Whether you are interested in moving to Aruba or are simply considering it as a vacation destination, knowing where it is can help you figure out what to expect in terms of flight duration, weather, and cuisine, as geography affects all of these factors.
Aruba is located in the Caribbean sea, 15 miles north of Venezuela’s coast. It is 460 miles south of Haiti. The Island is considered a part of the South American continent as it is closer to Venezuela (South America) than it is to Haiti (North America).
In this article, you will learn everything about Aruba’s location, continent categorization, and national identity. By the end of this post, you’ll know how Aruba differs from other Caribbean countries and how it is similar to them. Make sure to bookmark this page, as it is the most comprehensive guide to Aruba’s map.
Aruba On The Map: A Brief Overview
Aruba is 15 miles to the north of the South American country of Venezuela. It is 460 miles to the south of the North American country of Haiti. Nicaragua is to the left of Aruba by 932 miles, pretty much twice its distance from Haiti. And to Aruba’s right, 560 miles away, is Grenada.
Grenada is a Caribbean island that is 132 miles from St. Lucia. Pretty much all the Caribbean islands that most people know about are within 200 miles of each other from that point. But within the Caribbean sea, Aruba is 5 to 10 times farther away from this island belt.
St. Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts & Nevis are an average of 200 miles away from each other. You can go from one Island to the next, then to the next, traveling less than 200 miles per stop.
The distance from any of these islands to Aruba is over 500 miles. Aruba is closer to Curacao and Bonaire, which are the Dutch Caribbean islands. These are called the ABC islands and are a cluster similar to the one in which St. Lucia and Grenada are located. The Caribbean sea is vast enough for these iland clusters, which are hundreds of miles apart.
Is Aruba In The Caribbean?
Aruba is in the Caribbean but is not close to the Caribbean islands that most Americans are familiar with. The Caribbean sea has an area of 1,063,000 square miles, equivalent to 520 billion football fields.
Because of its vastness, two Caribbean islands could be parts of two different continents of kingdoms. Still, they would technically be Caribbean countries/islands. That’s the case with Aruba, which is a part of the European kingdom of the Netherlands, yet is a Caribbean island.
It is pretty far from some of the most popular Caribbean islands. For context, The Bahamas is 50 miles away from Florida’s South-Eastt coast, while Aruba is 2,326 miles away from the US. The difference between their distance from the USA is over 46 times.
Other Caribbean islands are similarly closer to the Nevis and Antigua belt, while the ABC islands are pretty far off. Does that mean that Aruba is Caribbean in name only? No. There are specific traits of Caribbean countries that Aruba shares. But it is a country that has more than one identity.
Aruba: A Multi-Dimensional Country
Aruba is a Caribbean country that is a part of the South American content and is a territory of a European kingdom. And if you think that is complex, then you’ll be surprised to learn that each of those parts actively affects Aruba’s policy, practices, rights, and operations.
Understanding how each of Aruba’s identities affects the country will help you understand where Aruba stands not just on the map but in the united nations categorization.
Aruba As A Caribbean Country
Caribbean countries are known for their sandy beaches, clear water, year-round sunshine, and temperate weather. They are also known for being relatively cheap and for having lax immigration rules.
Aruba doesn’t share the latter features of the Caribbean countries because its government isn’t “Caribbean.”
The governor of Aruba represents the Dutch king. Aruba has immigration rules that have more in common with Europe than other Caribbean countries. Similarly, Aruban prices are not similar to those of the average Caribbean vacation island. In matters of currency and immigration, Aruba is unlike other Caribbean countries.
But in matters of weather, scenic beauty, and beaches, Aruba is just as beautiful and inviting as any Caribbean island. It differs in size, tree-to-land ratio, and rainfall, though. Still, it offers signature Caribbean weather and vacation opportunities.
Aruba As A Part Of A European Kingdom
European countries have relatively strict immigration, first-world prices, great architecture, emphasis on public healthcare and education, and an intra-Europe travel corridor.
While Aruba isn’t considered a European country, it’s falling under the umbrella of the United Kingdom of Netherlands does influence some of its economics and immigration.
Firstly, its passport holders are European by nationality and can travel within Europe easily.
Secondly, it is more expensive than its Caribbean counterparts even though it doesn’t have first-world rates. Its immigration is also stricter than its Caribbean counterparts, even though it is not as strict as European countries.
Aruba As A South American Country
South American countries usually have large Spanish-speaking populations and a social atmosphere. South American cuisine is flavorful and spicier than standard western cuisine, and it relies heavily on meats and alcohol.
Aruba doesn’t have a Spanish-speaking population. But other than that, it does have very strong South American demographic characteristics. People in Aruba are social yet care about their heritage and traditions, just like people in an average south American country.
They love meat and alcohol just as much as any South American. Still, they are dutch by nationality, even if their tans say otherwise. That’s the magic of Aruba, a country with three distinct identities, all of which have tangible effects.
Is Aruba Part Of The United States?
Aruba is not a part of the United States or one of its colonies. White Aruba is a popular vacation island that competes with US territories like the US Virgin Islands; Aruba is a country that is a part of the kingdom of the Netherlands.
There are four points of confusion that perpetuate the idea that Aruba is a part of the United States. Firstly, Aruba has Palm Beach and Santa Cruz, both of which are also in California. Next, Aruba also has the California Lighthouse, which might make some people believe the reference is geographical. In reality, Aruba isn’t near California, and the lighthouse is named after a vessel of the same name.
Moreover, Aruba is a Caribbean vacation island, and many Caribbean vacation islands are actually part of the US.
The fourth and final point that might make one think of Aruba as an American territory is that it is pretty close to South America. While the Island is close to the American continent, it is not a part of it or a colony of its largest nation (the United States).
Is Aruba A US Territory?
Aruba is not a US territory as it has been a part of the Kingdom of Netherlands since its formal acceptance as a country. The American territories in the Caribbean are located around Aruba, but that doesn’t qualify Aruba as an American colony.
The US territories in the Caribbean include the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
The rest of the Caribbean islands are either free-standing nations or affiliated territories of other countries. The US also has island territories outside the Caribbean and many former territories that are now independent nations. But Aruba was never a US territory.
Is Aruba in South America?
Aruba is in South America though it is not connected to the South American continent. Still, it is in the part of the Caribbean sea that is placed on the South American Continent Shelf. Other islands that are similar in South America include Bonaire and Cucao.
Aruba is in the Caribbean, physically, and in South America by content categorization of territorial waters. And if that’s not complicated enough, the country is a part of the Netherlands, which is a European kingdom. This puts Aruba in three different categories.
Aruba is, first and foremost, a Caribbean island. This categorization has the highest priority because it is unchangeable regardless of how nations deal with each other. The physical location of Aruba will not change. The second aspect is its status as Dutch territory.
This aspect changes only the UN, and the world rethinks borders and territories. The third factor is the continental divide, which makes Aruba South American by content division. While this factor is also largely unchanging, it has the lowest impact on Aruba’s policy and identity.
Who Owns Aruba?
The Kingdom of Netherlands owns Aruba in the sense that Aruba is a part of the kingdom. The crown doesn’t own the country or its assets, though, and Aruba remains autonomous in certain policy decisions.
The healthcare and education policies of Aruba are independent of those of the kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba also has its own currency, and its legal system isn’t a clone of the law of the Netherlands. Aruba’s first language is Papiamento, though people do speak dutch on the Island.
What Continent is Aruba In?
Aruba is in the South American continent by territorial water categorization and is part of a European Kingdom by legal division. It is a Caribbean country in its independent categorization, and the weather, heritage, and customs closely resemble those of South America.
In fact, much of Aruba’s flora and fauna is similar to that of South American countries and even Central American territories. Aruban cuisine influences are also most Caribbean and South American, and its neighboring islands are also considered parts of South America.
What Islands Are Near Aruba?
Islands near Aruba include its neighbors in the ABC Islands, Curacao, and Bonaire. Islands outside the Leeward Antilles are pretty far from Aruba.
Despite being in the same sea, Barbados, Grenada, and similar Caribbean islands are 10 to 13 times further away from Aruba than Aruba is from Bonaire and Curacao.
The only islands, aside from the island countries that make up the ABC Islands, that are close to Aruba are its own territories. The Reinnesance Island and the De Palm Island are small islands close to Aruba and are a part of the country of Aruba. They are private islands owned by two resorts.
Is Aruba Part Of The Bahamas?
Aruba is not a part of the Bahamas. It is a part of the ABC Islands, all of which are Dutch territories. Aruba isn’t close enough to the Bahamas to be confused with a Bahamas territory.
The island nation is a part of the kingdom of the Netherlands and has remained a territory of the European kingdom since its inception. Several differences between the Bahamas and Aruba demonstrate how unlike each other, the islands are despite being in the Caribbean sea.
For starters, the Bahamas is an independent country while Aruba is affiliated with the Netherlands.
Secondly, the Bahamas currency is the Bahamian Dollar, while the Aruban currency is the Aruban Florin.
Finally, the Bahamas are close to the US, while Aruba is close to Venezuela and Columbia.
That said, Aruba is closer to the Bahamas than it is to the Netherlands, the actual kingdom to which it belongs.
Is Aruba French Or Dutch?
Aruba is Dutch and not French, though it can be confused with St. Martin, which is an island with half-dutch ownership and a half-french side. Aruba, unlike St. Martin/Sint Maarten, is 100% Dutch and belongs to no kingdom or country other than the Netherlands.
The French Caribbean islands are also knowns as the French west indies. These include three islands:
- St. Barts
- St. Martin
The last one is interesting because it is an island with two countries.
St. Martin and Sint Maarten are two countries that make up the Island. The Saint Martin side is french, while the Sint Maarten side is Dutch. Because one Caribbean Island is simultaneously dutch and french, people start pondering whether other dutch islands are french or vice versa.
Martinique, St. Barts, and Guadeloupe are 100%, French, while Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire are 100% Dutch. The only Island divided between the Netherlands and France is that of St Martin.
Which Currency Is Used In Aruba?
Aruban Florin is used in Aruba. The country, despite belonging to the Kingdom of Netherlands, doesn’t use the main dutch currency (euro). One of the reasons for this is that the Netherlands doesn’t dictate the euro printing and floatation. The European Union does.
Despite being a founding member of the union and one of the first countries to adopt the euro, the Netherlands cannot justify floating Euros to its colony in South America, 5000 miles away from Europe.
Aside from Aruban Florin, almost every “high-value” currency is accepted by private vendors in Aruba. You will find very few sellers reluctant to accept dollars or euros. Still, these currencies are not standard legal tender in Aruba.
What Passport Does Aruba Use?
Aruba uses the Dutch passport, and all Arubans are nationals of the Netherlands. They are also European citizens and can move freely to the Netherlands and all territories that the dutch passport has access to.
Aruba does not have its own passport though it does conduct a census and keeps a record of Aruban citizens.
Aruban nationals are categorized as Arubans by the local government for regional matters like address registration, hospital records, etc. But for international matters like travel documents, access, and visa requirements, Arubans have dutch nationality and a Netherlands passport.
Is Aruba Part Of The Schengen?
Aruba is not a part of the Schengen zone, and hence its travel corridor with the Schengen countries is limited in some aspects. Still, it is a part of the Netherlands, for which Schengen countries make special considerations.
Aruban visa does not grant you the right to enter the Schengen zone, but being a national of Aruba does allow you to move freely within Schengen countries. Because Arubans hold Netherlands nationality, they have the same rights as Dutch nationals residing in the Netherlands.
Citizens of Aruba can travel freely to Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, France,Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Iceland,
Hungary, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Malta, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, and the Netherlands.
Citizens of the countries mentioned above can visit the Netherlands without a visa, but they have to adhere to Aruba’s visa regulations when visiting Aruba.
Can I Get Citizenship In Aruba?
You can get citizenship in Aruba via naturalization, marriage, or descent. It is tougher to get Dutch nationality in Aruba than it is to get it directly in the Netherlands. Caribbean islands closer to the states are laxer with their citizenship requirements.
To get citizenship in Aruba, you have to apply for a residence permit and then for naturalization, which is completely at the discretion of Aruban immigration authorities.
Aruba is a few miles north of Venezuela and is hence considered to be a part of the same continent as Venezuela and Columbia.
The South American country is a member of the kingdom of the Netherlands too, so its citizens are dutch, making them Europeans with the same rights and privileges as citizens of the Netherlands. Still, Aruba remains a Caribbean country that has all the trappings of a Caribbean island, including nice weather, sandy beaches, and the blue sea.
Aruba is a country with its own unique identity, and its Caribbean location, South American culture, and European identity contribute to its overall appeal.