INTI Tours

Travel on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao: the A-B-C Islands - INTI Tours

On the way on the islands under the wind...

Who wouldn't like to relax on a beautiful beach for a few days? When traveling on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, turquoise water, colorful coral reefs and the ease of Caribbean life await you. The three island beauties of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao offer plenty of Caribbean flair and can be visited individually or together on an island hopping tour, depending on your personal needs. In addition, all three islands belong to the Netherlands, for the entry the identity card is sufficient. Whether you want to make tropical vacation dreams come true or actively dive or snorkel on the enchanting coral reefs - the Netherlands Antilles will certainly not disappoint you.

Welkom op de ABC eilanden!

Country information Absolutely worth seeing Facts and figures Travel on the ABC Islands Addresses

Our types of travel in the ABC Islands

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Country information about Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire: "the ABC islands".

The so-called ABC islands include the inhabited islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, as well as the uninhabited secondary islands of Klein Curaçao and Klein Bonaire. The island group counts geologically to South America, since it lies on the South American continental shelf and is offshore the Venezuelan coast. The shortest distance between the ABC islands and Venezuela is between San Nicolas on Aruba and Piedras Negras on a peninsula, the distance here is only 24 km. Aruba and Curaçao are autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire belongs directly to the Netherlands as a "special municipality". Geographically, the archipelago belongs to the so-called "Windward Islands", which means that they are not under the influence of the northeast trade wind. As a result, they have a much drier climate than their more northerly neighboring islands. 

The islands became Dutch for the first time in the 17th century through the conquests of the Dutch West India Company. In the further course of history, the islands changed their affiliation to Great Britain, France and the Netherlands with varying frequency and for varying lengths of time. By the British-Dutch Treaty of 1814 the ABC islands came 1816 finally into Dutch possession. The colony Netherlands Antilles received at the end of of 1954 by the "charter of the kingdom of the Netherlands" the status of inwardly autonomous country of the kingdom. In 1986, Aruba seceded from the country and henceforth formed an independent country within the Kingdom. On October 10, 2010, the country of Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. The inwardly autonomous countries of Curaçao and Aruba were created within the Kingdom, as well as the "Special Municipality" of Bonaire, which belongs to the country of the Netherlands. 

A for Aruba: 

Like the other countries of the Netherlands, Aruba has its own constitution, currency and government. The island enjoys complete internal autonomy. Aruba's official language is Dutch, since 2004 also officially Papiamentu - Caribbean Creole. It is the westernmost of the ABC islands, measuring a maximum of 30 by 9 km, and is predominantly flat. The Jamanota is with 188 meters the highest elevation of the island. The east coast is characterized by rocks, otherwise a total of 11 km of snow-white sandy beaches stretch along the coast. Aruba is very dry with a year-round summer climate and average temperatures around 27 degrees. The population of the island is a good one million people, the capital is Oranjestad. From 1825 to about 1915 Aruba became economically interesting in the course of the gold rush. In 1924, the Lago Oil & Transport Company settled on Aruba. During World War II, the refineries secured energy supplies for the U.S., and after 1945, the oil industry lost importance Aruba was long considered a tax haven by many investors because its financial structures are conducive to large-scale tax evasion and money laundering. In the meantime, the government has taken steps to meet the requirements of the OECD. Since July 1, 2005, Aruba has been part of the EU's taxation treaty as an associated territory of the Netherlands. Thus, large-scale tax evasion and money laundering is no longer possible.

B for Bonaire:

Bonaire is the easternmost of the three ABC islands and has the same geological makeup as Aruba and Curaçao. The island measures with its 288 square kilometers scarcely 40 on 11 km and is altogether flat and dry. Especially the south is dominated by desert. Since the 1970s, salt has been extracted from the sea on the southern coast using solar energy. The highest elevation of the island is in the north with 241 meters. In the northern hilly area there are lagoons as well as salt lakes, on the coast flat sandy beaches alternate with high limestone reefs. The entire northern part of the island around the Goto Sea is a nature reserve. Bonaire is still very little developed for tourism, but is considered an insider tip in diving circles and is one of the 10 most beautiful diving areas in the world. There are 80 marked dive sites around the island. In front of Bonaire is the small, uninhabited island Klein Bonaire, which is considered a unique diving paradise and is under nature protection. Bonaire has a population of 18,000 people, the island's capital is Kralendijk. The different cultures on Bonaire are more diverse than anywhere else, numerous festivals and traditions testify to this. Bonaire, along with the Caribbean islands of Sint Eustatius and Saba, is a so-called "special municipality" within the Netherlands; all three islands together are referred to as the BES islands. 

C for Curaçao:

Curaçao is the middle of the ABC islands off the coast of Venezuela. It has been an autonomous country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since October 10, 2010. Curaçao is c. 60 km long and 3 to 11 km wide. The climate on the island is dry with trade winds blowing all year round, so the vegetation is dominated by cacti, agaves and thorn bushes. The south coast of Curaçao has fine sandy beaches, the north side is rocky with several cliffs. After World War I, a huge oil refinery was built by Royal Dutch Shell with a capacity of 370,000 barrels per day. The Curacao Oil Terminal can store 1.2 million barrels of oil. The dry dock in Schottegat is one of the largest in America.

Absolutely worth seeing:  


  • Aruba's capital, Oranjestad, is tranquil and colorful with its confectionery buildings. The first building in the city is Fort Zoutman, which can still be admired today. Worth visiting is the Queen Wilhelmina Park - named after the Dutch queen who had a great influence on the city's development. From the 18th century comes the St. Anne's Cathedral in neoclassical style. Museums include the Archaeological Museum and the Numismatic Museum.    
  • In the hinterland of Oranjestad rises the 168 meter high Hooiberg. A staircase leads directly to the top, where you can enjoy a fantastic view over the island.   
  • The beaches of Aruba are exactly as one imagines Caribbean: Palm-fringed, with powder-fine white sand and bathwater-warm sea. Beautiful beaches are Eagle Beach, Fisherman's Hut, Palm Beach, Druif Beach, Arashi Beach and the family beach Baby Beach, where you can relax in a hammock or swim in the warm sea. There is also no lack of possible activities: windsurfing (especially in the northwest of the island), yoga, SUP yoga and much more...
  • On a stretch of beach at Eagle Beach in the northwest of the island, you'll find the whimsical Divi Divi trees, which also provide wonderful shade. They are the landmark of Aruba.
  • Visit the rugged northeast of Aruba e.g. with a jeep tour to the rocky coast and the cacti and aloe vera plants. You can swim in the Conchi Natural Pool. 
  • There are different offers at the Palm Beach with a sailing ship or a catamaran, for example to go out for breakfast or for sunset or for dinner and enjoy the fantastic coastal scenery to the culinary delicacies.
  • Excursion by water cab to the Renaissance Aruba Private Island with an Iguana Beach for families and the Flamingo Beach with flamingos on the beach.
  • The waters around the Caribbean island are considered the largest aquarium in the world - with ship and aircraft wrecks. The largest shipwreck in the Caribbean, 120 meters long, can also be found here. The "Antilla" from the German Kriegsmarine has been lying at a depth of 18 meters since the Second World War and has been inhabited and visited by sea creatures ever since. In general, the warm coastal waters around Aruba with up to 40 meters visibility are a true paradise for divers and snorkelers. Even underwater walks with special helmets are offered.        
  • On about 18% of the island area extends the Arikok National Park, which is developed for bicycle tours as well as with trails for hikers. An exciting landscape of white dunes, rocky coasts, cacti and magnificent caves is offered here.       
  • The California Lighthouse in the very north of the island is one of Aruba's landmarks. It owes its name to a U.S. ship that sank off the coast here two years before the tower was built. You can enjoy a magnificent view over the western part of the island from the tower.


  • Bonaire is regularly recognized for its fabulous diving. In 1979, with the help of WWF, the waters around the island and Klein Bonaire were declared a marine park. This marine park stretches from the high tide line to a water depth of about 60 meters and encloses an area of 270 hectares. The fascinating underwater world is really incomparably beautiful, so that snorkelers as well as divers get their money's worth. Especially the different species of sea turtles have meanwhile reached large populations again. Great coral reefs for snorkelers are for example the Bari Reef near Kralendijk as well as the more southern located Bonaire National Marina Park. For divers, there are countless possibilities with very imaginative names, highlighting the beautiful coral reefs around Klein Bonaire as well as the wreck of Hilma Hooker at a depth of 18 meters.
  • Miles of beaches with pearly white sand and turquoise blue sea invite you to walk, swim and relax. The beaches also have very melodious names such as 1000 Steps, Atlantis Beach, Chachacha, Eden Beach, No Name Beach, and so on. Some of them are developed with sunbeds and bars, others are lonely and wild, still others captivate by their cliff coast with high waves.
  • The island capital Kralendijk with its pastel-colored colonial buildings looks friendly and reflects the different roots of the European, Indian and African inhabitants. Kralendijk derives from the Dutch "Koralendijk," which means coral reef.      
  • In 1969, the Washington-Slagbaai National Park opened in the north of the island, making it the oldest of its kind in the Dutch Antilles. You can hike and bird watch. Gotomeer is a brackish water lake within the national park and one of the few breeding grounds for Caribbean flamingos.           
  • In the so-called Pekelmeer Flamingo Sanctuary, large groups of Caribbean flamingos can be observed if you are lucky. Pekelmeer from the Dutch means salt lake. In the Pekelmeer the Caribbean Flamingos breed. It looks dreamlike when the pink color stands out against the white of the salt and the blue of the Caribbean Sea. Other birds can also be seen here.


  • Willemstad, as a large settlement, occupies a wide area of the south of the island. The historic center of the capital of Curaçao is very reminiscent of Amsterdam due to the Dutch colonial rule - adorned with the Caribbean flair of colorful patellar colors and joie de vivre. The influence of the Dutch in Willemstad is hard to miss. Since 1997, the historic center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The history of some of the listed houses can be traced back to the 17th century. Most of these luxurious, lovingly restored homes are located in the Scharloo and Pietermaai neighborhoods south of the Schottegat and offer a picturesque testimony to the colorful architecture of the colonial era. The Punda district is where the Dutch began building their new settlement. Here you can also find the oldest synagogue in the entire western hemisphere. Fort Amsterdam was built to protect the entrance to the harbor. On the other side of the Sint Annabaai bay, the Otrabanda district was built in 1707, which also received its protective shield in the form of Fort Rif Fort. Winding alleys and hidden squares invite you to stroll around. Otrabanda used to be an important slave market in the Caribbean and is still the center of the colored middle class in Curacao. Also worth a visit are Fort Nassau, the floating market at the Kai de Ruyterkade, the Curaçao Sea Aquarium, and the Kura Hulanda Museum, with its top-notch display of artistic and craft exhibits from Africa and pre-Columbian South American goldsmiths' work. One of the main attractions of the Kura Hulanda Museum is a faithful reconstruction of a slave ship.     
  • The impressive Christoffel National Park dominates the entire northwest around Mount Christoffel, which is the highest elevation on the island at 375 meters. A fantastic and surprisingly green landscape with a fascinating combination of bush, beaches and caves. The exotic flora and fauna include orchids and bromeliads, for example, as well as iguanas and numerous rare bird species. A total of eight different, well-marked hiking trails invite you to explore the natural area. 
  • Not far away is the small Shete Boka National Park. This nature reserve is known for its impressive caves and limestone grottos, where corals and other marine life live and turtles lay their eggs. The beautiful landscape is ideal for hikers. 
  • Almost all the beaches spread along the quiet and protected southwest coast. The Caribbean sea is crystal clear, calm and turquoise blue, the hinterland greener and with more vegetation than on the neighboring islands. Beautiful beaches include Santa Barbara Beach, family-friendly Avila's Beach, Cas Abao Beach, Playa Lagun, Kenepa and many more.      
  • Three underwater nature parks around Curaçao offer a total of more than 100 dive sites. The coral world is largely intact and very diverse, many sponges and anemones complete the reef picture. The fish life is diverse, special species like seahorses, frogfishes and cuttlefishes can be seen. Occasionally also barracudas and reef sharks. The water they as clear and warm as on Bonaire - a paradise for divers and snorkelers.       
  • Swimming with dolphins in the natural dolphin lagoon is certainly an unforgettable experience.
  • Visit to an aloe vera farm.
  • Catamaran or sailing trips around the island offer wonderful new vistas.

Facts and figures of the ABC islands:

Land area Aruba: 178,91 sqkm
Land area Bonaire: 288 sq. km
Land area Curaçao: 444 sq. km

Population Aruba: just over 1 million
Population Bonaire: a good 18,000
Population Curaçao: a good 160,000

Capital Aruba: Oranjestad
Capital Bonaire: Kralendijk
Capital Curaçao: Willemstad

Highest mountain Aruba: Jamanota with 188 meters 
Highest mountain Bonaire: Brandaris with 241 meters
Highest mountain Curaçao: Mount Christoffel with 375 meters

Form of government Aruba: Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy, autonomous country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands 
Form of government Bonaire: Parliamentary monarchy, special municipality of the Netherlands
Form of government Curaçao: Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy, autonomous country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

History Aruba: Discovered by Spain in 1499, acquired by the Netherlands in 1636, Aruba officially separated from the Netherlands Antilles, which included Bonaire and Curaçao, in 1986 and became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
History of Bonaire: First settlers were the Caiquetíos, a tribe of the Arawak. Slave trade under the Spaniards, possession claims of the Dutch as well as the English, since 1816 finally belonging to the Netherlands.
History Curaçao: Similar to Bonaire and Aruba; in the 2009 referendum, the islanders decided that they wanted to be considered an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Economy Aruba: Oil was Aruba's main product until 2009, when oil refining and storage ceased. In agriculture, the cultivation of aloe vera plants and their further processing play a role. Tourism is becoming increasingly important.
Economy Bonaire: Main source of income is tourism
Economy Curaçao: In the 1920s, the Dutch oil and gas company Shell decided to build an oil refinery in the nearby and quiet Willemstad on Curaçao, which is still one of the largest in the world. Today, tourism is the most important source of income, along with petroleum.

Main export goods Aruba: Products of the aloe vera plant
Main exports Bonaire: products of the aloe vera plant
Main export goods Curaçao: petroleum

Currency Aruba: Aruba florin
Currency Bonaire: US Dollar
Currency Curaçao: Antilles guilder

Language Aruba: Dutch and Papiamento
Language Bonaire: Dutch and Papiamento
Language Curaçao: Dutch and Papiamento and English

Aruba festivals: Carnival with street parties and the climax on the last weekend before Ash Wednesday with a big parade in Oranjestad, Independence Day with sports festivities and games on March 18, Queen Beatrix's birthday with a solemn ceremony and sports festivities on April 30. April, Aruba Soul Beach Festival at Nikki Beach in May, Indian harvest festival Dera Gai with dance and costumes all over the island on June 24, Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival in October in Oranjestad, Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta in November at Palm Beach.
Festivals Bonaire: Maskarada is celebrated on New Year's Day with dances, Carnival with music and parades in various places, Bon Doet is the parallel festival to the Dutch NL Doet - a kind of folk festival with local cuisine and tradition in March, Simadan Harvest Festival Rincon - a kind of harvest festival from the tradition of slaves in April, King's Day in honor of King Willem Alexander on 27. April, Rincon Day - folklore festival at the end of April in Rincon, Bonaire Blond Restaurant Week - culinary festival at the beginning of May, Bonaire Day - every year in a different place on the island in September, Bonaire Regatta in October, Kingdom Day on December 15.
Festivals Curaçao: Caribbean Carnival - starts with the Tumba Festival in January in Willemstad and ends on Ash Wednesday, Plein Art Festival with national as well as international street artists in February/March, Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam in March/April, Curaça Flag Day all over the country in July, International North Sea Jazz Festival in Piscadera Bay in August/September, Amstel Curaça Races - international bicycle race in November

Travelling in the ABC Islands:

Entry requirement ABC Islands: For German citizens, a valid identity card is sufficient. For air travel to destinations outside the Schengen States, a valid passport must be carried.
Vaccinations ABC Islands: In Aruba, Curaçao as well as in the Special Municipality of the Netherlands Bonaire, the following special regulations and instructions apply: If entering from a yellow fever endemic area, proof of yellow fever vaccination is required.           
Climate & Travel Time ABC Islands: The ABC Islands can be visited all year round. During the rainy season there are only short, heavy showers. Temperatures are consistently high all year round at around 28-30°C, and the trade winds always provide a fresh, pleasant breeze. The islands are outside the hurricane belt.
Best time to travel ABC Islands: December to May (hot during the day, cools down at night).
Local time ABC Islands: CET -4 hrs. CEST -6 hrs.


> Responsible for Aruba, Bonaire as well as Curaçao.

Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Klosterstraße 50
10179 Berlin
Tel 030-20 95 60 Fax 030-209 564 41


+49 7334 959741