I recently visited Aruba with my daughter and her young son. It is one of my most memorable vacation trips. After six hours in the air with a stop in Miami, Florida, we arrived on the island. Through the benefit of our timeshare, we stayed in a beautiful complex known as The Cabana Hotel, just outside the capital city of Oranjestad, which is on the western part of the island. Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands - Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao - which are all in the Caribbean Sea just 17 miles north of Venezuela. All three islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


Map of ArubaCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                                       Map of Aruba

There is so much to do at The Cabana that it is not necessary to venture off of the site, although we did explore the island one afternoon through the use of a tour bus. Since the land is occupied by humans on just a fraction of the island in and around Oranjestad, our tour bus took us to desolate desert and beach areas on the northern and eastern coast which were impressive in their beauty. Tourism has been so successful that it is assumed that this part of the island will feel the effects of tourism within the next decade, both financially and population-wise.

Our suite had an innovation which I had never seen before. The floors were covered with ceramic tile which is more conducive to sweeping out the sand than rug flooring would be. Our rooms overlooked a very large pool which we made use of each day. The Cabana is also about 1500 feet from the Caribbean Sea which we could view from our suite.

Each day at 2 p.m. the Activities Director would organize a Bingo Game at poolside. I was fortunate enough to win one day. The prize was a Cabana T-Shirt, a backpack and a $50 gift certificate for dinner in The Cabana's Restaurant.



Divi-Divi TreeCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                                         Divi-Divi Tree

The Divi-Divi Tree is a common site in Aruba. Its branches are skewed giving it a windblown look. It always points in a southwesterly direction due to the trade winds that blow across the island from the northeast. Tourists who are lost are told to look at the Divi-Divi Tree to get their bearings. Horticulturist efforts to plant this tree in other parts of the world have proved futile; it is only at home in Aruba.

The temperature in Aruba seldom varies from the low 80's. There is little rainfall and fortunately, Aruba is outside the hurricane belt. It is affected, however, by the Trade Winds and for a time every day it is very windy.

Aruba is on Atlantic Standard Time which is the same time that we experience with Eastern Standard Time, except that Aruba does not recognize Daylight Saving Time. Therefore, if you go to Aruba in the Spring and Summer, the time there is one hour behind what is common in our EST zone. The island itself is only 21 miles long. The predominant language on the ABC Islands is Papiemento, a Creole language derived from the Portuguese. However, the official language of Aruba is Dutch.

I look forward to another visit to Aruba. My recollections have stirred a desire to spend some time in that island paradise once more.

Fodor's In Focus Aruba (Full-color Travel Guide)
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