Category: Caribbean

Grand Bahama Island – Freeport Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Grand Bahama Island Travel Deals

A – Overview

Golf, shopping, casinos, exciting nightlife, hiking in a nature preserve, snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, and swimming with dolphins are all features of Freeport and Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island. The emerald green, crystal clear water and sugar white beaches are not only beautiful, but are also ideal for the whole spectrum of activities.

grand bahama island overview

Grand Bahama Island lies just 50 miles east of Florida and is a major tourist destination. The fourth largest island in the Bahamas group, Grand Bahama covers more than 530 square miles. The island has four 18 hole golf courses, one 9 hole course, and more than 30 tennis courts. Grand Bahama Island’s hotels and casinos are of a caliber that has earned them the title of “New World Riviera.”

The momentum of today’s thriving industries on Grand Bahama Island began in the 1950s when the cities of Freeport and Lucaya were developed specifically as resort areas. Since that time, visitors have been at the center of island life. They are welcomed and entertained with genuine warmth and hospitality.

Guests can play water volleyball in an over-sized swimming pool, soak in a hot Jacuzzi or sip an island cocktail at the poolside Tiki Bar while the children are at their own on-site playground. There are two casinos, dozens of bars and restaurants, and facilities where fishing boats can be chartered and jet skis and scuba gear rented. Freeport and Lucaya are the embodiment of tropical entertainment.

The island of Grand Bahama stretches nearly one hundred miles from east to west, but is only 17 miles across at its widest point.

Downtown Freeport, with its wide boulevards, called “dual carriageways,” revolves around the Moorish dome of the Princess Casino, right off the busy roundabout called Ranfurly Circus. Nearby, the International Bazaar is an extensive collection of boutiques with an international theme.

Grand Bahama Island is an ecological wonder with nature preserves and trails to explore. Its endless beaches, charming fishing villages and fascinating marine life are just some of the island’s attractions that make this a tropical paradise and a unique vacation destination.

B – City information

Population: 46,954

Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time. Daylight saving time is observed from October to April. When it is 12:00 noon on Grand Bahama Island, it is 12:00 noon in New York City and 9:00 AM in Los Angeles.

Average Temperatures:



























Local Seasons: Grand Bahama Island lies below the Tropic of Cancer and enjoys a mild climate throughout the year. The main season runs from mid-December through mid-April. The rainy and hurricane season occurs from June through November. During that time period there are many days and weeks of cloudless, sunny weather with intermittent showers. Hurricanes are rare, but do occur in some years.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day Jan. 1

Good Friday (Dates vary)

Easter Monday (Dates vary)

Whit Monday last Mon. in May

Independence Day July 10

Emancipation Day August 2

Labour Day 1st Mon. in Sept.

Discovery Day October 12

Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Day Dec. 25

Boxing Day December 26

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31

Area Code: The area code for the Bahamas is 242.

Before You Go:

Entry Requirements And Customs:
Valid photo I.D. (driver’s license is fine) AND a government-issued birth certificate (not hospital-issued) with a raised seal, or a valid Passport. Passports are not required for entry by US or Canadian citizens, but It is a good idea to bring one.

Non-US citizens, please contact the nearest consulate or embassy of the country to which you are traveling to determine your entry/visa requirements.

Upon arrival in The Bahamas, you will be given an Immigration Card to complete and sign. The Bahamian customs official will stamp the card and return it to you. Be sure to keep the card in a safe place, because you will need to turn it in upon departure from The Bahamas.

Visitors leaving The Bahamas for US destinations clear US Customs and Immigration before departure. US citizens are allowed to bring back $600 worth of merchandise duty-free. Above that, you will be charged a flat rate of 10% duty on the next $1000 worth of purchases. Be sure to save all of your merchandise receipts.

Departure tax, which is not included in this package, is $15 in US or Bahamian dollars, payable at the airport when leaving The Bahamas.
Bahamians speak English with an accent influenced by their Scottish, Irish and/or African ancestry.

Currency is the Bahamian Dollar (B$1), which is on par with the US Dollar (B$1=US$1). Both types of currency are accepted everywhere in The Bahamas.
24hour ATMs are widely available in The Bahamas and major international credit cards are accepted in most places.
Traveler’s Checks are accepted at most large hotels and stores, but you may have trouble cashing them at local boutiques and restaurants.
Tipping for service is usually 15%, although some hotels and restaurants automatically add a gratuity to the bill.
Local Transportation:
It is not necessary to rent a car in The Bahamas, but car rental counters are located outside baggage claim at Nassau and Freeport Airports. National chains and local companies are available, but It is best to stick with the recognizable companies. Rentals may be reserved in advance by calling Avis or other company, and may also be booked through many hotels on the island.
Be sure to closely examine your rental car before exiting the airport, because you may be charged for any damages, even if they were present at the time of rental.
Bahamians drive on the LEFT! This can be a bit confusing because most cars are American, with the steering wheel on the left (see your local mail carrier for advice!).
Taxis are widely available at airports, hotels and business areas.
Cabs can also be hired by the hour. Be sure to agree on a fare before you get in.
Buses are called Jitneys in Nassau and Freeport, and they provide an inexpensive way to get around. Buses stop near most hotels and exact change of 75 cents or $1 is required.

120 volts/60 cycles. This is compatible with the US.

Health & Safety:
Just as you would when traveling to an unfamiliar area, consult any major guidebook or check with your hotel about any areas to avoid or precautions to take, and use common sense.

Most hotels offer a safe for your valuables, but the safest option is always to leave any treasured valuables like expensive jewelry at home.

The Caribbean sunshine is very strong, so bring plenty of sun block and enjoy!

Getting There

By Private Boat: Grand Bahama Island is located 50 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida. The Island is 96 miles long and 17 miles across at its widest point. Port Lucaya Marina is just a short half-day trip from South Florida for most motor-cruisers.

Let your GPS’s navigation help you to find your way to this yachting paradise.

Lucayan Marina Village – 150 slips, Port Lucaya Marina – 80 slips

Xanadu Marina: 72 slips

Ocean Reef Yacht Club: 55 slips, are available to pleasure boaters.

By Cruise Ship:

Over 20 cruise lines have regularly scheduled excursions to Freeport.

By Air:
Flight is the primary mode of travel for the majority of visitors to the islands. Don’t miss the spectacular views during your approach and departure to and from The Bahamas.

The Grand Bahama International Airport is open from 6:00 AM- 10:00 PM daily.

Flights arrive daily from Nassau as well as South Florida, via Bahamasair, American Eagle, Gulf Stream/Continental Connection; AirTran Airways and Delta Connection daily from Atlanta; and Continental Express weekly from Newark, NJ. US Airways provides daily non-stop jet service from Charlotte, NC, and Saturday only non-stops from Philadelphia and LaGuardia. AirTran has daily non-stop flights from Baltimore.

Grand Bahama Vacations: Daily service from: Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Twice weekly flights from: Baltimore-Cincinnati-Cleveland-Hartford-Pittsburgh-Raleigh-Richmond.

Freeport Harbor

In addition to air service facilities, Freeport Harbor offers docking facilities for large ships. One of the deepest harbors in the region, it is undergoing a $10.9 million redevelopment program including new cruise passenger terminal facilities and a 25,000 sq. ft. landscaped retail village.

Exploring the many towns and villages of Grand Bahama Island

West End

located on the western tip of the island, is the oldest city on Grand Bahama Island. This picturesque fishing village is probably best known for its history as a liquor smuggling town during the prohibition.
Deadman’s Reef is the home of Paradise Cove, where one can swim out to some of the best snorkeling reefs. A recent archaeological dig along the eroding beach front unearthed many artifacts belonging to the Lucayan Indians: hearths, animal bones, pottery pieces, and shell beads. One of the most important Lucayan archaeological sites discovered to date, it has been dated at around 1200-1300 AD.

Eight Mile Rock

is the largest settlement on Grand Bahama Island, outside of Freeport/Lucaya. The town is actually a string of settlements, joined together, and is named after the 8 miles of solid rock contained here. The towns, from the west, include: Martin Hill, Jones Town, Rocky Shore, Martin Town, Pinedale, Hanna Hill, Bartlett Hill, Wildgoose, and Hepburn Town.

Hawksbill is a residential area, created mainly to house the workers employed in Freeport/ Lucaya. It is located on Hawksbill Creek, the name of The Hawksbill Creek Agreement that paved the way for the creation of Freeport/ Lucaya.

Pinder’s Point is four connected villages (Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Hunter’s and Mack Town). Pinder’s Point, the more developed of the group, can trace its roots back to a white settler and his slaves. The town has been slow to adopt the fast lane culture that came with the tourist trade, even though it lies just minutes outside of Freeport/ Lucaya.

Freeport/Lucaya, the capital of Grand Bahama, and the second largest city in the Islands of The Bahamas. The city was built expressly for tropical fun. It is the site of many of the tourist beaches and activities, as well as the International Bazaar and Marketplace.

Williams Town and Russell Town are two small villages south of Freeport, named for the families that still occupy them. Williams Town was founded by Joseph Williams, a freed slave, and some of his descendants still live there on what is called “generation land.”

Smith’s Point is named after the Scotsman, Michael Smith, who served in the early 1800s as Commissioner of the island. Instead of money, he was given 400 acres of land, part of which one of his sons sold to the Grand Bahama Development Company.

Mather Town

lies next to Smith’s Point (see above), just across a small channel. The quaint houses in this tiny village provide a striking contrast to the modernity of those within which it is enveloped.

Freetown received its name because it was the first place where slaves were freed in 1834. Before the advent of roads, a foot path from Old Freetown in the East was the primary thoroughfare for traveling to the settlements in the West. All that’s left of the old village, is a cemetery and some rubble. A few miles away on the beach is the old hermitage that is considered to be one of the oldest buildings on the island. Built in 1901, it was first a Baptist Church and later served as a hermitage for a Trappist monk.

High Rock gets its name from the 30-foot high rocky bluff between the coastal road and the sea. The village is built of mostly wooden framed buildings. Some villagers fish for a living, others work in Freeport or at the nearby South Riding Point oil transshipment facility.

McLean’s Town is located on a cay, at the easternmost point reachable by road. It consists of two roughly parallel roads. The villagers are good fishermen, and those with boats ferry people to the nearby cays. The town is most famous for its Conch Cracking Contests held during the Heroes’ Day holiday in October.

Deep Water Cay offers the ultimate for bone fishing enthusiasts. Located on the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island, it is accessible only by boat from McLean’s Town. The cay is surrounded by 250 square miles of shallow sand and mud flats, where the gray, ghostlike bone fish feed off shrimp, crustaceans, and insects.

Sweeting’s Cay is a quaint fishing village, located 55 miles east of Freeport. It is only accessible by boat and has a population of 400 people, most of whom live by selling lobster and conch in Freeport. The village stretches about a mile, and electricity and roads were only recently installed.
Lightbourne Cay is an uninhabited cay located just east of Sweeting’s Cay and is accessible only by boat. It is ideal for picnics and snorkeling right off the beach. At low tide, the shoreline becomes a spectacular sandy expanse, stretching for yards.

Water Cay is named for the abundant supply of fresh water to be found there. This small island lies in northern Grand Bahama, almost in the center of the island.

The Isle Of Capri Casino

at Our Lucaya has opened its 20,000 square foot facility directly across the street from the Port Lucaya Marina.

C – Attractions & Things To Do

grand bahama island attractions

Garden of The Groves
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island
The Bahamas
Phone: 242-373-5668
Fax: 242-373-2177

The garden is open Sunday to Monday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily. Tickets are available for sale until 3:30 p.m.

Considered one of the finest botanical Gardens in the Caribbean, the Garden of the Groves has more than 10,000 species of flowers, shrubs, trees, and exotic plant life. Along its shaded, winding paths are several waterfalls and exotic native birds. It is an ideal spot for those simply seeking a serene setting for quiet reflection.
Its old-fashioned chapel is also the perfect place for a romantic, tropical wedding. Winding paths, duck ponds and cascading waterfalls provide the perfect backdrop for those keepsake photos. Floral patterns of gardenias, bougainvillea, and hibiscus to name a few, make beautiful bouquets that will certainly complement whatever is worn on that special occasion.

Hydroflora Gardens
Grand Bahama Island
The Bahamas
Tel: 242-352-6052
Fax: 242-373-6976

This unusual garden, located in Freeport, offers visitors a fascinating look into the science and technique of “hydroponics”—growing plants without soil. The tropical and sub-tropical flowers and plants produced on this five-acre compound are as beautiful as their growth process is interesting. Among the unusual exhibits are several of what is called “Bible” plants and a sunken garden.

Native Crab Fest
Enjoy delicious native crabs at the Churchill Garden at Club 2000 (formerly Churchill Pub). This event starts at 6:30 p.m. every Friday. 242-351-2692.

Native Fish Fry
Enjoy delicious fried fish, potato bread, conch salad and more every Wednesday at Smith’s Point, starting at 6:30 p.m. 242-352-8044

Port Lucaya Marketplace
Weekly activities include: theme night, Mardi Gras, Reggae night, Island night, DJ Jam session, Junkanoo parades, fire and limbo dancing, and other native acts. 242-373-8446.

Freeport Bahamas Sportfishing

Lucayan Marina Village
Phone: 242.373.8888 x522

Captain Chris and crew guarantee a wonderful day on the water. A native of the Bahamas, Captain Chris is one of the most respected fishermen in the islands and has been fishing the waters of Freeport for over 25 years. Board a 55-foot luxury ocean sportfisherman vessel and head out to sea in search of wahoo, tuna, kingfish, barracuda, mackerel and bonita. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, food and drink: bait is provided!

Rand Memorial Nature Centre

Covering an area of over 100 acres, the nature center features over 200 kinds of birds and 400 types of plants.

Straw Market

The Bahamas is well-known for its straw work, and at this market you can find virtually every kind of straw object made in the islands. There are also plenty of carvings and other traditional goods.

International Bazaar

The International Bazaar is Freeport’s main shopping zone, a sprawling collection of stores selling a wide variety of goods from all over the world, as well as traditional Bahamian arts and crafts.

Outside of Freeport

West End

During the era of prohibition, West End and the nearby towns on Grand Bahamas’ west coast were the epicenter of rum-running. The area is rich in stories, and also has a long, gorgeous beach.

Pinetree Stables

Beachway Drive North
Phone: 242.373.3600

Saddle up for a two-hour guided trail ride on Grand Bahama Island. Wind through the Pine Forest and Rocky Coppice. Cross a Wetland and trot along the beach and into the sea. Yes, you will get wet!
Friendly guides and reliable trail horses lead the way and prior horseback riding experience is not required. Minimum rider age is 8 years and maximum rider weight is 200 pounds. Jeans and sneakers are suggested for your comfort. Reservations are required.

The Resort at Bahamia Tennis Club

The Mall at West Sunrise Highway
Phone: 242.350.7000

Year-round blue skies and warm weather provide ideal conditions for a tennis match at The Resort at Bahamia. The resort offers nine courts including both hard surface and clay surface. The courts are lighted for night play, available by special arrangement.
Guests and non-guests are accommodated with advance reservations. Tennis rackets are available for rent.

Isle of Capri Golf Resort and Casino

Lucaya, Grand Bahamas

7.5 acres of sandy beaches, sparkling turquoise waters, and tropical surroundings commonly described as cool, colorful, and Caribbean.

749 beautiful guest rooms and suites – most with ocean views.

14 restaurants and cafés; pool area, with three spa tubs and four pools, including a large serpentine pool

25,000-square-foot Senses Spa & Fitness Center.

Gaming space: 19,000 sq. ft.

The new Isle of Capri Casino at Our Lucaya offers 400 slot machines and 30 game tables, with a high limit slot area as well as a high limit room for table game players.
Our Lucaya Golf Club

Royal Palm Way Lucaya
Phone: 242.373.1333

Our Lucaya resort is home to two of the top golf courses on Grand Bahama Island:
Host to the most prestigious golfing events in the Caribbean, the Lucayan Course at Our Lucaya resort is among the top 100 golf resorts in the world. Built by famed designer Dick Wilson, the course features well-protected elevated greens, pristine fairways lined with tropical foliage and trademark Wilson doglegs. Although the Lucayan Course uses water hazards sparingly, the 6,824-yard track presents challenges unequalled in the Caribbean.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the Reef Course at Our Lucaya resort is brand new and has already been selected as the home of the Senior PGA Tour’s “The Lucayan Senior Slam” for the next three years. Thirteen of its eighteen holes are bordered by water, and at 6,930 yards from championship tees, the Reef Course tests even the most prominent golfers.
A tip for golfers who have never teed off in the Bahamas: all of the greens are Bermuda grass and every putt is influenced by grain: all balls will tend to break more toward the setting sun (west/ southwest).

Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO)

Port Lucaya
Phone: 242.373.1244

The Underwater Explorers Society, established in 1965, has been rated “the most sophisticated and best equipped dive facility in the world” by Skin Diver Magazine. Only at UNEXSO can you dive in the open water with dolphins, experience the adrenaline rush on a heart pounding shark dive, and view the splendor of an intact freighter lying in 100 feet of crystal clear water. In addition to diving for certified divers, UNEXSO offers snorkeling adventures, dolphin encounters and learn-to-dive programs.
Reservations are required and rates vary depending on the activity. It is best to call 800.992.DIVE before leaving for your trip to inquire about availability. Sport equipment and photography rentals are available.

Lucayan National Park

Lucayan National Park covers over 40 acres and four distinct ecological zones. Along with its abundance of plant and animal species, there are also caves you can explore via walkways.

D – Family Fun Attractions

Garden of The Groves
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island
The Bahamas
Phone: 242-373-5668
Fax: 242-373-2177

The garden is open Sunday to Monday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily. Tickets are available for sale until 3:30 p.m.

Considered one of the finest botanical Gardens in the Caribbean, the Garden of the Groves has more than 10,000 species of flowers, shrubs, trees, and exotic plant life. Along its shaded, winding paths are several waterfalls and exotic native birds.

Hydroflora Gardens
Grand Bahama Island
The Bahamas
Tel: 242-352-6052
Fax: 242-373-6976

This unusual garden, located in Freeport, offers visitors a fascinating look into the science and technique of “hydroponics”—growing plants without soil. The tropical and sub-tropical flowers and plants produced on this five-acre compound are as beautiful as their growth process is interesting. Among the unusual exhibits are several of what is called “Bible” plants and a sunken garden.

Lucayan National Park

Lucayan National Park covers over 40 acres and four distinct ecological zones. Along with its abundance of plant and animal species, there are also caves you can explore via walkways.

Rand Memorial Nature Centre

Covering an area of over 100 acres, the nature center features over 200 kinds of birds and 400 types of plants.

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Holmes Rock & Seagrape together form a little community known for a unique cave that sits behind a local night club. It is over 200 yards in diameter and produces fresh water at low tide and salt water at high tide.

Nassau Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Nassau Travel Deals

A – Overview

The Islands of the Bahamas are among the most beautiful places on earth to visit. The water ranges from pale aqua to deep sapphire, the spectrum changing hourly as the sun shines brightly in a cloudless sky. Nassau, the country’s capital, is a bustling town on New Providence Island with shops, nightclubs, glamorous casinos, and posh hotels. Even in Nassau, though, there are quiet byways and shady lanes where you can step away from the activity of the main tourist areas. Visitors have many options. They can pause in their shopping at any time to wander past old colonial buildings that are full of fascinating island history. Nights can be spent watching a perfect sunset, dining on elegant French or local cuisine in a hotel restaurant, and then taking in a show, dancing, or visiting one of the island’s casinos.

nassau overview

Nassau’s sheltered harbor bustles with the familiar cruise ship hubbub and the excitement of fishing excursions coming and going, while a block away, broad, palm lined Bay Street is alive with commercial activity. The shopping in Nassau is first rate, as fine imported goods and local crafts compete for attention right next to each other. The historical sights are centered around the downtown area. This area has been renovated and rejuvenated in recent years, adding to its beauty and attractiveness. Amidst the historic landmarks, chic cigar bars, fancy restaurants, art galleries, suave clubs, and trendy coffeehouses are popping up everywhere.

No visit to Nassau would be complete without a trip to nearby Paradise Island. This strip of land off Nassau’s northern coast is truly a world class playground. Its casinos and beaches are the first choice for many tourists. The recently completed Atlantis casino and super-resort has attracted even more visitors. The water is a clear blue, and the sand on the beaches is perfectly white on Paradise Island. Inside, the casinos offer every game imaginable, as well as dozens of shows and attractions.

The Islands of the Bahamas–with exquisite golden and pink sunsets, pristine beaches, lush tropical landscapes, and year round sunshine–couldn’t have sprung from the sea in more perfect form for 21st century vacationers. Nassau is the crown jewel of the islands. The town has become even more beautiful of late, and its amazing beaches, significant historic landmarks, and world class resort casinos continue to attract thousands upon thousands of tourists each year.

B – City information

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Eastern Standard Time is used on all islands. April to October is Eastern Daylight Time, in conjunction with US summer hours.

The legal tender is the Bahamian dollar (B$1), which is equivalent in value to the US dollar. Most of the times, you can either pay in US Dollars or Bahamian Dollars.

The Bahamas consist of more than 700 islands and cays, many of which are not inhabitated. The islands cover an area of 100,000 square miles of Atlantic Ocean, located between Hispaniola and South Florida.
Bahama welcomes its visitors with an ideal climate avaeraging 80-90 degrees F in the summer and 70 – 80 degrees F during the winter month. Water temperatures in the Bahamas are never below 72 degrees F.

Rainy season is between May and September, but showers generally come and go very quickly.

Average Temperatures:

Month Temp (F) Humidity (%) Rain/month (inches)
January 62/77 78 (%) 1.86
April 66/82 74 (%) 2.12
July 75/90 77 (%) 6.21
October 71/86 80 2.23


Custom Regulations: 

Upon entering The Bahamas, everyone must fill out and sign an Immigration form, keeping a portion of the card in hand until departing. Adults are allowed to bring a maximum of 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes or one pound of tobacco, one quart of spirits, and a variety of personal effects. Purchases up to a value of one hundred dollars are permitted by all arriving passengers.

When departing, all visitors (over 6 years old)are required to pay a $15.00 departure tax ($18.00 from Grand Bahama); Departures to the US must go through US Customs pre-clearance. you may bring home up to US$600 worth of duty-free merchandise. The next $l,000 is taxed at 10%. Gifts valued up to $50 may be mailed home duty-free. One litre of wine, liqueur or liquor and five cartons of cigarettes can be taken duty-free.

Banking Hours:
Banks in Nassauare opened from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday
and 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Please note that banking hours vary throughout the Islands.

Electricity is normally 120 volts AC. American appliances are fully compatible.

Waiters and Tab drivers receive 15% according to quality of service. Bellboys and porters usually receive $1 per bag. Some establishments include the gratuity in their bills.

Getting Around:
Driving in the Bahamas is influenced by the British, so cars drive on the left. Visitors can drive using their home license for up to three months and may also apply for an international driver’s license. Pedestrians please be careful and remember to look to your right before crossing streets.Taxi’s are located at the international airports, major hotels and downtown Nassau.
Meter Cabs: Davis Street, Nassau – 242-323-5111
Bahamas Taxi Cab Union: Nassau Street – 242-323-4555
Buses run throughout the day normally until dusk every 30 minutes.. Buses to the Cable beach area leave from Navy Lion Road North depot. Buses to the Eastern area leave from Frederick Street North depot. Buses to the malls leave from Marlbourgh Street East.

Medical Services:
Princess Margaret Hospital – 242-322-2861
Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre – 242-324-6881
Doctor’s Hospital – 242-322-8411
Acute Care – 242-328-5596


  C – Attractions & Things To Do

Fort Fincastle and the Water Tower
Top of Elizabeth Ave. hill, south of Shirley St
Fort Fincastle is located atop the Queen’s Staircase. The structure was completed in 1793 and it served as a lookout post for looters trying to sneak in through the harbor. It later served as a lighthouse. The fort’s 126-ft-tall water tower is recorded as being the highest point on the island

nassau bahamas fort fincastle

Fort Charlotte
Fort Charlotte is the largest fort in the Bahamas. It was built in 1788 and features a traditional moat and dungeons. It also boasts one of the best views of Nassau.

Crystal Cay
Tel: (242) 328-1036
The Crystal Cay Marine Park is notably one of the world’s finest underwater parks. The park was built around an existing reef, and visitors can explore exhibits both above and below the surface.

Botanical Gardens
Tel: (242) 323-5975
off West Bay St
Enjoy lushfull gardens with more than 600 tropical species.

Paintings by Amos Ferguson
2nd floor of the Pompey Museum
Bay Street, Nassau
(242) 326-2566/8
Sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, a permanent Art Exhibition spotlights paintings of internationally acclaimed Bahamian artist Amos Ferguson. Ferguson’s “primitive” paintings are grouped by four main themes: history, religion, nature and folklore. Museum Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Mon. – Fri.; 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on alternate Sats. Closed on Sun. and holidays. Location: 2nd floor of the Pompey Museum, Bay Street, Nassau. Donation.

Junkanoo Expo
(242) 356-2731
Open daily 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
A new attraction at Nassau’s waterfront. The first Museum of it’s kind showcasing large, colorful, intricately deigned artistic creations from recently passed Junkanoo parades, held annually on December 26th and New Year’s Day. The Expo complex also includes a souvenir boutique, with Junkanoo paintings and a variety of Junkanoo craft.

Bahamas Historical Society Museum Pompey Museum
Elizabeth Avenue and Shirley Street, Nassau
(242) 326-2566/8
An ongoing exhibition, displaying A RESERVOIR OF HISTORY, comprising a collection and preservation of historic, anthropological and archaeological Bahamian artifacts. Hours: Weekdays, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m; Sat. 10:00 a.m.- Noon. Closed Sun. and holidays. Tours available. Admission fee.

Balcony House
(242) 322-2193, The original design of this wooden house was a transplant of late 18th century southeast American architecture. The present design and furnishings, recently restored between 1992 and 1993, have sought to recapture the ambience of this historic period. Admission: Free, however donations are welcome. Tours are provided. Hours: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily, except Thursdays. Closed Thur. & holidays.

Changing of the Guards Ceremony
Government House Grounds
Baillou Hill Road
five minutes from downtown Nassau
(242) 322-2020
A fortnightly tradition of pomp and pageantry marking the changing of the Guard at Government House, the residence of the Governor General, personal representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The internationally renowned Royal Bahamas Police Force Band proudly performs. Time: 10:00 a.m.

The Retreat

(242) 393-1317
Here at the 11-acre home of The Bahamas National Trust, environmentalists and nature lovers can enjoy and tour this natural haven of native flora. Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Mon. – Fri. Tours: Commence at 11:45 a.m., for half an hour, Tue., Wed. & Thur.


Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park
Exuma Islands
This park, inaugurated in 1958, is the first of its kind anywhere on the planet. It comprises 176 square miles of outstanding anchorages and a stunning marine environment. It was the Caribbean’s first marine fishery reserve. Many a worldly yachtsperson will tell you that the Exumas are the world’s most picturesque yachting grounds.

Inagua National Park
Great Inagua Island
This park on Great Inagua island is internationally famous as the site of the world’s largest colony of wild West Indian flamingos. In Bahamian dialect these birds are called “fillymingos” and/or “flamingas”.

Island World Adventures Ltd
Tel: (242) 394-8960/61, evenings 357-7782
Private charter and offshore excursions throughout The Bahamas. Daily excursions to Exuma Island. Explore and snorkel around private islands, feed stingrays, sharks, barracudas and experience the beauty of the Bahama waters.

Glass Bottom Boat Tours
Sunshine Tours
Tel: (242) 363-4051
Sightseeing and glass bottom boat excursions. Enjoy a great underwater adventure!

Ardastra Gardens and Zoo
This is the place to come to see flamingoes, the national bird as well as many other wild animals. Great place for the whole family.

Cable Beach
Cable Beach is a famous beach on the island of New Providence where you’ll find a wide range of activities, and every service will be at your fingertips. Water-skiing, windsurfing, diving, fishing, sailing, parasailing, seaside restaurants, beach bars, local entertainment–if you can think of it, you’ll probably find it there.

Dolphin Encounters
Tel: (242) 363-5066
Swim and dive with bottle-nosed dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island.

Hartley’s Underwater Walk
Tel: (242) 393-8234
Walk along the ocean bottom with expert guides without getting your hair wet by donning a Hartley’s helmet. This unique invention lets you enjoy undersea beauty while staying dry. You can even keep your glasses on! Children over 5 and non-swimmers welcome.

D – Family Fun Attractions

Ardastra Gardens and Zoo
This is the place to come to see flamingoes, the national bird as well as many other wild animals. Great place for the whole family.

nassau flamingos

Dolphin Encounters
Tel: (242) 363-5066
Swim and dive with bottle-nosed dolphins on Blue Lagoon Island.

Hartley’s Underwater Walk
PO Box SS-5244
Tel: (242) 393-8234
Walk along the ocean bottom with expert guides with out getting your hair wet by donning a Hartley’s helmet. This unique invention lets you enjoy undersea beauty while staying dry. You can even keep your glasses on! Children over 5 and non-swimmers welcome.

Crystal Cay
Tel: (242) 328-1036
The Crystal Cay Marine Park is notably one of the world’s finest underwater parks. The park was built around an existing reef, and visitors can explore an array of exhibits both above and below the surface.

Pirates Of Nassau Museum
Marlborough& George Streets
Ahoy Matey! Embark on this pirate ship and come face to face with Captain Teach. Captain Teach and his fearsome crew will guide the whole family through an interactive and historical age of piracy. The thrilling atmosphere is contagious, and it is here where visitors have the opportunity to become pirates for a day!

E – Events & Entertainments

Bird Walk
The first Saturday in every month at 8:00 a.m.
Rand Nature Centre
Grand Bahama Island
(242) 352-5438
Birdwatching enthusiasts can enjoy a walk through this bird sanctuary.

Central Bank Art Exhibition
Each month, during January – April
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m, Mon. – Fri.
Central Bank Gallery
Trinity Place & Frederick Street
Downtown Nassau
(242) 327-7562
view varied artwork displayed by different Bahamian artists

Native “King & Knights” Show
Nassau Beach Hotel, Cable Beach
Show Times: Tue.-Sat.: 8:30 p.m. (& 10:30 p.m. depending upon attendance)
Sun. & Mon.: 8:30 p.m. show only
(242) 327-5321
For exciting indigenous entertainment in Nassau, visit our native King & Knights Show, offering fire-dancing and limbo-dancing.


New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade
January 1
On Bay Street, downtown Nassau
starting at 1:00 a.m.
(242) 394-0445
Junkanoo, a kaleidoscope of sound and spectacle (a bit of Mardi Gras, Mummer’s Parade and ancient African tribal ritual) takes place. Prize-giving is at 8:00 a.m. The parade is a repeat of the Boxing Day Parade, held December 26 past. On this occasion, costumes and themes are different from Boxing Day.

Annual New Year’s Sailing Regatta
January 1-2
Montagu Bay
(242) 394-0445
Thirty to 40 locally built sailing sloops, ranging from 17′ to 28′, converge off Montagu Bay in a battle for championship. A continuation from the Christmas Regatta held December 25 & 26, 1997. Organised by the Bahamas Boat Owners Association. A spectator boat is available for a close-up view of races.

The Polar Bear Swim
January 1, from 12:30 p.m
Beach behind Rock ‘N’ Roll Cafe
Cable Beach
(242) 322-6504
Each New Year’s, a fun time, with beach party and a customary (snowbirds) swim in the sea amongst giant ice cubes (Brrrr!).

Dundas Repertory Season
January 26 – May 30
(242) 393-3728
Plays, executed by Bahamian artists, are held at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, Mackey Street, Nassau.

Spring Breack Season
February 28 – April 10
(242) 322-7500, ext. 4350
A season of festivities for vacationing college and high school students. Exciting beach parties, sports meets and musical entertainment are some of the highlights of a packed Spring Break calendar. For further details, contact the Social Hostess or front desk of your hotel. Activities are also arranged on Grand Bahama Island and the other major Islands Of The Bahamas.

Cricket Season
March – November
Haynes Oval
West Bay Street
(242) 325-6396 or (242) 326-4720 (evening)
Cricket matches are played every Sat. & Sun. during Cricket Season at Nassau. Games begin at 12:00 Noon.

Rugby Season
end of September – end of April
(242) 328-7888 or (242) 326-8000
Winton Rugby Field
off Prince Charles Drive, Nassau
Rugby matches are played during the Rugby Season. Don’t miss out on a game loved by the Bahamians.

Boxing Day
December 27 (Official date is December 26)
A public holiday. The day is a traditional English holiday started centuries ago when leftover Christmas goodies were boxed by nobility and landlords and given to servants and tenants.

Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade
December 27 (Tentative)
On Bay Street, downtown Nassau
(242) 394-0445
During the early morning hours (starting at 1:00 a.m.)
Junkanoo is a kaleidoscope of sound and spectacle (a bit of Mardi Gras, Mummer’s Parade and ancient African tribal ritual). Revellers, dressed in colorful costumes of crepe paper, parade through the streets to the sounds of cowbells, goatskin drums, whistles and many other homemade instruments. Prize-giving is at 8 a.m. The parade is repeated on New Year’s Day, January 1.

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Oranjestad Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Oranjestad Travel Deals

A – Overview

This tiny island off the coast of Venezuela has an exceptionally dry climate that is considered one of the most desirable in the Carribean. Its desert landscape, with divi-divi trees, cactus, and aloe vera set against the backdrop of azure skies and the blue-green water of the sea provides the perfect setting for a holiday of relaxation and renewal of energy. The beaches are carpeted with silky white sand, The cooling trade winds, low humidity, and an average year round temperature of 82° complete the picture of a tropical paradise.

Oranjestad overview

Sun, friendly and courteous service, modern and efficient amenities, golf and tennis clubs, casinos, fabulous beaches, duty-free shopping, and remarkably varied cuisine are all factors that help fill Aruba’s many hotel rooms. The island’s distinctive beauty lies in its countryside, with its rocky deserts, native trees, cactus jungles filled with the chattering of wild parakeets, secluded coves, and crashing waves.

Nearly every night there are theme parties, treasure hunts, beachside barbecues, and fish fries with steel bands and limbo or Carnival dancers. Divers and snorkelers love the warm, clear waters whose visibility extends up to 100 ft. Although tourism has resulted in the construction of many luxury resorts on the island, there are still undeveloped areas on the northern coast, and much of the interior is uninhabited except for a few herds of goats and donkeys.

With more than a dozen resort hotels populating its once uninhabited beaches, Aruba is now one of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations. A recent moratorium on hotel construction, however, has halted the building of newer resorts–so for now, Aruba remains safe from the problems associated with over development. Arikok National Park, encompassing approximately 18 percent of the island, was first designated as being of significant national importance in the early 1980s. It is an area of unique scenic beauty, flora and fauna, geological formations and cultural resources. The highest points in Aruba are located in the park and include Arikok and Jamanota hilltops.

The Arikok National Park land area encompasses the three primary geological formations that shape the island of Aruba: the Aruba lava formation; a quartz diorite formation; and a limestone formation extending inward from the coastline. The rock outcrops, boulders and crevices between the various formations create micro- climactic conditions that support unique examples of indigenous flora and fauna. As a result, the park is the habitat of several animal species found only in Aruba. Hiking trails allow visitors access to its scenic beauty.

Fishing is popular along the shore in Savaneta or off the rocks at Malmok. Visitors enjoy watching the fishing fleet returning at noon or late in the afternoon when it arrives at the Bali pier. Small wooden boats at Fisherman’s Huts arrive heavy with their catch of the day.

Adults and children love to run and play on the clean white sands of Aruba and to enjoy the balmy breezes and freedom from every day responsibilities. Windsurfing lessons are available for children and adults. Or you can fly a kite with the help of Aruba’s tropical breezes. They make kite flying successful from anywhere on the island. A visit to the north shore will provide a glimpse of wildlife such as wild donkeys, rabbits, goats, iguanas and lizards. There will also be pelicans and parrots of all colors. Looking for the way back to the hotel? Remember, all those bent over divi divi trees were shaped by the winds to point toward the area of the island where most of the hotels are.

The major industries of Aruba are tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining, offshore banking and phosphates. Aruba’s major trading partners are the USA, the EU, the Netherlands and Japan.

The climate, ambience, and beauty of Aruba attract vacationers from all over the world. To visit Aruba once is to make it a permanent part of your family’s list of favorite holiday destinations. It is a place to visit many times, and a place in which to find something new and even more enjoyable with each return visit.

B – City information

90,000 (approx.) Visitors annually: approx. 900,000

Capital city:
Oranjestad (pop 20,500)

Dutch, Papiamento (a mix of Spanish, Dutch, English, French, and Portuguese), English and Spanish

Roman Catholic (82%), Protestant, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim

Autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Aruba is an island in the Carribean Sea 20 miles from the northern coast of Venezuela.

70 – 75 square miles

Highest peak is 617 ft.

Time Zone:
The time in Aruba is Atlantic Standard Time. It is the same as Eastern Daylight Savings time, but continues all year round.

The international dialing code for Aruba is 297. Area codes do not exist in Aruba, all numbers start with 8 except for cellular telephone numbers which start with 9.

Aruba is a great place for all ages. There are a number of children’s playgrounds and all sorts of activities that will ensure that children won’t want to leave!

Communications System:
Aruba has a modern telecommunications network. Long distance calls can be placed from any telephone or from SETAR (Aruba’s Telecommunications organization) locations around Aruba. AT&T customers can dial 800-8000 from special phones located at the airport and at the cruise ship docking area. From other phones dial 121 to contact the SETAR international operator to place a collect or calling card call. Cellular phone rental is also available (Call 297 820005)

Emergency numbers:
Police 100
Fire alarm/Hospital 115
Hospital & Ambulance 874300
Ambulance: Oranjstad 821234
San Nicholas 845050
Air Ambulance: Richard Rupert 829197
Fax 832791
Cellular 932329/930201
Medical Center 848833
Dept. for National Security 811911

The main 280-bed hospital is well-equipped with staff and equipment. Oxygen tanks and hemodialysis services are available. Hotels have doctors and dentists on call and appointments can be arranged. Several other medical clinics also exist on the island.

Postal Rates:
Aruba has had its own postage stamps since 1986.

Room Tax:
There is a 6% government tax on rooms and 11% hotel service charge on rooms, both of which will be shown on your hotel bill.

Should you need banking services when you arrive you’ll find a bank at the airport. There are also five banks with several branches at other convenient locations. ATM facilities exist at some of these banks.

Credit Cards:
All major credit cards are accepted.

Aruba’s currency is the florin, denoted by the letters ‘Afl.’ , divided into 100 cents. Traveller’s checks are widely accepted. Note: The Dutch Antillean florin used on the nearby islands of Bonaire and Curaçao isn’t accepted on the island of Aruba.

There is a 7% government tax on hotel rooms. Hotels add a 10-15% service charge, plus other energy surcharges. Restaurant service charges are also in the 10-15% range; there’s no need to tip on top of this except for superior service.

Customer Service:
Compliments and complaints regarding Aruba’s tourism can be voiced by calling the Customer Service Hotline on (297) 839000, active Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. An answering machine records calls outside these days and hours. The individuals and/or establishments concerned will be informed.

Average Temperatures (in Fahrenheit):

  High Low
January – March 81 79
April – June 83 81
July – September 84 83
October – December 84 80

The Caribbean climate is constant. The average year-round temperatures for the region is 82°F. . The extremes of temperature are 65°F low, 95°F high, but, the absence of high humidity and the presence of tropical breezes, make this an ideal climate. Downtown shopping areas feel hot at midday any time of the year, but air-conditioning provides comfort inside the shops. Near beaches, water and the trade winds keep things at just the right temperature.

Aruba is below the hurricane belt, so the traveler will not be able to experience a hurricane in Aruba.

Women usually wear casual cottons, linens and lightweight synthetics, hats for protection against the sun, flat heeled , sturdy shoes for walking and hiking. Shorts and slacks can be worn on the streets of Oranjestad. There is no need for formal evening wear. A light sweater for the cooler evenings might come in handy. Men might consider casual shirts and shorts. It is no longer customary for men to wear ties at business appointments. Sport coat for business is optional. Be sure to bring sun screen and insect repellent.

National Holidays:
New Year’s Day – January 1
Betico Croes’ Birthday – January 25
Carnival Monday – Late February
National Anthem & Flag Day – March 18
Good Friday – March; April (varies)
Easter Monday – March; April (varies)
Queen’s Day – April 30
Labor Day – May 1
Ascension Day – May (varies)
Christmas Day – December 25
Boxing Day – December 26

Drinking Water:
Aruba has the world’s second largest desalination plant which supplies the island with pure, fresh water. Imported bottled water is also readily available.

Same as in North America, i.e. 110Volts AC at 60 cycles.

Store Hours:
Most stores open from 9am to noon or 1pm and from 2pm to 6:30pm, although some remain open between noon and 2pm. Shops are open from Monday to Saturday. Hotel stores have varying open hours so check at your hotel for these. The Alahambra bazaar is open between 5pm and midnight. Mall store hours are 10am until 6pm.

Special Facilities:
Limited facilities for disabled persons are available. Some hotels have rooms that can completely accommodate disabled people while others have more limited facilities with ground floor rooms and wider doors to enable use of wheelchairs.

Equivalent Weights And Measures:
1 cm – 0.39 inches
1 meter – 3.28 feet / 1.09 yards
1 km – 0.62 miles
1 liter – 0.26 gallons
1 inch – 2.54 cm
1 foot – 0.39 meters
1 yard – 0.91 meters
1 mile – 1.60 km
1 gallon – 3.78 liters

Passports & Visas:
U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport or a birth certificate with a raised seal and a government-issued photo ID. Visitors from the member countries of the European Union must also carry their European Union Travel Card, as well as a passport. All other nationalities must have a valid passport.

Arriving & Departing:
By Air
Flights leave daily to Aruba’s Reina Beatrix International Airport (AUA) (AUA, 297/8-24800) from New York area airports and Miami International Airport, with easy connections from most American cities. Flights to Aruba take 21/2 hours from Miami and 4 hours from New York.

Transfers Between the Airport and Town:
By Taxi:
A taxi from the airport to most hotels takes about 20 minutes. It will cost about $16 to get to Eagle Beach; $18 to the high-rise hotels on Palm Beach; and $9 to the hotels downtown. There is a taxi stand right outside the baggage claim area of the airport.

Getting Around:
Buses run hourly trips between the beach hotels and the capital, Oranjestad for around $1. Buses run from Oranjestad to San Nicolas for the same fare.

Ferries run between the islands., and also offer cruises.

Bicycles and Mopeds:
Rentals are available. These forms of transportation are ideal because of the compact size of Aruba.

Horse-Drawn Carriages:
Horse drawn carriages offer tours of the capital.

Island roads can be very steep and winding, and are in poor condition. Children and livestock walk in the road as there are no sidewalks. The automobile is not the preferred mode of transportation.

C – Attractions & Things To Do

Butterfly Farm
Located at Palm Beach across from the Aruba Phoenix and Wyndham Hotels. Open all year from 9:00 -4:30
Step into a tropical garden filled with colorful butterflies from around the world. Observe the life cycle from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Tour guides offer commentary on butterfly habits. Arrive early and watch new butterflies emerging from their chrysalis and taking their first flight. The butterfly farm is a rare opportunity for photography and a delight to visitors of all ages.

oranjestad butterfly farm


Aruba’s sunny, pastel-colored capital is on the island’s southern leeward coast, just southeast of the main resort area. The bustling city has a very Caribbean flavor, with part-Spanish, part-Dutch architecture The main thoroughfare, Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard, cuts in from the airport along the waterfront and on to Palm Beach, changing its name along the way to J. E. Irausquin Boulevard. Most tourists visit to shop in its boutiques and duty-free shops, but it has three small museums that explore the island’s history.

Historical Museum
Fort Zoutman/Willem III Tower
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There is an entrance fee.
Situated in the oldest building in Aruba, Fort Zoutman and Willem III Tower, the historical museum offers a collection of articles from the island’s earliest times through early Spanish and Dutch periods, up to the present.

Numismatic Museum
Zuidstraat 27, Oranjestad
Monday – Friday 7:30 – noon and 1 – 4
30,000 historic coins from Aruba and around the world.

Archaeological Museum
Zoutmanstraat 1, Oranjestad.
Monday – Friday 8 – noon and 1 -4
Located on Zoutmanstraat diagonally across from the bus stop in Oranjestad, this museum’s five rooms exhibit giant earthen jars of which a few contain the remains of Aruba’s original inhabitants. Also displayed in glass boxes with descriptions are ancient artifacts, pottery tools and art.

Deep Sea Fishing
Numerous boats and crews are available at the docks. In the temperate waters around Aruba, a variety of Atlantic game fish can be caught year-round. Sailfish, white and blue marlin, wahoo, shark, barracuda, amberjack, kingfish, bonito, and blackfin and yellowfin tuna are abundant. The captain and his/her first mate will help the vacationing fishing enthusiast bring in any fish, even if they have little previous experience. Many restaurants will even cook and serve your catch of the day You can sail for either a full day or a half-day on many of the fishing boats. Excursions can be arranged through your hotel activity desk or De Palm Tours, or directly with the captain of the boat of your choice.

Schooner Harbor
In this harbor are moored many fishing boats and schooners ,some from Venezuela.. Nearly all newcomers to Aruba like to photograph the Colorful boats dock along the quay, and boat owners display their wares in open stalls. Fresh fish are sold at the market nearby.

Wilhelmina Park
This park, named after Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, is also on the sea side of Oranjestad. It features a tropical garden along the water and a sculpture of the Queen Mother.

Outside the City
A popular pastime is a drive into the cunucu, which in Papiamento means “the countryside.” Here Arubans live in modest, colorful, pastel-washed houses, decorated with tropical plants that require expensive desalinated water.

Caya G. F. Croes (7A) toward Santa Cruz. Hooiberg, also known as “The Haystack.” It is Aruba’s highest landmark. Those with energy to spare can scramble up the steps of this 541-foot-high hill and be rewarded with a view, on a clear day, of Venezuela.

Open daily from 9 – 5, with no admission charge
Aruba is studded with massive boulders. The most impressive ones at Ayo and Casibari, northeast of Hooiberg. Diorite boulders stack up as high as city office buildings. The rocks weigh several thousand tons and puzzle geologists. Ancient Amerindian drawings appear on the rocks at Ayo. At Casibari, you can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the island or a close look at rocks that nature has carved into seats or prehistoric birds and animals.. The lodge at Casibari sells souvenirs, snacks, soft drinks, and beer.

Caves of Canashito
South of Hooiberg
Tours available. Inquire at your hotel.
Guides can point out drawings on the walls and ceiling of these unusual caves. There are giant green parakeets in the area as well.

Natural Bridge
Aruba’s natural coral bridge that had been formed over millions of years by surf eating away at a portion of the coral formations on the rocky northern shore, collapsed in mid-2005.   A slightly shorter coral bridge survives the erosion, and remains a popular tourist attraction.  The site, reached by traveling down a gravel road,  is a perfect place for a picnic.  Andicuri Beach, a short stroll over the bridge, is a popular boogie-boarding location for competent swimmers.

Arikok National Park
The park is a desert like ecological preserve that covers 18% of the island’s area, starting on the east coast and jutting inland almost to the west coast. The island’s rich crust makes it one of the rare places in the world with geological origins traceable with the naked eye. Hiking trails make it easy to explore the preserve’s unusual terrain and diverse flora and fauna. Iguanas and many species of migratory.
This park encompasses a significant area of land in the interior and a long stretch of the northern windward coast. The park contains traces of nearly all the significant forces that have impacted on Aruba’s history, including Arawak petroglyphs in the Fontein Cave, the remains of Dutch peasant settlements at Masiduri, plantation houses in the Prins Valley and the ruins of an old gold mining operation at Miralamar. The park covers 620 sq. ft.
The Aruban government is working on a 10-year ecotourism plan to preserve the resources of the park. The park is topped by Aruba’s second-highest mountain, 577-ft Mt. Arikok, so climbing is also a possibility.

Mount Jamanota
Aruba’s highest hill. There’s a road running through the park, and some interesting hiking trails.

Spaans Lagoen Along the highway toward the island’s southernmost section is Spanish Lagoon, where pirates hid and waited to plunder rich cargo ships in the Caribbean. Today it’s an ideal place for snorkeling and for having a picnic at the tables under the mangrove trees.

To the east is an area called where some of the most ancient traces of human habitation have been unearthed.

Lago Oil Transport Company
You’ll see here the first oil tanks that marked the position of the the Exxon subsidiary around which the town of San Nicolas developed. San Nicolas was a company town until 1985, when the refinery curtailed operations. Twelve miles from Oranjestad, it is now called the Aruba Sunrise Side, and tourism has become its main economic endeavor.

Guadarikiri Cave and Fontein Cave.
The Guadirikiri and Fontein caves are marked with ancient drawings. Park rangers are available to offer explanations. Both caves were used by native Indians centuries ago.

Huliba and Tunnel of Love Caves
Baranca Sunu, the so-called Tunnel of Love, has a heart-shape entrance and, within, naturally sculpted rocks that look like the Madonna, Abe Lincoln, and even a jaguar At these caves, guides show visitors the carvings and natural formations. The Tunnel of Love cave requires some physical stamina to explore. It is filled with steep climbs, and its steps are illuminated only by hand-held lamps. Wear sturdy shoes and watch your step.

California Lighthouse
The closed lighthouse stands at the island’s far northern end. It’s surrounded by huge boulders and sand dunes tufted with scrub.

Rock Formations
The massive boulders at Ayo and Casibari are said to be a mystery since they don’t match the island’s geological makeup. You can climb to the top of Casibari for fine views of the arid countryside; the main path has steps and handrails, and you must move through tunnels and on narrow steps and ledges to reach the top. At Ayo you’ll find ancient pictographs in a small cave. Access to Casibari is via Tanki Highway 4A, to Ayo via Highway 6A; watch carefully for the turnoff signs near the center of the island on the way to the windward side.

Scuba Diving And Snorkeling
With visibility of up to 90 ft, Aruban waters are excellent for snorkeling and diving. Certified divers can go wall or reef diving or explore wrecks sunk during World War II. The German freighter, Antilla, is popular with both divers and snorkelers.

Mangel Halto Reef
(Also known as Pos Chiquito Reef or Bao Baranca)Mangel Halto Reef is excellent for night diving.


Beaches in Aruba are legendary: white sand, turquoise waters, and virtually no litter everyone takes the No littering signs (“No tira sushi”) signs are taken very seriously. The major beaches, which back up to the hotels along the southwestern strip, are public and crowded. Make sure you’re well protected from the sun with sunscreen or sunblock. Sunburns can happen quickly in the intense sun and gentle breezes. On the island’s northeastern side, wind makes the waters too choppy for swimming, but the views are magnificent, and the terrain is wonderful for sunbathing and geological exploration.

Baby Beach (Seroe Colorado)
On the island’s eastern tip, this semicircular beach borders a bay that’s as placid and just about as deep as a wading pool.
Swimming Conditions: Excellent and a great spot for snorkeling.
White powder sand. Accessible by car or taxi.
Snack truck offers chicken legs, burgers, hot dogs, beer, and soda.

Boca Grandi
Strong swimming skills are a must at this beach near Seagrape Grove and the Aruba Golf Club toward the island’s eastern tip.

Boca Prins
Near the Fontein Cave and Blue Lagoon, this beach is famous for its backdrop of enormous sand dunes. No swimming. Ideal for a picnic. Bring a beach blanket and sturdy footwear and climb down the rocks that form steps to the water’s edge. Accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Boca Tabla (Bachelor’s Beach)
Swimming Conditions: Better suited for snorkeling and windsurfing than swimming. White powder sand. No facilities. Accessible by car or taxi.

Dos Playa
Swimming Conditions: Not recommended for swimming due to huge waves and strong currents., but a beautiful spot for a picnic, or to admire the view. Accessible by 4-wheel drive only.

Eagle Beach
On the southwestern coast , and recently designated one of the 10 best beaches in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine.

Fisherman’s Hut
This beach is a windsurfer’s heaven. Take a picnic lunch (tables are available) and watch the purple, aqua, and orange sails of the catamarans struggle in the wind.

Grapefield Beach
To the northeast of San Nicolas, this area of blinding white sand in the shadow of cliffs and boulders is marked by the statue of an anchor dedicated to all seamen. Swim at your own risk; the waves can be rough.

Malmok Beach
This small beach is located on the northwestern shore. It is also known as Boca Catalina, and borders shallow waters that stretch 300 yards from shore. It is a perfect place to learn to windsurf and is a favorite with divers and snorkelers. A major diving attraction is the wreck of the German ship Antilla, scuttled in 1940.

Manchebo Beach
(Formerly Punta Brabo Beach) In front of the Manchebo Beach Resort, this wide stretch of white powder is a favorite spot for top-free sunbathers.

Mangel Halto (Savaneta)
Swimming Conditions: Shallow water.
White powder sand. This is a good spot for picnics, and is accessible by car or taxi.

Natural Pool
Not a beach, but this hidden pool on the north coast offers unique scenery and solitude. Accessible by 4-wheel drive or on horseback.

Palm Beach
This beach is behind the Allegro Resort & Casino, Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort and Casino, Aruba Grand Beach Resort & Casino, and Holiday Inn hotels. It is at the center of Aruban tourism, offering the best in swimming, sailing, and other water sports.

Rodger’s Beach
Next to Baby Beach on the island’s eastern tip, this is a curving stretch of sand, unfortunately providing a view of the oil refinery at the far side of the bay. A new snack bar serves refreshments and hosts occasional live entertainment at the water’s edge. White powder sand. Accessible by car or taxi.
Swimming Conditions: Excellent.

Santo Largo
Swimming Conditions: Shallow water.
White powder sand. No facilities. Accessible by car or taxi.

Nightlife and Entertainment

A few casinos are open 24 hours a day. In most, the opening hours are 11 a.m. for slots and 1 p.m. through early morning for table games. Hours vary seasonally, so check before making plans. No one under 18 is allowed in the casinos. The larger casinos feature live first class entertainment imported from other countries such as the United States and Latin America.
opens its games at 10:30am; it stays open until 1:30am.

J. E. Irausquin Blvd. 47
10am till very early in the morning, usually 3am.
The Alhambra is a complex of buildings and courtyards designed like an 18th-century Dutch village.. A busy casino operates on the premises.


Seaport Cinema
Seaport Market Place
The complex has six theaters showing the latest American movies in English.


The Cabaret Royale (Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort and Casino, J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 77, Palm Beach, 297/8-64466) has an entertaining Cuban review (with a bit of flesh) Tuesday through Saturday at 9 PM. Dinner (seating at 7:30) and the show cost $34; $20 gets you two cocktails (starting at 8:30) and admission to the show.

The Tropicana Showroom (J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 250, 297/8-77000 ext. 731 or 727), the Royal Cabana Casino’s cabaret theater and nightclub, features first-class Las Vegas-style revues, usually showcasing female impersonators, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 9 PM and Wednesday and Friday at 10 PM; the cost is $35 per person. Dinner/show combinations are available ($119 for two people).

Twinklebone’s House Of Roast Beef (Noord 124, Noord, 297/8-26780) serves succulent prime rib and the like, but it’s best known for the fun, impromptu cabaret of Carnival music put on by the staff every night but Sunday. Some customers find it hokey; others eat it up.

Iguana Joe’s (Royal Plaza Mall, L.G. Smith Blvd. 94, Oranjestad, 297/8-39373) has a creative reptilian-theme decor and a color scheme featuring such planter’s punch colors as lime and grape.

Kukoo Kunuku
a psychedelically painted ’57 Chevy bus. Weeknights, as many as 40 passengers board to make the rounds of six local bars from sundown to midnight, with a stop for dinner. Group and private charter rates are available; these include hotel pick up and drop off.

Mambo Jambos
2nd floor, Royal Plaza Mall, L.G. Smith Blvd. 94, Oranjestad
Painted in sunset colors, with parrots painted on the ceiling. It offers several house-specialty drinks and a gift shop.

Dance Clubs

Café Bahia
Weststraat 7, Oranjestad
An elegant spiral staircase leads up to a bar and dance floor backed by a mural of colorful cacti against a blue, cloud-smattered Aruban sky. Locals and tourists drink Balashi cocktails and salsa to music provided by island bands.

(Bayside Mall, Weststraat 5, Oranjestad, 297/9-36784) has a huge dance floor, walls decorated with hair-dryer tubes and slinkies, bartenders in hard hats, and a cozy VIP lounge.

La Fiesta
(Aventura Mall, Plaza Daniel Leo, 297/8-35896), an upscale indoor-outdoor space, serves cocktails and attracts a casual yet classy crowd.

Havana Club
(L.G. Smith Blvd. 1, 297/8-80557) has purple walls adorned with gold-framed mirrors, antique lanterns, and dried flowers. The two oversize dance floors are often packed on weekends; Wednesday Ladies’ Night draws a crowd of about 3,000. The music alternates between pop, rock, and international hits; local bands sometimes play. Escape from the crowds by taking refuge on a patio complete with a bar, a mini-swimming pool, and a private stretch of beach.

Music Clubs

(Klipstraat 2, Oranjestad, 297/8-28567) live bands perform Monday and Thursday-Saturday; the music du jour might be blues, jazz, funk, reggae, or rock.

Garufa Cocktail Lounge
(Wilhelminastraat 63, Oranjestad, 297/8-27205 or 297/8-23677). For jazz and local music try the This cozy cigar bar serves as a comfortable lounge for customers awaiting a table at El Gaucho Steakhouse ( 297/8-27205 or 297/8-23677), across the street (you’re issued a beeper so that the restaurant can notify you when your table is ready).

Theme Nights
There are more than 30 theme nights offered during the course of a week. Each one features a buffet dinner, entertainment (usually of the limbo, steel-band, stilt-walking, variety), and dancing. The top groups tend to rotate among the resorts.

Aruba offers merchandise from six continents along the half-mile-long Caya G. F. Betico Croes, Oranjestad’s main shopping street. Technically this is not a free port, but the duty is so low that prices are attractive, and Aruba has no sales tax. There are numerous Swiss watches; German and Japanese cameras; jewelry; liquor; English bone china and porcelain; Dutch, Swedish, and Danish silver and pewter; French perfume; British woolens; Indonesian specialties; and Madeira embroidery. Delft blue pottery is an especially good buy. Other good buys include Dutch cheese (Edam and Gouda), Dutch chocolate, and English cigarettes in the airport departure area. Philatelists will love the wealth of colorful, artistic stamps issued in honor of Aruba’s changed governmental status. Major credit cards are welcome virtually everywhere, U.S. dollars are accepted almost as readily as local currency, and traveler’s checks can be cashed with proof of identity. Since there’s no sales tax, the price you see on the tag is what you pay. Don’t try to bargain. Arubans consider it rude.

Shopping Centers & Malls
Most malls are in Oranjestad and are attractive gabled, pastel-hue re-creations of Dutch colonial architecture.

Shopping Neighborhoods

Oranjestad’s Caya G.F. Betico Croes
This is Aruba’s chief shopping street, lined with several duty-free boutiques and jewelry stores noted for the aggressiveness of their vendors on cruise-ship days.

D – Family Fun Attractions

Note: Be sure to check out our list of Family Friendly Hotels. Child -centered features vary among hotels on the island. Many, but not all, have special programs and activities during the day for children. Some offer child care services. Some have a kiddie pool and supervised play area.

Neptalie Henriquez Playground for Children
call (297) 821059 for information.

The Kibaima Miniature Village Park
(297) 851830
This delightful park shows you some of Aruba’s delights in miniature. There is also a playground for children and surroundings with ample flora and fauna

Indian Rock Garden
The garden has a display of many tropical plants and exotic birds. (297) 847366. Telephone for further information.

Some other activities for older children are sailcarting, horseriding and miniature golf.

Adventure Golf

Sazakiweg z/n, Aruba
Dutch Caribbean
Tel: (297) 876625
Fax: (297) 876645
Daily: 5:00pm – 12:00am.
Weekends 1:00pm -12:00am.
Billed as the world’s largest Mini Golf course, there is fun galore for the whole family. This includes the opportunity also to take a romantic paddle boat ride in the lagoon, or have a splash around in the bumper boat pool. The biggest game room on the island is another feature. A souvenir shop, the Black Hog Saloon and the family oriented Alfredo’s Restaurant are also on premises.

Other Sports

Tennis / Racquetball / Squash
Tennis has always been popular on Aruba and most hotels have excellently maintained courts as well as qualified pros to assist visitors with their game or introduce new skills, to novices and experts alike.

Aruba Racquet Club
Tel. (297) 860215 Fax. (297) 860219

Bowling is quite popular in Aruba with local teams competing abroad regularly. Shoes, accessories as well as snacks and drinks are available.

Eagle Bowling Palace
Tel. (297) 835038 Fax. (297) 836310

E – Events & Entertainments

Bon Bini Festival
Near the clock tower on Zoutmanstraat, Oranjestad
Small admission fee
This festival is held every Tuesday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in the outdoor courtyard of the Ft. Zoutman Museum. Bon Bini is Papiamento for “welcome,” and this tourist event is the Aruba Institute of Culture and Education’s introduction to all things Aruban. Stroll by the stands of island foods, drinks, and crafts, or watch entertainers perform Antillean music and folk dancing.

oranjestad bonbini festival

New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is welcomed with midnight fireworks to ward off evil spirits, while wandering minstrels serenade houses and hotels.

The Dande Stroll
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Groups of musicians known as the Dande stroll from house to house singing good luck greetings for the new year. The best Dande song receives a prize and is sung by islanders during the next 12 months.

Carnival means weeks of events that bring you colorfully decorated floats, vibrant music, costumed groups of revelers of all ages, King & Queen elections, electrifying jump ups and torch light parades that wind their way through the streets at night. There are the Children’s Parades and finally the Grand Parade.
Where else can you find Antillean “tumba” music, the Calypso and steel bands of the English Caribbean, the salsa beat of Latin countries plus marching bands and a smattering of Dutch oom-pa-pa? The 2 month long celebration culminates with the all day Grand Parade on Sunday, with everyone all decked out.
Just when you think it is all over, there’s the Farewell Parade and the burning of Momo, indicating the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent. Symbolically, Momo’s ashes are used on Ash Wednesday.

National Anthem and Flag Day
March 18, an official holiday.

Summer Jam
End of April with a carnival and jazz bands.

Latin American Film Festival
An exhibition of works by Latin American film makers, which usually takes place during the last week in May. Most of the films are in Spanish with English sub-titles. Some are in English.

Hi-Winds Pro-Am Windsurfing Competition
Held at Eagle Beach in June.

The Harvest Festival of Dera Gai
In late June, there’s the harvest festival of Dera Gai – it used to involve the burying of a rooster, but in modern times a gourd is substituted.

Jazz and Latin Music Festival
For five nights each June, authentic jazz and Latin music is performed at the outdoor arena next to the Aruba Sonesta Resorts at Seaport Village.

Aruba Music Festival
First week in June, annually. Concert series features top jazz, rhythm and blues, and contemporary Latin performers.

International Dance Festival
Each October, dance companies from the Carribean, the United States and Europe conduct and participate in lectures, demonstrations and exhibitions.

International Theater Festival
Every other October, theater groups from around the world perform 45-70 minute shows at the Cas di Cultura.

Sint Nicolaas Day (5 December)
This is a Dutch tradition: Sint Nicolaas is a Santa Claus figure who arrives with his helpers who assist him as he distributes candy and gifts to children gathered in Oranjestad.

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