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One of Aruba’s trunk roads, Route 4, runs through the centrally located district of Santa Cruz.
While about half of this district consists of family neighbourhoods, grocers and local restaurants, bakeries and shops, the eastern portion is dominated by the Arikok National Park. The park extends across roughly 20 percent of the island, with about half of that falling within the Santa Cruz district. In addition to providing a protected environment for wildlife, several notable geographical sites are located in the park, including the beaches of Dos Playa and Boca Prins, as well as the famous Natural Pool (known locally as Conchi), formed by a barrier of large rocks protecting a pool of water from the rough sea.
Santa Cruz is the birthplace of Gilberto Francois (Betico) Croes, known affectionately as the ‘father’ and liberator of Aruba and the principal figure behind Aruba’s independent status from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. There is a statue of Betico Croes at the central crossroads in Santa Cruz, in the Betico Croes Plaza in the town square. On Dia di Betico, held every January 25 (his date of birth), Santa Cruz patriotism is on full display with a variety of festive events and activities.
One of the favourite things to do in Santa Cruz for locals and visitors alike is climbing the famous Hooiberg. Walkers take the 550-plus steps to the top to enjoy the rewarding views.
There aren’t any Santa Cruz resorts and instead of Santa Cruz hotels you are more likely to find holiday rentals. This is because Santa Cruz Aruba is all about culture and nature!
After having enjoyed a nice bowl of ‘sopi di carni’ (local beef soup) at one of the local Santa Cruz restaurants, do yourself a favour and explore the vast Arikok National Park!
Oranjestad is a unique blend of old and new that lends a distinctive charm to Aruba’s capital.
San Nicolas offers iconic beaches and island charm far removed from the glitz and glam of the Palm Beach resorts.
There is perhaps no district on the island with a better symphonic mix of all things Aruba than Noord.
One of the smaller districts on the island is Paradera, home to three of Aruba’s iconic landscapes.