An Overview of Aruba to Get You Started


Location     General Description   Geography

Language   Government              National Park

Climate       Currency                   History



  • 30 km from the coast of Venezuela 's Paraguana' Peninsula , 78 km from the island of Curacao , Netherlands Antilles
  • Between 12 degrees 25' and 12 degrees 38' North and 69 degrees 52' and 70 degrees 03' West
  • Westernmost Caribbean island
  • Time zone: Atlantic


  • Dutch (official)
  • Papiamentu (local)
  • Spanish (widely spoken, native language among many employees of resort industry)
  • English (widely spoken)


  • Average annual temperature 81 degrees F/27 degrees C
  • Almost constant tradewind breeze
  • Well out of Caribbean hurricane zone

General Description

  • Scrumptious, white sand beaches on west side of the island. Most resorts located along the coast here.
  • Dry, semi-arid thorn-scrub habitat makes up interior of the island. Much of this is hill country, including Arikok National Park .
  • Ancient coral reef, now sharp and craggy, line the primarily uninhabited (by humans) north side of the island.

Aruba's wild, rocky north side—here, at Boca Prins, Arikok National Park.

Photo Allison Wells


  • Autonomous, with Prime Minister elected every four years, overseeing a Council of Ministers and sustained by 21-member parliament.
  • Member of Kingdom of the Netherlands .


  • Florin; exchange rate with U.S. dollar typically 1.8 fl to $1
  • U.S. dollar widely accepted, but back-island shops will likely not be able to break large bills or give change in U.S. currency. Elsewhere, expect change in local currency, though most can provide U.S. currency if requested
  • Travelers checks are warmly welcomed within the tourist industry and around Oranjestad


  • 19.6 miles long 
  • 6 miles across
  • 77 square miles

Aerial view of Aruba. Photo Jeff Wells

National Park

  • Arikok National Park
  • Footpaths, walking and hiking trails, benches
  • Four-wheel drive vehicle recommended

Our Favorite Island Trivia

  • National bird: Burrowing Owl (known locally as "choco"). The choco appears on the florin, the national flag, and on postage stamps
  • Only Caribbean island that has a rattlesnake (endemic subspecies of Crotalus durissus ), rarely seen even when looking for it


         Aruban rattlesnake. Unfortunately, they're easier to see in a cage.

         Photo Allison Wells

  • Dividivi tree: tree for which Aruba is well known. They grow pointing sharply south, as a result of the near-constant northeasterly tradewinds.
  • National slogan: "One Happy Island"
  • Airport: Queen Beatrix International Airport
  • Unemployment is low and so is the crime rate
  • Drive on the right-hand side of the road, like in the U.S.

California Lighthouse, Jan., 1993. Photo Jeff Wells