Between florida and the northeast South Americas are, in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean several groups of islands. These island groups are called the Antilles and are subdivided into three smaller groups;
- The Bahamas, the Greater Antilles with Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica and several others.
- The Lesser Antilles such as The Virgin islands, Anquilla , Martinique and the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
The Netherlands Antilles are an integral part of the Netherlands, comprising two island groups of three islands each;
- The Netherlands Windward Islands consist of Saint Eustatius, Saba and the southern half of Saint Martin.
- The Netherlands Leeward Islands, consisting of Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba.
One of the Lesser Antilles, specifically in the Leeward Antilles island arc, Aruba is a generally flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches. Most of these are located on the western and southern coasts of the island, which are relatively sheltered from fierce ocean currents. The northern and eastern coasts, lacking this protection, are considerably more battered by the sea and have been left largely untouched by humans.
The interior of the island features some rolling hills, the better two of which are called Hooiberg at 165 meters (541 ft) and Mount Jamanota, which is the highest on the island, at 188 meters (617 ft) above sea level.
Oranjestad, the capital, is located at 12°19''N 70°1''W.
As a separate member state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the island/state has no administrative subdivisions. On the east are Curaçao and Bonaire, two island territories which form the southwest part of the Netherlands Antilles; Aruba and these two Netherlands Antilles islands are also known as the ABC islands.
The local climate is a pleasant tropical marine climate. Little seasonal temperature variation exists, which helps Aruba to attract tourists all year round. Temperatures are almost constant at about 28°C (82°F), moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Yearly precipitation barely reaches 500 mm (20 in), most of it falling in late autumn.
The origins of the population and location of the island give Aruba a mixed culture. Dutch influence can still be seen, even though not much of the population is of Dutch origin. Tourism from the United States has recently also increased the visibility of American culture on the island. Queen Beatrix International Airport, located near Oranjestad, currently serves the whole island of Aruba. This airport has access to various cities across the eastern U.S., from Miami, Orlando, Houston, Atlanta to New York. It also connects Aruba with Europe through Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands.