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    Aruba was the last stop of our trip.  We left Bonaire just shortly after a heavy tropical rainstorm began that was predicted to last for several days, so we were pretty pleased to escape to sunny Aruba.

   The wind-swept island of Aruba was discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, later acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The Dutch influence is evident across the island with the names, languages, and architecture. 

   Once part of the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba withdrew, and subsequently became an independent member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  Consequently, it has its own currency (Aruban Guilder) and a separate government from the other islands. 

   Oil refining (even gold mining) were the major industries here, but then tourism developed, and the economy of Aruba changed. In fact, Aruba remains one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean.  The large cruise ships dock in Oranjestad and consequently there are large hotels, casinos, and high-end shopping.  It was quite a change from the rustic, laid-back island of Bonaire. 

   Only half the size of the other ABC islands, Aruba is only 74 square miles.  The population of 74,000 is spread around the island, with 22,000 in the capital city of Oranjestad.

Aruba Curacao Bonaire Caribbean map

Click on either map to see our destinations

Natural Bridge and Coastline Ayo Rocks Ayo Rocks Oranjestad Lighthouse Aruba Map

Aruba website

Great (but huge) interactive map

Oranjestad Aerial view
Aerial view of Oranjestad - you can see Aruba is much more built up than Bonaire Aerial view, showing Hooiberg (Mt. Haystack)
Aruba Airport Amsterdam Manor Sign
Queen Beatrix airport Our hotel

We stayed at a lovely, quaint little hotel named Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort, right on the beach. 

Amsterdam Manor Hotel Hotel
Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort
Hotel Hotel
Beach Beach
Luxury resorts "from here to the sunset" Western coast beach
Pelican Pelican
Pelican about to dive for fish Pelican with his brakes on


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Modified:  06/27/2009