Aruba’s official island beer, Balashi, celebrates the authentic beauty and wonder of our island, and encourages all to get out and explore. It’s easy to fall into our routines and overlook some amazing places to see and experience that are right under our noses. Check out these unique spots that add to the fabric of Aruba’s varied landscapes—you’ll fall in love with your island all over again!
In 1899, a gold mill was built with a connection to the sea via railway lines. Sitting along the face of a hill nestled in between the Spanish Lagoon and the narrow canyon of rocks known as Frenchman's Pass, the Balashi Gold Mill is said to have housed steam engines, grind mills, water tanks, and furnaces. Today, the mill ruins are worthy of exploration, while an easy climb to the top of the hill affords a view of the broad valley and salt pan below.
At the salt pan, there is a secluded trail that meanders and skirts the edges of the lagoon. The lush marsh surroundings and filtered sunlight bring an intriguing vibe to the trail, feeling worlds away from our typical desert scapes.
Climbing the steps to the top of Hooiberg is a true pastime for many locals, who are rewarded with expansive island views at the top. But did you know that Yamanota, located in Arikok National Park, is the highest mountain on Aruba at 189 meters? The view at the top is just as impressive, showcasing two coasts at once. You will definitely earn yourself an ice-cold Balashi after the hike!
How about a little urban exploration? There are lots of historic gems in downtown Oranjestad, but one under-the-radar area with a surprising amount of historic buildings and structures is the neighborhood of Rancho. Originally a fishing settlement near Paardenbaai comprised of modest huts, there is a brick kiln—with considerable historical value— dating back to the late 1800s that still stands today, along with a water reserve from the early 1900s. In the 1920s, many of the homes began to be constructed with wood and stone, and some homes feature the traditional cunucu architectural style with saddle roofs.
After journeying through this vintage area, be sure to visit some of the newer establishments that have set up shop here, including Flor de Oriente, a restaurant and bar with an eclectic collection of antiques, and Hard Grooves Jazz Café, featuring live local musicians and singers.
A trend in many big cities around the world, electric scooters, also known as e-scooters and e-steps, are becoming quite popular with visitors on the island. But don’t think of this activity as “touristy”---locals can explore Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, Malmok, Arashi, and even the California Lighthouse in an entirely new and engaging way on these fun, smart-technology scooters that you can pick up and leave behind at various spots along the way. These are fun to enjoy solo or with friends and family.