Aruba is the westernmost of the Lesser Antilles, lying 18 miles (29 km) off the coast of Venezuela. The hospitality of the locals, a highly-developed and organized tourism industry, and the natural beauty of the island combine to create an island holiday experience. The brilliance and warmth of the sun can be enjoyed on the white beaches and in the warm clear waters. Recreational activities include sightseeing, sailing, swimming, golf, fishing, sun bathing and shopping in the duty-free shops.

Approximately 75 percent of the population is descended from Aruba's original Arawak Indian inhabitants, but today the population can trace its heritage back to about 40 different ethnic backgrounds. Dutch is the official language.

The road system is good, and a car is the best mode of transport for exploring the island. There is no shortage of car rental facilities on the island. Scooters, motorcycles and bicycles may also be rented. There is also good public bus service which runs between Oranjestad and the resorts on Eagle Beach and Palm Beach every half hour (hourly on Sundays). Taxis are available, and charge fixed prices for trips.

The major airport is Reina Beatrix. Air Aruba is the national airline but other carriers such as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Dutch Antilles Express, Delta Air Lines, Avianca, Air Canada, American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental, Jet Blue, US Airways and Ryan International Airline offer regular service.

The communications infrastructure is modern, with international direct dialing available.

A number of major hotel chains have resorts on Aruba. Accommodations range in price. Popular resorts include the Aruba Marriot Resort and Casino, the Hyatt, Westin Aruba, Holiday Inn Aruba, Radisson Aruba, and Renaissance Aruba.

Cruises which include stops in Aruba leave from several US ports. Popular cruise lines include: Holland American Line, Carnival Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.

Aruba is a parliamentary democracy, a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The monarch of the Netherlands is chief of state, represented by the governor general. The head of government is the prime minister. There is an elected legislature.

Tourism is the mainstay of the economy, with offshore banking and oil refining and storage contributing. Prices, as in most of the Caribbean, are high in Aruba.

The crime rate on Aruba is low, but petty theft and credit-card fraud can be problems for the careless traveler.





Anguilla Antigua and Barbuda Aruba
Bahamas Barbados Bermuda
British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Cuba
Dominica Dominican Republic Grenada
Guadeloupe Haiti Jamaica
Martinique Montserrat Netherlands Antilles
Puerto Rico Trinidad and Tobago