Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba; it was founded in 1796 around Fort Zoutman in what is called the bay of horses, the Fort is still one of multiple attractions in Aruba.
Oranjestad holds the port and mostly all government offices, all within walking distance of each other. The port has a terminal for cruises stopping in Aruba and has a section that is mostly freight and for security reasons not accessible to visitors. The Aruban Government has mention in the past the commitment in increasing its cargo facility to better handle its elevated needs, not only from regular freight but also adding capacity to the marina trying to compensate its inadequate facilities for fishing boat and yachts.
Next to the port, there is a wharf that has shops, restaurants and you can still get fresh daily fish and many other local souvenirs.
One thing that you can do is shopping, commerce is a significant in the life of the island, and the same holds true to many islands. It has open malls and indoor malls, streets shops and restaurants. The list of shops and restaurants is enormous, like previously mention in another section of the website you can pretty choose what you like, from American fast food, to a nice steak or great sea food.
Dutch architecture is visible throughout Oranjestad concentrating in the downtown area, because of increase government interest in preserving Aruba’s heritage, it been a big push to renovate many of the building and houses, inclusive constructing replica visible on the main street, like the Royal Plaza Shopping Mall. This type of architecture with vibrant colors is appreciated in neighboring island Curacao and Bonaire as well, showing the history of the island and its colonial influence.
Like many capital of the world, Oranjestad is not immune to some of the same problems. It is true that Aruba as a whole in 2008, has a population of over 100,000 thousand people, or like many of the official website, over 90,000 thousand friends. Population inflow has been curbed by Authorities as neighboring countries economic and their social problems tend to impact negatively the island, like the case of Colombian and Venezuela. Aruba still is able to handle close to a million visitors every year but not without consequences. Aruba has some traffic problems, like many islands in the Caribbean, lack of space, increase construction, lack of roads, growing population and increasing tourism adds to some of the problems that Arubans face on the island everyday. Like many other places all roads convey in the Capital and therefore increasingly busy, that is why the Aruba governments constructed a few roundabouts and move some offices away from downtown Oranjestad to ease on the congestion.
The Capital of Aruba is also center for many museums like the Archeological Museum, also previously mention in the website, The Numismatic Museum and the Willem III Tower. Also is home to the island Universiteit van Aruba and All Saints University, which holds a U.S curriculm based medical school.
Oranjestad is the economic, social and cultural center of the island, take some time to enjoy some of the attraction or do some shopping, it has some of the modern amenities of big cities, but with a small Caribbean flavor.
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