Aruba is an island in the Caribbean Sea, just a short distance north of the Venezuelan Paraguaná Peninsula, and it forms a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, it has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism, however, as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather.
The island broke off from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986, hoping to gain its independence by 1996. In 1990, that effort stopped at the request of the island itself.
The island came into the news after high school senior Natalee Holloway disappeared on a high school graduation trip on May 30, 2005.