Oranjestad - The capital city is
Located on Aruba's picturesque southern coast, Oranjestad is the
historical Dutch capital city where the tall multicolored houses of
Wilheminastraat combine carved wooded doors and traditional Dutch
tiles with airy open galleries and sloping, Aruban-style roofs. Along
the wharf, merchants come to sell fresh fish and produce right off the
boats every morning. All of Aruba’s government buildings and main
offices are located in the capital city,
Oranjestad is also the place to shop or to browse in the marketplace
for Aruban art and local handicrafts. Depending on the time of year,
you could also find yourself in the middle of Carnival, a summertime
festival, the New Year's fireworks, or even a parade in honor of the
Queen. At any time of year, Oranjestad is the bustling meeting place
of tourists and locals alike.
Aruba's first inhabitants were the Caquetios Indians from the Arawak
tribe. Fragments of the earliest known Indian settlements date back
to about 1000 A.D, as do the ancient painted symbols still visible on
limestone caves found at Fontein, Ayo and elsewhere. Pottery
remnants can still be seen at the Museum of Archaeology.
Some centuries later, the first European landed on Aruban shores.
Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda is thought to have arrived about
1499. The Spanish promptly exported the Indians to Santo Domingo
in the Do,inican Republic, where they were put to work in the copper
In 1636, near the culmination of the Eighty Years' War between
Spain and Holland, the Dutch took possession of Aruba and
remained in control for nearly two centuries. In 1805, during the
Napoleonic Wars, the English briefly took control over the island, but
it was returned to Dutch control in 1816. Although Aruba continues to
exist within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it functions
Telecommunication services in Aruba are
provided by Servicio di Telecommunication di
Aruba (SETAR). International, direct and
operator-assisted calls are possible to all
countries in the world. In addition to these
services, SETAR has been developing a mobile
communication infrastructure. A new city
paging system with tone, voice (mail), numeric
and alphanumeric options have been installed.
Cellular telephones and Internet service is
provided on the island.
AT&T customers can dial 800-8000 from special phones located at
the cruise dock and in the arrival and departure halls at the airport.
From other phones. Dial 121 to contact the SETAR International
operator to place a collect or AT&T Calling Card calls. Telegraph,
telephone and fax services are available at any of the SETAR
Telecommunication services in Aruba are provided by Servicio di
Telecommunicacion di Aruba (SETAR).
Cellular Phone Services
Cellular phone rentals require that an individual show proper
identification, such as a passport, a deposit is required as well.
For more information contact Indel Aruba N.V. at tel (297) 825752 or
837200 or 823667.
Currency Click Here For Currency Exchange
The official currency of Aruba is the Aruban florin, which is divided
into 100 cents. Silver coins are in denominations of 5, 10, 25 and 50
cents, one florin, 2 1/2 florins and 5 florins. The square shaped
50-cent "yotin" coin is probably Aruba's best-known coin.
The florin fluctuates with the dollar on the
world market. Current exchange rates are
Af. 1.77 to the U.S. Dollar and Af. 1.34 to
the Canadian Dollar. U.S. and Canadian
dollars are widely accepted in Aruba, and
banks may exchange other foreign
Banking hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1:30
p.m. to 4 p.m. Most bank branches remain open during lunch. The
Aruba Bank branch at the airport is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4
p.m., except on official holidays.
ATM machines: Travelers with
ATM cards bearing the CIRRUS
or Plus System network logos
can withdraw cash in Aruban
florins. Home bank accounts will
be debited in dollars at a
favorable exchange rate, and a
service charge will apply. Before
departing for Aruba, it's important
to verify whether your PIN
number will work in Aruba by
The excellent education system of Aruba, which is
organized along similar lines as the system in the
Netherlands, provides for education at all levels.
The Government finances almost entirely the
national education system, except for the private
schools, which finance their own activities.
In the 1994 budget 16.6 percent was earmarked for the recurrent expenses of
education and 20 percent for investments. These percentages are higher then
the average of the region. Moreover, in the National Development Plan
1991-1995 an investment budget of AFL 43.8 million (in constant 1990 prices)
has been allocated to education.
At present the educational system consists of the following:
Nursery Schools: in total 23 nursery schools have been established in Aruba.
The schools were attended by some 2,385 pupils in 1994/95.
Primary Education: This is given to children in the age-group of 6-12 years. At
present there are 32 primary schools. These schools had more than 7606
pupils in 1994/95. Besides regular primary education, schools have been
established for children with learning difficulties.
Secondary Education: In total 23 schools for secondary education are
available in Aruba, offering a variety of opportunities, such as Lower
Technology Education (LTO), Education (HAVO), University Preparatory
Education (VWO), Lower Home Economics Education (LHNO), and Lower
Economic, Tourist Trades and Administrative Education (ETAO). In 1994/95
the schools were attended by 5608 students.
Middle Level Professional Education (MBO): This includes the following types
of education: Intermediate Technical Education (MTO), Intermediate
Administrative Education (MAO), and Intermediate Tourist Trades Education
(Aruba Hotel School). In total 3 schools for middle level professional education
have been established in Aruba. These schools were attended by 655
students in 1994/95.
Higher Education: In Aruba there are two institutes of higher education: the
University of Aruba (UA) and the Teacher Trainee College (IPA).
The UA offers at the moment only law and Finance and Economics Faculties.
In 1994/95 a total of 137 students attended these faculties. The IPA is in the
process of reorganization. It is the intention that the new IPA will train
teachers, give refresher courses and conduct research. The IPA had 59
students for 1994/95.
Study Abroad: Since the choice for higher education on the island itself is
limited, many students are studying abroad. In 1994 some 72.2% of the
students went to the Netherlands, and the rest mainly to the US.
The following educational possibilities are also available: pre-nursery
education, adult education, various short courses for vocational training, and
the International school. The International School is especially for children of
foreign executives who are working in Aruba on a contract basis. This school
has the American curriculum.
When visitors arrive by air to Aruba, most are pleasantly surprised to
find a huge, modern international airport, rather than a more typical
"Caribbean style" facility.
With the improvements that have now been completed, Aruba’s
airport is positioned to be a major hub within the Caribbean. What
was once a traditional airport has been transformed into a sprawling
facility, complete with spacious passenger check-in and luggage
& Customs Regulations
To enter Aruba as a tourist the following rules are applicable:
A: By "tourist" is meant any person who visits Aruba for the
purpose of recreation, sports, health, family reasons, study,
religious purposes or business and does not take up any
gainful occupation during his or her stay in Aruba.
B: Visitors from Canada should be in the possession of:
1. A valid Canadian passport
2. A Canadian license with a picture
3. Canadian citizenship card with picture or valid passport
with landed immigrant papers.
4. Canadian residents from whom visa requirements are
applicable must travel with a valid national passport with a
visa for Aruba.
On request of the immigration Official, one should be able to
present sufficient financial means to support themselves
during their stay in Aruba.
C: Nationals of the countries listed below need a visa to enter
Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria, Armenia, Iraq, Peoples Republic of
China, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Belarus,
Kirghiztan Syria, Cambodja, Korea (North), Tajikistan Cuba
Libya, Turkmenisten, Dominican Republic, Mauretania,
Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Ghana, Mongolia,
Vietnam, Haita, and Myanmar.
Applications for a visa can be done through the Aruba
Applications can take from two to four weeks.
D: Nationals from the following countries are allowed to stay
in Aruba for maximum stay up to three months without visa.
Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Licehtenstein, New
Zealand, Switzerland, U.S.A. Nationals of E.U. countries.
E: Visitors entering Aruba from the United States of America
must have in their possession ONE of the following
1. A valid USA passport
2. For USA citizens born in the USA a genuine
(original-official state issued) birth certificate with a raised
seal and a photo ID.
3. For USA citizens born outside the USA a genuine (original)
Certificate of Naturalization with a raised seal and photo ID.
4. A resident of the USA (Non USA citizens) , for whom NO
visa requirements are applicable for Aruba, must have a
re-entry permit or an Alien Registration Card (Green Card).
5. A resident of the USA (Non USA citizen) for whom visa
requirements ARE applicable for Aruba must travel EITHER
with a valid national passport (provided with a visa for Aruba)
OR a re-entry permit (provided with a visa for Aruba) OR and
Alien Registration Card (Green Card).
6. A return ticket to travel elsewhere outside Aruba
On request by the immigration Official, one should be able to
present sufficient financial means to support themselves
during their stay in Aruba.
Nationals of the United States are allowed to stay in Aruba for
maximum stay up to three months without a visa.
Applications for a visa can be done through the representative
of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Embassy or Consulate) or
directly through the Department of Foreign Affairs in Aruba.
Visitors wishing to work and/or reside in Aruba for a number
of months must have a previous written permit from the
ministry of Justice at the Department for Public Order and
Security (DOOV). This permit must be arranged by the future
employer of the "visitor". Telephone: 297-843322, Fax:
USA Customs Regulations
Significant benefits for international travelers are included in
the customs Publication No. 512, titled "Know Before You
You will receive a customs Declaration on board your plane or
vessel as you return to the United States. To enter the United
States, you must fill out the identification portion. Families
returning together may prepare a joint declaration, with
children claiming the same exemption as adults (except for
liquor). Children born abroad who have never lived in the
U.S.A. are considered nonresidents for Customs purposes.
YOU MAY DECLARE ORALLY all items acquired abroad and
brought back with you, whether purchased or given to you as
gifts, if their total value does not exceed $600. State the price
actually paid for each article in the U.S. currency or its
equivalent in country of acquisition. Repairs or alterations to
articles taken abroad and returned must be declared, whether
paid for or provided free of charge. State the fair retail value of
acquisitions not purchased. YOU MUST DECLARE IN
WRITING your acquisitions when:
You have exceeded the personal, liquor, or tobacco
exceptions explained hereunder.
You bring in items for business purposes or for someone
You send home items acquired in the U.S., Virgin Islands,
American Samoa or Guam or you are asked to do so by the
Exemption from Duty
IF YOU HAVE NOT claimed this exemption within 30 days,
you receive an exemption from duty on the first $600
worth-fair retail value where acquired of all personal and
household good you obtain abroad and bring back with you.
Limitations on alcohol, tobacco and perfume are listed below.
Goods shipped for personal use may be imported free of duty
and tax if the total value is not more then $200. This
exemption does not apply to perfume containing alcohol if it is
valued at more than $5 retail, to alcoholic beverages, or to
cigars and cigarettes.
IF YOU DO NOT MEET THE 30-DAY TIME REQUIRMENTS,
you may bring in $200 or less of items for your own personal
or household use, free of duty and Federal tax. However, if
you exceed $200, all your items become dutiable and receive
Tobacco & Alcohol
IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE $600 EXEMPTION, you
may include 100 cigars and 200 cigarettes, regardless of your
age. Cigarettes may be subject to state or local tax.
If you are 21 or older, you may include 1 Liter (33.8 fl. oz.) of
ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, if it is allowed by the state in
which you arrive. Liquor can not be mailed into the United
Individual states can impose their own laws, so your
point-of-entry could affect your liquor allowance.
Please contact U.S. Customs at (212) 466-5715 regarding
importing food, alcohol, cigars and tobacco. For other items
please call (212) 466-5650.
Customs enforces the laws of the state in which you arrive.
State laws differ as to quantity you may bring in. Some differ
regarding personal possession and shipment of liquor. Some
states do not allow individuals to import more liquor then
listed, even by paying tax. Check with the state liquor
authorities for current practices prior to departure.
PERSONAL BELONGINGS: Present proof of prior
possession such as a receipt pf purchase, bill of sale,
insurance policy, or jeweler’s appraisal. You may take
foreign-made items bearing serial numbers (e.g. cameras,
watches, tape records) to a Customs Office for registration
before leaving the U.S.A.
The Congress of the United States has set the resident
exemption at $600 to simplify the international traveler’s
re-entry into the United States. The next $1000 in items is
dutiable at a flat 10% rate, bringing the total possible duty on
purchases valued at $1400 to $100. Families living in one
household and returning together may combine their
purchases on joint declaration and multiply their exemptions
accordingly. Families must prepare a joint declaration in order
to get the flat duty rate. GIFTS YOU SHIP FROM ABROAD, if
worth $100 or less in fair retail value where shipped, can be
received in the U.S. free of duty and tax if the same person
does not receive more then $100 in gift shipments in one day.
Mark the package "UNSOLICITED GIFT" and indicated
contents and retail value. Duty cannot be prepaid. You do not
declare gifts you have shipped.
CULTURAL TREASURES, ART, OR ARTIFACTS, especially
Check with U.S. Customs and the country of export for
Every effort has been made to indicate essential
requirements. However, all regulations of Customs and other
agencies cannot be covered in full.
For Customs leaflets write U.S. Customs, 1301 Constitution
Ave. NW Room 2131 Washington, D.C. 20229
or call (202) 927-6724.
Canada Customs Regulations
1. After 24 hours absence or more (any number of times per
year), you may bring in good to the value of $50 (except
tobacco products and alcoholic beverages). A written
declaration may be required.
2. After 48 hours absence or more (any number of times per
year), you may bring in good to the value of $200. A written
declaration may be required.
3. After 7 days absence or more (one every calendar year),
you may bring in good to the value of $500. A written
declaration will be required.
4. Any person aged 16 or over may include up to 200
cigarettes and 50 cigars and 1kg. (22 lbs.) of tobacco. Of
course, the dollar value of these goods form part of your
5. If you meet the age requirements set by the province or
territory through which you re-enter Canada, you may include
up to _ liters (40 oz.) of wine or liquor.
6. Original works of art valued at $20 or more are duty free.
Aruba Customs Regulations
Besides articles for personal use, persons over 18 are allowed
one fifth of liquor and 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 250 grams of
In Aruba, the people speak, write and read English, Spanish, Dutch
and Papiamento fluently. Many also speak French and German.
Papiamento was developed in the neighboring island of Curacao in
the 1500's to enable African slaves to communicate with their
owners. In addition to their own language, Portuguese and Spanish
missionaries, Dutch merchants, South American traders and Indians
added additional words.
Dutch is the official language of Aruba due to the fact that Aruba is a
Dutch colony. All documents and government papers are in Dutch
and lessons at school are also given in Dutch. Papiamento is the
native language, only spoken on the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire
and Curacao). Most of the inhabitants speak Papiamento at home or
on the streets with friends.
English is recognized as an international language and all inhabitants
of Aruba are obliged to learn English as early as the 4th grade in
primary school. Spanish is also taking on equal importance since
Aruba is located just off the South American Continent. Spanish is
also taught as early as the 5th grade of primary school. French is
taught in high school as an optional language.
Medical Facilities & Health Care In Aruba
When people plan their vacation destination, an important
consideration can be the availability of good medical care in the event
of an illness or accident. Those concerned about these health issues
can rest assured when considering Aruba.
Many Hotels are equipped with handicapped facilities and tourists
have the possibility of renting a large assortment of healthcare
products such as wheelchairs (both standard and electric) walkers,
crutches, bed pans, concentrators, scooters etc.
Aruba is well equipped to handle virtually every medical problem. In
unique cases where the island’s own medical services do not cover
the emergency, a patient can be quickly airlifted to nearby facilities
(ie. In Curacao).
Aruba boasts the Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital, a medical facility
equipped with reputable medical staff, 280 beds and modern
equipment. The hospital, opened in 1976, is located across from
Punta Brabu Beach, and is within walking distance of some of the
hotel district. It functions as a general hospital with established ties
to the U.S., Colombian, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, and Dutch
hospitals for specialized treatment and care.
Water & Electricity
There is no need to buy bottled
water in Aruba, the island's tap
water is pure and refreshing ,
distilled in the world's second
largest saltwater desalination plant.
Oil is refined on the island's
southwest coast and a by-product
of this process is abundant pure
drinking water and electricity. The
plant is called the WEB, and there
are many requests to tour the plant
that is located in Balashi (tel.
Rarely is there a power failure and the island has decided to adopt
the North American voltage standard of 110 A.C. (60 cycles), the
same as in the United States and Canada. The TV standard is
NTSC so your home video camera will also play back on the hotel's
TV sets or large screen projectors.