California Lighthouse

L.G. Smith Blvd, Noord, Aruba

Built between 1914 and 1916 on an octagonal base, this stone, double-lens lighthouse is Aruba’s marquee landmark. Standing tall at 98 feet, it’s the highest structure on the island and offers the best views in its respective area. It gets its name from the SS California, a British steamship that sank in nearby waters in 1891 and now functions as a fantastic dive site. Adjacent to the lighthouse, visitors will find a beloved Italian restaurant and the California White Sand Dunes, a hot spot for dune surfing.

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California Lighthouse on Aruba

Almost as soon as you venture away from the main tourist strip on Aruba, you start to discover an unusual and incredibly interesting history to this Caribbean island. One of the focal points of this local history is the California Lighthouse, found on Aruba’s northwest tip. The lighthouse was originally named for the steamship California, which wrecked nearby in 1891. After that wreck the lighthouse was constructed in order to prevent future wrecks from occurring. Today you can visit the lighthouse and even eat lunch at an adjacent restaurant.

California Lighthouse

Standing 30 meters (98 feet), this double-lens lighthouse offers the best vistas of the northern section of the island. The stone landmark was constructed from 1914 to 1916 and named for the ship California, which wrecked offshore in 1891. Adjacent is a popular spot for Italian, La Trattoria el Faro Blanco, and an area called California White Sand Dunes, a hotspot for dune surfing.

Explore the rough side of Aruba by Jeep

Most first-time visitors to Aruba are surprised to find that the island has an unusual natural side. Sure there are beautiful beaches surrounded by palm trees, but on the North Shore of the island you’ll find something completely different. Rent a Jeep for the day and go off-roading to discover steep cliffs and boulder laden fields, the looks of which seem almost otherworldly. Getting back to basics and experiencing the dynamic natural side of Aruba is a fun way to spend the day when you’ve had your fill of beach chairs.

The Sounds of Aruba

Aruba’s music scene is vibrant and marked by a number of festivals that charge locals and visitors with a special kind of island energy. The Caribbean Sea Jazz Fest, held every October over two days, showcases local and international jazz, poetry, and visual arts, while the Piano Festival, held in September, has a grand reputation in chamber music circles. The Dande Festival in December is Aruba’s largest musical event, with more than 50 acts coming together to celebrate Aruban culture and traditional music. The Soul Beach Music Festival in May invites guests to chill on the beach while the sounds of Aruba take them past sundown. If you want to learn to dance, Aruba Salsa and Pachanga Dance Studio both offer Caribbean dance lessons.

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