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Where to Experience the Sun-soaked Culture of Aruba

Where to Experience the Sun-soaked Culture of Aruba | CosmosMariners.com

In a place with as many gorgeous beaches as Aruba, it might be difficult to pull yourself away from the sun and sand to discover more about the island's culture. I promise, you'll be glad you did, as the island has even more to offer than its stunning coastlines and year-round sunny climate.


Here's where to soak up the best of the culture on Aruba.

Where to Experience the Sun-soaked Culture of Aruba | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
Historical Museum of Aruba (Oranjestad)

Get back to Aruba's origins here. Housed inside the restored Fort Zoutman, the museum shares the island's culture through artifacts and exhibits. You'll follow Aruba's industry from its agrarian roots to the influence of the modern oil industry.

The building itself, Fort Zoutman, has stood here protecting the harbor since 1798 when pirates threatened the island. Just a year after construction was completed the fort withstood an attack by the English Navy. Oddly, the man for whom the tower is named (Dutch Rear Admiral Johan Arnold Zoutman) never actually visited Aruba.

The tall, colorful tower was built in honor of and named for King Willem III. For nearly 100 years, the tower served as both a lighthouse and a clock tower; the lighthouse portion of it was closed down in 1963.

If you're visiting on a Tuesday, stay for the Bonbini Festival, which is held weekly in the museum's inner courtyard. See: history is fun!

Where to Experience the Sun-soaked Culture of Aruba | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
National Archeological Museum of Aruba (Oranjestad)

You might expect to find certain things on a Caribbean island, but an archeological museum is probably not one of the things that first comes to mind.

Aruba's Archeological Museum has been drawing in visitors to its current location since 2009, and now, locals and visitors alike have the opportunity to see artifacts from Aruba's earliest known history. You'll also learn how the island's history is intertwined with that of America, Mexico, Europe, and South American through this wide reaching collection.

Where to Experience the Sun-soaked Culture of Aruba | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
Charlie's Bar (San Nicolas)

This working restaurant and bar is part local hangout, part museum, and lots of fun. In the early 1940s, the bar opened to cater to the oil and marine workers on this part of the island. Slowly, people began leaving things like rigging, portholes, and anchors, and owners Charlie and Marie Brouns displayed them instead of throwing them out.

Over the years, it's become a tradition for visitors to come to the bar, see what they can find, and then leave their own trinket behind. You might see anything from maps and photographs to ice skates and arrows!

Carubbian Festival (San Nicolas): each Thursday

Another weekly festival, the Carubbian festival is a colorful, spirited celebration of the island's culture. You'll see stiltwalkers, dancers in incredible costumes, and local music. Chow down on freshly cooked Caribbean food before you browse through the artists' tents to find the perfect souvenir.

Where to Experience the Sun-soaked Culture of Aruba | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
Carnival

This is one festival that needs an entire month to pack in everything! Held each year in the month leading up to Ash Wednesday, Aruba's Carnival offers colorful costumes, dance competitions, live music, and several parades, including the famous Grand Lighting Parade and the can't-miss Grand Carnival Parade.

No matter where you're staying in Oranjestad, you're sure to find the festivities as events are held all over the city.

Cas di Cultura (Oranjestad)

In the mid-20th century, Arubans decided to do something about the lack of performance space on their island, and, in 1957, the foundation was placed for the Cas di Cultura. Today, the auditorium and exhibit space showcases the best of the island's art and culture; stop by for a theatrical, musical, or dance performance during your visit to the island.

Where to Experience the Sun-soaked Culture of Aruba | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
Aloe Museum at the Hato Plantation (Oranjestad)

For much of the 1800s, Aruba was the world's largest producer of aloe. Nowadays, the island's aloe farm at Hato Plantation still produces the plant. If you lay out in the sun a bit too long while visiting, relief for your burned skin is close by!

Take a tour of the aloe factory and learn about the island's 160-year history with the crop. You can also purchase locally grown and manufactured aloe products at the store.

Have you been to Aruba? What did you think about the island?
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