If you are looking for a vacation filled with sunshine, white-sand beaches, and beautiful blue sky, Aruba is the place to go. Located in the Caribbean Sea, Aruba is a popular tourist hotspot, and many visitors come to explore this small island each year. So where is Aruba, and what all does it have to offer?
Where is Aruba?
Aruba is a small island located in the South Caribbean Sea. It is only 21 miles long and 6 miles wide. Aruba is located approximately 15 miles north of Venezuela, and on clear days, you can see the South American country in the distance.
This small island is known for its beautiful white-sand beaches and warm weather. Its average year-round temperature is 82 degrees, and trade winds help keep the island comfortable most of the year. Plus, this island falls south of the hurricane belt, so it receives limited rainfall. Hurricanes and tropical storms are rare.
Each side of the island offers something different for tourists. The west coast is where you will find the most beautiful beaches. Oranjestad, the capital and largest city, is on this western coast, and is home to several modern recreational areas. In the south, you can explore San Nicolaas, which is the second largest city on the island. Here you will find a picturesque promenade with many local shops.
The northern and eastern coasts of Aruba are considerably more battered by the sea, and have been left largely untouched by humans. Still, these regions attract adventurous travelers who want to take in the rugged landscape. The east coast is also home to the National Park Airkok, which features sand dunes, caves, natural pools, and more.
The History of Aruba
Aruba has a rich and fascinating history. Between 2,500 BC and 1,000 AD, the Caquetio Indians from Venezuela inhabited Aruba. They were able to survive off fish and wildlife in the area, and came to thrive on the small island. They would eventually create five villages on the island, and even took up agriculture by growing corn.
In 1499, Spanish Explorers, led by Alonso de Ojeda, discovered the island and conquered the Native population. They took many of the Caquetio Indians as slaves, and made them work on plantations and in mines. During this period of Spanish rule, Aruba became a center of piracy and smuggling.
In 1636, the Dutch overtook the island, creating a naval base on Aruba during their war with Spain. The island would come to be occupied by the Dutch West India Company. Aruba came briefly under British rule during the Napoleonic Wars, but was returned to the Netherlands in 1816. In 1845, Aruba officially became a part of the Netherlands Antilles, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
In 1986, Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, under the Dutch crown. It was on a path towards independence, but in 1994, the Aruban government, as well as the governments of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, decided to postpone the transition to full independence indefinitely.
Aruba is flourishing due to its booming tourism industry. Cruise ships and airlines are continually coming in and out of the island, making it easy for visitors to bask in Aruba’s beauty. Today, some 110,000 people have decided to make Aruba their home, and they come from all over the world. In fact, more than 90 nationalities live on this tiny island.
Aruba is still considered part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but it has its own government which controls all the rules and regulations of the island.
Aruba certainly is the place to be if you are in need of a relaxing vacation and want to feel the sand beneath your toes. With all this small island has to offer, hopefully it is at the top of your bucket list.
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