Aruba is a Caribbean island lying about 15 miles north, off the coast of Venezuela. It has an approximate area of seventy square miles with a population of 106,113 according to the July 2011 census. The island of Aruba is an independent country located in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba along with Bonaire and Curaçao is known as the ABC islands. The island of Aruba is popular for its white sand beaches and a tropical climate. It enjoys a constant temperature hovering around 27°C while the annual rainfall is limited to about 20 inches. Aruba does not fall in the Caribbean hurricane zone and is relatively safe. Tourists looking for fine beaches, first-class holiday resorts, shopping, water sports, fine dining, and casinos are attracted to the glamour and glitz provided by Aruba. Dutch is the official language of Aruba. Papiamento, Spanish, and English are also widely-spoken in Aruba. Nearly 80.8% of the population in Aruba is Roman Catholic. Other small religious minorities include Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Jews.
Aruba was discovered by Spain in 1499. However, it came under the control of the Dutch by 1636. Aruba occupied an autonomous status in the Kingdom of Netherlands after breaking away from Netherlands Antilles in 1986. The economy of the island was thriving initially on the gold rush of the 19th century followed by the establishment of an oil refinery in 1924. The tourism industry started thriving towards the end of the 20th century which brought a lot of prosperity to the island and continues to be a key contributor to the Aruba's economy.
Aruba has many tourist attractions which include sites such as the Natural Bridge, Natural Pool, DePalm Island, Bushiribana Gold Mill and the California Lighthouse among others. Orangestad, the capital of Aruba is a picturesque city located on the western part of the island. Its buildings stand testimony to Dutch colonial architecture while the many shopping malls in the downtown area is the shoppers’ paradise. A place of tourist interest is the Butterfly Farm located, across the Divi Phoenix Hotel, on Irausquin Blvd. The place is home to hundreds of colorful butterflies, collected from far flung places across the world. Another tourist attraction is the Arikok National Park which represents the ecological treasure of Aruba.
Aruba is considered a popular vacation spot in the Carribean with nearly one million tourists and cruise passengers visiting the place. Aruba has it all, to attract visitors from North America, Venezuela and other places, including miles of beaches, good hotels and holiday resorts, fine dining places, casinos and shopping. Aruba has good weather through out the year though the months from December to March are considered the peak season for tourists. Tourists can engage themselves in a wide range of excursions and activities including the much sought after water sports like scuba diving, kite surfing, windsurfing, parasailing and so on.
Travelers from the United States, Canada and EU Citizens require a valid passport while other countries require a valid visa along with the passport. It is best to check on the entry requirements before planning a trip to Aruba. It does not have a national airline but depends on American Airlines, Insel Air and other US carriers with all flights arriving and departing from Reina Beatrix International Airport located on the western part of the island. The currency of Aruba is called the “Florin” denoted as ‘Awg’ or ‘Afl’ with an exchange rate with respect to U.S. dollar standing at Awg 1,77.