Aruba is small island country located in the southern Caribbean Sea. It is part of the Lesser Antilles and is home to approximately 102,000 people. The capital city, Oranjestad, is located on the south side of the island. Aruba shares no land borders with any countries and it is located 27 km (17 mi) north of the coast of Venezuela and approximately 130 km (81 mi) east of the Guajira Peninsula, Colombia. Aruba is actually a constituent of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The total land area of Aruba is 179 square kilometres (69.1 sq mi) making it slightly larger than Washington D.C.
Interesting Facts about Aruba
- Aruba is part of a group of islands known as the ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles, which is the southern chain of islands of the Lesser Antilles. The other two islands are Bonaire and Curaçao.
- The official languages of Aruba are Dutch and papiamento (a native dialect). Many people also understand and speak English.
- A person that is native to the country is called an Aruban.
- The island of Aruba is 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across.
- Aruba is home to the second largest saltwater desalination plant in the world.
- The currency of Aruba is the Aruban florin (As of 2013 1 US Dollar buys 1.79 Aruban Florins).
- Aruba was a Spanish country prior to belonging to the Netherlands.
- Aruba was one of the major supplies of petroleum products for the Allies in World War II and was protected by both the U.S and Great Britain for periods during the war. It was also attacked by a German Submarine on February 16, 1942.
- Unlike the other Caribbean Islands, Aruba is dry and arid with the temperature varying only slightly from 28 °C (82.4 °F). On average, the island receives less than 400 mm (15.7 in) of rain each year and has low humidity due to its position outside the hurricane belt.
- The island of Aruba has no rivers and is relatively flat with its highest point being Mount Jamanota with a height of 188 meters (617 ft) above sea level.
- One of the islands most popular tourist spots, The Natural Land Bridge, on the islands north shore collapsed in 2005. Aruba is also popular for its white beaches.
- Aruba has a very small population and there are not any large cities.
- The Aruba Island Rattlesnake is only found on the island of Aruba. It is critically endangered with an estimated population of 230 adult snakes in the wild. It also has a species of burrowing owl called a Shoco.
- Despite its tiny size there are 68 schools for primary education, 12 schools for secondary education, and 5 universities in Aruba. The island also has two medical schools. The adult literacy rate is 97.3%.
- It is estimated that 82% of the Aruban population is Roman Catholic.
- Three quarters of Aruba’s wealth is earned through tourism, with most people visiting from mainland Netherlands and the United States.
- Aruba is on Atlantic Standard Time.
- Shopping malls open from 10 am until 6pm with many retailers taking a break between 12pm and 2 pm. Even though the country caters heavily for tourists, bathing suits are not acceptable in shopping and business areas!