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Holidays in Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Understanding Ashmore and Cartier Islands


The climate is tropical marine, with little seasonal temperature variation Because of its location south in the Caribbean there is very strong sun, but a constant light breeze keeps the temperature pleasant These persistent winds out of the east shape the island's distinctive, lop-sided divi-divi trees The weather is almost always dry, with most rain showers coming at night and lasting only a little while It lies outside the zone usually affected by hurricanes


The island is flat with a few hills, arid with mostly desert vegetation and negligible natural resources other than white sandy beaches Highest point: Mount Jamanota 188 meters


Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636 The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry Aruba seceeded from the Netherlands Antilles Bonaire and Curacao, the ABC-Islandsin 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990

Tourism is the mainstay of the small, open Aruban economy, with offshore banking and oil refining and storage also important The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities Construction has boomed, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level


Officially 120V 60Hz, which is identical to the US and Canadian standard Outlets are North American grounded outlets, identical to standard US and Canadian wall outlets Occasionally non-grounded outlets may be found, which do not accept the third, round pin present on grounded plugs, and require an adapter Older North American outlets may not be polarized with one slot wider than the other Otherwise, adapters are available which accept a polarized plug and adapt it for use with a non-polarized outlet

Talking in Ashmore and Cartier Islands

As the islands are administered by Australia, the official language is English, but the most common language spoken is Indonesian, as Indonesian fishermen come onto the West Islet to take on fresh water

What to see in Ashmore and Cartier Islands

  • Natural Pool Conchi 2- On the northern side of the island and only accessible via ATV or Trail Rated 4x4 This is a small pool of water hidden in natural rock formation that jut into the ocean, just off the shore of Aruba This location makes for a great day trip - make sure your vehicle has a spare tire
  • California Lighthouse 3- On the northernmost tip of the island Many scenic views and is also the location where you can access the dirt trails to travel down the northern shores of Aruba
  • Our Lady of Alto Visto Chapel - On the northern side of the island The chapel is very picturesque and historic
  • Aruba Aloe Factory 4 – You can take a short tour and learn some interesting facts about aloe farming, production and uses
  • Casibari Rock & Ayo Rock Formations – You can climb and explore these formations, the tops of which provide a great view of the countryside
  • Natural Bridge @ Boca Andicuri – There are 7 "Natural Bridges" in Aruba The original biggest and most famous bridge that people are referring to when they say Natural Bridge collapsed in 2005 leaving a pile of rubble in the bay Bridge Collapse Pictures 5 There is a smaller bridge right next to the fallen bridge that still stands
  • Bushiribban Gold Mill / Smelting Station – The ruins of the smelting station are the way to the Natural Bridge Climbing the ruins you can get great photos of the coastline
  • Aruba Ostrich Farm 6 – The tour walks you around the ostrich pens and incubator The Aruba farm is more for educating people, while the meat that is used for food in Aruba actually comes from the sister island of Curacao Ostrich is a red meat, which is high in protein and low in fat
  • Boca Catalina and the Antilla Shipwreck – These are 2 of the many sites snorkel tours will take you The Antillla Shipwreck is the remains of a scuttled 400-foot German cargo ship that was anchored off of Aruba during WW2 It was thought that this ship was supplying German U-Boats in the Caribbean and after Holland was invaded in 1940, the captain was given notice to surrender the ship Instead of surrendering the ship to the Dutch Marines the captain sunk the ship by blowing up the boilers The crew swam to shore, and were taken POW and shipped to Bonaire The joke you will hear is "They did not want to surrender the cargo and they also wanted to provide future tourists with a site to see" The remains are off of Malmok beach After the war, the captain and his crew purchased their former POW camp and converted it into a hotel Today the site is the Divi Flamingo resort
  • Arikok National Park 7 The park consists of lava formations, a quartz diorite formation and a limestone formation extending inward from the coastline These formations have played a pivotal role in the history of Aruba
  • Guadirkiri Caves
  • The Palm Island 8
  • Hooiberg Haystack Mountain aka simply "the Haystack" – Standing over 500 feet, the haystack is in the center of the country and provides a breathtaking view of Aruba People suggest going on a cool & clear day because it will be easier to climb the 1000+ steps required to reach the top and you can see the coast of Venezuela to the south!
  • Butterfly Farm 9- set in a tropical atmosphere, tour guides at the Butterfly Farm will elucidate butterfly habits and metamorphosis
  • Bubali Bird Sanctuary - over 80 species of migratory birds reside in the sanctuary Get the best view of the birds, by using the observation tower

What to do in Ashmore and Cartier Islands


  • Baby Beach - Southern Tip of the island It's called Baby Beach because it is no more than five feet deep at any point - like a giant wading pool This beach also has some of the best snorkeling on the island
  • San Nicolaas Beach
  • Eagle Beach – Often called "1 of the 10 best beaches in the world"
  • Hadikurari Beach aka Fisherman's Huts This is where the High Winds Pro AM windsurfing world championship is held every June
  • Palm Beach White sand and excellent swimming conditions in calm water Nearby hotels allow you to use public areas for changing Accessible by bus, car or taxi
  • Malmok Beach
  • Renaissance Island - A private island accessible by ferry only if you stay at the Renaissance Resort and Casino 10 The island is divided into 2 beaches: Iguana Beach and Flamingo Beach When you visit each side it is clear which is which! The Iguanas are fed on the dockside by Iguana Beach while the Flamingoes congregate on the other beach

Buying stuff in Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Above all, it appears that Arubans are very aware that their economy is completely dependent on tourism - so Arubans are polite to tourists, and even street vendors don't generally seek to rip off their customers though as in all traveling, don't let advice like this lull you into a sense of complacency This may be helped by the fact that Aruba is a relatively expensive place to visit, so it tends to attract the reasonably well-off

American dollars are accepted virtually everywhere at a decent exchange rate If you have US dollars, there is no need to change money into the local currency, the Aruban florin The current exchange rate as of April 2008 given in shops is about 179 florins to the dollar Because the island is a Dutch dependency, Dutch currency is easy to spend, and small change for purchases in dollars may be in florins The island is actually not duty-free, but merchants respond well to competition on other islands, and duty free goods are offered by a few shops at the airport as visitors depart

Oranjestad's waterfront has many vendors/stalls selling souvenirs Ironically, many of these souvenirs are imported from the United States with island scenes/slogans, only to be purchased by Americans and brought back to America

In Oranjestad, the Renaissance Mall contains various American and European major apparel brands ie Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gucci at essentially the same prices as in the United States The mall and the rest of the downtown area also hold numerous other types of stores catering to visitors, to include jewelers, souvenir shops, clothers, and two modest grocers

You'll find strip malls and grocers at modest not easily walked distances west of downtown and elsewhere They offer most everything a visitor or resident might need for short stays or living there Groceries and other supplies are all imported, so prices tend to be high You can catch the bus from the hotel areas to the Grocery shops which are about 10 mins from Eagle beach but before you get to Oranjestad, cost's $3 return just ask the driver

With numerous cruise ships visiting, downtown stores offer buys in jewelry, etc, typical of that in other Caribbean cruise ports, some at "duty free" prices For cheese lovers, mild Dutch Gouda, in boxes or wheels, is a popular buy in super markets, though not the great bargain it used to be Do ensure the integrity of the package seal from the maker to avoid spoilage and difficulty at customs inspection

If you've flown to the island and are returning home, the airport duty-free store offers some items at slightly better prices than downtown, eg, a decent selection of rums

Food and eating in Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Many chain restaurants, both fast food and upscale, from the United States are present in Aruba ie Texas de Brazil, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Hooters, Subway, Tony Romas You'll find some downtown, and many near the large resort hotels The downtown Burger King next to the bus station overlooks the main street from its second floor balcony, and is a good place to "tourist watch" with a cool one

The upscale restaurants near resorts vary in quality as there are a limited number of them and they have a steady stream of tourist customers, as they advertise in pamphlets available in the hotels The fast food places are essentially no different than their American counterparts

Also good are some of the local fare restaurants While obviously relying on tourist income, good food can be had Nos Cunucu is a good example of such With meals like the traditional baked cheese and some more interesting items such as Iguana soup Don't be afraid to eat at random bars and such along the road, with normal caution of course Good food can be had for relatively low cost These pander to locals

Drinking in Ashmore and Cartier Islands

By the glass, sixpack or case, imported dutch beers are relatively good buys Balashi Beer - Aruba's National Beera must-drink beverage, perfect after spending all day at the beach Founded in 1996, the name Balashi is derived from the words Bala Bala and Balana and means "near the sea" It is the only beer brewed on the island of Aruba Daily tours of the brewery are available with an open-aired bar and restaurant on the premises Balashi Brewery / Tel 592-2544 / 523-6544 Balashi Gardens open from 6:30AM - 4:00PM Tours Monday - Friday There is also a Balashi logo store, with mostly t-shirts, and a few other things located on LG Smith Boulevard, right before the Harley shop and after the Caribbean Mercantile Bank Very easy to miss but worth a trip if you enjoyed the Balashi! There is also a drive-thru beverage store next door that is nifty

Accommodation in Ashmore and Cartier Islands

There are an array of resorts located all over the island

Working in Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Career Center 4 has job listings For volunteer work see these links: 5, 6, 7

Cities in Ashmore and Cartier Islands

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