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This article was written on 17 Jun 2010, and is filled under To: Aruba.

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Discover Aruba

Welcome to Aruba, a desert island popular for its unwaveringly sunny skies, perfect waters, and exquisite beaches. Its culture is a rich blend of Amerindian, Latin and European influences. Non-stop action on the south coast, and the natural beauty of the north coast will leave you breathless for more.


Unwaveringly sunny skies, perfect waters, and exquisite beaches of Aruba

History and culture

The first inhabitants of Aruba were the Caquetio, an Amerindian tribe related to the Arawak. Spain explored the island in 1499, but since the land was unfit for agriculture and apparently lacked mineral resources, Aruba was basically left alone. More than a century later the Netherlands (1636) took control of the island, and except for a brief period of British rule, Aruba has remained a Dutch colony ever since.

Gold was discovered in the 19th century and became the island’s main business until the early part of the 20th century, when oil refining became the economic backbone. Since the 1990s, Aruba has become a major tourist destination, with more than half a million visitors a year.

Aruba will appeal to those who want to party or simply lie on the beach and relax, but will likely disappoint those trying to avoid the beaten path. The Aruban florin (AWF) is the official currency, but the U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere. The official language is Dutch, but English and Spanish are also widely spoken.

Aruba is home to 80 different nationalities, and since it doesn’t bear the scars of racial or cultural conflicts found in most Caribbean islands, locals have little reason for animosity.

Activities

Tourists come to Aruba for its soft, sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Eagle Beach, on the southwestern coast, and Baby Beach, on the eastern tip, are the best beaches on the island.

The island is also known for its rich nightlife. You can try your luck at one of Aruba’s casinos, which are the best in the Caribbean.

Another major draw is the fine cuisine, though sometimes expensive.

Good underwater visibility, coral reefs and wrecks make Aruba a good snorkeling and diving destination, though not as great as nearby Bonaire.

Near-constant trade winds and protected waters make Aruba an excellent windsurfing destination. The southwestern coast is an especially great spot.

Exploring the Arikok National Park, Aruba’s showcase ecological preserve, is an exciting experience.

By Michael Young, writer for Cheap All Inclusive Caribbean Vacation.

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