The climate is tropical marine, with little seasonal temperature variation. Because of its location south in the Caribbean there is very strong sun, but a constant light breeze keeps the temperature pleasant. (These persistent winds out of the east shape the island's distinctive, lop-sided divi-divi trees.) The divi-divi trees have become a signature tree to Aruba's landscape. The weather is almost always dry, with most rain showers coming at night and lasting only a little while. Temperatures in Aruba do not change dramatically. Between the months of January and March the temperatures stay around 76-85 degrees; this being their high season. However starting in April and through December this is considered off season and temperatures do not change much beyond 79 and 88 degrees. It lies outside the zone usually affected by hurricanes.
The island is flat with a few hills, arid with mostly desert vegetation and negligible natural resources other than white sandy beaches. Highest point: Mount Jamanota (188 m).
Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has traditionally been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. In 1986, Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles ([wiki=f8fb630761879fbed2ac608fd96d36bf]Bonaire[/wiki] and [wiki=0d2268d462cd08b20b7508c3fc0fde5e]Curacao[/wiki], which together with Aruba form the [wiki=9fd9e0d8143cc569a1a9694b05341518]ABC-Islands[/wiki]) and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.
In 1986, the oil refinery closed, which severely impacted Aruba's economy and accelerated an already-evident shift towards tourism which is now almost complete. The oil refinery reopened in 1991, closed again in 2009, reopened again in 2011, and closed again in 2012.
Today, tourism is the mainstay of the small, open Aruban economy. The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction boomed, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level. The 1980s tourism boom led to a bad hangover, in that several projects ran out of money during construction and sat as half-completed eyesores until they were eventually picked up by other investors and completed during the 1990s and 2000s. To prevent a recurrence of that situation, the government imposed a building moratorium in 2007.
Papiamento and the national flag, anthem, and coat of arms are the most important national symbols. They stress the inhabitants' love for the island, the close connection to the Caribbean Sea, and the multi-cultural composition of the population. The national anthem is played and sung on many occasions. The Dutch flag functions as a symbol of the unity of Aruba, the Netherlands, and the Netherlands Antilles.
You should not wear beach attire anywhere but on the beaches or by the pool.
* Make sure to properly greet someone.
* Ask before photographing someone.
* Men should wear dress shorts or slacks to dinner, no jeans allowed in most restaurants.
Aruba uses 120V at 60Hz, which is identical to the US and Canadian standard. Outlets are NEMA 5 grounded outlets identical to standard wall outlets in the US and Canada. Occasionally non-grounded outlets may be found, which do not accept the third, round pin present on grounded plugs and require an adapter. Older North American outlets may not be polarised (with one slot wider than the other). Otherwise, adapters are available which accept a polarised plug and adapt it for use with a non-polarised outlet.
Aruba's currency is the florin denoted by the letters 'Awg.' but also widely known as 'Afl.' The official rate at which banks accept U.S. dollar banknotes is Awg. 1,77 and checks at Awg. 1,78. The rate of exchange granted by shops and hotels ranges from Awg. 1,75 to Awg. 1,80 per U.S. dollar. U.S. Dollars are widely accepted in Aruba, and banks may exchange other foreign currency.
Traveler's checks are widely accepted and there is no charge for using them in hotels, restaurants and stores. Major credit cards are accepted at most establishments while personal checks are normally not accepted.
Cash may be obtained with MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards at credit card offices, banks, in some casinos and via Western Union. ATM cards and credit cards are accepted by ATMs of Aruba Bank, Banco di Caribe, RBTT Bank, and Caribbean Mercantile Bank. The card must have either a Cirrus or Visa Plus logo. ATM instructions are normally given in Dutch, English, Spanish and Papiamento. Cash is normally dispensed in local currency.
Although Sint Estatius is part of the [wiki=a67d4cbdd1b59e0ffccc6bafc83eb033]Kingdom of Netherlands[/wiki] makeup, those living ouside Aruba have limited freedom to visit Aruba. Dutch nationals and citizens living outside Aruba can visit visa-free for 6 months.
Those living in the countries and territories listed below can visit Aruba visa-free for 30 to 60 days.
[wiki=9a18968af130ca0040b68b9e2eec4838]European Union[/wiki]/European Free Trade Association countries, [wiki=c420ddff824a5c0eec70dd23d62496bc]Albania[/wiki], [wiki=f7e68bf0791888ebcd5bfc62e022aa83]Antigua and Barbuda[/wiki], [wiki=3536be57ce0713954e454ae6c53ec023]Argentina[/wiki], [wiki=4442e4af0916f53a07fb8ca9a49b98ed]Australia[/wiki], [wiki=6dbefdc38954fc54ea0c697d0c6ec0a7]Bahamas[/wiki], [wiki=20bca6785240fa722edb5c85d055a93d]Belize[/wiki], [wiki=96a6dd711874d4323dc2d3f932bd2ed3]Bosnia and Herzegovina[/wiki], [wiki=42537f0fb56e31e20ab9c2305752087d]Brazil[/wiki]. [wiki=d3f5841f04ba23bb90e1b9f4256cea70]Brunei[/wiki], [wiki=445d337b5cd5de476f99333df6b0c2a7]Canada[/wiki], [wiki=2e6507f70a9cc26fb50f5fd82a83c7ef]Chile[/wiki], [wiki=5882b568d8a010ef48a6896f53b6eddb]Costa Rica[/wiki], [wiki=531c552093668f148d3c826fca6e3cc8]Dominica[/wiki], [wiki=4d5d85af33ec2aaedb674d2d6a7d53b6]Ecuador[/wiki], [wiki=e96d24bdfc024e04f49f1f0cc011ca20]El Salvador[/wiki], [wiki=45b1cb9a558807139085c645d2f47f07]Grenada[/wiki], [wiki=948b13d5a3e11e21baadc349e199020e]Guatemala[/wiki], [wiki=cf4c7e1169281886577940e361854a84]Guyana[/wiki], [wiki=f4270ce39e7e926052e097a0e4e63bde]Honduras[/wiki], [wiki=8b476ff778119b8d49588f3daadf69a1]Hong Kong[/wiki], [wiki=5a548c2f5875f10bf5614b7c258876cf]Israel[/wiki], [wiki=53a577bb3bc587b0c28ab808390f1c9b]Japan[/wiki], [wiki=9d6c9d893aa285a736aeabb2b66b316f]Macau[/wiki], [wiki=5547baeda33255ad8f5307fc92cb589e]Macedonia[/wiki], [wiki=3f0e49c46cbde0c7adf5ea04a97ab261]Malaysia[/wiki], [wiki=07f3ca235faaa1c9ad16facef5526d8b]Mauritius[/wiki], [wiki=8dbb07a18d46f63d8b3c8994d5ccc351]Mexico[/wiki], [wiki=0c12f5495afe76d9242ed25668979de9]Moldova[/wiki], [wiki=4e92f9d2cdf0b8eb493ae3a19709d121]Montenegro[/wiki], [wiki=c51ed580ea5e20c910d951f692512b4d]New Zealand[/wiki], [wiki=3bfe17f6c2d1b8941df303de7aec2eb0]Nicaragua[/wiki], [wiki=6bec347f256837d3539ad619bd489de7]Panama[/wiki], [wiki=73101738da81e5cbb87b64cd400a4405]Paraguay[/wiki], [wiki=5976169ac1852fff6f0b9095100407fc]Saint Kitts and Nevis[/wiki], [wiki=d1ef233007d706d71aa6d46642d5f804]Saint Lucia[/wiki], [wiki=c6f5008606ccd26c840a52657d671c4b]Saint Vincent and the Grenadines[/wiki], [wiki=a7db85742c67a70f8764c4d9c53bdb36]San Marino[/wiki], [wiki=2ff6e535bd2f100979a171ad430e642b]Serbia[/wiki], [wiki=d2e4449b45608e33e472d939a73868f7]Seychelles[/wiki], [wiki=458e4cbc78201c1aec5fc53a31c59378]Singapore[/wiki], [wiki=64446ac025106d201779cb4bf5ab6b2e]Suriname[/wiki], [wiki=4d4803b0bb7dab1b0627e4f8277edc5b]South Korea[/wiki], [wiki=551fe18ef47d4e6e9d943b9a68ada21d]Taiwan[/wiki], [wiki=63965a52775c39cd64c3ef0248d585b1]Trinidad and Tobago[/wiki], [wiki=8f6f28f0d2061af28bcf49d1725b2cbd]United Arab Emirates[/wiki], [wiki=f253efe302d32ab264a76e0ce65be769]United States[/wiki], [wiki=fa3e5c8f0bc9db2e3448193a93cc2f59]Vatican City[/wiki], and [wiki=e95294b730f61c8175550ec244bfcb50]Venezuela[/wiki]. Those living in British Overseas Territories must follow the same visa exempt policy as the other countries mentioned.
Citizens of [wiki=445d337b5cd5de476f99333df6b0c2a7]Canada[/wiki], [wiki=a67d4cbdd1b59e0ffccc6bafc83eb033]European Netherlands[/wiki], [wiki=06e415f918c577f07328a52e24f75d43]Ireland[/wiki], [wiki=26a0859a2c10745426a8c452020830db]Saint Martin[/wiki], a Schengen country, [wiki=f253efe302d32ab264a76e0ce65be769]United States[/wiki], [wiki=89f9c9f489be2a83cf57e53b9197d288]United Kingdom[/wiki] holding a valid residence permit of the country/territory you live in are exempted from the visa requirement.
Captain, crew and passengers aboard a ship or aircraft are exempt from the visa requirement for no longer than 48 hours.
Those holding a official United Nations Laissez-Passer are exempt from the visa requirement.
Travellers are not allowed to work during their stay in Aruba. To enter Aruba, one should be able to present the following at time of entry:
* a passport that is valid upon entry and for the duration of stay in Aruba. If the tourist/traveller holds a passport from a visa required country (list A), he must have a valid visa sticker in his passport.
* a completely filled-in and signed Embarkation and Disembarkation card (ED Card);
* a valid return- or onward ticket;
* the necessary documents for returning to the country of origin or to a country that he or she has the right to enter, for example a valid residence permit (temporary or permanent), a re-entry permit or a (entry) visa;
* if so requested, the tourist/traveller has to be able to prove to the satisfaction of the migration officer that he has a valid reservation for an accommodation in Aruba (e.g. hotel or apartment) or that he owns property in Aruba (a residence, condominium, apartment, time-share apartment or a pleasure yacht moored in Aruba with a length of at least 14 m measured at the water line);
* if so requested, the tourist/traveller has to be able to prove to the satisfaction of the migration officer that they are disposed of adequate financial means to provide for hotel expenses (if applicable) and living expenses during their planned stay or that they have a declaration of guarantee from a legal resident of Aruba.
The final authorisation for admission to Aruba remains with migration officer at the border-crossing/port of entry. The migration authorities at the border-crossing/port of entry have the authority to grant or refuse admission. Admission can be refused if not all admission requirements are fulfilled by the time of entering Aruba of if the tourist/traveller has been blacklisted.
Aruba has an international airport that has flights arriving daily from numerous major cities around the world. Some of the airlines that fly to and from Aruba often are American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Aruba Airlines, and more. All air traffic arrives and departs from the Reina Beatrix International Airport on the western side of the island.
American Airlines now flies only from Miami. Other major carriers from the US include Southwest Airlines (Atlanta, Baltimore, Orlando), United (Chicago, Washington/Dulles, Newark), US Airways (Boston, Philadelphia, Charlotte), Delta (Atlanta, New York JFK), and JetBlue Airways (New York JFK, Boston).
Copa Airlines Colombia flies to Aruba from Copa Airlines's Panama City hub, where there are connections to the entire Western Hemisphere and Europe.
First Choice Airways flies charter flights from the London and Manchester in the UK, and KLM flights to Amsterdam connect to most of the rest of Europe. Avianca and Aires connect Aruba to Colombia.
Daily connections to Venezuela include Caracas, Maracaibo, Las Piedras and Valencia, by Aeropostal, Aserca, Santa Barbara Airlines and Avior.
InselAir [url=http://www.fly-inselair.com]]has several daily flights to Curacao, and from there to 11 destinations in South America (including [[Medellín[/url]] - Colombia and [wiki=1a4253732ca85d0cfeb6ab6e80a4bdf2]Valencia (Venezuela)[/wiki]), the Caribbean and [wiki=0f5de708d2f6808ffb0c3893b2b8964a]Miami[/wiki].
There is an office of the American Department of Homeland Security at the airport for those traveling to the United States.
You can also travel to Aruba by cruise ship. Aruba’s cruise port is in the capitol, Oranjestad. Some of the cruise companies that sail to Port of Aruba are Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International.
Cabs are available at the airport and at hotels.
Rates from the airport in USD (which is widely accepted):
$ 18 - Downtown, Cruise ship terminal
$ 22 - Low Rise Hotels (Dutch Village to La Quinta) and Eagle area (Oceania to Amsterdam Manor)
$ 25 - High Rise Hotels (Phoenix to Marriott Hotel) and Palm Beach hotels.
Add USD $3 on Sundays, holidays and nights (11 PM to 7 AM).
One item of luggage per person is allowed; add USD $2 for every additional piece.
The bus system is called "Arubus" [http://arubus.com/]. This bus is great to see the island and to travel from Oranjestad to the tourist hotels all for $2.30 round-trip. You can take the bus to the far end of the island, have lunch at St Nicholas, see how the 90,000 islanders live. The bus stops at 9 PM.
You can find city/island buses at a main station right downtown. During other than "rush hours", friendly drivers and some riders will help you choose routes and provide commentary on stops and sights. Fares are quite modest. An economical way to get to the resort beaches.
There is a new - modern and green - trolley in downtown Oranjestad. These double-deckers run from the harbor (cruise ship port) to east of downtown along shops, small hotels and restaurants. The tram's batteries are augmented by hydrogen fuel cells, which in turn are powered by Aruba's wind turbines. The ride is quiet and free.
You can also rent a car or jeep at the Queen Beatrix airport or through the hotel concierge. Because Aruba is small, consider the possibility of not renting a car until you know what you want to do. Many activities are central to the resort area of the island and are within walking distance. Renting [url=https://www.sunsetaruba.com]cars[/url]/jeeps is easy, and many rental companies provide pickup service from area hotels. This is one of the easier holiday destinations to negotiate your own car around so keep the pace easy and book ahead online.
If you do decide to rent a car, be aware that the local rental car companies often rent older, higher mileage cars. It's especially important to recognise that even the big brand rental car agencies will rent you a vehicle in poor condition that may or may not function properly. It may also have extensive preexisting damage in terms of both dents and flaking or scratched paint. You should make the time for a thorough walkaround at time of rental (and photograph the vehicle yourself during the process) to ensure that such preexisting damage is fully documented so that you are not charged for it upon return.
Aruba rental car offices at the international airport do not operate on the model of "here's the keys, go find it yourself" seen in the U.S. While you complete all the typical rental paperwork in one of the offices across the main airport access road from the airport terminal, one of the staff members will be retrieving your vehicle from a remote lot and parking it in the alley that runs behind the offices parallel to the airport access road. That staff member will then lead you out to the vehicle and do a walkaround with you.
To return the vehicle, you will follow the signs back to that alley and park in whatever spot is closest to the appropriate rental car office. A staff member on duty monitoring the alley will come over and do the walkaround to determine fuel level, mileage, new damage, etc. Don't worry if you can't get a close spot, they can spot your vehicle as theirs since Aruba is one of the countries where rental car vehicles still often include the owner's logo somewhere. You then go into the office where the clerk will reconfirm what will be charged to your credit card and close out your rental car contract.
The most important thing U.S. drivers need to remember is that there are no turns on red. Also, there are several roundabouts (circles), which can be frustrating to some drivers but are quickly gotten used to. Unlike conventional roundabouts which either lack lanes altogether or have very confusing lane markings, Aruba has extensive signage and asphalt curbs which precisely indicate available movements through roundabouts and you will get used to them very quickly.
Aruba uses international road signs under the Vienna Convention standard, which generally have no words or any obvious relation to their meaning. Fortunately, tourist maps usually contain quick references explaining their meaning if you are unfamiliar with them. Aruba also marks roads in the European style, meaning they use only white lines and do not use yellow lines to divide two-way opposing traffic as on the North American mainland.
The island's most important road is LG Smith Boulevard (also known as Sasakiweg north of Oranjestad). Sasakiweg between Oranjestad and Palm Beach has been improved so that it is the island's only major four-lane divided highway, on which the speed limit is 80 kph (except at roundabouts, where it drops to 40).
Because the island is so small, everything of interest is close to everything else of interest, and it takes special talent to get lost-if you don't know where you're going, you can basically just keep driving, and statistically speaking you are likely to end up where you need to go eventually. It should be noted, however, that most street names are not identified by signage. Even worse, many rural streets are unnamed, meaning you have to navigate them by dead reckoning or landmarks.
The lack of street name signs can be especially frustrating in downtown Oranjestad. The best approach is to park in the parking lot across LG Smith Boulevard from the Renaissance Mall and Royal Plaza Mall and simply walk to your destination. A cab might also be easier than navigating the narrow unmarked streets. Take a map with you to determine what road signs mean because they are not immediately obvious.
You should also be cautious when driving, as there are certain "bus only" roads that are not marked but that feature large pits in the road designed to trap normal cars while letting buses drive through.
International road signs are used in Aruba. Foreign driver's licenses and International Driver Permits issued by a member country of the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic are generally valid. If your driver's license is already written in English from such a country, an IDP is not necessary. Car speedometers and road signs are in kilometres. The speed limit in urban areas is 40km/h; out of town it's 80km/h, unless a higher or lower speed is specifically indicated. Much of Oranjestad's traffic is one-way and at intersections, where there are no road signs, traffic from your right has the right of way. Aruba follows the European approach to intersection signage, where stop signs are used only when absolutely necessary and the yield sign is the predominant traffic control device. If you do see a stop sign, it really does mean stop completely (not slow to a creep or roll), usually because it's a blind intersection.
Historical Museum - contains a large collection of artifacts and paintings from Aruba's earliest times through those reminiscent of colonial times up to the present day.
*Archaeological Museum - The archaeological museum exhibits ceramic, shell and stone artifacts which a.o. portray the customs, beliefs and traditions of these first cultures
*Numismatic Museum- The museum contains over 35.000 different pieces covering over 400 countries.
* Aruba Model Train Museum
Baby Beach - Southern Tip of the island. It's called Baby Beach because it is no more than five feet deep at any point - like a giant wading pool. This beach also has some of the best snorkeling on the island.
*San Nicolaas Beach
*Eagle Beach - Often called "1 of the 10 best beaches in the world". Eagle Beach has crystal clear blue water and soft white sand that goes on for miles. This beach has calm waters with light waves. There are many different water sports offered on this beach including jet skiing and tubing. Eagle Beach is perfect for someone looking to relax and also adventure seekers.
*Hadikurari Beach a.k.a Fisherman's Huts. This is where the High Winds Pro AM windsurfing world championship is held every June.
*Palm Beach White sand and excellent swimming conditions in calm water. Nearby hotels allow you to use public areas for changing. Accessible by bus, car or taxi.
*Arashi Beach - Calm water, white sandy beaches with palapas and huts for shade.
*Boca Catalina- Shallow waters with plenty of fish, good place to snorkel. White sandy beaches with some pebbles and stone.
*Manchebo Beach- Gentle surf, long white beach. Hotels near by.
*Andicuri- Not advised for swimming,tough currents and big waves. This is a good beach for someone looking to go surfing.
*Druif Beach- Excellent for swimming with calm waters. Hotels near.
*Surfside Beach- White sandy beach with some pebbles and stones. Calm water good for swimming.
*Dos Playa- can get there by 4 wheeler, not good for swimming strong currents and big waves. A nice place to have a picnic to check out the view.
*De Palm Island- Waterpark for kids, great place to snorkel, with shallow waters.
*Mangel Halto- Shallow waters,Can be reached by car or taxi.
*Santo Largo-Shallow waters, good place for picnic. Can be reached by car or taxi.
*Boca Grandi-Good for people who enjoy extreme sports, not good for swimming tough current.
*Bachelor's Beach- A good beach for windsurfing or snorkeling. Not really good for swimming.
*Rodgers Beach-Very calm water with white sandy beaches.
On and Off the Resorts
*4 Wheeling Tours
*Sailing & Snorkel- These sail and snorkel trips come with snorkel gear and many offer free beverages. The yachts sail out to coral reefs where you can see a lot of sea life and sometimes even a shipwreck. Unique Sports of Aruba, The Tranquilo, and Strea Charters are all companies that offer a sail and snorkel tour. The total snorkel and sail time is usually under 3 hours and will run you about $60 a person.
*Fishing - If you are looking for an all day activity, fishing is an option. Fishing on the island will take a minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 8 hours through a deep sea fishing charter company. Some of these charter companies you can fish with are Teaser Charters, Mahi Mahi Fishing Charters, Sea-Iesta, and more. These boats leave early in the morning, usually before 8 A.M. and can hold between 6-12 people.*Kayaking
* Kukoo Kunuku - In Aruba the fun does not stop when the sun goes down. The Kukoo Kunuku bus is a nighttime tour bus that picks you up at your hotel lobby at around 6 p.m. From the hotel lobby, you have a champagne toast to start and then you are off to dinner at Casibari Grill, which also includes one drink. After dinner, the bus stops at three bars, with the first drink for free at each stop. A night on the Kukoo Kunuku bus will cost you $67 a person.
* Jet Skiing - If you are a fan of speed and thrill, jet skiing is offered as an excursion on many beaches including Eagle Beach. The cost of jet skiing for one hour is about $30 per person.