Geography of Aruba

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Nickname: One Happy Island
Aruba map.png
Map of Aruba
Location Caribbean Sea
Coordinates 12°30′N 69°58′W / 12.500°N 69.967°W / 12.500; -69.967
Archipelago ABC islands (Lesser Antilles)
Area 139 km2 (54 sq mi)
Coastline 68.5 km (42.56 mi)
Highest elevation 188 m (617 ft)
Highest point Mount Jamanota
Largest settlement Oranjestad (pop. 32,748)
Population 104,494 (as of 2007)
Density 751.76 /km2 (1,947.05 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Mixed Caribbean Amerindian and white
NASA satellite image of Aruba.
Casibari Rock Formation
Aruba's Natural Bridge in 2005, before its subsequent collapse due to coastal erosion.

Aruba is a small Caribbean island (54 sq mi or 140 km2) about the size of Washington, D.C., located 25 km north of the coast of Venezuela and 68 km northwest of Curaçao, the largest island of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba’s terrain is mostly flat with a few hills. There is little in the way of vegetation or outstanding physical features and no inland water. Aruba’s best-known geographical feature is its white-sand beaches, which are the basis of an active tourism industry that is the mainstay of the island’s economy. Aruba is situated on the Caribbean Tectonic Plate. Aruba, as well as the rest of the ABC islands and also Trinidad and Tobago, lies on the continental shelf of South America, and is thus geologically considered to lie entirely in South America.

The core of the island is made up of Turonian submarine and subaerial basalts which were formed in the Caribbean large igneous province. These basalts were intruded by a tonalite pluton shortly after their eruption. The shore areas are mainly limestone-capped hills and ridges, with cliffs on the northern and northeastern coasts and coral reefs on the southern coast.

Mountains and Hills[edit]

Aruba’s terrain is almost entirely flat. The highest elevation, so-called Mount Jamanota, is only 188 m above sea level. Rock formations characterize the interior of the island. (

The Coast and Beaches[edit]

Aruba has three deepwater harbors located at Oranjestad, Barcadera, and San Nicolaas (Sint Nicolaas). The coastal area is known for its white-sand beaches and the calm waters surrounding Aruba are clear, making it a popular tourist destination.



Aruba’s semi-arid tropical marine climate varies little seasonally, with an average annual temperature of 27 °C (80.6 °F), varying from about 26 °C (78.8 °F) in January to 29 °C (84.2 °F) in July.


Most rain brought by the prevailing easterly winds of the region falls on the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, leaving Aruba with a very dry climate. Rainfall averages 510 mm (20.1 in) or less annually, and the island’s residents rely on one of the world’s largest desalination plants for most of their drinking water. The rainy season occurs between October and December.


Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates
12°30′N 69°58′W / 12.500°N 69.967°W / 12.500; -69.967 (Aruba)Coordinates: 12°30′N 69°58′W / 12.500°N 69.967°W / 12.500; -69.967 (Aruba)
Map references
Central America and the Caribbean
  • Total: 193 km²
  • Land: 193 km²
  • Water: 0 km²

country comparison to the world: 108

Area comparative
slightly larger than Washington DC
Land boundaries
0 km
68.5 km
Maritime claims

The "Rijkswet" of December 12, 1985, for the maritime boundaries between The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, and the Maritime Boundaries Treaty signed March 31, 1978, between the Republic of Venezuela and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, introduced December 12, 1978, and valid for Aruba since January 1, 1986.

Territorial sea: 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi)
Tropical semi-arid marine; little seasonal temperature variation
Flat with a few hills; scant vegetation
Elevation extremes
Natural resources
Negligible; white sandy beaches
Land use
  • Arable land: 10.53% (including aloe 0.01%)
  • Permanent crops: 0%
  • Other: 89.47% (2005)
Irrigated land
0.01 km² (1998 est.)
Natural hazards
While Aruba barely lies within the Caribbean hurricane belt, storms rarely if ever pass over the island.
Environment—current issues
A flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean; the temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]