Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao

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Contribution to Book

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Publication Title

Landscapes and Landforms of the Lesser Antilles






Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao consist of five islands that make up the Leeward Islands of the Dutch Antilles off of the northern coast of South America, often referred to as the ABCs. Because of location, the islands share similar characteristics of climate, geology, geomorphology, and history, though each bears a variation of these characteristics. These largely limestone islands are part of the southern Caribbean dry zone. Historically, they were important centers of livestock grazing, aloe vera production, and salt export. All three islands in the twentieth century have been impacted by the growth of oil export in Venezuela. Curaçao, once the tourism leaders among the Dutch Caribbean Islands, is trying to catch up with Aruba in stopover tourists, while Bonaire has smaller but strong “active” tourism for its size. While their climate in the past was considered less than desirable for large-area agricultural pursuits, presently their dry, warm weather largely outside the hurricane belt is an attractive asset to the millions of tourists who visit them annually.