No, Aruba is not located in South America. Aruba is a Dutch Caribbean island located just 15 miles north of Venezuela’s coast. It’s a part of the ABC islands, consisting of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.

The ABC islands are situated close to South America, but are considered Caribbean regions because they lie on the Caribbean plate. 

I’ve visited Aruba, and it comes as no wonder why it’s nicknamed “One Happy Island”. Aruba is known for its idyllic white sand beaches, amazing seafood restaurants, and near perfect weather year round. 

To help familiarize you with this happy island, this article will cover all you need to know about Aruba’s geography and culture

Sunny beach in Aruba
Photo by: Lex Melony

Is Aruba in South America?

No, Aruba is not part of South America because it lies on the Caribbean tectonic plate. Despite it being so close to Venezuela’s mainland, it’s considered part of the Caribbean.

Aruba and the rest of the ABC islands belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so the countries are often referred to as the “Dutch Caribbean”.

Aruba On A Map

What is Aruba known for?

Aruba or “One Happy Island” is known for its white sand beaches, sunny weather year round, and beautiful natural attractions.

Divi Tree on the beach in Aruba
Aruba’s famous Divi Divi tree (Photo by: Vera Wijermarss)

It has the perfect blend of Caribbean beaches and a wild countryside for exploring. There’s great beaches for snorkeling, watersports, or relaxing at a beach bar at Palm Beach or Eagle Beach.

Around 20% of the island is part of the Arikok National Park, which has caves, natural pools, and stunning rock formations.

horses in arikok national park
Horses in Arikok National Park, Aruba (Photo by: Alin Meceanu on Unsplash)

When it comes to activities, there’s ATV tours, horseback riding, kayaking, and much more.

Some other popular attractions in Aruba include the San Nicolas Murals, California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, and Aloe Factory.

Mural in San Nicolas
Mural in San Nicolas, Aruba (Photo by: Pascal Muller)

Quick Facts About Aruba

  • Population: 106,177 (2024)
  • Size: 75 square miles (193 square kilometers)
  • Languages: English, Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish
  • Currency: Aruban Florin (AWG), US Dollars are accepted
  • Country: Kingdom of Netherlands
  • Climate: Tropical, sunny year round (low 80s), and extremely windy
windy palm trees
Photo by: Bernin Uben

What country is Aruba in?

Aruba is an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This means that Aruba has its own government, while the Kingdom of Netherlands controls foreign policy and national defense.

Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao all make up the ABC islands, in the Leeward Antilles island chain of the Southern Caribbean.

All of these islands are within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so they’re often referred to as the Dutch Caribbean. 

colorful buildings in oranjestad aruba
Photo by: Lex Melony

Is Aruba in the Caribbean?

Yes, Aruba is a Southern Caribbean island within the chain of islands known as the “Leeward Antilles”.

The Leeward Antilles make up the southern half of the Lesser Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao), just north of Venezuela.

The northern half of the Lesser Antilles consists of the US and British Virgin Islands, just east of Puerto Rico . 

palm beach
Palm Beach, Aruba (Photo by: Lex Melony)

Aruba Geography FAQs

What continent is Aruba in?

Aruba lies on the edge of South America’s continental plate, so it is technically in South America.

However, Aruba is not considered one of South America’s 12 countries. It’s an independent country in the Caribbean that belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 

Is Aruba a US territory?

No, Aruba is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Aruba has its own constitution and is responsible for internal affairs while the Kingdom of Netherlands controls foreign policy and defense. 

How far is Aruba from the equator?

Aruba is located 12 degrees 30′ north of the equator, or 863.67 miles

Is Aruba in the hurricane belt?

No, Aruba and the rest of the ABC islands are south of the hurricane belt so hurricanes occur much less frequently.

However, Aruba is extremely windy since it experiences heavy trade winds from the Eastern Caribbean. 

It’s the most windy from May to June, and calmer from August to December. 

What time zone is Aruba in?

Aruba operates on the Atlantic Standard Time (AST) year round, and does not use daylight savings time. 

Is Aruba part of the Netherlands?

Yes, Aruba is an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in the Dutch Caribbean. 

Where is Aruba in relation to the United States?

Aruba is situated 1,284 miles southeast of Florida. It’s located not far from South America’s mainland, just 15 miles north of Venezuela’s coast.  

How long is a flight from the US to Aruba?

An average flight from Miami, Florida to Aruba is around 3 hours, and just under 5 hours for a flight from New York City to Aruba. 

What is the Dutch Caribbean?

The Dutch Caribbean is a group of six Caribbean islands that include Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten.

Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are sovereign countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are part of the Netherlands, and governed partially by the Dutch central government. 


Put simply, Aruba is not considered part of South America. It lies on the Caribbean plate so it’s considered a Caribbean region.

Aruba, and the rest of the ABC islands are often referred to as the “Dutch Caribbean”. Since Aruba is so close to Venezuela, the culture is incredibly diverse.

In fact, the most widely spoken language in the Dutch Caribbean is “Papiamentu”, a Portuguese language strongly influenced by Spanish. 

Aruba is one of the safest and cleanest Caribbean islands, so it remains a popular destination for tourists all over the world.

Whether it’s relaxing on a white sand beach, hiking, or trying out amazing seafood restaurants, Aruba has something for all to enjoy.

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