Aruba Can Be Easy On The Wallet

Aruba’s glitzy hotels, buzzing range of activities and a pulsating nightlife do not mean visitors have to part with bundles of cash to have a great time.
 
 
Aruba DonkeySanctuary
Aruba DonkeySanctuary
Feb. 12, 2016 - PRLog -- Aruba’s glitzy hotels, buzzing range of activities and a pulsating nightlife do not mean visitors have to part with bundles of cash to have a great time.

In fact, this Dutch Caribbean holiday haven offers a host of sightseeing treats and tours to suit the budget traveller and their families.

On the cultural side, the Carubbian Festival, staged in second city San Nicolas every Thursday night is free. Showcasing the multicultural charms of Aruba’s ‘Sunrise City’, the festival’s centre is a stage area, around which the audience can relax and enjoy a taste of Aruban and Caribbean cuisine while watching a parade of local entertainers. Closed to traffic, the main street becomes a pedestrian mall of colourful booths selling food handicrafts and souvenirs – fun for all the family.

Also free is Korteweg. Named after a street of the same name running perpendicular to Main Street in capital Oranjestad, Korteweg is a pop-up fair held in the last Friday of every other month from 6pm to 9pm. The newest and coolest event on Aruba, it is a combination of funk cum bohemian, with a dash of island cool.

Nearby in Oranjestad, Fort Zoutman, the oldest building in Aruba, hosts the Bon Bini Festival every Tuesday evening to acquaint visitors with Aruba’s unique culture and history through Antillean music and dance, as well as local art and food. Entry is just US$15 (about £10.70).

Or add some night-time adventure in to your holiday by learning to dance the ever-popular salsa or merengue. Some resorts incorporate dance lessons into their complimentary activities or the Bugaloe Beach Bar at Palm Beach offers free lessons every Wednesday evening.

Nature-lovers are well catered for, too. There is a free entry to the bird-watching tower at the Bubali Plas Bird Sanctuary, a couple of miles outside Oranjestad. This is a large wetland area originally supplied with treated water from the island's sewage treatment facility. A canal now connects the area to the sea.

Aruba’s semi-arid climate, diverse flora and fauna, and unique landscapes of beaches, reefs, mangroves, marshes, rolling countryside, and lushly landscaped resorts are havens for species – 236 at the last count - that take up permanent residence, as well as those species passing through for rest and refuelling before journeying on to North or South America.

The island also boats a Butterfly Farm, with hundreds of residents, representing 32 species. Entry of US$15 (£10.70) for adults or US$8 (£5.70) for children is valid for one’s entire holiday.

Or how about the Ostrich Farm, where visitors can interact with more than 80 ostriches and emus and learn more from knowledgeable guides? Adults US$12 (£8.60), children US$6 (£4.30). And at the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary, where entry is free, around 90 animals are cared for, supported by volunteers and donations.

If watersports are your thing, remember that a number of resorts provide free snorkelling gear to explore the island’s reefs and wrecks. Alternatively, commercial rental is from around US$15 (£10.70 per day).

Cycling is great way to explore more of the island and rentals start from around US$10 (£7.20) a day. Hiking is, of course, another option and if you choose to go into Arikok National Park, where there are around 20 miles of walking trails, the cost will be US$11 (£7.85) for adults, with children under 17 free.

Entry is free to a number of Aruba museums, including the Model Train Museum in San Nicolas, where there is an impressive collection of model trains, cars and aircraft dating back to 1895 and gathered from the UK, Netherlands, Germany and the USA.

The Archaeological Museum in Oranjestad, also free, documents the three periods of Amerindian inhabitation of Aruba from 2500BC. A wide collection of artefacts support film and audio presentations.

There is more history at Fort Zoutman, together with the William III Tower, where the Historical Museum tells the early history and development of Aruba. Admission is US$5 (£3.60)

Learn the history and benefits of aloe at the Aruba Aloe Factory and Museum, next to its own 15-acre aloe plantation at Hato. Entry is free and visitors can also tour the production line.

For more information about Aruba, go to www.aruba.com
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