Aruba article overview

“Una isla feliz” is Aruba’s motto. “A happy island” – this motto seems to be a good way to live. The island, which is just 180 square kilometers in size, is part of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao). Geographically, Aruba and the other two islands are part of South America. No wonder, the distance to the Venezuelan mainland is only a few kilometers. Aruba is politically anchored in the Netherlands. The island is one of four parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with its own constitution, government and currency.

Aruba - Statue of Queen Wilhelmina

Aruba – the first impression

How do visitors perceive Aruba? The diverse landscape of the island, which is 30 kilometers long and a maximum of nine kilometers wide, appears predominantly flat. The two highest peaks on the island are the Jamanota at 188 meters and the remarkable Hoolberg at 165 meters high. In the west there are beautiful long sandy beaches; In the east, rocky coasts characterize the picture. Inside the island, hills of cacti and agaves, Arikok National Park, a bird sanctuary and historical sites - such as the remains of a gold mine - invite discovery.

Aruba - Oranjestad Cruise Port

Aruba – what you need to know

According to the 2020 Census, Aruba's population is just over 108.000. The island's history dates back to the Caquetio Indians, who settled Aruba about 4.500 years ago. From 1499, Aruba was discovered and occupied by Spanish conquerors. At that time, Aruba, along with the other two islands in the ABC group, were considered “useless.” In 1636, the Netherlands took possession of Aruba. It stayed that way until ownership changed to England in 1805. However, the British rule only lasted eleven years. Aruba has been part of the Netherlands again since 1816. The function of the capital is the responsibility of the municipality of Oranjestad, which has almost 30.000 inhabitants.

Aruba - Oranjestad Panorama

Aruba – climate

Aruba's climate is almost constant. Throughout the year, daytime temperatures regularly fluctuate around 27 degrees Celsius. With an average of 510 millimeters, little rain falls throughout the year. However, when it rains, it can pour with a vengeance, and Oranjestad's streets are difficult to pass for pedestrians because they are flooded.

Flooding in Oranjestad

Oranjestad - Land Under

The island is outside the hurricane zone, which creates ideal conditions for vacationers. This may be the reason why more than 1,5 million guests arrive every year. Three quarters of the visitors come from the USA.

Aruba - adorable even when it rains

Aruba - adorable even when it rains

Aruba's economy

Tourism is Aruba's main industry. The island also did quite well as a tax haven for a long time. However, since the OECD criticized Aruba's status as a tax haven, the Dutch government has taken measures to comply with the OECD's requirements and to improve its international reputation. Despite these regulations, a number of offshore banks are still based on the island. Services in the area of ​​data processing have also recently improved the economic balance.

Payment Methods

The official currency is the Aruba florin, divided into 100 cents. A special feature is the square 50 cent coin known as “Yotin”. The exchange rate is approximately 1,79 Aruban florin for one US dollar. However, exchanging US dollars for Aruban florin is not necessary. US -Dollars are widely accepted as a means of payment on the island.

Aruba – destination for cruise ships

Cruise ships bound for Aruba dock at one of four piers in the capital Oranjestad. The terminals are a five to 10-minute walk from LG Smith Boulevard and Renaissance Marketplace. Ship passengers receive plenty of offers in the terminal area to make their stay a memorable one. Taxis and public buses for excursions are available in front of the cruise terminals. The taxis hold a maximum of five people and the prices are regulated by the authorities. Car rentals are also available in Aruba.

Oranjestad - View of the cruise terminal
Oranjestad - View of the cruise terminal

After the collapse in visitor numbers caused by the corona pandemic, the number of visitors traveling on cruise ships was exactly 2023 passengers in 617.670. They came with 317 ships. In 2021, however, only 136.000 cruise guests and 97 ships were counted. The vast majority of cruise passengers arrived in 2019. At that time, the number of people traveling by cruise ship was 832.000 (source: Aruba Ports Authority NV). Under Aruba sightseeing we describe recommended eye-catchers of the landscape and Oranjestad.

Update April 2024