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Destination Guides


Aruba


General   Money   Entry Requirements   Health & safety   Weather   Embassies   Etiquette   Public Holidays   Attractions   Map  

Introduction

Aruba ©Roger W

Aruba is the smallest and most Western island of the Dutch Antilles, which, known locally as the ABCs, also include Bonaire and Curaçao. Aruba is a popular cruise destination, and it's little wonder why. The beaches are so perfect they're almost cliched: miles of white, sandy beaches, turquoise waters and the requisite year-round sun. Over a million visitors arrive on this tiny island each year, enticed by its luxury resorts, first-class restaurants, 24-hour casinos and excellent watersport facilities.


Most visitors stay either in the capital, Oranjestad, or just to the north in one of the many resort complexes on Eagle and Palm beaches. The remainder of the island is much less developed and in the arid interior there is nothing more substantial than cacti and divi-divi trees, contorted by the consistently strong trade winds. For those who need more than sunbathing to get their kicks, there are plenty of activities available on the island. There is good diving and snorkelling along the reef on the protected leeward coast and the windsurfing is excellent a little further north at Fisherman's Hut. Deep-sea fishing can also be arranged through many of the hotels.


Communications

The international dialling code for Aruba is +297. City codes are not required. A GSM mobile network covers the island. Cellular phones are available for rental and internet cafes are widely available in tourist areas.


Emergencies

Emergencies: 911


Languages Spoken

The official languages in Aruba are Dutch and the native Papiamento. English and Spanish are taught in school and are also widely spoken. Some French is also understood.


Duty Free

Travellers to Aruba over the age of 18 do not need to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars; 1 litre alcohol and gift articles to the value of AWG 100. If goods per person exceed AWG 500 in value this should be declared on customs forms for clearance at the freight department.


Electricity

Electric current in Aruba is 120 volts, 60Hz. Flat two- and three-pin plugs are standard.


Climate Info

With an average temperature of 82°F (28°C) all year round and never dropping below 68°F (20°C), Aruba is constantly hot. Luckily, visitors are kept relatively cool by the constant trade winds. The peak tourist season is between mid-December and mid-April, and if you can visit outside this period, you can expect room rates to be almost halved. Rainfall is infrequent, but if it occurs at all it's usually between October and January. You can visit Aruba all year round with great weather, but to avoid the busiest times, go in late April or early May.


Passport

All passports must be valid for period of intended stay. It is highly recommended that travellers always have six months validity on their passports after departure. Visitors must hold sufficient funds, onward or return tickets, and all documents for next destination. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities.


Most visas can be extended up to a total of 180 days per calendar year.


Entry Requirements

Canadian nationals require a passport valid for period of intended stay, or a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, as well as proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. A visa is not required for stays of up to 90 days.

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Health

There are no special health requirements for visitors to Aruba, but travellers coming from yellow fever infected countries in Africa or the Americas, aged over six months, need an immunisation certificate. Aruba has experienced occasional outbreaks of dengue fever, a flu-like illness transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes that favour densely populated areas. The use of insect repellent is advised. Visitors are warned that some types of fish, including some tropical reef fish, are poisonous when eaten, even cooked. Medical care is good in Aruba, which has one hospital, the Dr. H.E. Oduber Hospital. There are three classes of service for patients depending on the level of their insurance. Health insurance is recommended. Food and water are considered safe.


Safety

Crime is not a major problem in Aruba and most visits are trouble-free. However, visitors are still advised to take common-sense precautions, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe and taking care when walking home at night.


Emergency Phone Number

Emergencies: 911



* For current safety alerts, please visit Foreign travel advice - GOV.UK or Travel.State.Gov

Money

The official currency is the Aruban Florin (AWG). The Florin is tied to the US Dollar. US currency is accepted everywhere and other major currencies can be exchanged at banks. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted and there are ATMs in Oranjestad.


Exchange Rate

Not available.

Embassies of Aruba

Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington DC, United States (also responsible for Aruba): +1 877 388 2443.


Royal Netherlands Embassy, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Aruba): +44 (0)20 7590 3200.


Royal Netherlands Embassy, Ottawa, Canada (also responsible for Aruba): +1 613 237 5030.


Royal Netherlands Embassy, Canberra, Australia (also responsible for Aruba): +61 (0)2 6220 9400.


Royal Netherlands Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa (also responsible for Aruba): +27 (0)12 425 4500.


Royal Netherlands Embassy, Dublin, Ireland (also responsible for Aruba): +353 (0)1 269 3444.


Royal Netherlands Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand (also responsible for Aruba): +64 (0)4 471 6390.




Foreign Embassies in Aruba

US Consulate General, Curacao (also responsible for Aruba): +599 (0)9 461 3066.


Consulate of Canada, Curaçao (also responsible for Aruba): +599 (0)9 466 1115.


Business

Oranjestad is the main business centre in Aruba and the focus for the island's growing international financial services. English is considered to be the language of business. Meetings are generally held in formal settings such as offices or conference centres; smoking and chewing gum are not acceptable. Handshaking is customary for introductions between both men and women; female business associates should be treated with as much respect as men and often hold high positions in companies. Punctuality for meetings is required. Business hours are 9am to 5pm.


Tipping

A 10 or 15% tip is usually included on restaurant, bar and room service bills in Aruba, otherwise a tip should be added, usually 10-20% depending on the service. There is an 11% room tax on hotel bills. Taxis should be tipped around 15% and porters expect a tip of US$1 per bag.


Public Holidays in Aruba

20172018
Betico Croes Day25 Jan25 Jan
New Years Day1 Jan1 Jan
National Anthem and Flag Day18 Mar18 Mar
Kings Day27 Apr27 Apr
Good Friday14 Apr30 Mar
Easter Monday17 Apr2 Apr
Labour Day1 May1 May
Ascension Day25 May10 May
Christmas Day25 Dec25 Dec
Boxing Day26 Dec26 Dec

Overview

Windsurfing and kite surfing are undeniably two of the biggest drawcards for visitors to Aruba, with the island providing some of the best conditions possible in the world for these two sports. Whether a beginner or an expert, there are spots suitable for everyone as well as plenty of schools and shops that provide lessons and equipment hire. Further water-based activities include snorkelling and diving along the shallow, world-class coral reefs, tubing, banana-boating, and much more.


Holidaymakers with a yen for horseback riding can indulge themselves in Aruba's topography, which provides plenty of adventurous and enjoyable excursions, from sand dunes to arid desert plains. Riding experience is not required to join a guided outing from one of the two main horseriding operators, Rancho Notorious and Rancho Del Campo. Most excursions take in the island's sights and landmarks, like the Arikok Hills, the lighthouse and natural bridge.


A visit to the waterfront in Oranjestad is all it takes for deep-sea fishing enthusiasts to hire themselves a private boat with captain and crew, for a day or a few hours, to set out to sea in search of game. The island's temperate offshore waters boast a wide variety of Atlantic game fish, including white and blue marlin, Barracuda, Shark, Blackfin, Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna. In high season charters may be difficult to come by, so it may be wise to book ahead through your hotel.


And of course, for the less actively-inclined, there are miles and miles of pristine white beaches, fringed with palm trees and ringed with warm, bright blue water. An idyllic spot to relax and unwind.


Map of Aruba



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