- Location: Southern Caribbean Sea
- Capital: Oranjestad
- Language(s): Papiamento, Dutch
- Population: 109,564
- Total Area: 180 sq km
- Currency: Aruban florin
- Curious Alcohol Fact: There is a national beer called Balashi.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: Not available
- Most Popular Drink(s): Beers, fruit juices
The island nation of Aruba is located close to the Lesser Antilles in the southwestern region of the Caribbean. Aruba is also not too far from Curaçao and a peninsula jutting from the Latin America nation of Venezuela. Before it assumed a self-governing status, Aruba was also part of the Netherlands Antilles. Today, Aruba is a separate but self-governing part of the Netherlands. There are no states in the country and citizens have a Dutch nationality. With the capital and main port located at the city of Oranjestad, tourism is also a very important aspect and component of the economy. While touring the capital, you cannot but notice the brightly painted buildings and architectural masterpieces all over the place. Although small, Aruba is rich in natural resources and these include gold, phosphate and petroleum.
Staying in Aruba, virtually all the people that you will come across are referred to as mestizos and these are the descendants of Europeans and indigenous tribes. The mestizos make up as much as four-fifths of the population. There are also some other ethnicities such as the Arawak Indians while others are Dutch, Spanish and Italian, many of whom are foreign workers. The most widely used languages include Papiamento and Dutch but Papiamento is the most popular.
Before visiting Aruba, I had listened to really lovely culinary stories narrated by friends who had visited the island nation before. And I must say that throughout my stay in the country, I was not disappointed as far as food was concerned. There is a complete array of French, Spanish, African and Dutch delicacies. If you are even interested in a taste of the Orient, there are restaurants serving Chinese and Indian dishes. As expected, many of the meals are prepared from seafood. There are meals made using grouper, snapper, tuna and mahi-mahi. You can also make a special request for herbs, plants and spices to be added to your food. When it comes to cooling your parched throat, Aruba has the drinks in abundance. If you want the real taste of the Caribbean, just ask for a cup of Dooshi Aruba, an incredibly cool blend of coconut milk, rum and pineapple juice.
The festivals in Aruba are somewhat unique in the sense that there is an impressive blend of indigenous and Dutch culture. On the 30th of April of every year, the birthday of the Dutch Queen is celebrated as the Dia di la Reina. There are also many other festivals and carnivals like Mardi Gras, Carnival, Halloweenand some of them can hold for weeks! Surely, there is no dull time once you are in Aruba.
- The island nation has the Queen of the Netherlands, Queen Beatrix as the head of state.
- The Kingdom of Netherlands is actually composed of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. However, Aruba is not part of the European Union.
- ABC Islands is a group made up of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.
- In the Caribbean, Aruba has some of the highest standards of living.
- Papiamento is one of the most popular languages in Aruba.
- There is a type of rattlesnake that takes it name after the island.
- The legal system used on the island is modelled after that of the Netherlands.
- Iguanas are plentiful on the island.
- There is an airport in the country named after the Queen of the Netherlands.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).