About Aruba

Welcome to Aruba! A little slice of paradise where you can take in the colorful culture, see historic sites, enjoy amazing food, and soak in the Caribbean sun. Throughout your vacation, Aruba will surprise you with its melting pot of fun, excitement, authenticity, and history. Get ready to enjoy everything our Caribbean gem has to offer!

Awash with Dutch colonial architecture in pastel colors, the picturesque capital city of Oranjestad is situated on the southern coast near the western end of the island. It is a wonderful place to explore on foot. The highrise and lowrise hotels are located on the western side of the island. Beautiful beaches run the length of this coast, while just inland, restaurants and malls beckon. San Nicolas to the east is nicknamed the Sunrise City. Great beaches and one-of-a-kind bars and eateries make it a must-see. Aruba’s desert-like interior, called the cunucu is an unexpected surprise.

From connectivity and transportation to medical and banking, Aruba offers an abundance of modern services.

Explore this section to discover a wealth of practical information to better plan your visit to Aruba.

 

Before you travel to Aruba

The ED Card
Filling out the online Embarkation and Disembarkation (ED) card is mandatory for everyone travelling to Aruba, including minors and infants, and residents, in order to clear immigration on Aruba. You can complete the form up to 7 days before your arrival. Since March 19th, 2022, travelers to Aruba are no longer required to present a COVID-19 negative test result or proof of vaccination. Since July 8th 2022 the Aruba Visitors Insurance is no longer required, but still recommended.

Time
Atlantic Standard Time -0400 UTC zone, one hour ahead of New York except during Daylight Savings when the time is the same.

Electricity
The Type A plug, which is similar to the US is recommended for traveling to Aruba. The most common electricity outlet is 110-130 volts AC (50 cycles), but you can also find some 220V outlets. Many hotels have extra adaptors available at the front desk. Additionally, adaptors are easily obtainable at several stores on the island.

Drinking Water
Aruba’s drinking water is among the best in the world. The tap water comes from distilled saltwater, and it is very safe to drink And it tastes great, so please bring your reusable waterbottle with you!

Shopping Hours
The majority of the shops are open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm. If you want to shop between 12 and 2 in the afternoon, check the store’s schedule first because they may be closed for employee breaks at this time. The majority of businesses close on Sundays and major holidays, however some stay open if there are cruise ships in port. The majority of shopping malls are open from 10 am to 6 pm.

Safety
Aruba is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean. Average crime rates are low compared to other islands, and the people are very friendly! While your visit to the island is most likely going to be trouble-free, remember to be cautious with your valuables and not leave important belongings in your car while parked in remote places. Aruba is also located just outside of the hurricane belt, meaning that the island is usually not in the direct path of hurricanes.

Climate

Aruba is located just outside the hurricane belt, so you can visit the island at any time of year and expect a nice experience. The area has a semi-desert climate and tropical climate with continuous sunshine and minimal rainfall. The rain is slightly more frequent during Aruba’s rainy season, which is usually from October to December. When it rains it usually rains at night and very early in the morning. Only 22 inches of rain fall on average every year in total.

Aruba gets the most visitors between October and March, when temperatures average approximately 86°F (30°C) and the heat is a little less intense. Averaging 91°F (33°C), the weather is slightly warmer from June through September. Although the temperature is almost always around 86°F (30°C), the wind from the northeast moves across the island and lessens the heat. The lowest temperature ever recorded on Aruba is   66.2 °F (19 °C). The average water temperature is 81°F (27.2°C), while the average yearly temperature is around 82°F (27.8°C).

When visiting Aruba in the rainy season, you should always be careful if you want to rent a car since the streets quickly fill with water. Driving carefully will help you avoid slipping and hitting potholes that are hidden by the water.

Culture

Population
Aruba has a population of around 107.000 people. Everyone born on the island has Dutch nationality and, as a result, a Dutch passport.  The island is home to over 90 different ethnicities, and the majority of Aruba’s population is multi cultural.

Languages
Papiamento and Dutch are the two most common languages on the island of Aruba, however English and Spanish are also spoken on the island.  Papiamento is a Portuguese-based language with strong Spanish influences, and it is also spoken on Curacao and Bonaire. It’s very simple for visitors to interact and communicate with the locals in Aruba since the people there are accustomed to speaking a variety of languages and are incredibly friendly.

As a warm-up before you immerse yourself in Aruba’s local culture, we invite you to participate in this basic Papiamento course! Bo ta cla pe? Are you ready for it?

Learning Papiamento

Welcome to ArubaBon bini na Aruba
Good morningBon dia
Good afternoonBon tardi
Good evening/ Good nightBon nochi
Happy weekBon siman
How are youCon ta bay?
Really good!Hopi bon!
I’m fine, how are you?Mi ta bon, conta cu bo?
I have a questionMi tin un pregunta
PleasePor fabor
Thank you very muchMasha danki
GoodbyeAyo
This is the most popular word on the island. You are dushi,
the sun is dushi, the food is dushi!
Dushi

 

Religions
Aruba has a wide selection places of worship. The most practiced religion is Roman Catholic (75.3%), followed by Protestant (4.9%), (includes Methodist 0.9%, Adventist 0.9%, Anglican 0.4%, other Protestant 2.7%), Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.7%, other 12%, none 5.5%, unspecified 0.5%. Ask at the front desk of your hotel for details on service locations and hours.

Geography & Location

Location
Aruba is located in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea and is a part of the ABC islands. Aruba is about 15 miles (24 km) away from Venezuela and is a close neighbor of Curacao and Bonaire. On a clear day, you can even see the mountains of Venezuela from Savaneta and San Nicolas.

Geography
Aruba is 70 square miles (181 square km), 19.6 miles long (50 square km), six miles (15 square km) across at its widest point. Aruba is almost entirely flat, excluding the north coast where Arikok National Park is very hilly. Aruba’s highest elevation is Mount Jamanota at 617 feet (188 meters).

History
Aruba has a rich history that dates back to pre-Columbian times, when it was inhabited by indigenous people known as the Caquetio Indians of the Arawak tribe from Venezuela. This nomadic tribe relied mostly on the sea for survival as they fished, hunted, and gathered food. In Arikok National Park’s Fontein Cave and the Ayo Rock Formation, you can find Caquetio rock drawings and carvings that have withstood the passage of time.

In 1499, the island was discovered by the Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda, who named it “Orella,” meaning “little gold ring.” This marked the beginning of the Spanish colonization of the island. The island became a major hub for the transatlantic slave trade, and many Caquetio Indians were sold into slavery in 1513 and sent to work in mines and on plantations. For 137 years, Spain had control over Aruba.

In order to protect their salt supply from South America and to establish a Caribbean naval base, the Dutch occupied the island following the arrival of the Dutch West India Company in 1636. They established a settlement on the island and began to exploit its natural resources, including aloe vera, salt, and fish. The Caquetio people were recruited by the Dutch to establish farms and raise cattle for meat that would be sold and transported to other islands. Aruba was invaded and taken over by the British during the Napoleonic Wars, but the Netherlands retook it in 1816. In 1845, Aruba formally became a part of the Netherlands Antilles.

In 1986, Aruba broke apart from the Netherlands Antilles, a triumph that political activist and hometown hero Betico Croes battled valiantly for. Aruba was granted “Status Aparte,” or “separate status”, in the Kingdom of the Netherlands as an independent nation. Today, Aruba remains a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and is represented internationally by the Dutch government. This means that Aruba has a large degree of autonomy in terms of its internal affairs and decision-making processes. Under its status aparte, Aruba has its own parliament, government, and legal system, and it is responsible for managing its own affairs in areas such as education, healthcare, and economic development.

Conservation
Please respect the environment by not littering, not touching marine life or wildlife, and leaving rocks and shells in their original spaces. Also ensure souvenirs are not made from protected species like sea turtles, black coral, and the lignum vitae tree. And please reuse and refill drinking containers to help reduce the plastic trash problem.

Money & Currency

The Aruban Guilder/Florin (AWG/AFL) and/or the US dollar are the recognized currencies in Aruba. It is advisable to travel with American dollars or to just take out florins from the bank. You’ll need your passport to exchange money, so be sure you have it on hand. The various stores and restaurants will convert at the rate of 1.75 or 1.80 AWG for 1 USD, while the conversion rate at the bank ranges from 1.78 to 1.80 AWG for 1 USD.

On weekdays, banks typically remain open from 8 am until 4 pm. The main credit cards and debit cards from all over the world are accepted at the numerous ATMs located in Oranjestad, Palm Beach, and other areas of the island. American Express is not widely accepted, despite the fact that most locations take most well known credit cards. Don’t forget to inform your bank of your travel intentions in order to prevent them from blocking your cards while you are away.

We recommend using florins on the island since you will be less affected by the exchange rate. When paying with US Dollars make sure to have smaller bills, as some places will not accept 50 or 100 dollar bills.  Additionally, USD coins are not accepted in most places, and since most places don’t keep change in USD, you could get your change back in Aruban Florins.

Tipping
The US tipping custom is applicable on Aruba. Although many restaurants add a service charge of 15% to the bill, this is often shared among the service and kitchen staff as part of their salary. In this event, an additional gratuity in recognition of good service is appreciated, though not obligatory.This applies to taxi drivers as well.

Medical & Health

Vaccination requirements
Although there are currently no vaccine requirements to enter Aruba, you should always make sure you have your usual vaccinations covered before visiting, including those for Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), Polio, and Shingles. Depending on your age and the country from where you are traveling, you should also get vaccines against hepatitis A and B, measles, rabies, typhoid, and yellow fever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can provide you with further details.

Avoid bug bites
As Aruba is located in a region where Dengue and Zika cases can occur, make sure to bring bug repellent with you or buy some once you arrive to prevent any bug bites. When it rains, mosquitoes appear more often.

Drugstores/Pharmacy
In case of illness, you can visit one of Aruba’s pharmacies better known as “Botica di Servicio.” There are various pharmacies located across the island and they operate based on a rotational schedule so that one of them is open throughout the night.

Open from Monday through Saturday
Closed on Sundays
Regular opening hours: 8 am – 8 pm
www.boticadiservicio.com

Benu Pharmacy also has 6 locations that you can visit.

Noord, Bubali 72 +297 583 4908
Oranjestad, Caya Ernesto O Netto Petronia 74 +297 583 8560
Oranjestad, Caya G. F. Betico Croes 103 +297 582 1780
Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Market, 4 +297 585 1965
San Nicolas, Bernhardstraat 55 +297 584 5794
San Nicolas, Bernard van de Veen Zeppenfeldstraat 49 +297 584 5119

Open from Monday through Saturday
Closed on Sundays
Opening hours: 7:30 am – 7:30 pm
www.benucaribbean.com
info@benucaribbean.com

Urgent Care Aruba
Contact Urgent Care Aruba for immediate medical assistance for non-life threatening illnesses and injuries.
Noord 63
+297 586 0448
www.urgentcare.aw
info@urgentcare.aw

Emergency Numbers
Ambulance ………………………………………………………… 911
Coast Guard ………………………………………………………. 913
Fire Department…………………………………………………. 911
Police …………………………………………………………………. 911 or 100
Hospital ………………………………………………………….….. +297 527 4000
Dentist ……………………………..…………+297 582 9900

Transportation

UPON ARRIVAL: It is very easy to get a taxi from the airport, a trip to the hotel area is around 20 USD. There are no meters; fares are fixed and set by the government. Many hotels also offer shuttle services from the airport to your accommodation. Although it is possible to take a bus from the airport to the hotel area or Oranjestad.

DURING YOUR STAY: If you’re staying in the hotel area and not planning to venture to the other side of the island it’s very easy to get around on foot, get on a bus, or hire a taxi. You can also easily take the bus from the hotel area to Oranjestad, as the main bus station is located there. Inquire at your hotel for schedules or visit Arubus for more information and routes. But it’s recommended to rent a car if you are planning to explore the island during your vacation. Don’t want to drive but still want to explore? Join a guided bus, jeep or UTV tour and explore the island that way. A new hop-on, hop-off open-air trolley is now also operating in a loop along Caya G.F. Betico Croes (Mainstreet) in downtown Oranjestad. The terminal is near the cruise-ship terminal.

Here are some tips if you decide to drive when visiting Aruba:

  • When driving in Aruba, you must have a valid driver’s license from your country of residence or an international driving permit if your driver’s license is printed in a non-Roman script.
  • On Aruba we drive on the right side of the road with left-hand drive cars. But don’t be surprised if you see a right-hand drive, since these have become very popular.
  • European rules of the road and signs are used.
  • The speed limit in urban areas is 30 km/h, out of town 60 km/h and on the faster roads it is 80 km/h unless indicated otherwise.
  • Review the most important traffic signs, including: roundabout approaching, turn right and turn left arrows, no U-turn, and no parking, before you get behind the wheel.
  • Making a right turn at a red signal is not allowed in Aruba. When approaching an intersection where there is no priority sign, the driver on the right always has right of way.
  • Dead-end road traffic must yield to all oncoming vehicles at T-junctions.
  • Depending on where you are on the island you may have to pay for parking, this is common in Oranjestad and along the hotel strip.  To avoid receiving a tire boot or having your car towed, be careful to pay attention to the signs.
  • If there is an accident, DO NOT MOVE YOUR VEHICLE! Call 911 to alert the police or call 165 in non-emergent accidents and small fender-benders.

Covid-19

There have been no Covid measures put in place for incoming travelers regarding Covid-19 since March 19th, 2022. This means you are no longer required to test for Covid-19 when entering Aruba, and most places no longer require masks.

If you start showing symptoms during your stay on Aruba, you should immediately contact the Department of Public Health at the following number: +297 280 0505. They will provide medical advice related to your symptoms. Do not go to the emergency room unless it is really an emergency.

If you contract Covid-19 during your vacation, and you have purchased the Aruba Visitors Insurance, this will cover the cost of hospital stays, doctors consults, isolation expenses etc. If you have not purchased the Aruba Visitors Insurance, be sure this is adequately covered by your regular/travel insurance.

Here are the several places you can go if you are traveling from Aruba to a location that requires a negative Covid-19 test:

Laboratorio Familiar (various locations)
www.labfamiliar.com
info@covidtestcenteraruba.com
+297 583-1415

Urgent Care Aruba
www.urgentcare.aw
info@urgentcare.aw
+297 586 0448

Frequently Asked Questions

Aruba is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean. Average crime rates are low compared to other islands, and the people are very friendly! Aruba is also located just outside of the hurricane belt, meaning that the island is usually not in the direct path of hurricanes.

Aruba is the island with the least rainfall in the Caribbean. All year long, the temperature remains around 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit). Except for a few occasional showers, the sun is usually always shining in Aruba. This is also one of the many reasons why the island has such a high percentage of repeat visitors.

While Aruba is best known for our beautiful beaches, there is so much more to do than just lounging in the sun or going for a swim. Visit the historical Oranjestad and explore museums and distinctly Caribbean colored buildings. Or take a trip down to San Nicolas, also known as “Sunrise City”, this cute little town is covered in colorful and artistic murals. Aruba also has a national park named Arikok, and two rock formation parks Ayo and Casi Bari. Fancy a climb? Take on the challenge and climb the steps up to Aruba’s Hooiberg mountain. For the adventure seekers the north side of the island has a lot to explore as well, from old abandoned ruins to natural pools. Take a catamaran out to sea and visit one of the amazing shipwrecks along the coast, or go parasailing to see the coastline from a different perspective. Or take it to the next level and go skydiving. When visiting Aruba you won’t go hungry, as the restaurant and nightlife scene is bustling with many different types of cuisine and interesting dining concepts. Whether you want to relax or explore, Aruba has something for you.

As the weather is consistently warm, Aruba is a great travel destination year round. The high season with the most visitors starts in mid-December and lasts until mid-April, this means that prices can rise in this period. So if you’re looking for a less crowded and more affordable vacation, think about planning your trip around the summer months.

The most popular place to stay in Aruba is Palm Beach. The majority of Aruba’s high-rise hotels are located here. Along the strip you will also find many casino’s, restaurants, clubs and watersports companies. This is a great area for first timers. Most of the low-rise hotels are located along Eagle Beach, stay here if you’re looking for a more quiet accommodation. Don’t worry though, you will still be close to the hustle and bustle of Palm Beach when staying at Eagle Beach. Staying in Oranjestad is also highly recommended, although it is further away from the beach, the colorful town is sure to inspire you.