Cruising in Aruba

Background

Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.

Geography

Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates: 12 30 N, 69 58 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 193 sq km
land: 193 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline

68.5 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate

Tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

Flat with a few hills; scant vegetation
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Jamanota 188 m

Economy

Tourism is the mainstay of the small, open Aruban economy, with offshore banking and oil refining and storage also important. The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Over 1.5 million tourists per year visit Aruba, with 75% of those from the US. Construction continues to boom, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level. In addition, the reopening of the country's oil refinery in 1993, a major source of employment and foreign exchange earnings, has further spurred growth.

Tourist arrivals have rebounded strongly following a dip after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The island experiences only a brief low season, and hotel occupancy in 2004 averaged 80%, compared to 68% throughout the rest of the Caribbean. The newly re-elected government has made cutting the budget and trade deficits a high priority.

Transportation

Airports: 1 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Barcadera, Oranjestad, Sint Nicolaas  

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Anguilla - Antigua and Barbuda - Aruba - Bahamas - Barbados - British Virgin Islands - Cayman Islands - Cuba - Dominica - Dominican Republic - Grenada - Guadeloupe - Haiti - Jamaica - St. Kitts and Nevis - St. Lucia - Martinique - Montserrat - Netherlands Antilles - Puerto Rico - Trinidad and Tobago - Turks and Caicos - St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Virgin Islands (USA)

Further Reading

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