Aruba: What to know?

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Aruba is a small, independent state in the southern Caribbean, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It has a dry climate, a strong tourism industry, and a high standard of living. Aruba was historically under Spanish and Dutch rule and never played a major role in the slave trade. It became an independent country in 1986 and has its own currency, the Aruban guilder.

Aruba is an independent state that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the extreme southern Caribbean, about 16 miles (27 km) north of the coast of Venezuela. It has an area of ​​approximately 75 square miles (193 square km), just a little larger than Washington DC. The climate is drier than much of the Caribbean, with sunny days virtually year-round and minimal risk of hurricanes.

Historically, Aruba was under Spanish rule from the early 16th century until the mid-17th century when it was conquered by the Dutch. The Dutch continued to administer the island into the 20th century, with only a short break during the Napoleonic Wars when the British took control of the island. During the latter part of World War II Aruba was a protectorate of both Great Britain and America. During the 19th century gold was discovered and the island became prosperous. This prosperity was reinforced in the early part of the 16th century when the oil infrastructure arrived on the island.

Unlike most of the Caribbean, Aruba never played a major role in the slave trade or plantation economies. Since Aruba receives very little rainfall, there was no incentive to grow sugar cane or other island crops, which lowered the incentive to make Aruba a major stop in the slave trade. As a result, Aruba’s demographics are predominantly Spanish and Dutch, with influence from indigenous Arawak peoples.

In 1954 the Netherlands Antilles – which included Aruba – and Suriname became part of the newly reconstituted Kingdom of the Netherlands, together with the present state of the Netherlands in Northern Europe, as self-governing regions with voting powers on matters affecting the whole kingdom. This also meant that, rather than being subject to the government of the Netherlands, they could make their own decisions on internal matters. In 1986 Aruba separated from the Netherlands Antilles, becoming an independent country, but remaining part of the great Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Since the 1990s the tourism industry in Aruba has grown steadily, giving the island a strong and stable economy. The weather in Aruba is a big draw for visitors, who can expect to find cloudless days almost all the time. The stunning ocean views, proximity to mainland South America, and bleached white beaches are also motivating factors. The standard of living in Aruba is quite high for the Caribbean, with the per capita GDP among the island’s 100,000 citizens of around 24,000 US dollars (USD).

Aruba caters to vacationers, and the island is home to many small bed and breakfasts, cabins, hotels, and large resorts. The currency of Aruba is the Aruban guilder, with an exchange rate of approximately 1.75 guilders to the US dollar. An average room costs between 100 and 200 guilders ($50-100), while luxury rooms cost much more. Meals cost between 10 and 40 forints (5-20 USD). Due to the strong economy and commitment to tourism, almost every convenience can be found in Aruba, making it an excellent travel location for those who want to keep their conveniences close at hand.

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