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.
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. (www.countyreports.org)
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.
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.
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.
While Aruba barely lies within the Caribbean hurricane belt, storms rarely if ever pass over the island.
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.