All Photo Credit and Copywrite: Aruba Tourism Authority
Because of it's proximity to the equator, Aruba is much different than other Caribbean Island. The island is very arid, and unlike other islands that are very mountainous and green, Aruba is very flat, dry and cactus lined landscape. Because of the island's diverse geography, it stands out among Caribbean Islands. Aruba is known for it's beautiful beaches, ocean activities including snorkeling, diving and swimming. In addition, Casinos are abundant and very popular on the island. In general. Aruba is a nice place to relax on a beach or do a little shopping.
Below are some interesting facts for the island:
15 Miles from South America.
19.6 Miles long
6 miles wide (at it's widest point)
Total Area of 70 Square miles.
South and West Coasts of Aruba are known for their pristine white beaches.
Northeast shore is very rugged and wild.
The interior of the island has variety of cacti and dramatic rock formations.
The island has the famous divi-divi trees which are bending southwest due to the constant trade winds.
The climate is very consistent in Aruba - usually dry and sunny.
The average air and water temperature is 82 degrees,
Normal rainfall is about 20 inches - usually falling in short periods during November and December.
The sun is especially strong during between 11:00 AM and 2:30 PM so be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses and use sun lotion liberally.
Population 100,000 residents.
Official language is Dutch but Papiamento (a combination of Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese with a certain words of English, Indian and French origins) is spoken.
English and Spanish is also spoken by most residents.
Currency is the Aruban florin.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Aruba became a separate entity of the Netherlands on January 1, 1986.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is comprised of the Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is responsible for security and international affairs for Aruba.
The Governor of Aruba is appointed by the Queen of the Netherlands.
The island's Parliament consists of 21 member elected by residents.
600,000 tourist visit the island annually for one or more night stay.
WHEN TO VISIT
Most popular time to visit the island is January thru March.
Visitors like to visit the island just before the beginning of Carnival (just prior to Lent), locals conduct parades, organize parties and arrange festivities.
Main Cruise Port located at Oranjestad,
Height of the cruise season for Aruba is peak, October thru April.
Arikok National Park
Consumes 20% of the island.
A way to appreciate the natural raw beauty of the island - Hills, Cacti, desert and ocean.
20 miles of trails to explore - Most recommended is the Miralamar trail (literally translated as the "Sea View")
48 Species of trees can be found on Aruba. Some species are only found in the park.
Wildlife includes the "shoco" a burrowing owl and the tiny "blenchi" (a variety of hummingbird).
Visit the Ostrich Farm - where you can get up-close and personal with Ostriches of all ages.
The Butterfly Farm where visitors can see 32 species of butterflies in various stages from egg, to caterpillar, chrysalis to butterfly.
Bubali Bird Sanctuary is a bird sanctuary where visitor can examine a number of bird species in their natural habitat.
Donkey Sanctuary - Area to preserve the donkeys which were a main mode of transportation on the island. Feed the Donkeys or perhaps go for a ride.
Visit historical homes, art museums, the island's desalination plant, California Lighthouse or Balashi Brewery Tour to see how the islands local beer is made.
Visit Fort Zoutman and Willem III Tower - The oldest historical structure built in 1796 which is the home of the Aruba Historical Museum.
Visit the Natural Bridge - a rock formation that forms a bridge with the rough sea crashing nearby below.
Atlantis Submarine Tour - 1 hour submarine ride past ship wrecks and coral reefs.
There are many opportunities in Aruba to shop especially in the main port Oranjestad. Most stores are closed on Sundays - although some open if cruise ships are in port. It should be noted that most stores close between Noon and 2 PM for Lunch. Items for sale include perfume, jewelry, cameras and electronics, watches and fine china. There is no sales tax in Aruba
3 Golf Courses - plus one miniature golf course.
Deep Sea Fishing.
Parasailing, Scuba Diving, snorkeling, kayaking, snuba, Jet Skiing, wind surfing and waterskiing.
Information Source: Aruba Tourism Authority.
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