One Happy Island: Unique Facts About Aruba that Make it Stand Out

Nestled in the Southern Caribbean, Aruba is so much more than just a sun-soaked paradise. This tiny island, often referred to as “One Happy Island,” holds a treasure trove of unique facts that set it apart from the rest.

From its natural wonders to cultural quirks, Aruba is a destination that captivates the curious traveller. Spanning just 69 square miles, is a haven of soft, powdery beaches, vibrant culture, and fascinating history.

But beyond its turquoise waters and swaying palm trees, Aruba holds a treasure trove of surprising facts that make it a unique and enchanting destination.

Is this your first time travelling to One Happy Island?
Here are my top Aruba travel tips and what to know before going.

facts about aruba

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Unique Facts about Aruba

Uncover the lesser-known facts about Aruba that make it truly special!

1. One Happy Island

Aruba proudly boasts the title of “One Happy Island,” a moniker earned not just for its stunning landscapes but also for the island’s consistently sunny weather.

The locals have adopted this as their unofficial motto, reflecting the island’s laid-back atmosphere, warm hospitality, and overall feel-good vibes.

With an average annual temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) and a gentle breeze, Aruba is a paradise for sunseekers! Plus, since Aruba sits outside the hurricane belt, you’re guaranteed good weather all year round!

Related: Best Places to Eat in Aruba

tres trapi aruba

2. Trade Winds and Divi Divi Trees

Aruba’s iconic Divi Divi trees are not just picturesque; they tell a tale of the island’s constant trade winds. These trees, with their distinctively bent trunks, serve as natural compasses, leaning southwest due to the prevailing northeast trade winds. 

It’s a small but fascinating detail that adds character to the island’s landscape. It’s a natural work of art!

Locals even say that if you stand under a Divi Divi tree, you’ll return to Aruba – and who wouldn’t want to?

Find these magical trees on Eagle Beach!

divi divi trees aruba

3. Desert-Like Arikok National Park

Aruba’s Arikok National Park is a striking contrast to the typical Caribbean image. The park covers nearly 20% of the island and showcases an arid, desert-like landscape. 

Explore unique geological formations, ancient Arawak Indian drawings, and diverse flora and fauna that have adapted to this rugged environment, offering a side of Aruba not often associated with tropical destinations.

Aruba’s rugged interior is a playground for adventure seekers. Jump into a jeep and explore hidden caves and even a natural pool. It’s a wild ride that showcases Aruba’s diverse landscapes beyond its beautiful beaches.

arikok national park

4. Historical Gold Rush Legacy

Aruba boasts a captivating history that includes a brief but impactful gold rush in the 19th century. Ruins of old gold mines, such as the Bushiribana Gold Mill and the Balashi Gold Mill, stand as testament to this bygone era. 

Imagine the rush of prospectors seeking fortune against the backdrop of Aruba’s stunning coastal scenery.

5. Aruba Aloe

Move over, tropical fruits – Aruba is famous for its aloe vera! The island is home to Aruba Aloe, one of the oldest aloe vera factories in the world. 

Take a tour of Aruba Aloe to discover the healing properties of this magical plant and grab some soothing skincare products as souvenirs. 

This was one of my favourite free things to do in Aruba (especially after getting too much sun!) so it’s definitely worth a stop!

aruba aloe

6. Unique Carnival Traditions

While many Caribbean islands celebrate Carnival, Aruba’s version has unique twists. One notable tradition is the burning of “King Momo,” a symbolic act to rid the island of bad spirits before the festivities. 

Elaborate costumes, electrifying music, and vibrant parades make Aruba’s Carnival a one-of-a-kind celebration that fuses local culture with a touch of the extraordinary.

Aruba loves a good celebration, and Betico Croes Day is a prime example. This national holiday on January 25th honours the late Betico Croes, a key figure in Aruba’s journey to autonomy. 

Expect parades, cultural events, and a contagious sense of national pride on this special day.

oranjestad architecture with coloured buildings

7. Underwater Wonders

Beyond its sun-soaked beaches, Aruba hides a mesmerizing underwater world. The island is a haven for divers and snorkelers, offering a chance to encounter colourful coral reefs, sea turtles, and an array of tropical fish.

The Antilla shipwreck, a German freighter sunk during World War II, is now one of the Caribbean’s largest and most accessible wreck dives.

antilla shipwreck aruba

8. Papiamento: A Unique Language Blend

Despite its small size, Aruba is a melting pot of cultures and languages. While the official languages are Dutch and Papiamento, you’ll find that English and Spanish are widely spoken.

Papiamento is a creole language that fuses elements of Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, indigenous Arawak people, and African languages. It’s a testament to the island’s history of cultural diversity, creating a language that is as unique and vibrant as Aruba itself.

san nicolas street art

9. Sustainable Energy Goals

Aruba is not just a pretty face; it’s also a pioneer in sustainability! The island has set ambitious goals to be 100% reliant on renewable energy, with a particular focus on harnessing its consistent trade winds. 

Aruba’s commitment to a green future showcases a forward-thinking approach to preserving the natural beauty that makes it a sought-after destination.

10. Renaissance Island and Flamingo Beach

Ever dreamt of sharing the beach with flamingos? At Renaissance Island in Aruba, that dream comes true. 

The private island is home to Flamingo Beach, where you can sunbathe alongside these fabulous pink birds. Don’t forget to capture the perfect Instagram-worthy moment!

flamingos aruba

11. Aruba’s Time Zone

Time is a social construct, right? Especially when you’re on vacation, and Aruba seems to think so, too! 

The island doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time, making it one less thing to worry about while you’re soaking up the sun. Time flies when you’re having fun, but in Aruba, it might just decide to take a vacation too.

sunset in aruba

12. Aruba’s Butterfly Farm

Get ready to be surrounded by vibrant wings! Aruba’s Butterfly Farm is a magical place where you can witness the life cycle of these delicate creatures up close. 

It’s a kaleidoscopic experience that adds a touch of enchantment to your island adventure.

Plus, your entrance ticket grants you as many visits as you like during your trip!

aruba butterfly farm

13. Donkey Sanctuary

Move over, flamingos – Aruba’s donkey population is stealing the spotlight! 

The island is home to the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary, where you can meet and greet these lovable creatures. Adopting the motto “Love a Donkey, Be a Donkey’s Friend,” the sanctuary provides a safe haven for these gentle animals.

donkey sanctuary aruba

14. Dutch Delights

Aruba’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in its Dutch influence. While strolling through the capital, Oranjestad, you’ll find colourful Dutch colonial architecture, charming streets, and even a windmill! 

Don’t forget to try some traditional Dutch treats like stroopwafels and pancakes while you’re there.

chill aruba

Aruba’s Charming Facts

Aruba’s charm extends far beyond its postcard-perfect beaches. It’s a mosaic of history, culture, and natural wonders, where every corner reveals a unique facet of the island’s character. 

From the resilient Divi Divi trees to the captivating traditions of Carnival, Aruba invites you to uncover the distinctive details that make it an unparalleled destination. Aruba’s surprising facts only add to the draw, making it a destination that promises more than just a beach vacation – it’s an immersive journey into a captivating island world. 

So, pack your bags and get ready to uncover the hidden gems of One Happy Island, where every sunset is a celebration and every day is a chance to discover something new.

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