Even though the island is small, its terrain varies considerably by region. The southern and western coasts offer pristine white beaches, while the northern coast and interior are hilly and rocky. An oil refinery lies on the more remote eastern coast.
Aruba is known for its wind-sculpted Divi Divi (or watapana) trees, which always point toward the southwest due to the northeasterly trade winds. Throughout the island are Caribbean pines, hibiscus plants, bougainvilleas and wild orchids.
Approximately half of the known species of lizards in the world inhabit Aruba. Other animals include cottontail rabbits, wild donkeys, sheep, goats and pelicans.
Most Arubians, though generally laid back, do not approve of travelers wearing beach clothes anywhere but the beach. Shorts and T-shirts are considered acceptable but swimwear is not.
Seafood dishes are common and often include red snapper, mahi mahi, grouper and shark. Spicy stews, cornmeal pancakes and fish chowder are also served throughout the island.