Aruba is the “A” in the “ABC” islands. Along with Bonaire and Curacao, Aruba is part of the Dutch Caribbean. It is an island of 77 square miles in the Southeast Caribbean, lying outside the primary hurricane belt.

Aruba is approximately 19 miles long and 5 miles wide, and has an area of about 75 square miles. The island is located 15 miles north of Venezuela. The 89,000 population all share the splendid mild tropical climate that Aruba is so blessed with.

History tells us that a Spanish explorer, Alonso de Ojeda, was given credit for the discovery of the island. His observation that he had found an “island of giants” was associated to his finding the remains of the personal belongings of the previous settlers that were larger than the average European during those days. Beliefs link Aruba with such Spanish phrases as “oro huba” which means “there was gold”. However, The Spanish never found any gold on the island and considered it to be of no value. Another belief is that its name is derived from the Indian word “oruba” which means “well placed”. And then another possible origin of the name is from two Carib Indian words “ora” and “oubao” meaning “shell” and “island” respectively.

Like the other ABC islands, Aruba’s native tongue is Papiamento. It is not a dialect, as some believe, but a language derived from several other languages like Dutch, Portuguese, Indian, French, and Spanish. However, the island’s official language is Dutch, but almost everyone in Aruba speaks English, so it is not exactly necessary to learn Dutch. And while it’s cute to learn the Papiamento language, don’t strain yourself to speak it like a true Aruban. After all, you won’t make sense to other people once you leave the island.

The island’s capital, Oranjestad, was named after the Dutch House of Orange and is home to Aruba’s main harbor. The island’s modern harbor is capable of accommodating very large cruise ships and has a fully-automated cargo container terminal. Aruba may be a small island in the Caribbean, but it has a modern airport which caters to several daily connections with the USA and many other South American destinations. Getting around the island won’t be a problem either. There are a lot of car rental companies plus motorcycle and bicycle rental companies available on the island.

Aruba is a top choice for vacation destination. Aside from that, it has one of the highest rates of repeat guests. People do not only choose Aruba to spend a vacation, they choose Aruba to spend the next one as well. What draws them back? The Arubans’ charm and hospitality are great factors. And of course, the golden white sand and fresh tropical breeze beckons!
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