Flat, cactus-dotted landscapes and brilliant blue waters make Aruba a land of exciting visual contrast. Just off the coast of Venezuela, it's known for friendly Dutch hospitality, long white beaches, hotels with every facility, excellent watersports, colorful cabarets and spectacular casinos. Its residents are devoted, gracious, energetic tourism hosts with eyes for detail.
Though Dutch is the official language, everyone speaks English and "Papiamento," the unique local combination of English, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese which reflects Aruba's interesting history. Official currency is the Dutch "florin" but U.S. Dollars and major credit cards are welcome island-wide.
The busy port capital, Oranjestad, distinguished by pastel Flemish facades, is a pretty patchwork of banks, business offices, historic forts and museums, cafes, restaurants and chic international duty-free boutiques. It colorfully combines Spanish and Dutch history with a picturesque wharf where boats of every type, fruit, vegetable and handicrafts stalls and European-style cafes line the harbor.
Aruba's enchanting countryside ("cunucu") is not to be missed. Take in the famous 100-foot long natural bridge, carved out of coral rock by the surf, ride horseback around Arikok National Park or follow the famous wind-swept watapana ("divi-divi") trees, lovingly known as the national compass. Legend says they will always lead you home.
Outback Aruba is home to more than 200 species of birds. And the island recently added its first real 18-hole golf course - designed by Robert Trent Jones. Lots to like!