California LighthouseThe lighthouse, built by a French architect in 1910, stands at the island's far northern end. Although you can't go inside, you can ascend the hill to its base for some great views. The isolated northwestern tip of the island is known as "Hudishibana" and features some of the island's most spectacular scenery and large rolling sand dunes. In this stark landscape you can feel as though you've just landed on the moon. The lighthouse is surrounded by huge boulders that look like extraterrestrial monsters and sand dunes embroidered with scrub that resemble undulating sea serpents.
The lighthouse was named after a ship called the Californian, which has the distinction of having been in proximity of, and having received distress signals from, the Titanic, as she went down in icy waters in 1912. The Californian's radio operator was off-duty and asleep at the time of the disaster, and this small piece of bad karma perhaps sealed the Californian's fate. She went down in rough seas off the Aruba coast a few years after the Titanic sank, and to this day the ship is a popular dive site.
Around the lighthouse are acres of stone-filled flat land, and an area called California White Sand Dunes is very popular with kids who go dune surfing. Don't ask... it involves sliding down the dunes in any way that seems comfortable. Just wear strong jeans or trousers!
Right next to the California Lighthouse is a very good Italian restaurant named La Trattoria El Faro Blanco. The views are spectacular and the sunsets should not be missed. See our review in the About Aruba - Restaurant Reviews section.