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Caribbean Island Paradise on the ABC Islands

Getting to know Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao

Caribbean FestivalsCaribbean FestivalsBeen there done that in the Caribbean? You could go snorkeling again at Watermelon Cay or zip line through St. Lucia's rainforest. But if you're more into island hopping, consider the ABC Islands, the 3 most western islands of the Leeward Antilles.

Aruba is self-governing and autonomous, but Bonaire and Curacao are governed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. All 3 are the recipients of the undivided attention of the Netherlands, which means you'll be in for a treat no matter which island you choose.

Find your favorite ABC island.


Aruba, the glamorous older sister of the other 2 islands, is a busy port of call that attracts more than 1 million visitors a year. It's a beach destination, but you'll also find world-class resorts, gambling, shopping and some of the finest dining in the Caribbean. Aruba also tends to be a pricey vacation, so be prepared to dig deep into research if you're looking for a budget getaway.

If you're traveling in February, the Aruba Carnival in Oranjestad & San Nicolas offers parade after parade after parade. For more information, visit Aruba's Official Tourism Site.


Scuba diving is the main attraction here. Bonaire consistently ranks in the top ten places in the world to explore natural reefs, which are a few feet from the shore. Bird watching, lazing at the beaches or exploring Washington-Slagbaai National Park round out the activities to choose from.

Bonaire has only recently started registering on Caribbean travelers' radar, so don't expect glitzy shopping centers or high-rise hotels. If you're looking for a low-cost getaway that involves lots of natural, outdoor activities, Bonaire is for you. For more information, visit Bonaire's Official Tourism Site.


Curacao, the largest of the three, is the middle child in terms of development and price-point. It's developed enough for the shopper in you, but rustic enough to satisfy your inner explorer.

Get yourself out of the busy Willemstad and find a bike to explore the island. Just north of town, near Hato International Airport you'll find the Hato Caves. Gouged out of limestone cliffs centuries ago as the island emerged from the sea, the caves are still forming - one drop at a time.

For more information, visit Curacao's Official Tourism Site.

Have you been to the ABC Islands? Which one is your favorite?

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Very cool site ... love the humorous insights in the different articles. Just came back from the Soroban Beach Resort in Bonaire. Great place to rest, relax and be naturel. It is the lesser traveled of these A, B, C's so it's kept it's charm. My partner and I love to travel to the warm places and follow the sun. Many opportuniies. We'd love to see where else you plan to feature. New and lovin it!!

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