Aruba is one of the ABC islands, along with Bonaire and Curacao, in the southern Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. It is one of the four countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and so has Dutch influence in its past and present.
The capital of Oranjestad on the western coast is a shopper’s delight and just south of the hotel zone. There are many resorts on the island, although not as many all-inclusive resorts as Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. There are beautiful beaches with calm, blue Caribbean water on the western and southern sides of the island, including Eagle, Palm and Baby Beaches, but the northern and eastern sides have little protection from the pounding waves and are very rocky and rarely used.
Differing from other Caribbean islands, Aruba has a dry climate and desert-like landscape with cacti and rocks. One thing that Aruba benefits from is that it is south of the hurricane belt and rarely gets affected by strong storms. It has a warm and sunny climate year round, making it the perfect vacation destination to enjoy the beaches.
The economy on Aruba is quite good, driven by tourism and supplemented by oil refineries. There are several attractions on Aruba; the natural Baby Bridge, the remaining rock formation that used to have a larger natural bridge that crumbled in 2005; California Lighthouse with great views of the Caribbean and the rest of the island; the abandoned Gold mill and the Arikok National Park. Snorkeling is also a great activity in Aruba, with shipwrecks to explore and marine life in abundance.
Vacationing in Aruba can be at an all-inclusive property or it can be in one of the hotels closer to town where shopping and restaurants can be found. It’s a small island that is easily negotiated by car, but the recommendation is to rent a jeep for the rougher roads.