Visiting Ayo Rocks, Alto Vista Chapel, Natural Bridge, Gold Mill Ruins, & Lighthouse

** Please post your recommendations ONLY in response to request...do not start a new thread. Thanks!
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 06:28 PM.
#1
OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Here are some of the places we visited while staying in Aruba.



CALIFORNIA LIGHTHOUSE


Upon visiting Arashi Beach on our cruise last time, we spotted the California Lighthouse and knew we wanted to get up there this time and check it out.


Once again, we visited Arashi, but this time left early enough to see the lighthouse as the sun goes down. The lighthouse is only open from 8:30-4:45pm and admission price is $8/per person (all ages).


As much as I would have loved to see Aruba from the top of the lighthouse, I'm not sure my knees would appreciate it. So, we only went this evening, during sunset, and it was a beautiful view from up there...even though we weren't at the top.


HERE ARE MY PICTURES

ALTO VISTA CHAPEL

Since we were out this way at Philips Animal Garden in Alto Vista, I knew I wanted to see this "famous" Chapel.


There's free parking and free admission.


The Chapel of Alto Vista, which means highest view, is one of Aruba’s most precious landmarks. Because of its high elevation and location, the Alto Vista Church is the pew for both the sunrise and the sunset exuding tranquility on its dramatic setting above the sea.


The chapel was the island's first Roman Catholic Church, built in 1750 and reconstructed in 1952. It was made out of branches and wood and built for the native community. The church was used less and less and became rundown and was in ruins by 1816. In 1952, it was reconstructed and the old altar cross was sent to be restored by a sculptor.


Lining the winding road to the Chapel are thirteen white crosses depicting the Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross). The fourteenth cross is at the east side of the small, bright yellow chapel chapel.

For local Arubans especially, it is a special place for peace and contemplation.


There are several tours that take you here as one of their stops. But, it's very easy to do on your own by car.


PICTURES HERE


AYO ROCK FORMATIONS


Driving in Aruba is an adventure. There's hardly any street signs and consider yourself lucky if you find a "tourist" sign that tells you "this way" to an attraction. The funny thing is...it will tell you to turn there for an attraction, but along the way you will come to several places you have to turn right or left and there will be no signs to follow up which way to go. According to the locals, this is a government thing.


So we were driving all over the place, trying to find any of the rock formations. The maps they give you for Aruba are next to 0% helpful. We were using 3 different "maps" at all times and it pretty much just gives you a general area it's located with no streets to get there. You're lucky if you can figure out the town you need to pass in order to get there.


We stumbled upon the Ayo Rock Formations when looking for something totally different, but this was on my "things to see/do" list.


There's free parking in a small lot and the grounds are landscaped nicely. There's plenty of shade below and it's a great place to have a picnic. There isn't any tables, but plenty of rock walls under the trees to sit on.


They do have restrooms, with a sign that said they were free to use...only problem is, they were locked!


They have made a pathway and steps, so walking this self-guided tour is fairly easy to do and no getting lost because it's quite obvious which way to go. There are some tight squeezes and "holes" that you swear there's no way anyone is fitting in, until you get up close and see that you can. Just take things easy. This place kinda reminds me of The Baths in Tortola...only no refreshing water inside the caves.


It's a very short distance. You circle up the rocks, around, and back down and around. It takes less than 1 hour. The view is nice and some great picture opportunities of the land around you.


I didn't realize that they had another rock formation (Casibari) and I wish we would have been able to see it as well. But, we were lucky to find this one. Maybe next time.

Ayo Rock Formations are monolithic rock boulders located on the island of Aruba in the Caribbean. They are located near Ayo village, about 3.2 km from the natural bridge towards Casibari. Casibari Boulders are about 3.2 km inland between Natural Bridge (now defunct) and Oranjestad. The Arawak people were the earliest settlers on the island. They used to visit Ayo Rock Formations so that they could hear incoming thunderstorms closing in on the island of Aruba. Towering stone boulders, placed in such close proximity and in unusual designs, combined with the tranquil environment of Ayo, create a sense of awe and an understanding of why the area was once considered a sacred site by the island's original inhabitants (the Arawak Indians).



PICTURES LOCATED HERE

NATURAL BRIDGE

The Natural Bridge is located between the Bushiribana Gold Mine Ruins and Andicuri Beach.


There is free parking and no admission fee or set hours for visiting. However, there is a gift shop, food and restrooms on the premises and they did close at 5pm when we were there.


There is also a huge mural on the building that you are able to take a picture of yourself against it.


The Natural Bridge was created by fierce waves and strong winds pounding the limestone cliffs along the north coast, which created several natural bridges. It was one of the largest, around 23 feet (7 meters) above sea level and 100 feet (30 meters) long, and most photographed natural bridge until it collapsed in 2005. The remains of the bridge are still there and there is a smaller version, "Baby Bridge", there as well.


It is definitely a beautiful site to see how mother nature can make sure beautiful creations. It's definitely worth a visit.


To get there, you will go down a very bumpy dirt/sand road. Tours can take you here or you can do it on your own. If going by car, you'll want to take it nice and slow. There are a lot of great picture opportunities along the way of other rocks cut out and waves crashing into them.



HERE ARE MY PICTURES



BUSHIRIBANA GOLD MILL RUINS

On the northern coast, midway down the island, sits the abandoned gold mill called Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins.


You will have to go down a sandy/dirt road that is very bumpy to get there. Tours can take you there, or you can adventure there on your own like we did. Just go slow in a car. Free parking and no admission price.


HISTORY: In the 1400's and 1500's, adventurers traveled throughout the Caribbean in search of wealth and treasures. According to legend, one of these treasure islands was named "Oro Ruba," which means "red gold."


Now known as Aruba, a colorful history of gold prospectors has shaped the island's history. Today, remnants of this history can still be experienced. In 1824, gold was finally discovered in Aruba, and eventually, the industry produced more than 3 million pounds of gold. The founder of this ore was a twelve-year-old boy named Willem Rasmijn. He was herding his father’s sheep in Rooi Fluit when he encountered the precious metal. Of course this started a heavy gold fever. Everyone went looking for gold. However what they found had to be sold to the government at a fixed price.


Finally the fever died out in 1830. But with the findings of new gold veins in 1854. The exploitation was going to be handled professionally. In that same year the right to dig for gold was stripped from the locals and granted to the first Company to dig in the Aruban soil. It was of course a Dutch company, Concessie de Jongh, Den Haag (concession the Youngh of the Hague). Though they did not work intensively.


In 1867 the right was passed on to another company, Isola for the next 25 years. Isola had to pay the government f 2.500,= a year. However in 1868 the right was passed on to an American company, Rickect & Co of New York. This company worked with a primitive method.


At the mines the rocks and stones would be broken, filtered and the residue would be washed. Isola worked in the area of Westpunt, Rooi Fluit, Seroe Cristal, Sero Moskita and Tres cabez at the North East Area of Aruba. In 1872 to 1881 the right was given to the English company Aruba Island Gold mining Company, London. It was finally this company that built the Gold mill of Bushiribana in 1874.


The famous Aruban bricklayer, or masons at the time, Alexander Donat, along with a few other bricklayers of Curacao were hired to lift the massive rock. These people had to use cranes of wooden beams to put the rocks in place. An old fashioned grind mill was being built. The idea was to grind the rocks into dust. The mill would be powered by the powerful wind of the northeast sea. The dust would leave the clumps of gold behind to be picked up. But they did not have pure gold yet. This had to be achieved by melting the gold and letting it attach itself to quicksilver.


With a heavy hammer and crowbar the rocks containing the precious gold were released. Then they would be put in a chest and were past from hand to hand to Bushiribana. The machines at Bushiribana cost £ 21.000 not counting transport- and installation cost and the high wages. Furthermore all the required machinery had to be imported. Because of the lack of materials to refine the ore during world war I, the gold digging was stopped in 1916 and was never resumed afterwards.


It was really neat to see the ruins. There are some great picture opportunities here, including pictures of the fierce ocean waters as a back drop. You will also find some rock stacking going on here as well.

For those that are not good with climbing or have difficulty...the back of the ruins is a hill and very easy to climb (instead of the rocks within the ruins).

PICTURES HERE

SAN NICOLAS ARTS AREA

San Nicolas is located about 12 miles southeast of Oranjestad. It is the second largest city in Aruba and is home of an art gallery, stores, snack shops, restaurants/bars and historic buildings.


The art aspect is what drew me here. My 9 year old daughter is an "artist" (when I say artist, I'm serious...she has been tested several years ago as gifted in arts/drawings and can draw better than most adults...to the very small details). So...I knew I had to take her here! (But it was a surprise).


Aruba has a 3 day street art fair where local and international artists will display their masterpieces. Buildings are painted (both in use and abandoned), mosaic tiled chairs on the sidewalks, art made out of "trash" and so on.


It was super easy to get to...just take the main road, heading toward San Nicolas (even though there is construction making you go around places, you still come out where you need to be) and when you spot the police station on the right, just park there and the first building with art is to your left (if you are facing the police station). You pretty much walk down that side street to the end and go in a circle. There are a few things here and there out of place, but easy to spot.


One of my favorites is the iguana made out of trash across an entire building and also the 3D box (which really doesn't "look" 3D when you are looking at it, but the minute you take a picture...it does).


It's definitely a "must see" and doesn't take more than an hour to see them all. Stop for awhile and take a look on the way to Baby Beach or something. You won't regret it.



PICTURES HERE
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
NCL:
EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination Conquest Magic
ARUBA: Arashi Beaches Animals Sites
BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#2
tampa
499 Posts
Joined Apr 2014
We went to the chapel,and to a restaurant there,maybe i can find some pics
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Carnival Paradise ... May 3, 2014 .. 5 days
Norwegian Sun ... November 9, 2014 ..7 days
Carnival Pride .. March 1, 2015 .. 7 days

Carnival Valor .. September 26, 2015 .. 7 days
Carnival Sunshine..April 8,2016 ..8 days
Carnival Victory .. October 30, 2016 ..7 days
Norwegian Jade .. April 23, 2017 .. 7 days
Carnival Magic ..November 11, 2917 ..7 days

#3
Florida
1,551 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Lots of interesting places to see in Aruba! Your pictures, as always, are beautiful. I'm bookmarking this for future references.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Nancy




#4
OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by griz400
We went to the chapel,and to a restaurant there,maybe i can find some pics
Would love to see them.


Originally posted by perfect match
Lots of interesting places to see in Aruba! Your pictures, as always, are beautiful. I'm bookmarking this for future references.
Thanks
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
NCL:
EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination Conquest Magic
ARUBA: Arashi Beaches Animals Sites
BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#6
OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by shiloh25
Thank you for all the information and the pictures. We enjoyed the tour!
Thanks and glad you enjoyed it.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
NCL:
EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination Conquest Magic
ARUBA: Arashi Beaches Animals Sites
BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#7
United States
18 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Thank you for the great information and wonderful pictures. Did you use a tour guide? Can you recommend a tour company on Aruba? We are going to be there in three weeks during our ABC- islands cruise. I was trying to book a tour with Trykes but unfortunately they are full for the day of our arrival. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Regards,
#8
OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by poputchik
Thank you for the great information and wonderful pictures. Did you use a tour guide? Can you recommend a tour company on Aruba? We are going to be there in three weeks during our ABC- islands cruise. I was trying to book a tour with Trykes but unfortunately they are full for the day of our arrival. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Regards,

You are very welcome.


No, we did not use a tour guide because we were staying on the island and had all the time in the world.


One of the biggest tour guides there is probably DePalm tours. I seen them everywhere and I think they have multiple offices.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
NCL:
EPIC SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination Conquest Magic
ARUBA: Arashi Beaches Animals Sites
BAHAMAS:Great Stirrup Cay Half Moon Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Paradise
BARBADOS:Boatyard
BELIZE:Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Shark Ray Alley Goffs Rendezvous
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Snorkel Park Tobacco St Catherines Achilles Jet Ski/boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue KayBlueKay
COZUMEL:Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion Island Palancar Money Bar Paradise
CURACAO Diving
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:Saona
GRAND CAYMAN:Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK:BohioGovernorsGibbs
ROATAN: LFKey LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK scuba
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS:Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN:Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS:Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths