Aruba is a small island 18 miles from the coast of Venezuela (just above Caracas), and is about 12 degrees from the equator.

The temperature remains at a pretty constant 80 degrees year round due to the trade winds which blow fairly steadily from the North. To say rain is nonexistent wouldn't be accurate but if it does rain, it seldom lasts for more than a few minutes and if it rains really heavy, you might have to turn the windshield wipers on.

Aruba is about 18 miles long running roughly east to west and is probably no more than 6 or 7 miles wide at its widest point. It is divided lengthwise by a mountain range (for lack of a better term, they're only a couple hundred feet high ).

The North Side is uninhabited (except for wild goats and the ubiquitous iguanas) due to the nature of the desert terrain and rocky shores constantly assaulted by rough seas driven by the trade winds. The North Side is easily visited by car.

The south side is where the resorts are located and is fringed by white coral sand beaches (all free) in some places up to a quarter mile wide.

Tourism is the major (almost only) industry on the island so there are plenty restaurants (ranging from MacDonalds to the four star Valentinos at Caribbean Palm Village) covering a wide range of tastes (Thai, Chinese, Italian, Aruban, Japanese, German, Dutch, .......). Prices are pretty much the same as the US.

The water is desalinated sea water so there's no worry about "Montezuma's Revenge" or any water borne parasites or diseases. Aruba also has a modern hospital and doctors. I had a bug one year and hadda see a doctor. A shot and a prescription. No eye of newt or bat wing potion. The right stuff.

English and Spanish and Dutch are readily spoken nearly everywhere (plus Arubans speak Papiamento - a local dialect mix of the other three).

There are several supermarkets for those who want to eat "at home" and have the facilities. Food is a little higher than in the US but they pretty much carry the same stuff (and same prices) as a small market would in the US.

The local currency is Dutch Guilders (locally called Florins) and are convertible at a rate of 1.75f to $1.00. Not to worry though, virtually all businesses will take dollars. Prices are usually given in both currencies.

Driving is on the right side (same as the US) and traffic laws are pretty much the same, just remember the cars in the circle (not like the US where it's a matter of cajones) have the right of way. The roads are all generally decent as long as you stayed on paved ones. If you go off-road (the North Side for example), it can get a little bumpy, but not really that bad.

Taxis are numerous and not overly expensive. Car rental agencies are also numerous and run plus or minus $30-$40 a day for a four door with air conditioning. (CPV guests get a discount from Thrifty, which is right on premises.) Motor scooters and jeeps (for the North Side off-roaders) are also available but I don't know the price range (I'm a comfort guy).

There are several casinos but I can't tell you about them as I'm not much for gambling.

The airport is small and things move along pretty good but can get crowded if several large planes arrive or leave at the same time. Plane fares can run from $300 to $700 from the New York area . It pays to shop around a little.

We have been going for six years and it's a high point for us every year. We've made local friends and found Arubans invariably to be friendly and polite. No "Yankee go home" attitude there.

The reason we have a unit to rent is that we had an opportunity to pick up another time share for the same weeks we already own, so we bought it to hold for our daughter (an associate professor soon to be working on her doctorate) when she gets financially solvent (do they ever?).

Aruba (and CPV in particular) is a fine family resort, essentially no crime or threat of crime, and little of the frantic "gotta have my fun now because I'm only here for a week" attitude found in many resorts.

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