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Best Landmarks in Oranjestad

By: Cityseeker
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Fort Zoutman

Built in 1798 to protect Paarden Baai (Horses Bay) from attack, Fort Zoutman is the island's oldest surviving building. A need for the establishment of a fort at the site was first identified by the Dutch when Paarden Baai gained prominence as an intermediate harbor along the trade route between Curaçao and Venezuela. In 1868, the iconic Wilhelm III Tower was built on the occasion of its namesake's birthday, and served the dual purpose of a lighthouse and clocktower until 1963 when the light was finally extinguished. With its stately design, the striking red tower has come to be one of the island's most iconic and recognizable landmarks that attracts visitors from near and far. Over the years, the fort and tower have served a variety of purposes, and today house the Historical Museum of Aruba.

6 Zoutmanstraat, Oranjestad, Aruba

Hooiberg is a distinctive volcanic formation in the middle of the island. Hooiberg is the Dutch word for "haystack" which seems apt since the mountain is shaped like a haystack, even if it's green and 165 meters (541 feet) tall. The second highest peak on the island, it is also seen on Aruba's coat of arms symbolizing Aruba's rise out of the sea. Earlier, in 1950s, there were 900 steps that lead to the top of this mountain. However, they were worn out and posed great dangers for the climbers and visitors. After the restoration in 1991, there are now 587 steps with a gazebo that allows the visitors to rest and also soak in the stunning panoramic views of the island and even Venezuela if the skies are clear.

Hooiberg, Oranjestad, Aruba
Natural Bridge

Situated on Aruba's Windward Coast, Natural Bridge was the island's most visited tourist destination and one of the Caribbean's most distinguishable sites until it collapsed on in 2005. Although not quite the natural wonder it once was, the landmark is still a popular tourist attraction and offers exquisite views of the coast. Stretching 30 meters (100 feet) across and rising 7.6 meter (25 feet) above the ocean, the limestone bridge was known as the Caribbean's highest and most dramatic coral formation. There are around seven other natural bridges on Aruba though many of them are difficult to reach. Visit this gem and soak up the picturesque splendor that still thrives there.

Andicuri Beach, Oranjestad, Aruba
California Lighthouse

Built in 1916 by a French architect, the California Lighthouse is located at the farthest northwest tip of the the island and named for the wreck of a vessel called California, which occurred nearly two decades prior. While the steamship was made famous for receiving and dismissing the SOS calls made by the Titanic just a few years before its own demise, the lighthouse earned its reputation for a more pleasant reason, namely by offering stunning panoramic views of the island and its rocky northern coastline. It was restored in May 2016, which marked the centennial of the lighthouse's completion. The interior of the lighthouse is closed to the public though the scenic landmark is well worth visiting. After gazing out onto stone flats and azure waters, tourists often stop by the adjacent restaurant, aptly named La Trattoria el Faro Blanco, or "The White Lighthouse."

North End of L.G. Smith Boulevard, Noord, Aruba
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