Aruba is the smallest of the ABC Islands and is located in the heart of the southern Caribbean, 24 km’s (15 miles) from the South American coastline. The island is 32 km’s (almost 20 miles) long, and 10 km’s (6 miles) across at its widest point. The main industry is tourism, which has resulted in a coastal strip on the Leeward side of the island with the best beaches and many resorts, hotels and casinos.
Aruba’s topography and vegetation are unusual for a Caribbean island. On the south and west coasts are miles of pristine white beaches that rank among the most beautiful in the world, rimmed by calm blue seas with visibility in some areas to a depth of a hundred feet. The northeast coast, along the windward shore, is rugged and wild. The interior is desert-like, with a variety of cacti and dramatic rock formations. The island’s most famous trees are the watapana, or divi-divi trees, all permanently sculpted into graceful, southwest-bending shapes by the constant trade winds.