Aruba Vacation Tips - Travel Guide
Aruba vacation is filled with sunshine, watersports, extreme activities such as ATV and horseback rides, gorgeous turquoise beaches and friendly locals! Dubbed "One happy island", Aruba offers high-class resorts, busy nightlife, multitude of bars, Caribbean festivals and the ease of traveling around the island attract a lot of travellers. On the west part of the island you will find excellent beaches and water great for swimming, while the rocky eastern shores of Aruba are washed with turbulent waters and attract extreme sports enthusiasts. Read on for tips on traveling to Aruba.
Why vacation in Aruba?
Here are the top reasons that attract tourists to Aruba:
Aruba is heaven on Earth that has the most beautiful beaches with clear turquoise water and powder-soft beaches. Aruba vacation gives you the perfect opportunity to snorkel and scuba dive at one of the many diving sites observing many of the underwater shipwrecks.
Aruba's busy nightlife and casinos attract many tourists and offer a variety of different bars, clubs and lounges. Most hotels have their own clubs and casinos on their properties, and often organize themed parties such as beach barbeques, tropical nights and/or cocktail parties. Aruba's casinos are a perfect way to gamble the night away, at most resorts they are opened from 12:00 p.m. noon to about sunrise.
Aruba is an extremely safe place to vacation. It is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean and almost all of the time tourists feel secure whether they are out day or night. Whether you are renting a car, walking or taking a bus tour, it is very simple to get around. A lot of places are accessible during Aruba vacation and many are within a walking distance.
Best time to go to Aruba
What's the best time to go for Aruba vacation? While the weather is almost the same year-round, the decision for the best time to travel to Aruba would be more about how much you are willing to spend. The most popular season is from December to May, when hotel prices soar. During summer and fall Aruba is more affordable. Aruba also hosts an abundance of festivals, during which the prices may go up. You can see the schedule of festivals here.
Where is Aruba on the map?
Aruba is a tiny island, located in the Caribbean Sea, to the west of other Caribbean islands, 29 kilometres (18 mi) to the North of South America, just off the coast of Venezuela. One of the group of 3 Dutch islands known as ABC islands, Aruba is the "A" of the group, and located to the west of the "B" - Bonaire, and "C" - Curaçao. Click on the images to see where Aruba is located on the map in relation to other Caribbean islands, to the USA, Mexico and South America.
Capital city of Aruba
Oranjestad is a capital city of Aruba. It is the largest city in the country with its' population calculating at approximately 35,000 in 2015.© Ritu Jethani | Dreamstime.com
Population in Aruba
The estimated mid-year 2016 population statistics in Aruba were calculated in be at 104,193. That is about a 0.36% change since the year of 2015. The male population in Aruba is calculated to be at approximately 49,474 (47.4%) while the female population is approximately at 54,798 (52.6%). The median age for Arubans is 40.5 years old and about 41.5% of the population is urban.
Local People in Aruba
Aruban population is around 108,000 and is a cultural mixture, comprised mostly of Caquetio Indians, African and European descendants. Aruba's safety and strong economy attract immigrants from other Caribbean islands, South America, Africa and even Asia. Locals live in small, cute, pastel-colored houses called Cunucu.
Local Language in Aruba
The official language in Aruba is Dutch, but almost the entire population speaks English, Spanish and a local language called Papiamento, which is a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, Arawakan and African languages. Papiamento is spoken on the two other ABC Islands - Curaçao and Bonaire.
How easy is it to get to Aruba
Nothing can be easier than travelling for Aruba vacation. You will be amazed at the modern Aruban airport, the Queen Beatrix International Airport that looks like a cutting-edge architecture.
Aruba is served with Aruban Airlines as well as a number of international air services and the Aruban airport has about 100 flights per every week, all ranging from many countries in the world, whether is it North America, Latin America, Europe or Asia.
Aruba vacation options
Aruba offers a variety of vacation options - all inclusive resorts, hotels with breakfast option and cheaper hotels and resorts not offering any meal plans. Vacation rentals are also in abundance in Aruba. If you choose the all-inclusive option, keep in mind that you will have to notify or show your bracelet in your hotel's restaurants, as a lot of people are vacationing without this option.
Restaurants may offer different menus for all-inclusive and not all-inclusive guests, or surcharge may be applicable to certain dishes. For example, you could be all-inclusive, but still have to pay a bit for a highly popular steak. Completely all-inclusive dishes are also available.
Since Aruban land was taken over by Dutch people back in 1636, Arubans had to adapt to foreign customs including the cuisine. Some of the authentic and very tasty Aruban food includes dishes like a Cool Island Soup, which consists of lime juice, apricot nectar, pineapple, cantaloupe and papaya. It's the most refreshing and rejuvenating soup to have when the weather is hot and your body is asking for a cold refreshment.
Other dishes of Aruban cuisine that are very popular among the locals and that get served at Aruba's eateries are "Keri keri" (it is a dish that is is made of green pepper, basil leaves, celery, onion and fish), "Keshi yena" (which is a spicy mixture of beef or chicken that is stuffed into gouda cheese and then baked) and "Cala" a traditional Aruban dish, that is made of bean fritters.
Some of the mostly and often used ingredients when preparing the Aruban meals are chicken, beef, fish and rice. A very mouthwatering Aruban snack that is a must-try is called a "Pastechi". It is a simple pie, but generously filled with beef, cheese and the spices. A slice of that pie along with Aruban Balashi Beer and you will be in heaven.
Many of the supermarkets carry imported products from Italy, United States or China, so you are sure to recognize a lot of international merchandise on the shelves during your Aruba vacation.
Weather in Aruba
Aruba climate is tropical semi-arid, with lots of sunshine, no hurricanes and very little rain. While absence of rain can be a problem for the country in terms of vegetation growing, for you it means that you can almost certainly expect a nice sunny weather during Aruba vacation year-round. The average temperature in Aruba is 82°F (28°C), with record highs of 90.5°F (32.5°C) to 97°F (36.1°C).
It's always windy in Aruba, clouds fly by really fast and the wind is the reason why all the trees bend towards the same direction. While it's always windy, it's not really a problem, because otherwise Aruban weather would be unbearably hot. The wind creates strong waves, but you can still swim and enjoy water sports in the northwestern side of the island, the area where all the hotels are located.
Average weather in Aruba by : Wikipedia
Public Transportation in Aruba
Aruba offers a fast and reliable public transportation by bus, offered by Arubus company. You can see the schedule of buses here. The capital Oranjestad has a single line of tramway called Oranjestad Streetcar, with only a few trams and a few stops. The tramway has more entertainment than transportation value.
Traveling by taxi is a breeze during Aruba vacation. You can ask for a taxi at the front desk, or flag them on the street (We have). Taxi rates are fixed in Aruba - there are no meters. The rate from the Aruba airport to your hotel will cost you from 22 to 30 dollars, depending on the distance. Tipping the driver is on you. Call the taxi at 297-5822116 or 297 582 2010.
Rent a car
Renting a car is an excellent option in Aruba. Roads are in pretty good condition in the western part of the island, where all the resorts, restaurants and bars are located. Roads are quite rough on the eastern wilder side of the island, and you might want to rent a jeep if you want to explore the area. Driving is on the right side of the road in Aruba. You can familiarize yourself with Aruban traffic signs in advance. Budget.com offers great prices for a car rental for your Aruba vacation.
Money in Aruba
While Aruban florin is the local currency, you can pay anywhere in US dollars. In fact, locals much prefer to be paid in US dollars. But they often give change in florins, if they don't have it in dollars and cents. You might not need to exchange your dollars at all. Prices are often displayed in US dollars. A lot of the items are the same as in the US, sometimes beautified by "I Love Aruba" logo.
Arts, crafts and Aruban souvenirs are available at the flea market. Bargaining is OK at a flea market, when you shop for local crafts and souvenirs, but not acceptable in shopping malls, and inside your hotel. But even at the flea market, Arubians are pretty firm in their prices, so you can't expect to haggle a very low price. Major credit cars are accepted virtually everywhere in the stores, which gives you a peace of mind on your Aruba vacation.
Tipping in Aruba
Aruban restaurants may include a 10%-15 % service charge. If they are not included, or if you are in an a-la-carte restaurants in an all-inclusive hotel on your Aruba vacation, a 10% tip is acceptable. For all-inclusive buffets leave $1-2 if they didn't assist you much. More, if they went out of the way to find you seats, bring coffee or more. Tip a cleaning lady about $2 every morning.
Safety in Aruba
Aruba is a very safe island, with practically non-existent crime rate. The biggest crime related to a tourist happened in 2005, when an American girl Natalie Holloway disappeared. The case received a lot of media attention. You can walk around the island, take a taxi or rent a car and go explore anywhere and feel absolutely safe. Since Aruba is such a small island, it's virtually impossible to get lost here during your Aruba vacation. Inside hotels, security guards are always present.
Water in Aruba
Aruba meets the highest standards for water quality at the World's Health Organization, for its' pure and refreshing water. Water in Aruba is very safe to drink and there is no necessity to buy bottled water.
Aruba vacation Tips - Electricity
Electrical outlets in Aruba provide a 110 to 120 voltage. Aruba has changed its' voltage to the North American voltage standard; therefore, a plug adapter is all you need when travelling to Aruba island. Just bring your electronics, their chargers and cables, plug adapters and you are good to go.
Aruba vacation Tips - Local Time
Aruba island lives on an Atlantic Time Zone; however, Aruba does not observe Daylight-Saving Time. This means that Aruba is one hour ahead of the Eastern Standard Time.
Cool facts about Aruba
Another interesting thing about Aruba is that the landscape is radically different in the western and eastern sides of the island. All major resorts and beautiful beaches are located in the West. Divi Divi tree is a common site all over the beaches throughout the West. The leaves of Divi Divi tree always point southwest due to constant winds coming from northeast.
In contrast, on the eastern side of Aruba you can see the entire landscape covered with cacti, of all imaginable shapes and sizes.