Aruba is a Caribbean island 15 miles north of the coast of Venezuela. The island is an autonomous dependency of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is 19.6 miles (30 kilometers) long and 6 miles (9 kilometers) across, at its widest point, with an area of approximately 70 square miles (184 square kilometers). This flat, riverless island is renowned for its white sand beaches. Its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature is almost constant at about 27°C (81°F).



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 weather is almost always dry, with most rain showers coming at night and lasting only a little while. 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 meters).


Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has 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. Aruba seceeded from the Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire and Curacao, the ABC-Islands)in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.

Tourism is the mainstay of the small, open Aruban economy, with offshore banking and oil refining and storage also important. The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction has boomed, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level.


Officially 120V 60Hz, which is identical to the U.S. and Canadian standard. Outlets are North American grounded outlets, identical to standard U.S. and Canadian wall outlets. 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 polarized (with one slot wider than the other). Otherwise, adapters are available which accept a polarized plug and adapt it for use with a non-polarized outlet.


Aruba is divided into the northeast and southwest coasts. The southwest has the white sand beaches, turquoise seas, and warm waters. The northeast coast, exposed to the Atlantic, has a few white sand beaches, rough seas with treacherous currents, and a rocky coastline.


  • Oranjestad - Capital

  • Barcadera

  • Noord

  • Paradera

  • Savaneta

  • Saint Nicolaas

Getting there

By plane

All air traffic will arrive and depart from the Reina Beatrix International Airport (IATA : AUA) (ICAO : TNCA) on the western side of the island.

Aruba no longer has a national airline. American Airlines is a popular carrier that schedules flights from the gateways of New York, Boston, Miami and San Juan. Other major carriers from the US include United (Chicago, Washington/Dulles), US Airways (BOS, Philadelphia, Charlotte), Continental (Newark, Houston Intercontinental), Delta (Atlanta), and JetBlue Airways (New York JFK, Boston).

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.

There is an office of the American Department of Homeland Security at the airport for those traveling to the United States.

By boat

Cruise ships can dock quite close to the downtown area, offering their passengers an easy walk to many stores and services.

Traveling around

Cabs are available at the airport and at hotels. Cost about $30 including tip from the airport to Eagle Beach. You can also rent a car or jeep at the Queen Beatrix airport or through the hotel concierge. Additionally there is a bus system called "Arubus." This bus is great to see the island and to travel from Oranjestad to the tourist hotels all for about $1.50. You can take bus to the far end of the island, have lunch at St Nicholas, see how the 90,000 islanders live. The bus stops at 9pm. 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.

Because Aruba is small, consider 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 cars/jeeps is easy, and many rental companies provide pickup service from area hotels.

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 recognize that even the big brand rental car agencies will rent you a vehicle in poor condition that may or may not function properly.

Driving in Aruba

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. Aruba uses international road signs, which generally have no words or obvious relation to their meaning. Happily, tourist maps usually contain quick references to these road signs if you are unfamiliar.

The major road is LG Smith Blvd, on which people usually drive at about 40 mph, though that is a very rough guideline. 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 of the roads are not identified by signage.

The lack of road signage can be especially frustrating in downtown Oranjestad, so it might be best to park near the Renaissance Mall and simply walk to your destination. A cab might also be easier than navigating the narrow unmarked streets.

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.

Car Hire Although the island has a half decent transport system of it's own, you can take life on this laid back island at a pace that suits you by using a car hire vehicle. Take a map with you to determine what road signs mean because they are not immediately obvious. This is one of the easier holiday destinations to negotiate your own car around so keep the pace easy and book ahead online.


  • Natural Pool (Conchi) - On the northern side of the island and only accessible via ATV or Trail Rated 4x4. This is a small pool of water hidden in natural rock formation that jut into the ocean, just off the shore of Aruba. This location makes for a great day trip - make sure your vehicle has a spare tire.

  • California Lighthouse - On the northernmost tip of the island. Many scenic views and is also the location where you can access the dirt trails to travel down the northern shores of Aruba.

  • Our Lady of Alto Visto Chapel - On the northern side of the island. The chapel is very picturesque and historic.

  • Aruba Aloe Factory – You can take a short tour and learn some interesting facts about aloe farming, production and uses.

  • Casibari Rock & Ayo Rock Formations – You can climb and explore these formations, the tops of which provide a great view of the countryside.

  • Natural Bridge @ Boca Andicuri – There are 7 "Natural Bridges" in Aruba. The original (biggest and most famous bridge that people are referring to when they say Natural Bridge) collapsed in 2005 leaving a pile of rubble in the bay. Bridge Collapse Pictures . There is a smaller bridge right next to the fallen bridge that still stands.

  • Bushiribban Gold Mill / Smelting Station – The ruins of the smelting station are the way to the Natural Bridge. Climbing the ruins you can get great photos of the coastline.

  • Aruba Ostrich Farm – The tour walks you around the ostrich pens and incubator. The Aruba farm is more for educating people, while the meat that is used for food in Aruba actually comes from the sister island of Curacao. (Ostrich is a red meat, which is high in protein and low in fat.)

  • Boca Catalina and the Antilla Shipwreck – These are 2 of the many sites snorkel tours will take you. The Antillla Shipwreck is the remains of a scuttled 400-foot German cargo ship that was anchored off of Aruba during WW2. It was thought that this ship was supplying German U-Boats in the Caribbean and after Holland was invaded in 1940, the captain was given notice to surrender the ship. Instead of surrendering the ship to the Dutch Marines the captain sunk the ship by blowing up the boilers. (The crew swam to shore, and were taken POW and shipped to Bonaire.) The joke you will hear is "They did not want to surrender the cargo and they also wanted to provide future tourists with a site to see." The remains are off of Malmok beach. After the war, the captain and his crew purchased their former POW camp and converted it into a hotel. Today the site is the Divi Flamingo resort.

  • Arikok National Park

  • Guadirkiri Caves

  • The Palm Island

  • Hooiberg (Haystack Mountain) a.k.a simply "the Haystack" – Standing over 500 feet, the haystack is in the center of the country and provides a breathtaking view of Aruba. People suggest going on a cool & clear day because it will be easier to climb the 1000+ steps required to reach the top and you can see the coast of Venezuela to the south!

  • Butterfly Farm - set in a tropical atmosphere, tour guides at the Butterfly Farm will elucidate butterfly habits and metamorphosis.

  • Bubali Bird Sanctuary - over 80 species of migratory birds reside in the sanctuary. Get the best view of the birds, by using the observation tower.

Things to do


  • 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"

  • 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.

  • Malmok Beach

  • Renaissance Island - A private island accessible by ferry only if you stay at the Renaissance Resort and Casino . The island is divided into 2 beaches: Iguana Beach and Flamingo Beach. (When you visit each side it is clear which is which!) The Iguanas are fed on the dockside by Iguana Beach while the Flamingoes congregate on the other beach.

Tour Companies

  • De Palm Tours

  • Red Sail Sports


Stoba di Bestia Chiquito - a hearty goat meat and vegetable stew

Keshi Yena - chicken or seafood with Dutch cheese


  • Sawasdee Thai Restaurant, Palmbeach 186 B, NOORD, tel # 586-8071. Open 5:30PM-10:30PM. Sawasdee, (welcome) to the worlds greatest cuisine. Thai food combines the best of several eastern cuisines: the oriental bite of Szechuan Chinese, tropical flavour of Malaysia, creamy coconut sauces of india and the aromatic spices of Arabian food. Thai food is very tasty. The Thai cooks strike a perfect balance between sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, and salty. All dishes are made fresh to order. Come and enjoy the greatest cuisines! You don't want to miss out on this! Walking distance from the high rise hotels, across the street from Mc Donalds.

  • Rumba Bar & Grill, , Havenstraat 4, Oranjestad (just behind the Renaissance Hotel). This downtown spot is worth a visit (or more). During breakfast, lunch and dinner and all other opening hours Rumba pairs great food with excellent service and oustanding drinks from the beverage menu. Rumba serves a lot of wines from the attractive wine list by the glass and is always willing to provide you with a sample of the wine you're interested in. The menu is very eclectic with classics from all over the world. During dinner all of the meat and most of the fish is grilled above the charcoalled grill. At Rumba you have the choice to relax outside on the metropolitan terrace or inside in the intimate airconditioned dining room.

  • El Gaucho, - located in downtown Oranjestad. Considered by many to be an excellent steakhouse. Be sure and get a salad with one of their delicious house-made dressings! Portions are enormous and affordable.

  • Iguana Joe's, - located in downtown Oranjestad. One of a few restaurants to offer authentic Aruban dishes. It has American influenced dishes as well. Very reasonably priced and fresh ingredients.

  • Blossoms, - located within the Westin hotel. Offers Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Very good sushi and great asian ambiance. Worth the slightly higher price.

  • The Flying Fishbone, - located in south Oranjestad and the beer brewery, but north of San Nicholas on the beach. This restaurant has excellent food and ambiance. The service is very slow and the prices are high. The best time to go is sunset as you can enjoy it at your table on the private beach. The drinks and food are very good.

  • Madame Janette, . Excellent but pricey, combining European and Aruban influences to create dishes that taste wonderful. Attentive service and a dining area that is completely outside are extra plusses. The restaurant does not advertise and it's located away from LG Smith Blvd (the main road in Aruba), but it's worth the trip.

  • Chalet Suisse, . J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 246, Eagle Beach. Tel: (297) 5875054. Great food, prices a bit on the steep side (though not too horrible), but the quality is amazing. Choices of a few Swiss/Austrian favorites and steaks, seafood and other things. Located at Eagle Beach in the low-rise hotel area just outside Oranjestad. The plates themselves come out blazing hot so be careful not to touch them! Well worth trying at least once. Try the wiener schnitzel (tasty and a hefty portion!) and the famous Toblerone fondue afterwards.

Many chain restaurants, both fast food and upscale, from the United States are present in Aruba (i.e. Texas de Brazil, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Hooters, Subway, Tony Romas). You'll find some downtown, and many near the large resort hotels. The downtown Burger King (next to the bus station) overlooks the main street from its second floor balcony, and is a good place to "tourist watch" with a cool one.

The upscale restaurants near resorts vary in quality as there are a limited number of them and they have a steady stream of tourist customers, as they advertise in pamphlets available in the hotels. The fast food places are essentially no different than their American counterparts.

Full compiled list of restaurants on Aruba

Aquarius, L.G. Smith Boulevard 82, Oranjestad, +297-583-6000

Fishes and More, J.E. Irausquin Blvd 370, Palm Beach, +297-586-3659,

Flying Fishbone, Savaneta # 344, Savaneta, +297-584-2506, +297-584-9018,

L.G. Smith's Chop & Steakhouse, L.G. Smith Boulevard 82, Oranjestad, +297-583-6000, Ext: 6195,

B55, Balashi 55, Balashi,+297 5852111, 5931476,

Ambianz, L.G. Smith Boulevard 1, +297 583 9420

Pam Pam, Boegoeroei 11 Z (located at Perle d'or), +297 587 7710

Marandi, Bucutiweg 50, Bucuti, +297 582 0157, +297 582 0166

Gambero Rosso, Weststraat 2 (Marina Azul Mall), Oranjestad, +297 582 3007, +297 585 3727

Rumba Bar & Grill, Havenstraat 4 (Aventura Mall, behind the Renaissance Hotel), Oranjestad, +297 5887900,

Sushi - Ya, Renaissance Marketplace - Oranjestad & PLaya Linda Resort - Highrise, +297 583 9982, +297 585 1680

Chalet Suisse Restaurant, J.E. Irausquin Blvd 246 (Eagle Beach), +297 587 5054, +297 587 0349

Alfredo's, Sasakiweg z/n (Adventure Golf Complex), Oranjestad, +297-5876625, +297-5876645,

Amazônia Churrascaria, J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 374, Palm Beach, +297-5864444, +297-5864600,

Aqua Grill, J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 374, Palm Beach, +297-5865900, +297-5865901,

Bella Luna, Palm Beach 21-A, Palm Beach, +297-5860644, +297-5860220,

Benihana, Sasakiweg z.n. P.O. Box 695, Palm Beach, +297-5866789, +297-5826794,

Buccaneer, Gasparito 11-C, Noord, +297-5866172, +297-5831077,

Café & Restaurant bingo, Palm Beach 6D, +297-5862818, +297-5862817

Café The Paddock, L.G. Smith Boulevard 13, Oranjestad, +297-5832334,

Café The Plaza, L.G. Smith Boulervard 9, Oranjestad, +297-5838826, +297-5820842,

Café Twister, Dominicanessenstraat 10, +297-5839077

Canton Tea House, Bushiri 23, +297-5826688

Captain's Corner, Palm Beach 6-D, +297-5861991, +297-5863376

Captain's Table, La Cabana Resort, +297-5879000, +297-5877208

Carlos 'n Charlie's, Weststraat 3A, Oranjestad, +297-5820355, +297-5820275

Casa Tua, J. E. Irausquin Blvd.(Arawak Gardens), Palm Beach, +297-586 8470,+297,

Chalet Suisse, J. E. Irausquin Boulevard 246, +297-5875054, +297-5870349

Charlie's Bar & Restaurant, B. v/d V. Zeppenfeldstraat 56, San Nicolas, +297-5845086

Matilde, Havenstraat 23, Oranjestad, +297-5839200, +297-5835500,

Cleo's Sports Grill (Alhambra Bazaar), J. E. Irausquin Boulevard 47, +297-5835000, +297-5834230

Costariba, St. Cristoffelbergweg 9, +297-5844088, +297-5845828

Cuba's Cookin', Wilhelminastraat 27, Oranjestad, +297-5880627, +297-5824940,

Driftwood, Klipstraat 12, Oranjestad, +297-5832515, +297-5872321

El Chalan, Caya Betico Croes 152, +297-5827591, +297-5827591

El Gaucho, Wilhelminastraat 80, Oranjestad, +297-5823677, +297-5830123,

El Fogón, San Barbola 5, +297-5825224

Flamboyant, Bushiri Beach Resort, +297-5825216

Frangipani Coffee Shop, Costa Linda Beach Resort, +297-5838000

French Steakhouse, J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 55 (Manchebo Beach Resort), Eagle, +297-5823444, +297-5833667,

Gasparito, Gasparito 3, +297-5867044, +297-5867144

Hooters, J E Irausquin Blvd 370 A, Palm Beach, +297-5868060, +297-5846885,

Hostaria da Vittorio, L.G. Smith Blvd. 380, Palm Beach, +297-5863838, +297-5866338,

Iguana Joe's Caribbean Bar & Grill, Royal Plaza Mall/L.G. Smith Boulevard 101/102, +297-5839373

Kowloon, Emmastraat 11, +297-5824950, +297-5834023

La Dolce Vita Ristorante Italiano, Sasakiweg 46, Eagle, +297-5885592, +297-5885593,

La Nueva Marina Pirata, Balashi Z/N, +297-5857150, +297-5836078

La Trattoria El Faro Blanco, Westpunt (The California Lighthouse), +297-5860786, +297-5860788

La Vista, Aruba Marriott Resort, +297-5869000, +297-5860649

Le Dôme, Irausquin Blvd. 224, Eagle, +297-5871517, +297-5874822,

Le Petit Cafe, JE Irausquin Boulevard Z/N, +297-5874620, +297-5826577,

Mido, Dwarsstraat 5, +297-5822134

Oriental Bar & Restaurant, Zoutmanstraat 5, +297-5821008

Papiamento, Washington 61, +297-5864544, +297-5861505

Pega Pega, Manchebo Beach Resort, +297-5823444

Peking (San Nicolas), Caya Jose Geerman 78, +297-5841900

Peking, Santa Cruz 324, +297-5851372

Que Pasa?, Wilhelminastraat 18, +297-5834888, +297-5834443

Salt & Pepper, J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 370, Palm Beach, +297-5863280, +297-5862941,

Sbarro, Seaport Market/L.G. Smith Blvd. 9, Oranjestad, +297-5836055, +297-5836044

Scandals, L. G. Smith Blvd. 9, P. O. Box 1124, Oranjestad, +297-5834488, +297-5832941,

Sole Mare, Palm Beach 23, +297-5860077, +297-5826988

Sun Club, Costa Linda Beach Resort, +297-5838000, +297-5836040

Tango, J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 370 (opp. Allegro Resort), Palm Beach, +297-5868600, +297-5868644

Texas de Brazil, J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 382, Palm Beach, +297-5864686, +297-5863685,

The Grill House, Zoutmanstraat 31, +297-5831611, +297-5830508

The Mill, Irausquin Blvd. 330, +297-5861746, +297-5867700

The Old Cunucu House, Palm Beach 150, Palm Beach, +297-5861666, +297-5827753,

The Pirate's Nest, Bucuti Beach Resort/L.G. Smith Blvd, Punta Brabo, +297-5831100, +297-5825272,

The Red Parrot, J.E. Irausquin Blvd. 47 (Divi Hotel), +297-5823300, +297-5822626

The Turtle's Nest, Costa Linda Resort, Eagle, +297-5838000, +297-5836040,

The Waterfront Crabhouse, L.G. Smith Blvd. 9 Renaissance Marketplace, Oranjestad, +297-5835858, +297-5826787,

Tony Roma's, J.E. Irausquin Boulevard #230 A, Palm Beach, +297-5867427, +297-5860860

Tortuga Bar & Grill, L.G. Smith Boulevard 51/53, Eagle, +297-5823000, +297-5838191,

Ventanas del Mar, Tierra del Sol, Westpunt, +297-5867800

Villa Martha Bar & Restaurant, Golfweg 67, +297-5845656


By the glass, sixpack or case, imported dutch beers are relatively good buys. Balashi Beer - Aruba's National Beer...a must-drink beverage, perfect after spending all day at the beach. Founded in 1996, the name Balashi is derived from the words Bala Bala and Balana and means "near the sea." It is the only beer brewed on the island of Aruba. Daily tours of the brewery are available with an open-aired bar and restaurant on the premises. Balashi Brewery / Tel. 592-2544 / 523-6544. Balashi Gardens open from 6:30AM - 4:00PM. Tours Monday - Friday. There is also a Balashi logo store, with mostly t-shirts, and a few other things located on L.G. Smith Boulevard, right before the Harley shop and after the Caribbean Mercantile Bank. Very easy to miss but worth a trip if you enjoyed the Balashi! There is also a drive-thru beverage store next door that is nifty.


  • Holiday Inn Resort Aruba , 011-297-58-63600, J.E. Irausquin Blvd. #230, Aruba is an island of contrast and culture with one outstanding feature: fun in the sun! And the best place to enjoy this jewel of the Dutch Caribbean is the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort in beautiful Palm Beach, Aruba. Whether your sport is para-sailing or pool lounging, the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Aruba is the ultimate destination for action, entertainment, and romance. A complimentary fitness center includes treadmills, bikes, universals, and free weights. And when it’s time to retreat to the privacy and comfort of your guest room or suite, all of the lovely 600 rooms have everything to make your visit a pleasure, including in-room movies and voice mail. The resort features six on-site restaurants and bars, theme nights with live entertainment, casino, shopping, children’s activities, and the Intermezzo Day Spa.

  • Riu Palace Aruba , +2975863900 , J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 79, Palm Beach, The Riu Palace Aruba is beautifully designed and located right on Palm Beach, offering a most spectacular view of the Caribbean. The wide expanse of soft, golden sand, virtually at its front door, invites you to enjoy the warm breeze wafting in from the ocean or enjoy swimming in one of the two fresh-water pools.

  • Paradera Park Apartments , Paradera #203. Tel: +297 5823289/5823278, Paradera Park, locally referred to as the "Tropical Oasis", is a high quality, intimate and quiet resort with Deluxe Studio, 1-Bedroom, and 2-Bedroom Apartments centrally and conveniently located only a few carminutes from Oranjestad and the major beaches. Lush, tropical gardens, large swimming pool, spacious pooldeck with lounge chairs, cabanas and hammocks add to the tropical ambiance and comfort of Paradera Park's guests. All apartments completely furnished, fully equipped kitchen, bathroom h/c water, airco, telephone, cable tv, private terrace/balcony. Complimentary in-room safe, WIFI internet connection and beachset. Daily housekeeping. Winner Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Best Hidden Gem Caribbean & Best Bargain Caribbean

  • Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino , 297 5 836000, L. G. Smith Boulevard 82, Oranjestad, Luxurious Renaissance Marriott resort on a private 40-acre island paradise. Features Aruba's only private beaches and the island's most exciting shopping, dining, casinos, shows and nightlife.

  • Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino , 297 5 869000, L. G. Smith Boulevard 101, Palm Beach, Aruba, Located right on Palm Beach, this resort is definitely one of the most luxuriant on the island. The Hotel itself (not its lower-tier affiliates the Surf Club and Ocean Club) is a solid four-star hotel. Recent renovations have made it more in line with the corporate Marriott image. Spacious rooms with large private balconies to admire the Caribbean and tropical gardens. The stretch of Palm Beach outside the hotel is great for scuba diving, snorkeling or just laying in the sun. Also great for relaxing is the lagoon-style pool that has a peaceful waterfall and swim-up bar. Guests of the resort also have access to the spa facility at the Marriott Ocean Club. Connected to the hotel, the Stellaris Casino, the largest on the island, has good gaming and live entertainment. For such an expansive property the whole resort has a very relaxing exotic atmosphere. *Stellaris Casino* (at The Aruba Marriott) is the largest casino in Aruba. They have 30 table games, about 500 slot machines, a race and sports book and a live band every night. Also, there is a giant projection TV which is great for watching the game. The VIP Club offers comps and there is cash back for slot play. They have bingo 3 days per week. One of the most popular on the island, though none have the payoffs found in Nevada casinos. This property has recently undergone a $50 million upgrade.

  • Hyatt Regency Aruba , +011 297 586 1234, J.E. Irausquin Blvd #85, Palm Beach, This is the only 5-star resort on the island. The recent renovation substantially improves the feel of being in the Carribean.

  • The Westin Aruba Resort , 011 297 5 864466, J.E. Irausquin Blvd 77, A nice island destination offering the charm of the Dutch Caribbean, a magnificent beach, glittering casino and a host of outdoor pleasures.

  • Bucuti Beach Resort , 011-297-583-1100, L.G. Smith Boulevard #55B, Magnificent low-rise resort-hotel with private beach. There is a bar on the beach where you can eat lunch as well as drink. Beaches here are kept in very pristine condition. Just be aware that people under the age of 18 are not allowed at Bucuti Beach, leading to a very quiet and friendly atmosphere. There is a small gym facility outside in a hut (a few treadmills, bikes, and weights) which is generally empty and is free to use, as well as spa and massage treatments, and an outdoor pool near the restaurant. Iguana population is a bit high here due to the laid back atmosphere compared to the high-rise area, so if you are staying on the first floor of the Tara suites, you might have a visitor or two on your patio, generally harmless though. It must be said however, residents of the time share establishment next door might be a little rowdy at times. A better option if laying on the beach in peace is more your thing.


Above all, it appears that Arubans are very aware that their economy is completely dependent on tourism - so Arubans are polite to tourists, and even street vendors don't generally seek to rip off their customers (though as in all traveling, don't let advice like this lull you into a sense of complacency). This may be helped by the fact that Aruba is a relatively expensive place to visit, so it tends to attract the reasonably well-off.

American dollars are accepted virtually everywhere at a decent exchange rate. If you have U.S. dollars, there is no need to change money into the local currency, the Aruban florin. The current exchange rate (as of April 2008) given in shops is about 1.79 florins to the dollar. Because the island is a Dutch dependency, Dutch currency is easy to spend, and small change for purchases in dollars may be in florins. The island is actually not duty-free, but merchants respond well to competition on other islands, and duty free goods are offered by a few shops at the airport as visitors depart.

Oranjestad's waterfront has many vendors/stalls selling souvenirs. Ironically, many of these souvenirs are imported from the United States with island scenes/slogans, only to be purchased by Americans and brought back to America.

In Oranjestad, the Renaissance Mall contains various American and European major apparel brands (i.e. Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gucci) at essentially the same prices as in the United States. The mall and the rest of the downtown area also hold numerous other types of stores catering to visitors, to include jewelers, souvenir shops, clothers, and two modest grocers.

You'll find strip malls and grocers at modest (not easily walked) distances west of downtown and elsewhere. They offer most everything a visitor or resident might need for short stays or living there. Groceries and other supplies are all imported, so prices tend to be high. You can catch the bus from the hotel areas to the Grocery shops which are about 10 mins from Eagle beach but before you get to Oranjestad, cost's $3 return just ask the driver.

With numerous cruise ships visiting, downtown stores offer buys in jewelry, etc., typical of that in other Caribbean cruise ports, some at "duty free" prices. For cheese lovers, mild Dutch Gouda, in boxes or wheels, is a popular buy in super markets, though not the great bargain it used to be. Do ensure the integrity of the package seal from the maker to avoid spoilage and difficulty at customs inspection.

If you've flown to the island and are returning home, the airport duty-free store offers some items at slightly better prices than downtown, e.g., a decent selection of rums.


Languages spoken are Dutch (official), Papiamento, (a creole of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch origin), Spanish, and English (widely spoken).


Nature is very cherished by the Aruban people. 18% of their island is dedicated to the Arikok National Park .

Stay healthy

The running water in Aruba is absolutely safe to drink; the island's desalination plant is the second largest in the world. It is referred to as "Sweet Water" because it is very good.


Aruba is generally a very safe place at any time of day or night.However, it would probably be wise to stay away from the area surrounding the Valero refinery on the southeast part of the island at night (in the words of a Valero employee, "you will get some undesirables down there at night"). There is generally no reason for a tourist to go there at all anyway, so this likely will not be an issue.


There are two private but IMED approved medical schools on the island that prepare students for practice in the United States. These are All Saints University of Medicine.

No permits are required to work.

Contact & location

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Dutch (official), Papiamento (a creole of Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch origin), English (widely spoken), Spanish - Aruban guilder/florin (AWG)
Area193 sq km
Electricity120V/60Hz (North American plug)
Governmentparliamentary democracy
Population71,891 (July 2006 est.)
ReligionRoman Catholic 82%, Protestant 8%, Hindu, Muslim, Confucian, Jewish
TimezoneUTC -4