Welcome to Aruba
Any traveler who dips their toes into the welcoming waters of Aruba can see what makes it the most visited island in the southern Caribbean. Miles and miles of white-sand beaches stretch along its shores, where year-round beach weather is made even more palatable by the island’s location safely outside the dreaded “Hurricane Alley.” The capital of Oranjestad features colorful colonial architecture and can easily be toured on a two-hour walk. And the ends of the island are arid, craggy, windy, and uncluttered, but still less than an hour’s drive from the city. The official languages are Dutch (because the island is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and Papiamento (a Spanish Creole language), but English is widely spoken. Most tours visit a mix of man-made and natural island highlights such as Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, the California Lighthouse, Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations, Arikok National Park, and the Natural Pool. Travelers can choose their level of adventure, covering most of the 20-mile (32-kilometer) island on a day tour: Watching the highlights from the seat of a 4x4 vehicle, riding on horseback, or rumbling over rugged terrain in an ATV. Snorkeling and scuba diving also draw visitors, as Aruba is home to the Antilla Shipwreck, now a hot spot for underwater plant and animal life, as well as a healthy reef at Arashi Beach, but both can be seen by semi-submarine tour for those who prefer to stay dry.