Aruba in the Dutch Antilles lies just 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Step ashore at the berth close to the town centre of Oranjestad, the friendly little capital of this former island of the Dutch West Indies. This multi-coloured town has good shopping, Fort Zoutman built in 1796 and an interesting Archaeology Museum. Aruba has its own 'patois' of Papiamento (blending Dutch with Spanish, Portuguese and African origins), and its largely flat but peaceful landscape is fringed by reefs that grew around an ancient mountain core when the oceans were higher than they are today. Where strong winds and waves batter the coast, the landscape is rugged and desolate. Along the rock-bound shores are coves with stunning white sand beaches, caves with prehistoric drawings, sand dunes, and black pebble beaches. The seas are excellent for diving.