There’s a lot to see on One Happy Island, and the most exciting way to take in some of it is by embarking on a UTV adventure with Fofoti Tours and Transfers! You’ll get behind the wheel of your own 2016 CFMOTO ZForce 800 EX a Utility Task Vehicle that can literally go anywhere, which is a good thing when you’re rocking and rolling through some of Aruba’s most rugged terrain on the northern end of the island! The route you follow on this 3.5-hour tour takes to some really fantastic sites, which you’ll read about below:
Black Stone Beach is a one-of-a-kind site on Aruba, and while we’ll enjoy exploring this fascinating bit of coastline, we won’t be getting in the water here – it’s too dangerous with the rough waters and crashing waves. It’s a bit off the beaten track, which is actually nice because not many tourists end up here, which means you’ll have it mostly to yourself. These lava rocks have been worn smooth and shiny by the relentless ocean waves, and it makes for a beautiful and dramatic sight.
There are several different natural bridges on Aruba, courtesy of Mother Nature through the ocean’s powerful waves. Although One Happy Island is ideally situated south of the “hurricane belt,” the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina did hit Aruba’s eastern shore, causing one of the island’s natural bridges to collapse. Fortunately, there is another natural bridge beside the one we lost in 2005, and it is nearly as impressive as the former bridge. It’s a dramatic stop on the tour as you walk on one bridge and see the other one in its collapsed state. This is also where you’ll find the wishing rock garden where visitors make stacks of small rocks and then wish upon them.
The first Europeans to set foot on Aruba were Spanish explorers in 1499 who were hoping to find gold. They failed in that effort and it wouldn’t be until more than 320 years later when gold was finally discovered on One Happy Island, sparking Aruba’s gold rush in 1824. The Bushiribana Gold Mill was a stone building erected for the purposes of processing gold ore, and this site eventually processed more than three million pounds of gold. What’s interesting is that no one knows now where the gold was actually found on the island. Could there be more?
It was on September 23, 1891 when a ship named the SS California crashed and sunk on the rocks off the northwestern coast of Aruba. Note the name of the ship was the California, not the Californian, which was the one the received the first distress call from the ill-fated Titanic (and didn’t respond). That didn’t happen until 1912, and the California lighthouse was completed a couple years before that happened. The ship for which the lighthouse is named was a British wooden steamer that had come from Liverpool. Although nearly twenty years passed before the lighthouse was completed in 1910, it is maintained to this day as one of the island’s most iconic sites. The panoramic views you see from this vantage point are truly spectacular. Recent renovations have restored the lighthouse to the point where you can make an appointment to go up into it and climb to the top for even more dramatic views!
Up along the northwestern side of the island is where you’ll find beautiful Arashi Beach. A favorite with locals, the gentle surf makes it one of the best spots on One Happy Island to swim and snorkel. The sand is soft and white with a scattered stones and pebbles. Although there are no facilities here, there are plenty of palapas and makeshift huts to provide shade when needed. Enjoy a refreshing dip here during your last stop on the Island Expedition UTV adventure!
Besides your sense of adventure, there are two items you’ll want to have in order to enjoy your tour to the fullest: A pair of sunglasses (or goggles) and a bandanna. You’ll receive a free bandanna as part of your tour package. Sunglasses usually work fine, but you can also purchase a pair of goggles at the start of the tour for extra eye protection. If you don’t have these, you’ll be eating dust during parts of the trip! The Island Expedition UTV adventure with Fofoti departs promptly at 9:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays only from Orange Plaza and includes round-trip transportation from your hotel, a bandana, plenty of ice-cold bottled water and granola bars. For more information on all our tours and services, visit the Fofoti website at http://www.fofoti.com/en.