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A quiet and beautiful beach called Rodger's Beach in San Nicolas

Time to reflect: social projects in Aruba

As we continue to battle this current situation, we hope that a world “after Corona” will be a better one and the island of Aruba is no different.

We are sure happiness will prevail #happinesswillprevail  

In these current times, travel, whether it be near or far is not possible, so it gives us a time to reflect, to think and slow down the pace of everyday life.  We have seen in our own countries how towns, villages, neighbourhoods and neighbours have rallied to support each other, and the community spirit has risen above all.

For those of us that have “enjoyed” helping and supporting others, this does not have to stop once travel begins. On Aruba for example, there are a variety of social projects involving the environment and animals which are always happy to receive temporary help and support from vacationers.  

Below are some or the islands social projects and who knows, there might be one just for you…

1. Arikok National Park

The Arikok National Park takes up about 20 per cent of the area of ​​Aruba and is therefore a true natural treasure of the island, offering a lot to both locals and tourists. You can explore the national parks 30km of hiking trails by foot, bike, jeep or horseback.

It not only houses a dune landscape, cacti, caves and numerous animal species, but also the natural pools and rough rock faces on the north side shaped and lashed by the pounding waves. Here the normally calm Caribbean Sea shows its different energetic side!
 
Due to its diversity, it is important to protect and preserve the national park. Visitors are generally asked to treat nature with respect and to keep the park clean. Volunteers who regularly clean areas of the Arikok National Park to support the local community are also regularly sought.

2. Donkey Sanctuary 

Family having a visit at the donkey sanctuary in Aruba

Right in front of the rock formations Casibari and Ayo, is the Donkey Sanctuary offering 90 beautiful grey baying donkeys a home. In the past, donkeys were the primary form of transportation on Aruba and were used as farm animals. With the increasing mobilisation the use of the donkeys was no longer necessary. The donkey sanctuary  was created to thank them for their years of work and to offer them a peaceful and restful home.


The sanctuary is financed exclusively through donations and is operated by volunteers. Families and visitors can help to take care of the donkeys, but of course there is also time for some petting. For especially big donkey friends there is also the possibility to adopt one of the animals.

3. Lionfish Project 

Artist: Dopie from The Netherlands in 2017

Lionfish are native to the reefs of the South Pacific and Indian Ocean. Lionfish are classified as invasive species in the Caribbean. The fish species was first discovered in the Aruba sea in 2009. To protect the sea surrounding the island, the Aruba Lionfish Initiative ALFI was founded under the direction and control of the Aruba Reef Care Foundation.

The initiative only started work in 2017. The core of the work is the sustainable removal of lionfish from the reefs of Aruba. The focus is on establishing and maintaining a continuous supply of lionfish to the restaurants, as well as educating and raising awareness of the problem to the locals.

ALFI Reef Rangers and other volunteers must dive up to 40 meters to find and remove the lionfish. A highly labour-intensive and time-consuming process. A 45-minute dive can take up to 3 hours, but it protects many reef animals, such as crabs and lobsters. This means that the initiative is dependent on donations.

4. San Nicolas 

San Nicolas is known in Aruba as the city of artists and colourful street art adorns the streets of the city in the southern part of the island. The Aruba Art Fair takes place here every autumn.

The colourful art is of course to be preserved for decades, which is why it is essential to pass it on to younger generations.

The Scol di Arte project aims to bring art and street art to children who go to school in San Nicolas and thus awaken their artistic skills. For this purpose, various workshops are offered, in which one can also get involved as a holidaymaker.

5. Reef Care Project 

The Aruba Reef Care project has been on the island for over 25 years. The local community comes together once a year and cleans the beaches and snorkelling and diving areas to preserve their natural beauty and to point out the need to preserve nature. The initiative is scheduled for September 27, 2020. The care project is particularly happy about the help of vacationers to support this clean-up.


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