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.
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.
|AWG 1 =||US$ 0.56||Â£ 0.36||C$ 0.57||A$ 0.54||R 4.70||EUR 0.44||NZ$ 0.70|
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
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.
All passports must be valid for period of intended stay. It is highly recommended that travellers always have six months validity on their passports after departure. 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.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
Aruba Tourism Authority, Oranjestad: +297 582 3777 or www.aruba.com
Foreign Embassies in Aruba
Aruba's capital, Oranjestad, is the first stop for most visitors. Its small harbour, once reserved for schooners and fishing boats, now attracts cruise ships from all over the world, and the island's Queen Beatrix airport is located just south of the city. Despite the thousands of tourists that pour into the town it has managed to retain its traditional charm.
Oranjestad's downtown streets are lined with pastel-coloured Dutch colonial houses adorned with ornate gable roofs, and the average tourist will be unaware that many are recent imitations. The presence of many an orange coloured faÃ§ade, too, not only points to the capital's name, but to the island's connection to the Netherlands and William of Orange, a Dutch monarch instrumental in the gaining of Dutch independence
A highlight in Oranjestad is the Archaeological Museum, with exhibits on Aruba's original Arawak inhabitants and, in the restored 18th-century Fort Zoutman, the Museo Arubano displays Aruba's pre-European and colonial eras. The Numismatic Museum has a large collection of coins from over 400 countries, many salvaged from shipwrecks in the surrounding area. The fort itself is one of Oranjestad's most popular attractions, and built in 1796, it played a pivotal role in battles between CuraÃ§ao and British troops in 1803. In the late 1800s, the Willem III tower (named after the Dutch king at the time) was added to act as a lighthouse.
Although shoppers will find central Oranjestad packed with boutiques, shopping complexes and glitzy 24-hour casinos, it is possible to escape this tourist zone and discover the more authentic town with its lively, if slightly run-down bars where one can enjoy a quiet beer and meet the locals.
Travel Guide powered by www.wordtravels.com, copyright © Globe Media Ltd. All rights reserved. By its very nature much of the information in this guide is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevant authorities. Globe Media does not accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to any person as a result of information contained above.