Welcome to Aruba!
Aruba may be a bit smaller in size in comparison to its neighbouring islands within the Caribbean, but its impact on visitors is long-lasting. Only 20 miles long and 6 miles wide, Aruba is considered more of a quaint island than a massive economic one. Tourism in Aruba play a big role in the economy here, and main exports from Aruba include refined petroleum oil and Aloe Vera. The standard of living in Aruba is surprisingly high, considering the smallness of the island, and that it beats out most of the other islands in the Caribbean for living standards. The currency of Aruba is the Aruban florin, but money can be exchanged in many of the tourist hotspots and banks within the towns.
The concentrated area of Oranjestad is centrally the ‘city’ capital, but it is more like a large town that plays host to the Queen Beatrix International Airport. Next door to Oranjestad is its sister town called San Nicolaas, and there are four more districts that encompass Aruba (Noord, Savaneta, Paradera, and Santa Cruz). There are more shopping, eateries, educational venues, art & museum interests within the two towns of Oranjestad and Palm-Eagle Beach.
There are two main ports that host cruise ships (Playa & Barcadera), and modes of transportation around Aruba include privately-hired vans, governmental street buses, taxis, and along the main street you will find a streetcar on rails. There are private charters (sailing vessels) that are for hire when water-faring excursions are on any given itinerary. As the girth of the island is not overly large, many people resort to bicycles and walking as easy forms of ‘getting around’. There are scooters for hire randomly around the towns for additional convenience to tourists that wish to get around and explore on their own at their own pace.
Another interesting part of Aruba is its climate. Aruba sits outside of the hurricane belt, and consistently sees warmer and sunnier days on yearly averages. The excellent weather that is seen day after day is another big draw for tourists and people who relocate to Aruba permanently. Aruba is a flatland that does not possess any rivers anywhere on the island.
There is a small part of Aruba that possesses some small hills, and the highest point in Aruba is Mount Jamanota (617 feet). The flora in Aruba may not be the prettiest like its neighbouring islands filled with lush greenery and palm trees, but the varieties of cacti, evergreens, and aloe vera plants are not completely an eyesore, and are even picture-worthy. The local wildlife to Aruba includes the Brown-throated Parakeet, the Burrowing Owl, the Aruban Whiptail, and the Aruba Rattlesnake.
If you look to the east of Aruba, you will see two islands (Curacao & Bonaire) that are a bit larger, more densely populated, and would provide alternate sources that would be of interest to tourists. These three islands together form what is referred to as the ‘ABC’ islands. This trio, as they sit right on the continental shelf of South America, are considered to be part of South America (which is also why the early settlers made their way towards these islands; less ocean currents to fight).