Before the Spanish arrived in 1499, Aruba had been inhabited by Arawak peoples for centuries, the evidence of which can still be seen on cave walls. Ceded to the Dutch in 1636, Aruba remains a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Some 105,000 people from more than 90 different ethnic backgrounds now call Aruba home, and the festivals, cuisine, dress, and language (most of the locals you'll meet speak four or more languages) have been shaped by 500 years of colonial rule, trade, and tourism. Aruba is one of the friendliest and safest places in the Caribbean, and hosts nearly 100,000 guests at any one time.

Aruba’s festivals and events run the gamut from the raucous Aruba Carnival, one of the largest annual celebrations in the Caribbean, to sailing regattas, fishing tournaments, and art festivals. There is a variety of national holidays and traditional celebrations, including National Anthem & Flag Day (March 18); Dera Gai, or the “Burying of the Rooster” (June 24); and, of course, Carnival, which begins each year at 11:11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month. Enjoy lavish parades, wild street dances, parties, and more during an event that runs from November 11 to December 31.