Located in the heart of the southern Caribbean, Aruba sits just 15 miles off the coast of South America. Part of a trio of islands, Aruba joins Bonaire and Curacao to form the southern chain of the Lesser Antilles. A small independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba has a total area of 193 square kilometers, with a population of just over 100,000 residents. Although fairly compact, Aruba's charm and beauty continue to attract tourists and business travelers alike. In fact, Aruba enjoys the highest repeat visitor rate of any Caribbean destination. With phenomenal weather every day of the year, it's not surprising that Aruba has such a loyal following. Unlike many Caribbean isles, Aruba lies outside the hurricane belt, does not have a rainy season and benefits from cooling trade winds that keep temperatures moderate.
Its spectacular climate creates an ideal setting for enjoying the wealth of outdoor activities Aruba has in store. Make a splash at one of the island's many beaches, which have ranked as some of the most beautiful in the world. Snorkeling, scuba diving and underwater tours also top the list of aquatic fun. In addition to the vibrant marine life and colorful coral colonies, Aruba is known as the wreck dive destination of the Caribbean. Guests can explore some of the half dozen wrecks submerged along the coastline with excursions such as Atlantis Submarine Tours.
Back on land the excitement continues on championship golf courses found throughout the rugged terrain. Golfers can play 18 holes at the Robert Trent Jones II-designed Tierra del Sol, the island's first world-class golf course. At Arikok National Park, visitors are likely to catch a glimpse of several animals unique to Aruba, such as the Aruban rattlesnake and the Aruban burrowing owl. To get up close to an animal unique in its own right, stop by the Aruba Ostrich Farm. Here, visitors learn all the secrets of these giant birds and can even see newborns at the farm's hatchery and incubator.
Aruba's dazzling landscape certainly offers enough activities to fill an entire trip. Still, guests will not want to miss the chance to explore the historic side of the island as well. A rich tapestry of cultures, Aruba has more than 96 different nationalities living beneath its sunny skies. Tracing its roots to Caquetios Indians, Spanish conquerors and Dutch explorers, Aruba preserves and celebrates its past through a number of attractions. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Aruba to see ancient marvels such as shell and stone tools dating back to 2000 B.C. Or stop by the solemn Chapel of Alto Vista, which marks the birthplace of the Catholic religion on the island.
After the sun sets, Aruba's nightlife sparkles with everything from pulsating dance floors to relaxing lounges. Wine and dine at one of the many restaurants Aruba has to offer. Aruba has a wide variety of dishes to satisfy your taste buds. From small, open air café's offering fresh catches of the day and traditional family dishes to award-winning fine-dining restaurants. Unwind to the tunes of Frank Sinatra while sipping on the signature Bikini Martini at the Sopranos Piano Bar, or dance to the latest hits at the trendy and upscale nightclub +297. Risk takers can raise the stakes at one of the blackjack tables at the Aruba Marriott's Stellaris Casino or at the slots of the Crystal Casino at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. No matter how they roll the dice, visitors to Aruba are certainly in for a win.