Detailed Travel Guide to Aruba
Learn everything you need to know About Aruba with this detailed travel guide. From which side of the road to drive on to important safety tips, popular landmarks to entry requirements ... you won't have any questions after reviewing this travel kit.
About Aruba: Aruba is one of the three countries that makes up the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Although a smaller island (measuring 33 m long), it is a country big on fun and adventure! There are several types of excursions, activities, and tours to participate in, despite its small size.
Citizens of Aruba are very warm and welcoming. Aruba has the 'small community' feel that big cities miss. Tourists are not visitors when they arrive, for the duration of their stay they are part of the Aruban community.
Aruba has one of the nicest climates in the Caribbean. Tucked away out of hurricane paths, with an average temperature of 28 C (82.4 F), and only 500 mm of rain as a yearly average, sunshine is destined to rule your getaway.
One difficulty in Aruba is that the addresses are unreliable, if they even exist. It's important when travelling to get directions, not addresses. Speak with a local and have them give you landmarks so you know what you are looking for.
National Anthem: Aruba Dushi Tera
Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time Zone (year round)
Languages: Dutch, Papiamento, some English and Spanish
Power Outlets: North American Non-Grounded , North American Grounded
Currency: Florin (AWG), USD widely accepted
Credit Cards: All major credit cards accepted
Travelers Checks: Traveler checks accepted
Side of Road to Drive on: Right
Legal Drinking Age: 18 to consume alcohol, and 16 to buy alcohol.
: : ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS
-Upon entering Aruba be sure to show customs officials your return ticket and/or proof of sufficient income.
-Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and E.U. nationals do not require a visa for stays no longer than 1 month.
-Home owners and time share participants are eligible to stay for up to 180 days without a visa.
-If you plan to stay longer then indicated or are not from one of the aforementioned countries above you must apply for a visa.
Contact the Institute of Vigilance & Security Aruba in Aruba by telephone at 297-587-7444 or by fax at 297-587-1077 or contact a Dutch embassy or consulate.
-Visit http://www.aruba.com/sigma/Entry_Req-Eng.pdf for a full entry list.
Lone Parents and/or Minors
-Bring a notarized letter indicating the parent(s) have authorized the trip. Also provide the child's valid passport that does not expire for a minimum of 6 months from the date of your departure.
-A passport (valid for 6 months after your entry) -In cases where Canadian and US travelers apply for an Aruban visa they may only need a driver's license, birth certificate, or other forms of identification, as opposed to a passport. Verify this upon applying for your visa.
-Immigration authorities reserve the right to allow and/or deny entry to all visitors.
-If travelling by cruise ship you do not require a visa.
-If traveling with a pet; bring a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination. The health certificate must have been dated within thirty days prior to your departure date. You are also required to provide an attestation that the pet is free from ECTO and ENDO parasites (or a deworming certificate).
-Aruba does not allow cats, dogs, and pets from Central and South America.
: : CUSTOMS INFORMATION
-Be sure to declare and bring receipts for all valuable personal belongings (i.e. laptop, watch, etc.) or you could have to pay taxes on it when you leave.
-You are allowed to bring clothing and personal products for your stay.
-Those 19 years of age and older can enter with 2.25 liters of wine OR 3 liters of beer OR 1 liter of liquor AND 200 cigarettes OR 25 cigars OR 250 grams of tobacco.
-You should verify allowable items to return to your own country with customs regulations (available at the information desk at your port of departure).
Prohibited items include:
Uncanned food and derivatives; Earth, plants, flowers, etc.
: : SALES TAX AND FEES
Sales Tax: (AKA Turnover Tax) is approximately 3% (exports
are subject to an additional 1%).
Airport Taxes: Airport taxes are almost always included in your airfare. Verify with your airline before booking -Departure Tax is approximately $33.75 to $36.75 USD (depending on aircraft and airport).
This tax is exempt for:
-Children under the age of 2;
-Diplomats (except Ecuador);
-Transit passengers complying with TWOV conditions;
-Airline crew travelers;
-Residents of Aruba.
: : MEDICAL INFORMATION
Bringing in Prescription Drugs: Prescription drugs are allowed in Aruba. You must have a doctor's prescription or note indicating that the medicine is needed, the patient's name, and the medication(s) name.
Vaccinations: No vaccinations are required for Aruba.
Dr. Horacio Oduber
Hospital Across from Costa Linda Beach Resort and the Alhambra Bazaar and Casino
Tel: (297) 587-4300 Fax: (297) 587-3348
Dr. Rudy Engelbrecht
Pastoor Hendrikstraat 10, San Nicolaas, Aruba
Tel: (297) 584-8833
Labco Medical and Homecare Service N.V.
Fergusonstraat 52, P.O. Box 1147, Aruba
Tel: (297) 582-6651 (297) 583-7156
Fax: (297) 582-6567
: : CRIME
Crime rates in Aruba are minimal. In fact it is hard to find any factual information about it, some claim because Aruba does not release this type of information. The web sites that offer statistics do not say where they get their information from, making it tricky to track. For the most part any crime that does exist is young vandals and thieves. Stay smart and keep an eye on your money, purse, wallet, etc. Use the same common sense you would in any city while in Aruba. Review our Travel & Safety Tips section for more information.
Be very cautious when utilizing an ATM machine in Aruba. Recently the International organized crime has been practicing skimming in Aruba. Skimming is the cloning of your bank card, where the machine is rigged and reads your card number and pin. The criminals use a card with your information somewhere else. Most ATM's have cameras, so when using be sure to keep your bank receipts and face the camera. Videotape is normally kept for three months. Report any irregularities immediately to the local police and your own bank.
Victims of Crime:
Contact the local authorities AND your consulate/embassy (Embassies are listed in this itinerary). Do not rely on third parties such as the hotel to report crimes on your behalf. Always retain a copy of the police report. 911 is the emergency contact number across Aruba.
If arrested you must immediately notify them of the country you are from and request they contact your embassy. Aruba is obliged to contact your embassy or consulate by international law. While in Aruba you are subject to their legislation, penalties, and judiciary methods. If you have a criminal offense from your own country and would like to visit Aruba it is at their discretion to allow you in. It is unlikely to cause a problem as long as you are not wanted for a crime and have all ready served your sentence. If you have been accused of something, but have not gone to trial, and do not have a travel ban you should also be fine for travel.
If traveling through or over the United States of America and you have any type of criminal record it is up to the US if they will allow you through or over their country. If worried, you should contact the local immigration offices of the countries that affect your travel and verify before booking a ticket.
: : TRANSPORTATION
You require a valid international driver's license. Always get your international drivers license before departure, in your home country.
It is highly recommended to have rental car insurance. It costs approximately $10/day.
-In order to rent a car in Aruba you must have a valid driver's license
from your own country, a working credit card, and be a minimum of 25 years
-Cars, SUVs, Vans, Motorcycles and Scooters are generally available.
-Always verify someone will be available at your time of arrival in Aruba so you may get your vehicle immediately.
-Even with insurance you may be liable for a $500 deductible. Be sure to verify the insurance terms.
-As with all car rentals inspect the car before driving away. Make notes (take pictures if possible) of any scratches, dings, etc while in the presence of the car rental worker. It is preferable to have the car rental worker sign something attesting to the condition of the car.
-Taxi drivers tend to own their own vehicles and most conform and
participate in the government's Tourism Awareness Program.
-Trips between the airport, downtown Oranjestad and hotels generally cost between $10-$15 USD. Expect to pay up to $25 for long trips.
-Verify the fare before accepting to travel in the taxi. -Tip good taxi drivers well and not so good taxi drivers minimal.
Airport Taxi Service:
Airport Taxi Service - phone 822-116 Island-wide Taxi Service - phone 875-900
Public transport is by far the cheapest way to travel, however it is not available everywhere. Verify with your hotel/tour guide before booking an excursion on how you are to get there.
: : CULTURAL INFORMATION
Smoking is permitted in Aruba. Verify with your hotel if it is smoking or non-smoking if you have a preference.
There are no requirements or dress code in Aruba. Although one should use common sense. If going to a restaurant it is not appropriate to wear a bathing suit.
-It is very important to greet and leave people with a good morning or good
-Never give someone the middle finger, it is considered extremely rude.
-Handshakes are appropriate when first meeting someone, no matter the gender.
-Touching during a conversation is not appropriate no matter how friendly or close with the person you are; except when first greeting with a handshake.
-Direct eye contact is considered polite.
-It is okay in Aruba to be 10 - 15 minutes late. It is considered an unwritten rule. Give notice if you will be any later than 15 minutes.
-Women work in Aruba; however they are also still responsible for raising their children. The same view applies to visiting women.
-Point with your hand as opposed to just one finger.
-Jeans, shorts and sandals are not appropriate when doing business in Aruba.
-For business meetings men generally wear a suit and women a skirt or dress with high heels.
-If handing out business cards, normally Mr. or Ms. Is appropriate before your name.
-For business meetings you should be on time, and normally small talk is made before commencing.
-When beginning a new business relationship it is considered polite to bring a small wrapped present. Normally it will not be opened in front of you.
-Students and children should dress casually and not wear anything too revealing.
-Often a 15% gratuity fee is added to restaurant and other service bills.
You should verify before leaving you own.
-15% tip is expected, however depending on the service you may wish to leave more or less. You should never leave less than 10%.
: : POPULAR LANDMARKS
Alto Vista Chapel Alto Vista is Aruba's first chapel. The chapel was constructed by the Spanish and Indians and is also known as the Pilgrim's Church. This bright yellow chapel is in Noord (Northern Aruba), and can be reached by a long winding road lined with crosses. For locals this is a place of peace and relaxation.
Bushiribana Gold Smelter These are abandoned gold mines from the time of Aruba's gold rush during the nineteenth century. They are located on the north coast midway through the island.
Fontein Cave The most popular cave in Aruba, Fontein Cave has Arawak paintings on the ceilings. The Arawaks are Native Americans that Christopher Columbus encountered throughout the West Indies when he discovered the Americas in 1492. Fontein Cave is in Arikok on the southeastern part of the island.
: : TRAVEL AND SAFETY TIPS
-Always walk like you know where you are going, even if you don't. This
means keep your back upright and eyes straight ahead. When asking for
directions keep your voice low so others don't know you are lost.
-Take precautions. Do not wear a lot of jewelry or conspicuous clothing while travelling to avoid being a target of crime.
-Be cautious when taking a taxi and always look for the appropriate documentation which should be posted in eyes view. Never take a cab from the airport that is off by itself.
-If your hotel or resort recommends staying on their property you should follow these precautions.
-Never leave valuables in a soft material. The seam can easily be cut. Often the crime takes place long before it is noticed. This applies to purses, bags and luggage. -Do not invite strangers to your hotel room.
-Do not agree to meet strangers by yourself. Even those you consider new friends and fellow tourists.
-Plan for the unexpected, this includes extra money and medication that is required should your stay be extended.