Situated in the southern Caribbean, 1230 north of the equator & 70 west longitude, Aruba is only 15 mls off the coast of Venezuela, 19.6 mls long & six mls wide & encompassing 70 sq mls. Because of its dry climate, the vegetation includes a wide variety of cacti set among interesting rock formations & the trade wind sculptured Watapana (divi divi) trees. On the southwest coast there are seven mls of palm fringed white beaches. The northeast coast is rugged with high waves. The Caribbean's highest natural bridge was carved by the pounding sea out of coral cliffs into a high arch.
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Aruba is one of the most popular destinations among the Caribbean's 32 island nations welcoming 720,000 visitors worldwide in 2000. Arubans are descendants from the Caquetios, who were descendants of the Arawak tribe from Venezuela. Dutch, Spanish & a blend of people from all corners of the world who came to the island in the twentieth century. Today there are over 40 nationalities living on the island.
Papiamento is the native language (a mixture of Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese with a sprinkling of Indian, English, French and African). Dutch is the official language. English and Spanish are widely spoken and understood. Aruba stands out proudly as a nation that is multi-multi-lingual. For a very small spot on the world's map and not set in among other countries, as in Europe for example, it is very rare that so many languages are spoken. Those born here speak the usual "group of four" from early childhood adding more as the years pass. Those who have chosen to live here bring more languages with them and often add ours to their singular from-home language.
Average annual temperature is 82 degrees F. The average annual rainfall is less than 20 inches per year & occurs in showers of short duration during the months of November & December. Aruba is outside the hurricane belt.