The ABC Islands, part of the West Dutch Indies, used to be part of Holland's worldwide empire - Bonaire and Curacao are still under the protection of the Netherlands, but Aruba has gained total independence.
A steep-to island in the middle of the ABC's, its claim to fame is diving. The edges of the island drop quickly to hundreds of feet, and scuba shops abound to take advantage of the 'wall' diving. The water is very clear and millions of colorful fish hide among the coral. We stayed at the only marina on the island - with easy access to the best ice cream in the world. Salt flats on this island provide sheltered spots for huge flocks of pink flamingos. We stayed at Harbour Village Marina for 12 days. We left with 25 knot cross-wind, and made it out safely thanks to help from S/V Runaway.
'One Friendly Island' as they bill themselves lives up to its slogan. People are very nice, the island has wonderful beaches, casinos, lots of resorts (that offer free gifts and meals if you will listen to their sales pitch), and good shopping. Once part of the Netherlands Antilles, it is now a self-governing member state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. We spent Christmas and New Year's in Harbourtown Marina in the middle of Orangestad and watched a 1 mile-long string of firecrackers explode for over 40 minutes. The marina is the only reasonable option with this island - the only protected anchorage is under the jet landing pattern.
And then a 3-day lumpy sail to Colombia