Top events in Aruba

May
23

Held on the last weekend of May, the Soul Beach Festival is a two-night concert, which has featured the likes of Sean Paul, Wyclef Jean and Alicia...

June
22

Aruba plays host to brilliant cinematic geniuses including award winning actors, directors and performers from across the globe during the...

June
24

Dera Gai or St. John's Day originated as Aruba's harvest festival. It's celebrated throughout Aruba with traditional dance and song. The symbol of...

Iguanas can be found all over Aruba
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Iguanas can be found all over Aruba

© northern man / Creative Commons

Aruba Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

193 sq km (74.5 sq miles).

Population

104,263 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

573.4 per sq km.

Capital

Oranjestad.

Government

Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Head of state

King Willem-Alexander since 2013, represented locally by Governor Alfonso Boekhoudt since 1 January 2017.

Head of government

Prime Minister Mike Eman since 2009.

Electricity

110 volts AC, 60Hz. North American-style plugs with two flat pins (with or without a round grounding pin) are standard.

Lean back and take it easy on Aruba, which combines the best that Caribbean sea, sand and sunshine have to offer. Aruba's balmy breezes and relaxed pace are just the tonic for any frazzled visitor; just like the soothing aloe vera plant that is found everywhere on the island.

The surrounding waters are populated by colourful creatures such as parrotfish splashed with teal and gold, while bright pink flamingos populate the national park. Aruba's capital, Oranjestad, also dazzles – it's great for shopping. Orange facades brightly array the architecture, indicating the island's historical ties with The Netherlands – Aruba's head of state is still the Dutch ruling monarch.

Favoured by Americans keen to escape extreme weather in winter, Aruba is one of the most popular touristic islands in the southern Caribbean. Sometimes the mob has it right. This island's beautiful beaches, pristine resorts and charming city of Oranjestad are difficult to knock. You'll also find a lively nighttime scene, with glittering casinos, gourmet restaurants and beach-side diners.

Many come on day-trips as part of a cruise, but it's really worth spending a bit more time in Aruba, soaking up its nature, all rugged coasts and gorgeous beaches. In the interior you'll find rocky deserts, expanses filled with cactuses and the iconic divi-divi tree. It's a good idea to hire a car to really make the most of it. Many tourists don't stray far from Oranjestad, but a drive to the northern and eastern shores comes highly recommended. Look out for the California Lighthouse and Seroe Colorado. Modern road signs are still being developed here, so try not to get lost.

As for history, Aruba's first inhabitants are thought to be Amerindians from the Arawak tribe. The island was later colonised by the Spanish, before being taken over by the Dutch in the 17th century. Today's Arubans are for the most part an interesting mix of Amerindian and European heritage, with the island boasting the strongest Arawak heritage in the region. There is also a considerable black population, as well as more recent Venezuelan immigrants. Altogether this makes for a lively local scene that's both welcoming and distinct.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 13 March 2017

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

Most visits to Aruba are trouble-free. However, petty theft and street crime occur. There is violent crime in association with drugs, but this rarely affects tourists. The main tourist areas are generally safe, but you should take sensible precautions. Avoid remote areas at night. Do not take valuables to the beach.  Make sure purses and handbags are closed and not easy to snatch.  

Local travel

When taking a taxi, always check that it is a registered one and negotiate the price before taking the ride. Most taxis do not have meters.

Road travel

Traffic drives on the right-hand side. Main road conditions are relatively good, but roads can become slippery when wet.

Air Travel

Safety concerns have been raised about INSEL Air. The US and Netherlands authorities have prohibited their staff from using the airline while safety checks are being carried out. UK government officials have been told to do the same as a precaution.

Political situation

Aruba is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It shares the same status as Curacao and St. Maarten.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.