Years ago, I read an article describing the beauty and tranquility found in the island nation of Aruba. After becoming captivated by the allure of little desert island in the Caribbean, I immediately went to my favorite travel site and booked a trip. Since then, I have become the local Aruban authority and self professed ambassador to what I characterize as one of the friendliest, relaxing and beautiful places on Earth. On my many travels there, I have stayed at several of the island’s beautiful resorts. It’s because of my frequent trips that many friends, relatives and colleagues have asked me to highlight a few things that may help them in their travels to Aruba.
Language – Believe it or not, English is not spoken all over the globe and in many places you can find yourself in quite a jam if you can’t communicate with the locals. Well Aruba is not one of the places! The official language is Dutch, but everyone there speaks English and Spanish. In fact, on one of my trips, I learned that English and Spanish are required learning in Aruban schools. The natives also speak Papiamento which is a language almost exclusively spoken in Aruba. If you listen closely, you will hear words and phrases that sound familiar. That’s because Papiamento is originally a language originally created by slaves so they could communicate without alerting the slavers.
Safety – Aruba is one of the safest nations on the planet. In fact, you are far safer walking the streets of Aruba than you are walking in many American neighborhoods. Often when I discuss Aruba’s safety the conversation turns to the recent publicity the nation received as a result of the Natalee Holloway case. To that I respond, no matter where you are, be aware of where you are. Bad people are in every city on the globe, but this place does an excellent job of keeping crime to a minimum.
Currency – No worries here. You can take your US currency with no problems. Also, most major credit cards are accepted in most places. You can get the local Aruban currency, but there is really no need.
Water – Unlike many of the Caribbean and Mexican destinations, the water in Aruba is perfectly safe. Aruba has the 2nd largest desalinization plant in the world. In fact, Aruba is very aware of the “bottled water movement” in the US and to take advantage of this, Aruba bottles its award winning tap water to make an extra buck. It’s delicious, so drink up!
Where to Eat – You will find that most of the major US food chains have established franchise locations in Aruba. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and many others are in all the tourist hot spots. I would like to highly recommend Texas de Brazil. I know that it’s here in the US (I love it here too), but the atmosphere, friendly staff and the best seasoned foods I have ever had make it a must visit on every trip.
Sports Bar – If you’re like me, you gotta see the big game on Sunday. Well many of the Hotels, have sports bars that broadcast many games (in fact, you can see the games on the networks in Aruba), but if you want the whole American sports bar experience you gotta go to Champion’s! Champion’s has TV’s with all games, great food and great service. Go have one Aruba’s own Balashi beer’s (which are great and a great price as well) or any of the domestic brands and have a great time.
Hotels – I have listed a few different places here based on what you are trying to accomplish. Aruba is a place where you can have an incredible experience and not max out all your cards. I won’t single out a romantic spot in Aruba, because frankly every place is romantic in Aruba. I have stayed at the Mill Resort and Suites in Aruba twice. The staff is incredibly friendly and the rooms get the most bang for your buck. I have had many of the locals tell me that this is their favorite. You can get an in room Jacuzzi that is big enough for 2 and it is right across the street from Palm Beach (in my opinion the best beach in Aruba). Directly across the street from the Mill is in my opinion Aruba’s premiere resort the RIU Palace Hotel Aruba. It is located on Palm Beach (if it were any closer, it’d be in the water) and has everything that a couple on retreat need. In the hotel you find, a mini shopping mall, restaurants, bars and a full Vegas style casino. The pool is enormous with an in pool bar, lounge area, hot tubs and walk up service. You get very typical 5 star accommodations and service here and it is truly a great place to stay if it’s in your budget.
Transportation – Depending on what you want to do, you may not need to rent a car at all. Aruba has a truly reliable taxi and public transportation network. However, if you truly want to sight see, I recommend a jeep or ATV as the most spectacular sites are off road. Don’t worry. In Aruba, you have the US staple of rental car franchises with the same rules as would see in the US. No special driving rules here. Just be prepared for the gas prices!
Whether you looking for a romantic getaway, relaxing family trip or a place to fly away to and party, Aruba has got you covered. Beautiful beaches, luxurious resort hotels and great dining make Aruba a destination that you will want to return to again and again. Make sure you take a tour of the time share condos. They give great incentives just for visiting and you may end up just buying one at some of the best time share prices you’ll ever see. Happy traveling!