Aruba is located in the southern Caribbean Sea. The 21 mile long island is part of the southern island chain known as the Lesser Antilles. The islands of Bonaire and Curacao make up the rest of the chain and are referred to as the ABC islands. Unlike most of the Caribbean, Aruba has an arid and dry climate which is the perfect weather for many type of cacti that grow on the island. Aruba also lies outside the hurricane belt which protects it from strong ocean currents which keep its white sandy beaches pristine.
Arikok National Park occupies about 18% of Aruba. The desert preserve is home to two indigenous species of snakes and birds. The two bird species are the Aruba parakeet and the Aruban burrowing owl, that make up just some of the unique birds that can be seen on the island. The hiking trails make the park very popular with visitors and wild life enthusiasts alike. The trails sprawl over all kinds of different terrain that will lead to the ruins of an old plantation or up and down hills toward gold mines. The Arawak rock paintings are another reason to visit the Arikok National Park. The paintings are located in the Fontein Cave. The Huliba Cave is called the Tunnel of Love Cave because of its heart shaped entrance and can be reached on foot by hiking 300 feet through the dense vegetation. Guardirikiri Cave has two domed chambers which are speckled with sunlight streaming in from the holes in the ceiling. The Guardirikiri Cave serves as a prime nesting site for nocturnal bats as well.
Aruba's famed Baby Beach is a man made beach located on the southeast end of the island. The shallow water is so calm, it makes it ideal for children and adults alike. Snorkeling for kids or beginners is perfect because there are little or no waves. The water is much deeper in the center of the inlet which makes it great for swimming with various marine life. Parrot fish, squid, eels, Angel fish, and many other sea creatures inhabit the waters of Baby Beach. This has made the beach a favorite for locals and tourists to visit.
The California Lighthouse sits on the northwest tip of Aruba. The lighthouse was named in remembrance of the steamship California, that wrecked on the northwest coastline on September 23, 1891. It was built and first light between 1914 and 1916. The California Lighthouse stands upon an octagonal base made of stone at a hight of 98 feet. The lighthouse is a must see when playing on the nearby golf course of Tierra del Sol, which is located on the northwest tip of Aurba.
The volcanic formation Hooiberg, is found almost in the center of Aruba. The name Hooiberg means ,“High Mountain”, in the English language. This volcanic formation can be seen from anywhere on the island. Atop of Hooiberg the panoramic view of the island below is simply breathtaking. On a cloudless day, Venezuela can be seen from the top of the mountain. Walking up the 562 concrete steps to the top is well worth it to enjoy the beautiful views.
Tourism makes up about three quarters of Aruba's gross national product and as a result enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean islands. The island of Aruba with its warm water and sandy beaches make it one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean. Aruba makes its visitors feel welcome with its warm breezes and laid back life style.