Aruba © Roger W
Aruba is the smallest and most Western island of the Dutch Antilles, which, known locally as the ABCs, also include Bonaire and Curaçao. Aruba is a popular cruise destination, and it's little wonder why. The beaches are so perfect they're almost cliched: miles of white, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and the requisite year-round sun. Over a million visitors arrive on this tiny island each year, enticed by its luxury resorts, first-class restaurants, 24-hour casinos and excellent watersport facilities.
Most visitors stay either in the capital, Oranjestad, or just to the north in one of the many resort complexes on Eagle and Palm beaches. The remainder of the island is much less developed and in the arid interior there is nothing more substantial than cacti and divi-divi trees, contorted by the consistently strong trade winds. For those who need more than sunbathing to get their kicks, there are plenty of activities available on the island. There is good diving and snorkelling along the reef on the protected leeward coast and the windsurfing is excellent a little further north at Fisherman's Hut. Deep-sea fishing can also be arranged through many of the hotels.