Americans fleeing winter make Aruba the most touristed island in the southern Caribbean.

 

Miles of glorious white-sand beaches, plenty of all-inclusive resorts, and fantastic activities to try on land and at sea. A small island in the southern Caribbean just 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is 19.6 miles long and six miles across at its widest point. Aruba’s unique topography is a combination of world-renowned sugar-white beach fringing the calm waters of the south and west coasts; a craggy wind-whipped northeast coast hammered by rough seas; and an interior of desert landscape punctuated by interesting rock formations and a few mountains.

A small island in the southern Caribbean just 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is 19.6 miles long and six miles across at its widest point. Aruba’s unique topography is a combination of world-renowned sugar-white beach fringing the calm waters of the south and west coasts; a craggy wind-whipped northeast coast hammered by rough seas; and an interior of desert landscape punctuated by interesting rock formations and a few mountains.

Aruba’s people are just as charismatic as the island itself. A new generation of creators, artists, athletes and environmentalists is shaking the status quo. The diversity and passion of entrepreneurs are just as compelling as the island’s unique natural beauty.

Aruba offers the world’s best resorts, a sparkling downtown shopping mecca, a sunset city with Caribbean flair, alabaster beaches and magnificent Caribbean waters, unexplored desert terrain, and two contrasting coasts – one calm and the other wild and wind-whipped. It has a rich culture revealed through its art, music, traditions, cuisine and architecture, but it also boasts irresistible shopping, endless activities, one-of-a-kind attractions, fabulous restaurants, family fun, and sizzling nightlife. The calendar is filled with a variety of events, festivals, competitions, celebrations, concerts and parties.

Best time to visit

The average annual temperature is about 82 degrees Fahrenheit, 28 degrees Celsius, but constant cooling trade winds make even the hottest days comfortable. Aruba lies on the outer fringe of the hurricane belt, but during the season (June through November), there may be a few wet or windy days. Changes in world weather patterns have resulted in warmer temperatures in the summer months and more precipitation in the fall.

Getting to Aruba

For departures, arrivals, reservations and other information, contact:

American Airlines 1 800 433 7300

United Airlines 1 800 864 8331

Immigration Matters

Visitors to Aruba travel under the Admission, Expulsion and Deportation Ordinance. As such, all who travel to Aruba are required to have a filled-out ED-card upon arrival on the island.

Visit edcardaruba.aw to fill out your ED-card in the comfort of your home. Within minutes you can complete your registration online and be all set for your upcoming travels to Aruba. You can register for your ED-card from the moment you have booked your ticket, up until boarding your flight to Aruba.

Transportation

There is a bus service along the entire hotel strip. Hours of operation are from 5:45 am to 11:30 pm with a limited schedule on Sundays and holidays. The central bus station is located in downtown Oranjestad next to the Royal Plaza Mall across from the cruise terminal. The new state-of-the-art tram is the perfect way to shop. Beginning at the cruise-ship terminal, the tram passes through downtown Oranjestad and all along the sparkling tree-lined Main Street.
Fares for taxis and taxi-vans are preset by the government; there are no meters. You can ask your driver to show you the rate sheet. Rates in both Aruban florins and US dollars are per ride and not per person and apply to all vehicles regardless of size. If you rent a car, please be aware that a new metered parking system is in effect in the downtown area

Phone Calls

The direct dialing code for the U.S. is 001, followed by the area code and number. For other countries, dial 00 followed by the country code. Call 121 for international operator assistance including collect calls. It is economical to purchase a telephone card to make calls outside of your hotel room. You can also save by calling from a Teleshop operated by Setar, the national telecommunications company. There is one conveniently located in the Palm Beach high- rise area. Cell phones are available for rental in the arrivals terminal at the airport. Check with your concierge for more information.

Free Wi-Fi Zones

There are now free Wi-Fi zones in renowned public areas around the island. Snap a picture of the perfect sunset when you’re at Eagle Beach or Mangel Halto and post it right away. Going to Arikok National Park or Casibari Rock Formation? Enjoy the wide range throughout both parks, staying connected while indulging the curiosity. Another Wi-
Fi zone, Plaza Turismo in downtown Oranjestad, is a fun local spot to relax, refresh and enjoy a local snack. Connect and share your best Aruba moments!

Religious Services

Visitors to Aruba are welcome at all houses of worship which include Roman Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Latter Day Saints and Jewish denominations. Information about services is available at your hotel or by calling the church or synagogue directly. Please attend your particular house of worship with appropriate dress and proper decorum.

 

Government

On January 1, 1986, Aruba became a separate entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba had previously been part of the Netherlands Antilles. Briefly stated, this status aparte is a form of commonwealth with Holland and the islands, with which Aruba retains strong economic, cultural and political ties. The Dutch Kingdom retains responsibility for Aruba’s defense and external affairs. Aruba has its own constitution based on Western democratic principles and manages its own aviation, customs, immigration, and communications. The political system is based on a parliamentary democracy as in the Netherlands. A 21-member Parliament responsible for legislative matters is chosen by general multi-party elections every four years. The party or coalition with the most votes places its candidates on the seven-member Council of Ministers; its leader becomes the Prime Minister. Aruba’s head of state is the King of the Netherlands, represented on-island by his appointed Aruban- born Governor. Judicial powers lie with the Common Courts in Aruba and in the Netherlands Antilles and ultimately with the High Court of Justice in Holland.

Room Tax and Tipping

The room tax and service charge vary from hotel to hotel, adding 20–23% on to the room bill, depending upon where you stay. Everywhere in Aruba, a turnover tax similar to an excise tax is added to or included in the price of goods and services.
The same guidelines for tipping that are followed in the US are applicable in Aruba. However, many of Aruba’s restaurants have a service charge of 10–15% that is automatically added on to the bill. Your server does not retain this entire amount. Rather, it is shared among the service staff and kitchen staff as part of their salaries, on the basis of a point system. Although there is no obligation for you to leave anything additional when a service charge is added on to your bill, an additional gratuity in recognition of good service is always appreciated. It is customary to tip bag packers at supermarkets who also take your purchases to your rental vehicle or taxi. They do not receive a salary. A tip of at least US $1.00 or, in Aruba’s currency, AWG 2.00, is appropriate.

Currency

Since 1986, Aruba has had its own currency, the Aruban florin, equivalent to US $0.55. (For quick conversion, just dividethe florin price in half and add 10%.) The rate of exchange for the US dollar is AWG 1.77 for cash and AWG 1.78 for traveler’s check exchanges. All major credit cards and traveler’s checks are widely accepted. Retail stores, hotels and restaurants usually use the rate of 1.80 while supermarkets and gas stations use 1.75. Personal checks are not accepted anywhere and some stores do not accept US $50 and $100 bills because of worldwide counterfeiting.

Banking & ATMs

Western Union provides fast, secure and convenient service to over sixty countries. Banks are open from 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday; some branches remain open later on Friday and are open on Saturday morning.
The branch at the airport is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm for full banking services; Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm for change only. Travelers in Aruba who have ATM cards with Cirrus, MasterCard, Maestro or Visa can withdraw cash at more than fifty locations at malls, gas stations and hotels as well as at RBC Bank, Aruba Bank and Caribbean Mercantile Bank. Check with your hotel for the location closest to you.

Medical Facilities

Should you require medical assistance, contact your hotel front desk. Should there not be a doctor on call, they can direct you to the appropriate physician or the emergency room at the hospital. There is also an Urgent Care facility in the Noord area, a short ride from the hotels. ( 586-0448). Your U.S. medical insurance is not accepted; be prepared to pay at the hospital and doctor’s office with cash or credit card. Prescriptions from the U.S. cannot be filled at local pharmacies (boticas). You will need a local doctor to write a prescription for you.

The 280-bed Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital is located a short distance from the Alhambra Casino and Costa Linda Beach Resort & Spa. Though undergoing major modernization and expansion, it is still operational. Special medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and a wide variety of health supplies can be obtained on-island through Labco ( 582-6651) and Essential Health Services ( 587-0940). Oxygen tanks, hemodialysis, and emergency ambulance service are available on- island. There is also a fully equipped medical center at the airport to provide emergency care.

Map of Aruba

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Conchi Natural Pools

Natural Pool (Conchi), Natural Pool, Santa Cruz, Aruba

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California Lighthouse

L.G. Smith Blvd, Noord, Aruba

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Arikok National Park

Visitors Center, San Fuego 70, Santa Cruz, Aruba

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