Where is Aruba – That Piece of Heaven ?
Where is Aruba? An oft-repeated question asked by people intrigued by this tropical island paradise and captured by the image of its mysterious beauty set in the midst of rugged cliffs and the shimmering turquoise sea. So where is Aruba? It is located fifty miles (80 km.) north of Valenzuela of the Southern Caribbean. It is only fifteen miles (24 km) from the coast of South America. This small island which covers 194 sq. km and has a population of about 67,000 belongs to the Dutch Leewards group of the Netherland Antilles, together with Bonaire and Curacao and the three islands are collectively known as the ABCs. It is the most southern of the ABCs and a mere forty miles or twenty minutes from its nearest Caribbean neighbor, Curacao. By air, it is about two and a half hours from Miami, Florida and it is within easy traveling distance from other countries.
Where is Aruba? The question could be an innocent one asking for its geographical location or a direction on how to reach the island. Or it could be borne out of curiosity for this breathtakingly lovely island – as the mere mention of its name conjures the picture of white, powdery sand, blue-green beaches enchanting beyond words, set against a backdrop of azure skies and white, fluffy clouds. Indeed, fate seems to have bestowed its blessings on this island in abundance, one wonders if this piece of heaven, this dream of a place could possibly exist for mere mortals to share.
Where is Aruba? The question persists that it definitely provokes one into a contemplation, an awareness of how far this island has come from the time its first settlers, the Arawak Indian tribes, inhabited the island and its subsequent occupation by Spain, Britain and the Dutch regime until it has successfully gained its independence in 1986, though still forming part of the Netherland Antilles. Slavery is a thing of the past for this island and its emergence as a force to reckon with in tourism has certainly caught the world’s attention and admiration. Its famous beaches, first-class resorts, hotels and casinos have earned it the reputation of being a tropical haven, its name mentioned in the same breath as that of a perfect summer Caribbean vacation. How can anyone argue with such success?
The next time someone asks, “ Where is Aruba?”, it is a tribute to this island which has earned its place on the world map through years of relentless effort that has finally paid off. So take a bow, Aruba. Today, the whole world is at your feet.
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