Aruba is a small island lying southwest of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, some 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Curaçao and 18 miles (29 km) north of the Venezuelan peninsula of Paraguaná.
The capital is Oranjestad, which also is the main port.
Brightly Coloured Houses Around Oranjestad.
Aruba was formerly a part of the Netherlands Antilles. In 1986 it became a separate self-governing part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Tourists flock to this small island, drawn in by its white-sand beaches in the south and west, rugged coastline in the northeast, and desert environment in the interior.
The island is 20 miles (32 km) long and 6 miles (10 km) across at its widest point. Generally low in elevation, the island consists largely of igneous rocks overlain by limestone deposits and is fringed with coral reefs.
Its highest point is Mount Jamanota, which rises to 620 feet (189 metres) above sea level. Among the isolated steep-sided hills that characterise the landscape is the mountain known as Hooiberg (“Haystack”), which reaches 560 feet (171 metres).
In some places immense monolithic boulders of diorite are peculiarly piled on top of one another.
Most of Aruba’s population is ethnically mixed, including many people of American Indian ancestry, often in combination with Dutch, Spanish, and African heritage.
There are few people of predominantly African descent, however, because—unlike most other Caribbean islands—Aruba had few slave-based plantations during colonial times.