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    Flag, Coat of Arms, and Tourist Board

    Located in the Southern Caribbean, Aruba is part of the Dutch Antilles, and is just north of Venezuela. Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are relatively close together, and commonly referred to as the ABC islands. Aruba is a culturally diverse mix of Arawak, African and European descent. With a population of 105,000, about 15,000 inhabitants are immigrants from more than 90 countries. Aruba enjoys a strong economy, great weather, and one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean. Arubans are friendly people, maybe because they have no history of war or other conflicts.

    Aruba’s tag line is “One Happy Island”, due to its white sand beaches, friendly inhabitants and refreshing trade winds. Aruba is ideally situated below the hurricane belt and boasts year-round cooling trade winds. Aruba’s flat desert climate means more sunshine, less rain and humidity. Aruba appeals to families, honeymooners, adventurers, romantics and foodies alike, and has a high degree (60%) of repeat visitors. A tropical destination with warm, hospitable people, it is the perfect place for first-time guests and loyal visitors. Some like to relax on the beach, still others fill their time with watersports, and others make the most of the natural beauty of the island.

    Volcanic in origin, Aruba is a small island, about the size of Washington DC: 70 square miles and 19 miles long, between 2 and 8 miles wide. Mostly flat, with no rivers, Aruba is known for its white sand beaches and turquoise water, with great visibility for diving and snorkeling. The Netherlands, or Dutch, Antilles includes Aruba along with the islands of Bonaire, Curaçao, Saint Maarten, Saba and Saint Eustatius.

    Dry and arid, Aruba’s temperature remains fairly constant due to the constant trade winds. Outside the hurricane belt, Aruba enjoys sunny days year round. The divi-divi tree is shaped by the continual breeze, with some appearing to grow sideways. Dozens of species of cacti thrive in the dry milieu. Land and sea birds are numerous, as well as a variety of lizards and iguanas. The largest mammal is the wild donkey, originally imported by the Spanish for transportation of goods and people, abandoned with the advent of cars and bicycles.

    Population and Culture
    A mix of Arawak, African and European, a third of Aruba’s population lives in or around the capital city of Oranjestad. Carnival, also called Bacchanal, has evolved into a month long celebration in Aruba, featuring parades and street parties known as “jump-ups”. Carnival is the biggest event of the year in Aruba, and one of the biggest in the whole Caribbean.  The Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival draws musicians from around the globe, and creates a stage for local musicians.

    Dutch is the official language, and Papiamento are the official native language. Papiamento is a creole language with African and Portuguese roots, evolving over the years to include Arawak, Dutch and Spanish influence, reflecting the diversity of Aruba’s culture. Most Arubans also speak English and Spanish.

    Music and Dance
    Dande is Aruba’s own traditional dance, born to celebrate the end of slavery, today part of their unique New Year celebration. Small groups of revelers perform door-to-door, bringing good wishes for the year ahead. Gaita migrated to Aruba from Venezuela, and has evolved from a Christmas theme to include love, humor and even political protest. Over the years, Aruba has embraced Gaita as integral to its culture.

    Typical Aruban cuisine is reflective of its multi-cultural heritage, combining Dutch, and Spanish traditions with the bounty of the Caribbean.  Ubiquitous Dutch-influenced dishes include “Keshi yena”, Dutch Edam cheese filled with chicken or goat and “Bitterbal”, which are fried croquettes filled with meat or seafood. Restaurants choices range from fast food to haute cuisine, from Brazilian Churrascaria to Spanish Tapas.

    Architectural Design
    The Dutch influence is evident in the colorful capital city Oranjestad, literally “Orange Town”. Elaborate adornments like balconies, arches, porticoes and trim are distinctly Dutch Colonial; bright colors are Aruba’s own contribution. Fort Zoutman, built in 1796 for protection against pirates, is the oldest building in Aruba, and today is the home of the Historical Museum. Early “cunucu”, or country, houses were simply built of mud and limestone, with small windows and high peaked roofs to keep out the heat. Style today is similar, with more modern building materials.

    Tourist Office
    For more information about events, promotions and things-to-do in Aruba, go to the Tourist Office Page or visit the official Aruba Tourism Authority website.

    Note: Information provided on this page were derived from a combination of internal research and readily-available outside sources, such as destination tourism offices, official press releases and marketing media kits.

    Fast Facts

    Capital: Oranjestad

    Anthem: “Aruba Dushi Tera”

    Language: Dutch and Papiamento are the official languages; most Arubans also speak English and Spanish.

    Government: Aruba separated from the other five islands of the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a singular entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

    Size: 70 square miles; 19 miles long, between 2 and 8 miles wide.

    Population: 102,000 (2012)

    Location: Southern Caribbean, Lesser Antilles, 17 miles north of Venezuela

    Climate and Temperature: 82°F monthly mean temperature, water temperatures generally range between 75°F and 85°F. With a desert climate, Aruba enjoys warm sunshine almost every day. With strong trade winds and low humidity, Aruba is the ideal beach destination. Sunscreen is strongly recommended. Wind and kite surfing are excellent due to the prevailing winds. Rainfall average of 38 inches per year; most of the rain falls October through January, usually in short showers.

    Electricity: 110 Volts AC, same as the United States

    Currency: While the Florin (AWG) is the official currency of Aruba, the US dollar is widely accepted across the island.

    ATMs: ATMs can be found in many convenient locations throughout the island.

    Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time (same as Eastern Daylight Time).

    Water: Water is potable, and comes from the world’s second largest desalinization plant. Bottled water is also available at most hotels and convenience stores.

    Driving: Driving is on the right-hand side of the road, and a driver’s license is required. Right turn on red is illegal.

    Rentals: Car, jeeps and bike rentals available.

    Dress Code: Casual but in good taste; short shorts, bikinis, bra-type are undesirable in public places. Topless swimming and/or sunbathing are not permitted, but may be tolerated.

    Importation: Visitors 18 and older are permitted to bring 2 liters of liquor, 200 cigarettes and 250 grams of tobacco.

    Cruising/Bare Boating: Most private yachts arrive in the Renaissance Marina, part of the Aruba Renaissance Resort in Oranjestad, and should contact the Aruba Port Authority at channel 16/11 in order to clear Customs, and Immigration. Water and electricity are available for a fee.

    Pets: Cats and dogs from certain countries are welcome with a health certificate from a veterinarian and a rabies certificate. Be sure to check with The Netherlands Embassy, the airline and your accommodations for specifics.

    Travel Information
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    By Air
    Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) is located in Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, and is one of the most modern airports in the Caribbean. Aruba is accessible via 100 non-stop flights every week from 14 North American gateways and one-stop connections from almost every city in the USA and Canada.

    The nearest international gateways are Atlanta (3 hours), Miami (2.5 hours) and New York (4 hours).

    A valid passport (through the end of your stay) and return and onward tickets are required for all visitors to Aruba.

    Green Cards
    Green card holders must have a valid green card and valid passport from their country of origin.  In some cases, visas are still required for entry into Aruba. During their stay in Aruba, tourists are not allowed to work.

    For the latest information on Nationals requiring visas or Direct Airside Transit Visas to enter Aruba please check with the embassy (netherlands-embassy.org).

    Customs and Immigration
    All persons traveling to and from Aruba must clear Customs & Immigration at Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA). The final authority for admission is the migration officer. US visitors to Aruba can pre-clear US Customs on Aruba prior to departure, thus arriving back in the US as a domestic passenger.

    Departure Tax
    A US $36.75 departure tax applies to all tourists over the age of 2 departing from Aruba, and may be already included in the price of your airline ticket.


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