We Call Aruba Home

In the crystal blue waters of the Southern Caribbean is this tiny island we call home known as Aruba. Many around the world know us for our beautiful beaches, warm and friendly people, amazing food, and wonderful weather year-round. A gem in the  Caribbean that we call One Happy Island, your perfect vacation destination. As locals our favorite hashtag #welivewhereyouvacation. So having moved away if only instead we got a dollar for every time we heard, you moved here from where, Aruba, are you crazy?

 

Aerial view of island Aruba.

Tiny & No Hurricane’s Here in Aruba

When we said we are from a tiny island, not joking, nineteen miles long and six miles wide at our widest point.  Located close to the equator, we are a hot island, with most days 82-85F.   Luckily for us, we have cooling trade winds and they blow year round. When there is no wind, trust me you feel it right away as it gets hot fast. Once in a blue moon it rains, we call it liquid sunshine and as a local, we are saying bring it on! It allows us to cool off from the hot sun and our nature gets some water it settles some of the dust. Our flora and fauna soak it all in, literally, were covered in cactus and drought tolerant nature, trust me the 10-15 inches a year is okay by us. This dessert like aspect of our environment really differentiates Aruba from the other Caribbean islands, we are a dry and desert like an island, unlike our counterparts that our lush and green. Our biggest bonus we are so far down south that we lay outside the hurricane belt. Other Caribbean islands aren’t as lucky.

World Famous Beaches

Did we mention our world famous beaches? Oh yes, baby, turquoise blue water that is warm,  crystal clear and perfect for cooling off from the hot sun. We are such a blessed island to have such natural wonders right on our shores. Our most famous beach is Eagle Beach, long white spans of cool to the touch white sand with shades of blue ocean out to the horizon. There are many coves and hidden treasures all along the coast.  We have so many favorite beaches.

Click here for more on Aruba beaches.

This may be the real reason some people may think we’re crazy, who gives up the beach for snow?

 

Eagle Beach Aruba

Quick History on Aruba

Our first inhabitants of Aruba where the Caquetio Amerindian Arawak Indians. Believed to have come across from Venezuela, fifteen miles of the coast. The first Europeans to discover Aruba declared Aruba unprofitable, they saw desert and said, we wouldn’t do any good with agriculture here and abandoned the island.  Our history tells us that for many years Aruba was colonized by Spain until the Dutch took over in 1629 and we have formed part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands ever since. We are Dutch citizens because of this relationship. Today, Aruba is a unique mix of different cultures and our relationship with the Netherlands is best described as an autonomous state within the Kingdom. Due to this unique relationship, Aruba has its own flag, anthem and coat of arms. We have and run our own government which consists of parliament members and cabinet members of ministers. Our legal system, government, schools, and taxes are all structure in the  Dutch ways.

Here is another great blog with a quick history on Aruba.

Our love for languages

We grow up speaking many languages, Dutch, Papiamento, Spanish and English to name of few.   We naturally switch from one language to the other when speaking, sorry we can’t help ourselves.  We have our own language known as Papiamento and for many of us, this is the first language we speak at home until we get to primary school where we are taught in Dutch, or if you go to the International school in English. A short time later you’re learning the Spanish and English. Its a special language only spoke among the A, B, C islands Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Many of us as we grow older have picked up a few more French, Portuguese. like.Today’s generation even dabbles in Chinese…yay for our love for languages!

Here is a quick video for some easy Papiamento Lessons

Economics

An economics lesson about Aruba, history has it we were declared unprofitable and useless? The Spanish explorers didn’t see much value in Aruba and soon they gave up on us and let the Dutch take over.  Gold was discovered and mined around 1800.  This made the island’s economic boom. But very. But very short-lived as by the early 1900’s the gold was all gone and so was the economy, until someone thought, what’s up with this aloe?

 

Aruba Aloe Farm

Aruba Aloe

Yes, the aloe plant became the island’s top exporter and became an important part of our economic history for many years. Our dry climate and year round sunshine did the trick in order to grow the desert plant.  Aloe, used for many different purposes packs vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It has many health and beauty benefits.  The thick green outer layer of the plant is cut away to reveal a clear fleshy feeling slime.  That’s the stuff you want, this is the magic of the plant, drinking it has health benefits and so does layer it on your skin. I’m sure that back in the day alone was used for almost anything.  Today the oldest company on the island is the Aruba Aloe Factory and it is still a leading product manufacturer to this day.

Black Gold

So our little island didn’t prosper with the only aloe, we had another type of gold flourishing on the tip of the island, black gold, aka oil.  In the town of  San Nicolas, one of the largest oil refinery and storage facilities of that era (1929) was built by Exxon on our tiny island. Our island even makes an appearance in history books during world war two. The oil refined at Lago was used for the allied air forces and we played an important part due to our location in the western hemisphere.For many many years, this was what drove our economy until Exxon closed the refinery in 1985, and it’s been a controversy for the most part ever since switching operators and reopening numerous times. It’s a sore subject to many locals due to its controversy should we diversify the economy or protect the environment?

 

Yachts in Aruba harbor

Aruba’s Tourism

Aruba’s tourism history tells us that sometime in the early twenties large yachts and tankers were the first to bring foreign visitors to the island whom were working for the refinery and those who would come to visit would be in awe of the natural beauty that was Aruba. Tourism at the beginning was only afforded to the lucky few that came to visit via ship.  It isn’t until 1959 that the first hotel was built on the island and as the saying goes the rest is history. Tourism is the main economic pillar of Aruba’s economy.  Our island’s economy depends on tourism and about three-quarters of our gross national product is earned via tourism related products and services.  Aruba has developed a world-class tourism product, an international airport, world-class resorts and it’s many beaches have won worldwide accolades by many internally recognized organizations. Visitors from all over the world come visit the tiny island in the Caribbean sea.

Spirit of Hospitality Born and Bread

Growing up Aruban, you learn early on that tourism is not important, but vital to our survival. It has influenced almost every aspect of our society and will continue to do so for years to come. Either indirectly or directly tourism influences every home on the island. Living far away from home gives us the opportunity to talk and promote the island to many people that maybe would never have thought of or considered taking a trip to Aruba before.

Aruba will always be home

So next time someone asks us if we’re crazy because we left our weather perfect island, family and friends  to come live in the cold of the northeast we just say YES, we’re really a little bit kinda nuts, but it’s just because we personally wanted to come out and invite you to come visit, our home, Aruba, one happy island.

 

Sunset in Aruba