Aruba is an amazing vacation spot, one you'll not soon forget, but there are a number of basic facts you should know about the island before you go. The following information will equip you with facts such as social customs and what to pack for your trip.
Arubans are generous, friendly, and laid-back people who are, for the most part, extremely open and helpful to visitors. They know how much tourism means to the welfare of their island and will very often go out of their way to make you happy. It's only fair that you return the favor by being aware of the few courtesies you may not know about.
First, it is considered inappropriate to wear beach clothes anywhere other than the beach. When walking around the city streets or the natural wonders of the interior, dress properly. Nothing fancy, shorts and a T-shirt are fine, but bikinis are not acceptable attire. To read more about clothing in Aruba, click here.
Second, return the courteous nature of the Arubans. It is considered polite to properly greet someone when you address them. Any polite salutation is fine, as long as you acknowledge their presence. It is rude to walk up and ask a local a question without first saying hello. Additionally, although it is not as serious an issue on the island of Aruba as it is on other islands, it is always a good idea to ask someone's permission before you take their picture, no matter where on the island you travel.
It's hard to believe that there's so much to see on an island only 20 miles long, but Aruba has enough to fill more than one vacation. Below is a brief description of some of the areas on the island.
|South Coast||The southern coast of Aruba is protected from the rough waters of the open Atlantic Ocean and the Northeastern Trade Winds. Here you will find the most calm and beautiful beaches, as well as the island's capital city, Oranjestad, which is the commercial and tourism center of the island and a popular port of call for many Caribbean cruises. The most well-maintained roads run along the southern coast and out of Oranjestad, making it the quickest route from one end of the island to the other. De Palm Island is just a five-minute boat ride south of the mainland, and ferries depart every half hour. Some of the most popular beach-going and diving spots can be found in this area.|
|West End||The western end of the island is both beautiful and historical, boasting Palm Beach in the south, with its beautiful beaches and exquisite resorts, and the California Dunes on the northern peninsula, where you'll find the historic California lighthouse. There are few better places in the world to watch the sunset.|
|North Coast||The northern coast of Aruba is exposed to the rugged open seas of the Atlantic, and instead of beaches, you'll find magnificent rock formations carved out by the waves. Many of Aruba's most well-known natural wonders can be found along the north coast, including the Natural Pool, "Conchi," and Aruba's most visited natural wonder, the Natural Bridge. Be prepared with lots of film for scenic stops along this rugged coast.|
|East End||The east end of the island is where many of the more remote tourist areas can be found, such as Rincon, Colorado Point, Baby Beach, and San Nicolas Bay. Several well-known resorts call this region home, and with good reason. The Coastal Oil Refinery is on this end of the island as well.|
|Interior||The interior of Aruba is a hilly, rocky haven of natural beauty. The hilly desert is spotted with the fascinating divi divi trees that have become a signature of Aruba's landscape. Ruins of gold mines, caves full of native paintings, and historic buildings can be found throughout the interior. Here you will also find Arikok National Park, which takes up 20 percent of the island and hosts distinctive cave paintings and a captivating refuge for flora and fauna.|
Along with these tips on etiquette and this brief overview of Aruba's geographical regions, we offer numerous articles with information regarding many of the things you are wondering about a trip to Aruba but don't know who to ask. How will you call home? What clothes are appropriate? Will I need a converter for my electronics? You will find the answers to these questions and more by selecting an option from our list of "Travel Basics" in the menu to the left.
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