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Just 14 miles (25km) north of Venezuela, Aruba is the smallest and most Western island of the Dutch Antilles, which, known locally as the ABCs, also include Bonaire and Curaçao. With its miles of white, sandy beaches, turquoise-blue waters and guaranteed sun, Aruba is a great destination for sun-worshippers and a popular stop for cruise ship passengers. Over a million visitors arrive on this tiny island each year enticed by its luxury resorts, first-class restaurants, 24-hour casinos and excellent watersports 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, divi-divi trees, contorted by the consistently strong trade winds, and herds of goats. For those who demand more than simply soaking up the sun there are plenty of activities available. There is good diving and snorkelling along the reef on the protected leeward coast and windsurfing is excellent a little further north at Fisherman's Hut. Deep-sea fishing can be arranged through many of the hotels.

Information & Facts


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.


With an average temperature of 82°F (28°C) Aruba is 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 likely to occur between October and January, if at all.


The international access code for Aruba is +297. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the United States). City codes are not required. International, direct and operator-assisted calls are possible worldwide. A GSM network covers the island. Cellular phones are available for rental and Internet cafes are widely available in tourist areas.

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 f100. If goods per person exceed f500 in value this should be declared on customs forms for clearance at the freight department.


Electric current in Aruba is 127 volts, 60Hz. Flat two- and three-pin plugs are standard. The Schuko plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts is also used.

Getting Around

To explore the interior or northern windward part of the island, it is necessary to hire a car. There is a useful, frequent bus service between Malmok, on the northwest of the island through Oranjestad, the resort strip, past the airport and on to San Nicolas in the Southeast. Local buses can be found in Oranjestad's bus station alongside Royal Plaza. Taxis are freely available and can be hired at hotels and tourist spots. Establish the fare beforehand as taxis are unmetered, but rates are regulated by the government on a zone system.


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, therefore 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, with three classes of service for patients depending on the level of their insurance. Health insurance is recommended. Food and water are considered safe.


The official language in Aruba is Dutch but English and Spanish are taught in school and are also widely spoken. Some French is also understood. Most islanders also speak the native language Papiamento.


The official currency is the Aruban Florin (AWG), which is divided into 100 cents. 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. Travellers cheques are also widely accepted and it is best to have cheques in US dollars or Euros to avoid additional charges.

Passport Visa

All passports must be valid for period of intended stay. 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.


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


Local time in Aruba is GMT -4.


A 10 or 15% tip is usually added to restaurant, bar and room service bills in Aruba, otherwise a tip should be extended, 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.

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