Frequently Asked Questions
About Aruba

Aruba Bound!  Frequently Asked Questions About Aruba

What is there to do in Aruba?

Watersports | Activities for Kids | Nightlife | Sightseeing | Scuba Diving | Other Things to Do

What is the difference between Eagle Beach & Palm Beach?

Eagle/ Manchebo/ Druif Beach are commonly known together as Eagle Beach (map) and have some waves. Here you can also feel the wind a little more than on Palm Beach. Eagle is wide, long and very white. Because of it's width and length it will be less crowded than Palm Beach. There is less boat activity, so the water is clearer. At times, Eagle Beach does have some waves.

Palm Beach is also long and white, but narrower and a lot less wind. Because the beach is narrower, it may seem crowded, but most of the resorts, have long stretches for spreading out. My husband and I have also discovered that the lack of waves here makes a wonderful way to spend an afternoon on a float. Definitely one of our favorite activities. You can rent them for about $5 a day.

Water all over the island is blue, warm and refreshing. Our personal preference for Palm Beach over Eagle Beach is activity. Here you are within walking distance of 6 casinos, some fantastic restaurants and the basics like Dunkin Donuts, Subway, TCBY and a Pizzeria. On Palm Beach you will also find loads of watersports: waterskiing, parasail, banana boats, sailboats, kayaks etc. All of the hotels along Palm Beach, with the exception of the Marriott, are connected by a beachside walk way.   top

Taxes

8% government tax on hotel rooms, plus an additional 11% service charge. Most restaurants & hotel services will also add a 15% gratuity to your bill. See Tipping.   top

Relocation Information

Moving to Aruba | Permanent Residence Permits | Temporary or Permanent Work Permit | Living in Aruba   top

What time is sunset?

Custom Sunrise Sunset Calendar
Sun or Moon Rise/Set Table for One Year Aruba is 12 30 N, 69 58 W & 4 hours west of Greenwich   top

How strong is the sun?

New York is 41 degrees North Latitude
Miami is 25 degrees North Latitude
Aruba is 12 degrees North Latitude which is also known as 12 degrees north of the equator   top

Major Supermarkets?

Certified Megastore, Kong Hing Supercenter, Ling & Sons & Pueblo Food Center   top

Friends of Bill W.    &    ALANON

Ask your hotel's front desk or concierge for the days of the week & time of meetings.   top

What is the legal drinking & gambling age?

18 years old.   top

Toplessness & Nudity

From Francis Jacobs, the PR Coordinator of the Aruba Tourism Authority,
"I would like to explain a little bit about your concern. Topless in Aruba is not illegal, there is no law against it, but it's not permitted on public beaches. We have two private beaches where they accept to do so, which are The Renaissance island & De Palm island. Manchebo Beach Resort deals a lot with European & they have a separated area where European go Topless, but they are not allowed to walk on the beach topless. Thank you so much for your interest on the island Aruba, & hope to see you soon."

Perspective from Jamilie Geerman, an Aruban female in her twenty's,
"Well, I think it's disrespectful, & the elderly Aruban's think the same. I guess men don't care, & actually like it. But as women, we don't feel so comfortable with it, & feel it's disrespectful. Some on the other hand don't care. I say it's not allowed near La Cabana [a family resort on Eagle Beach] for example, & that it is very disrespectful for little kids. I don't care much for me, but for the little kids."

As a side note, all Aruba beaches are public & children can be found just about anywhere on them on the island. Even on school days, it is part of the curriculum.   top


Standards for Dress

Perspective from Jamilie Geerman, an Aruban female in her twenty's,
"About the clothing part, I say that if you are going to a nice restaurant…you should stick yourself a little to the dress code, & avoid wearing shorts. We see many tourists doing that, even to casino's like that. I know everyone is up to decide what they wear where...so I guess it's up to the way you are brought up also, but I would really like to see them wearing more respectful when they go to a nice restaurant. I think shorts are out of place in a nice & fancy restaurant. Living in the US I noticed that here they don't do that much. Arubans look at that, & say, geez, look at how those tourists are dressed with shorts, & sneakers or slippers in a fancy restaurant. What we also think is disrespectful is when bathing suits are worn to some places. Just keep yourself to the dress code while you are in Aruba. Dress something other than beach shorts to a nice restaurant, we know that you are on vacation, but still... you don't want to stand out that much in the crowd, & have us point at you like "there are some tourists again"... "wearing shorts & sneakers to a nice restaurant or casino"...... on the other side, some don't care & say, wear what you please.... so there are different point of view. I say that you should wear something a little nice, can be casual, but nice, to a fancy restaurant, & wear shorts when you go to McDonalds & Subway."   top

How did the California area get its name?

The original name of this area was Hudishibana. California was the name of a steamship shipwrecked of this wild coast in the middle of the night- September 23rd, 1891. The accident resulted in the death of one crew member- the ship's engineer.
Onboard there was a great deal of merchandise such as clothing, provisions & even furniture. All of these items were thrown overboard in an attempt to keep the ship afloat. As goods floated up to the shore it was picked up by locals & to be sold in the markets.
2 police officers from Curacao were called to Aruba to help stop the locals from stealing the goods as they floated ashore. Traveling to the northern edge of the island, they stopped & asked for directions. They were not aware that California was a ship, their orders were simply to help local police. The locals thought it amusing that the cops were looking for a "place" that no one had ever heard of. Thus the nickname & reason why this area has became known as California.
This was NOT the Californian. The Californian of Titanic infamy was sunk off the coast of Greece-Cape Matapan- during World War I. For more information contact the Aruban library.
SS Californian From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Titanic & the "Mystery Ship"- Californian
The Titanic The Californian
Titanic & the Californian
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Where to find Internet access & check e-mail?

There are two internet cafes in downtown Oranjestad. Some resorts also have kiosks for internet access for their guests.   top

Is there Internet Wi-Fi wireless Internet access from my hotel?

At this time, there are over 50 hotspots on the island. WiFi Aruba.com   top

Rainfall in the Leeward Islands

Climatology
The leeward islands of the Dutch Antilles: Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire have a semi-arid climate with average yearly rainfall of approximately 21.65 per year. "This is due to an extension of the Azores high and locally it is also connected with an upwelling zone with colder sea surface temperature (SST) along the east-west Venezuelan coast caused by the easterly trade winds...". There is great influence from the mainland 37 miles away.

The rain seasons are divided into three four month parts. October to January is rainy season. During the rainy season, precipitations rain falls mainly early morning or late at night. This is opposite of usual tropical rainfall which is found on mainland South American. This is due to a sea-continent breeze.

February to may is the dry season and "June to September bring the small rains." Most precipitation is in the form "convective events". In plain English, we'll just call it local tropical showers. Source   top

Are There Hurricanes in Aruba?

"Hurricane climatology of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba

The Leeward (ABC) Islands
Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are on the southern fringes of the hurricane belt. They are not outside the hurricane belt as many consider. History learns that roughly once every 100 years considerable damage is experienced by tropical cyclones passing over or just south of the islands. Although the hurricane experience level for the islands may be regarded as nihil, well known is the minor hurricane which passed just south of Curaçao on September 23, 1877 causing an estimated structural damage of US$ 2 million, mainly to the coastal section of Willemstad. A nunnery was completely washed away (remnants still visible with low tide), many ships were lost and at least 70 persons drowned. The lowest barometer reading at Willemstad was observed at 23/15:30 UTC with 995.4 millibars. A ship sailing south of Curaçao reported a lowest pressure of 988.8 millibars.

In this context the most significant events in the past few years were related to tropical storms Joan in 1988, tropical storm Bret in 1993 and tropical storm Cesar in 1996. Tropical storm Joan, which past just south of the islands on October 16, 1988, caused an estimated structural damage of approximately US$1.5 million, mainly by blown off roofs and by rough seas pounding exposed harbor and beach facilities. ...

On the average, once every 4 years a tropical cyclone occurs within a radius of 100 miles, but mostly passing to the north of the islands without causing serious bad weather. ..."Source p.18   top

Hospital & Medical Services

The Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital is well appointed & up-to-date. The telephone number is 874300 & the direct telephone number for ambulance service is 115. Other medical resources such as oxygen rental & Kidney Dialysis are available from businesses on the island. Your hotel will have a list of available doctors & dentists on call.

Rentals:
Labco Medical/Home Healthcare   Contact
Avenida Milio J Croes 52
Phone 582 6651 or 583 1756
Fax 582 6567

Dialysis:
The Posada Clinic offers dialysis with modern stations as you would find in the US. Reserve three months in advance. For information & reservations telephone 297-820840, fax 297-8356100.   top

Electrical current?

In Aruba 110 volts, 60 cycles, the same as that of the USA.   top

Money & Currency

The Aruban Florin is the local currency linked directly to the United States dollar. Most prices are listed in US dollars. The US dollar is readily accepted all over the island. So are traveler's checks; there is no fee for using traveler's checks at hotels, restaurants & stores, but the local banks will charge a fee for changing traveler's checks (most hotels & casinos will gladly change them to cash for you). Major credit cards are accepted at most establishments, personal checks are not accepted anywhere on the island. Some businesses and restaurants will not accept American Express. Cash advances may be obtained with American Express, MasterCard & Visa cards at credit card offices (Maduro & Sons, in town in front of the gas station on the boulevard, for American Express), in most casinos, at banks & at the Western Union office.   top

What are the hours for Banking?

Banking Hours
Banks are open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday.

ATM locations

ABN/AMRO Bank-
Playa Linda, Port of Call Mall- LG Smith Blvd, Sun Plaza Building- LG Smith Blvd, Seaport Market Place, Kong Hing

Caribbean Mercantile Bank-
Mainstreet Oranjestad, Royal Plaza Mall, Renaissance Village Mall

American Express Office
Oranjestad office open Monday through Friday, report of lost or stolen American Express Cards, American Express Card replacement service, personal check cashing, refunds, exchange & replacement of American Express Traveler checks

Visa/Master Card Services
Interbank, Caribbean Mercantile Bank, Aruba Bank. Cardholder services include report of lost or stolen credit cards & cash advances   top


Drinking Water

Aruba is home to the world's second largest desalinization plants. The water is delicious, pure & safe to drink. Bottled water is any unnecessary expense. The plant is in Balashi. For tours phone the plant at 297-824700 for information.   top

What Language is Spoken in Aruba?

The official language of the island of Aruba is Dutch. The native language is Papiamento. Arubans speak English & Spanish as well. English & Spanish are mandatory in school from Fifth grade on up. Classes are taught in Dutch & French is mandatory for 2 years in HAVO & VWO (high school). So…many Arubans speak: Dutch, English, Spanish, French and their native Papiamento.

Papiamento
Papiamento is the local language, & is spoken on the islands of Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao. It is a language, not a dialect, & evolved from several older languages (Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, & even English) as all others have done throughout the history of the spoken word. It's a very melodic language with a rhythm of it's own.   top


Religious Services

Religions represented on the island include Protestant, Jewish, Baha'I Faith, Catholic, Dutch Reform, Anglican, Catholic, Evangelical, Methodist, Baptist, 7th-Day Adventist, Church of Christ. Times & languages of services can be verified by the concierge at your hotel.   top

Time Zone

Atlantic Standard Time, which is the same as Eastern Daylight Savings Time. In winter, Aruba will be one hour ahead of New York City & during the summer, Aruba will be the same time as New York City. Keep in mind, the time of arrival & departure on your airplane tickets corresponds to time in that specific destination. For example, during the winter flying to Aruba you will lose one hour that will then be gained on the flight home.   top

How to make a direct phone call to Aruba?

From the US: 011 - 297+6-digit local number
From all other countries: Country’s International access code - 297 +6-digit local number   top

Will U.S. cellular phones work in Aruba?

Yes, if you have a GSM (Global System for Mobile Telecommunications) cell phone you can purchase a SIM-unlocked compatible card in Aruba to telephone the US. Check out Telestial, SETAR or Digicel for a pre-paid SIM card.

Cingular/AT&T Customers can access information "Traveling Outside the US". You need to know if your wireless device will work in Aruba. You also need to activate an international roaming account.

International Calling with AT&T World

Messaging and Data Charges: Pay-Per-Use Charges for International:
Charges for international messages sent from the U.S. are $0.25 for
Text Messages and $0.50 for Picture/Video Messages.

Charges for usage while roaming internationally:
$0.50 for each text message sent,
$1.30 for each picture/video message sent, and $0.0195 for each kilobyte used.
Standard rates apply to all incoming messages. Additional charges for premium messages and content apply. For full details on Messaging and Data services go to att.com/dataterms.

Verizon Wireless
International calling to/from Aruba is available. Your phone must be activated for international dialing and accepting international calls. The programming must be done from your home calling area.

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Telephoning the US from Aruba

Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba (SETAR NV) Aruba's national telecommunication provider is the principal telecommunication company on the island. For info while on the island, you may dial 118.

SETAR has several Public Phone Booths around the island. SETAR offers Card-Operated and Coin-Operated Phones. If you want to stay in touch with your family and friends abroad while on vacation, you can call prepaid from one of these booths. Public Phone Cards are available at more than 100 locations on the island

Some SETAR Card Phone Booth Locations Include:
Airport, various locations
Arubus Terminal
Renaissance Mall & Marketplace
Most Resort Hotels
Additional Locations

Teleshop Locations Include: complete list
SETAR Teleshop, Irausquin
SETAR Teleshop, Palm Beach
SETAR Teleshop, Royal Plaza
SETAR Teleshop, Santa Cruz
SETAR Teleshop, San Nicolas

You may also rent a cell phone:
Chapeau Aruba Cell Phone Rental
SETAR Mobile Phone Reservation Service
Fast Phone Aruba
Rent A Cell: Aruba
Digicel Aruba   top

What does N.V. stand for?

The abbreviation N.V. stands for Naamloze Vennootschap which is the Dutch terminology for a public limited liability company.   top

Aruba Customs, Currency & Airport Tax regulations details

Customs Rules

Import regulations::
Free import by non-residents older than 15 years (residents may import half the duty free quantities). If more is imported the whole quantity is dutiable:

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars;
2. 1 litre of distilled beverages or 2.25 litres of wine or 3 litres beer;
3. gift articles up to a value of AWG 100.-.   top

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