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Aruba is one of the ABC islands, the former Dutch colonies in the Southern Caribbean (the others being Bonaire and Curacao). The three islands lie outside the hurricane zone and enjoy a pleasant semi-arid climate. We spent a week at the Renaissance Resort in Oranjestad from where we explored the island in a feisty rental car.

A view of the harbour takes in the north coast, sand dune area, and clusters of homes typical of the island. (adapted from Chris Favero, Wikimedia Commons)
 

Aruba has an area of 180 square kilo-meters and a population of 100,000.

The architecture of the downtown shopping core is Dutch Colonial in style, with brightly colored ornate storefronts.
 

The Archeological Museum outlines the history of the island from the earliest Arawak Indians, to the Spanish conquest and Dutch rule.

Aruba is independent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It has its own parliamentary system, its own currency, and its own language, Papiamento.
 

Tourist shops, restaurants and casinos have a unique ambience. 

 

The California Lighthouse rises near the northernmost part of Aruba.  A short drive northwest of Eagle Beach, high-rise hotels and restaurants line crowded Palm Beach. Businesses on the beach rent out sailboats and windsurfers, lead sunset cruises or provide fishing expeditions.

The California lighthouse stands at the northern tip and offers a view of the beaches, rolling sand dunes and rocky coral shorelines.

Our resort had a boat shuttle to a private island where we could walk among iguanas, pelicans and flamingoes. 
 

Baby Beach at the southern tip is an excellent site for swimming and snorkeling.