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Oranjestad, Aruba with a population of 27,225, is the capital and most important city of Aruba located on the southern coast near the western end of the island. Aruba's charming capital is best explored on foot. The palm-lined thoroughfare in the center of town runs between pastel-painted buildings, old and new, of typical Dutch design. There are many malls with boutiques and shops.

Oranjestad, Aruba

This tiny island off the coast of Venezuela has an exceptionally dry climate that is considered one of the most desirable in the Carribean. Its desert landscape, with divi-divi trees, cactus, and aloe vera set against the backdrop of azure skies and the blue-green water of the sea provides the perfect setting for a holiday of relaxation and renewal of energy. The beaches are carpeted with silky white sand, The cooling trade winds, low humidity, and an average year round temperature of 82° complete the picture of a tropical paradise.

Sun, friendly and courteous service, modern and efficient amenities, golf and tennis clubs, casinos, fabulous beaches, duty-free shopping, and remarkably varied cuisine are all factors that help fill Aruba's many hotel rooms. The island's distinctive beauty lies in its countryside, with its rocky deserts, native trees, cactus jungles filled with the chattering of wild parakeets, secluded coves, and crashing waves.

Nearly every night there are theme parties, treasure hunts, beachside barbecues, and fish fries with steel bands and limbo or Carnival dancers. Divers and snorklers love the warm, clear waters whose visibility extends up to 100 ft. Although tourism has resulted in the construction of many luxury resorts on the island, there are still undeveloped areas on the northern coast, and much of the interior is uninhabited except for a few herds of goats and donkeys.

With more than a dozen resort hotels populating its once uninhabited beaches, Aruba is now one of the Caribbean's most popular destinations. A recent moratorium on hotel construction, however, has halted the building of newer resorts--so for now, Aruba remains safe from the problems associated with over development. Arikok National Park, encompassing approximately 18 percent of the island, was first designated as being of significant national importance in the early 1980s. It is an area of unique scenic beauty, flora and fauna, geological formations and cultural resources. The highest points in Aruba are located in the park and include Arikok and Jamanota hilltops.

The Arikok National Park land area encompasses the three primary geological formations that shape the island of Aruba: the Aruba lava formation; a quartz diorite formation; and a limestone formation extending inward from the coastline. The rock outcrops, boulders and crevices between the various formations create micro- climactic conditions that support unique examples of indigenous flora and fauna. As a result, the park is the habitat of several animal species found only in Aruba. Hiking trails allow visitors access to its scenic beauty.

Fishing is popular along the shore in Savaneta or off the rocks at Malmok. Visitors enjoy watching the fishing fleet returning at noon or late in the afternoon when it arrives at the Bali pier. Small wooden boats at Fisherman's Huts arrive heavy with their catch of the day.

Adults and children love to run and play on the clean white sands of Aruba and to enjoy the balmy breezes and freedom from every day responsibilities. Windsurfing lessons are available for children and adults. Or you can fly a kite with the help of Aruba's tropical breezes. They make kite flying successful from anywhere on the island. A visit to the north shore will provide a glimpse of wildlife such as wild donkeys, rabbits, goats, iguanas and lizards. There will also be pelicans and parrots of all colors. Looking for the way back to the hotel? Remember, all those bent over divi divi trees were shaped by the winds to point toward the area of the island where most of the hotels are.

The major industries of Aruba are tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining, offshore banking and phosphates. Aruba's major trading partners are the USA, the EU, the Netherlands and Japan.

The climate, ambience, and beauty of Aruba attract vacationers from all over the world. To visit Aruba once is to make it a permanent part of your family's list of favorite holiday destinations. It is a place to visit many times, and a place in which to find something new and even more enjoyable with each return visit.
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