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 mines.

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 independently.

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 Teleshops.

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 currency.

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 calling 1-800-4-CIRRUS.

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.

Entry Requirements
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 areas.

Entry Requirements & 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 Aruba:
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 Tourism office. 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 documents.
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. Telephone: 297-834705 Fax: 297-838108

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: 297-8435346

USA Customs Regulations
Significant benefits for international travelers are included in the customs Publication No. 512, titled "Know Before You Go".

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 else. You send home items acquired in the U.S., Virgin Islands, American Samoa or Guam or you are asked to do so by the Customs Inspector.

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 no exemption.

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 States.

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.

Duty-Free Items
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 pre-Columbian. Check with U.S. Customs and the country of export for special requirements. 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 personal exemption.
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 tobacco.

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. 297-824700).

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.