California Lighthouse

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California Lighthouse Reviews

111 reviews
California Lighthouse Feb 04, 2017
California Lighthouse is located on the north-west tip of Aruba, overlooking Arashi Beach.

Construction of the lighthouse began in 1915 and it was first lit in 1916. It takes its name from the "California" steamship which was shipwrecked off the coast some years earlier, in 1891.

It is built from stone and stands around 30 metres tall. At the time of our visit, in May 2015, restoration work was taking place so we were unable to go inside and climb to the top of the lighthouse. A sign stated that the lighthouse will be open to the public once the restoration work is complete.

We visited California Lighthouse twice during our stay on the island. Our first visit was undertaken independently; we caught bus number 10A from Oranjestad to Arashi Beach (a journey time of around 25 minutes) and then began to walk in the direction of the lighthouse. The uphill walk, along winding roads, would likely have taken us 30 minutes or more – but thankfully a local couple in a food and drink truck pulled up and offered us a lift. Emma sat in the front with them and I climbed onto the back and perched myself on a cool box surrounded by coconuts and bananas! As they set up their truck for a day of trading at the lighthouse, we repaid their generosity by purchasing fresh coconuts from them and putting a few Dollars in their tip jar.

Our second visit was as part of an island jeep safari that we took with ABC Tours. California Lighthouse is a popular stop off on both the half day and full day safaris.

There is an Italian restaurant, La Trattoria el Faro Blanco, just a short walk from the lighthouse. It has an outdoor terrace overlooking Arashi Beach, Tierra del Sol Golf Course and the western coastline stretching to the high rise hotels of Palm Beach. We had breakfast there on our first visit, but the setting is probably even better in an evening, enjoying Italian cuisine and wine while watching the sunset. The restaurant will let you use their toilets and washrooms for a small fee even if you aren't dining there (there are no other toilet facilities at the lighthouse).

After leaving the restaurant, we walked back to Arashi Beach. Both the gentleman who had given us a lift up to the lighthouse and a waiter in the restaurant told us that we could take a shortcut back to the beach. Instead of following the long and winding road back down, we should exit the restaurant via a flight of steps at the back and follow the path towards the beach. This sounded easy enough, but things didn't go as smoothly as we had anticipated! The steps from the restaurant lead to a dusty, cactus-filled area with no obviously marked path. We followed the path of least resistance and found ourselves on the fringes of the golf course. We were chastised by an angry (and rather rude) North American golfer, who accused us of trespassing, and I resisted the strong urge to wrap his golf club around his neck! A Spanish-speaking golf course employee gave us a ride in a golf cart, taking us along various dusty paths leading to various dead-ends. We eventually arrived at a low wall that we were able to climb over and reach the road leading to the beach.
California Lighthouse, Aruba.
California Lighthouse, Aruba.
California Lighthouse, Aruba.
California Lighthouse, Aruba.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
german_eagle says:
What an adventure! Sounds like a fascinating place. Trespassing a golf course? ;-)
Posted on: Feb 05, 2017
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grandmar grandmar
249 reviews
Named for the Wreck of a Ship Named California Dec 27, 2006
Aruba has lighthouses. The one that most people know about is this one called the California Lighthouse near Arashi Beach on the northwest tip of Aruba. When we come in by cruise ship, we can see this lighthouse from quite a distance.

The Dutch word for a lighthouse is vuurtoren. The lighthouses are probably maintained by the Aruba Ports Authority, a corporation owned by the government. The nickname is from the British steamship California, which wrecked here in 1891.

On our first visit, Bob couldn't snorkel because he had just had a melanoma removed from his wrist so he took a land tour. I went on the snorkeling tour. We both were at this lighthouse. It is names for the ship wreck that I was snorkeling.

It was a new German ship at the beginning of WWII and was captured when hostilities started -- the German captain was afraid they'd use the ship against Germany and did not want to surrender it so he dropped the crew off (had them swim to shore) and heated up the boilers as hot as they would go and then let seawater into the ship. The explosion that resulted broke the ship apart and sank it

The 1-story keeper's house has been greatly expanded into a popular Italian restaurant with a multilingual name, La Trattoria el Faro Blanco. On our second visit, I had thought we might have lunch here, but we didn't get here in time, so we missed doing that, but I got to see the lighthouse close-up for the first time.
California Lighthouse
California Lighthouse
California Lighthouse
California Lighthouse
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