Caribbean Travelweb


Guide To Aruba

 

Description

Perfect weather, gorgeous beaches, shimmering seas, duty-free shopping, and friendly Dutch West Indies hosts shouting "Bon Bini" (welcome) will greet you upon arrival in Aruba. The island will capture your heart as you experience friendly hospitality in the hotels, restaurants, casinos, and shops throughout the island.

Aruba is located in the heart of the southern Caribbean, 15 miles (20 km) off the coast of Venezuela. It is 19.6 miles (30 kilometers) long and 6 miles (9 km) across, at its widest point. Aruba is located outside the hurricane belt and enjoys an average temperature of 85 F. So there is no bad time to visit Aruba.

The southern, leeward coast is lined with beautiful, sparkling white sand and is commonly known as the Turquoise Coast for the colorful tint of the water. There are many secluded sections of private beach or more popular strips by the hotels.

Water sports include windsurfing, kitesurfing, fishing, sailing snorkeling and more. Scuba Diving in Aruba is famous for the spectacular shipwrecks and interesting coral formations that dominate Aruba’s underwater realm. This includes the 400 foot Antilla wreck, which is the largest wreck in the Caribbean.

See below for more information on activities.

Getting There

The following airlines have Aruba on their route:

Entry Requirements

For complete entry requirements, please visit http://www.aruba.com/sigma/Entry_Req-Eng.pdf

Helpful Visitor Information

Getting Around

Taxis
Rates, set by the Government, are based on destination rather than mileage traveled and are for the total number of passengers in the car or van.

Rental Cars
There are a number of international and local rental agencies. It's nice to be able to explore the entire island at your leisure. But many of the roads are rugged and not suitable for a car. Make sure that your spare tire is full of air before heading out into the rough rugged terrain. Many 4-wheel drive rentals often have no roof, so make sure you put on sun block because the sun shines brightly in Aruba! 4-wheel drive vehicles are numerous but they are often hard to get because they are used for "Jeep Safari" tours that are popular sightseeing day trips.
- Arubans drive on the right-hand side of the road.
- The minimum age of 21-25 and the maximum of 65-70 vary slighty by company.
- International driving license or any valid license held for at least two full years is required.
- Unlimited mileage; rates subject to change without notice.
- Deposit of US $500 or open signed credit card.
- Towing service available.
- Windsurf roof racks upon availability and upon request.
- Pick up service available, with some exceptions, at the cruise terminal.
- Insurance recommended, but does not cover if the driver is intoxicated in a car accident.

Scooters and motorcycles are also available and lots of fun. A regular driver's licence is all you need! Helmets are supplied.


Gasoline
Gas pumps for your rental car register in liters: 1.06 quarts to 1 liter. One gallon is 3.78 liters. Prices at gas stations are in Aruba florins. It is not usually the custom to pump gas for oneself, please check if the attendants are to pump gas or if it is a self-service gas station.

Buses
There is inexpensive and reliable daily bus service between all the districts and the hotel areas. Check at your hotel for schedules and hours. The main bus station is located in downtown Oranjestad across from the waterfront shops and restaurants.

Telephone Services: For dialing direct calls from Aruba, the code into the international circuit is 00 followed by the country code, area code and the number. For assistance, call 121.
Aruba's International telephone country code is 297. To direct dial Aruba from the U.S., the code is 011-297-plus the number.
You can use the public phones (with Aruban calling cards) that are placed all over the island. Unfortunately, it is not possible yet to use your foreign cell phone in Aruba, due to the specifics of the telephone net in Aruba. If you want to rent a cellphone, there are several places where you go.

Mail Services
The Central Post Office is located diagonally across from San Francisco Church in Oranjestad. Open from Mondays to Fridays from 7.30 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. The Post office at the Royal Plaza Mall in Oranjestad is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 6.45 p.m.

Dress
Aruba is tropical and very warm. You should bring light, casual clothing. It is generally not allowed to enter shops or casino’s in your bathing suit. Evening's lower temperatures and breezes may warrant a light jacket if you chill easily.

Water
There is no need to buy bottled water, Aruba’s water from the tap is praised for its excellent quality and taste. Aruba’s drinking water flows from the world’s second largest desalinization plant. It is not only perfectly pure and safe to drink, it’s also very delicious.

Electricity
Aruba has the same voltage standard as in North America (110 volts AC). Therefore, European appliances (that use 220 volts) generally cannot be used in Aruba (unless you have a converter).

Safety
Aruba has always been considered one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean, however incidents may occur. Please do not provide temptation by leaving your valuables unattended on the beach or in your rental car.

Room Taxes
Generally, there is an 11% service charge on room rates. Most hotels also apply a 6% government tax.

Tipping/Service Charge
Most Aruban restaurants maintain a service charge of between 10 and 20%.

Shopping
Shops are open Monday through Saturday from 8 AM to 12 noon (many closing for lunch) and from 2 PM to 6 PM. Some stores close Tuesday afternoons. The Alhambra Bazaar is open until midnight. Bargaining on prices in Aruba is not considered polite - even in the many bazaars. What to look for - china and crystal, clothing and accessories, leather goods, jewelry, local crafts, food (Edam and Gouda cheese and Dutch chocolates).

Visitor Activities and Attractions

Golf
Tierra del Sol, at the island's northwest tip, is Aruba's first world-class golf course. The 18-hole, par-71 course was designed by Robert Trent Jones II to take full advantage of its rugged natural surroundings. The course manages to pair peerless course design with a celebration of Aruba's wildlife.

The Aruba Golf Club presents the challenge of the Caribbean's most unusual nine-hole golf course, with oiled sand greens, the ever-present trade winds, and an occasional goat as a live hazard.

Adventure Golf, a miniature golf course surrounded by water, is located on L.G. Smith Blvd., behind La Cabana All-Suite Beach Resort & Casino. There are also paddle boats and other amenities.

Horseback Riding
Aruba's topography offers a variety of exotic locations for adventurous visitors. From the challenging sand dunes to the desert-like plains that will make you feel like the star of your own western motion picture. Along the way capture spectacular views atop the Arikok Hills with your camera. Riding experience is not required. Several ranches offer horseback tours and adventures.

Tennis and Racquetball
The Aruba Racquet Club, Aruba's first world-class tennis center, is located at Rooi Santo 21 in the Palm Beach area. It features eight lighted courts, an exhibition center court, a pro shop, a swimming pool, aerobics classes, a fitness center, and a bar and restaurant. Opening hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Most leading hotels also have tennis courts and tennis instructors.

Scuba Diving/Snorkeling
Diving in Aruba is famous for the spectacular shipwrecks and interesting coral formations that dominate Aruba’s underwater realm. This includes the 400 foot Antilla wreck, which is the largest wreck in the Caribbean.

Good snorkeling spots include Arashi beach, Boca Grandi, Baby Beach and many more. Gear can be rented at watersports centers along the hotel area. There are several tours that combine sailing and snorkeling.

Jet Skis
The smooth seas of the south and west coasts are perfect for both beginners and experienced skiers. Jet skis are restricted to certain areas. Please ask your hotel for details.

Windsurfing
The constant 15-knot trade winds, along with the variety of flat-water locations and challenging wave conditions, have made Aruba one of the most popular spots on earth for windsurfers. Whether you're a beginner, an expert or anywhere in between, you can find a suitable location for your skill level.

Novices can take advantage of the gentler winds and abundance of equipment and instructors along the island's southern shore, and advanced students and experts have a choice of any number of prime locations along the northern and southeastern coasts.

Every year in June, Aruba hosts the Hi-Winds Amateur World Challenge windsurfing tournament. This ten-day competition attracts the most competitive professional windsurfers and hundreds of amateurs to the island of Aruba.

Fishing
In the temperate waters around Aruba, a variety of Atlantic game fish can be caught year-round. Sailfish, white and blue marlin, wahoo, shark, barracuda, amberjack, kingfish, bonito, and blackfin and yellowfin tuna are abundant.

You can experience a full day or a half-day charter on fishing boats. Excursions can be arranged through your hotel activity desk or directly with the captain of the boat of your choice. Most charter fishing boats operate from Seaport Marina, across from the Sonesta Hotel in Oranjestad.

Kite Boarding
Kite Boarding is one of the newest watersports that is quickly gaining popularity anywhere in the world where there is water. With the help of very large inflatable kites, about 90 ft of flying lines and boards not unlike small surfboards with footstraps proficient kite boarders are able to skim across the water surface at 30+ miles an hour and get launched 10, 20, 30, even 40 to 50 ft up in the air. This is a sport like no other. With some perseverance you will be amazed at how steep the learning curve is too. Aruba is one of the premier locations for this exciting new sport.

Kayaking
Kayaking is a relatively new adventure on Aruba, and visitors are taking to it with enthusiasm. Because the waters on the leeward side of the island are so calm, kayaking is relaxing and peaceful way to explore Aruba’s coast. No experience is necessary. A well-informed local guide leads you through the basics and handles all the details from pick-up to drop-off at your hotel.

Parasailing
Enjoy Aruba from a different angle. Parasailing is a unique and exciting way to look at Aruba's beautiful beaches and scenery. It is an ultimate feeling of freedom. Get a bird's-eye view, while you are towed along by a speedboat. The ride takes about 20 to 25 minutes and ascends and descents directly from the boat. The airtime of your ride is 8 to 10 minutes.

Biking
Flat terrain and deserted back roads make ideal conditions for bike enthusiasts. Traffic is too heavy in the tourist areas and on the main road along the western coast, and wind can be a deterrent for some. However, the paved roads and smoother dirt paths along the northern coast are scenic and enjoyable when the wind is calm.

Hiking
Arikok National Park has already laid 20 miles of trails and more are planned. Some of the rock-bordered dirt paths lead to formal presentations and learning centers; others branch out to the isolate undeveloped areas along the park’s north and south boundaries.

Carnival
You have not lived until you have experienced the spirit of Carnival as it is celebrated in Aruba!

Carnival means weeks of events that bring you colorfully decorated floats, contagiously throbbing music, luxuriously costumed groups of celebrants of all ages, King & Queen elections, electrifying jump ups and torch light parades that wind their way through the streets at night, the Jouvert morning: the Children's Parades and finally the Grand Parade.This has got to be the greatest party ever!

 
 

 






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Where To Stay


Cunucu Residence