll have to pay one guilder per kilo. Thank you, Iki.
All day long, but especially at the end of the afternoon, the fisherman bring their catch of the day in: the fresh fish you can get, in sizes you can hardly imagine. Directly after the fish is brought ashore it gets cleaned, chopped to pieces and sold. It's often sold even before it was catched.
Along the years Zeerover has become more then just a fisherman's spot: it has become a place to meet and talk things over for the local people. They talk a bit, drink their beer, eat some of the fresh fish, play some pool or domino.
This is why Zeerover is so special: it's a local known place in Savaneta, not yet fully explored by tourists.
The currency of Aruba is the Florin. The official rate which the bank accepts U.S. dollar banknotes is fl. 1,77; cheques at fl. 1,78. Travelers checks are accepted everywhere.
The Aruban florin is divided into 100 cents and there are coins of 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, the square 50 cent the florin and the five florin coin.
Banknotes are issued in denominations of 10, 25, 50, 100 florins.
US Dollars are excepted everywhere, and you can obtain them from the ATM's as well.
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