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Aruba Travel Information

Aruba is 70.9 square miles, 19.6 miles long and 6 miles at the widest point.

Language: Officially Dutch but Papiamento, Spanish and English are widely spoken.

Population: 107,000

Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time, one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Rainy Season: This is an arid land. Most showers occur from September to December. They usually are short, quickly pushed away by the trade winds.

Currency: Aruba has its own currency, called the Arubian florin. The U.S. dollar is worth 1.77 florin. Prices are often quoted in both currencies. Dollars are readily accepted everywhere as are credit cards. Banks generally are open from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Taxes & Tipping: A 19-22% hotel tax. A 1.5% "turnover tax" is added to or included in the price of all goods and services. Tipping restaurants is 15%. Some hotels may include an energy surcharge. Read the details carefully.

Electrical Current: The same as in the U.S., 110 volts, 60 cycles. European items requiring 220 volts will not work without a built-in or external converter.

Legal Ages: Legal Drinking age is 18. Gambling age is 18.

Documents: All tourists need passports, some need a visa. See entry requirements. A return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds may also be required.

Getting There: Flying to Aruba from the U.S. are AirTran, American, Delta, Jetblue, US Airways, United, many of them on a highly seasonal schedule. For the specific periods when carriers from the U.S., Canada, Europe and South America fly to Aruba, click here.

Rental Cars: Readily available with many of the large name companies (Avis, Budget, Hertz) are represented. Cost is reasonable, around $200 per week for a small car. Driving is on the right.

Bus Service: Some of the best in the Caribbean. Daily bus service along the hotel strip (US$1.50 one-way  or US$ 2.30 round-trip. Buses typically run  every 15 minutes from 5:45am until 6pm. After 6pm, buses run every 40 minutes until 11:30pm. The central bus station where buses depart for other  locations on the island is in downtown Oranjestad, across from the cruise terminal and next to Royal Plaza.

Taxis: There are no taxi meters. Instead, the government has set flat fares to different destinations and different parts of the islands. Fee for a ride in a cab, which can hold up to 5, is per trip, not per person. Sharing with others is always good. Minimum fee is $5. For current taxi fares, click here.

Where to Stay: Aruba has a wide variety of accommodations that include all inclusives, time shares, large hotels as well as guesthouses and apartments. The tourist board has a sizable but incomplete list of accommodations, so never fail to check the specials on Priceline, Kayak and other sites. Aruba is one of the Caribbean's timeshare destinations; many properties are available for timeshare rentals.

Legal Ages: Both the drinking age and gambling age is 18. Identification may be requested in both cases. The low drinking age is one of the reasons why younger visitors get into trouble in Aruba.

Drinking Water: Could not be healthier. Because Aruba is so dry, the drinking water is actually desalinated sea water.

Safety/Health Warnings: Because of the constant cooling trade winds, many people do not realize just how hot the sun is in Aruba, among the southernmost Caribbean islands. Precautions are necessary the first few days to avoid burning to the color of a robust rose wine.

Snakes & Other Venomous Creatures: Aruba is home to a venomous rattlesnake, the Colebra (Crotalus durissus), though they are seldom seen. They normally inhabit the most sparsely populated areas of Aruba between Jamanota, Fontein and San Nicolas. All other snakes are harmless. Locals say that possession of a snake rattle is good luck, perhaps because they are so rare.

Calendar of Events: What's happening every day of the year.

For More Information: Web site: www.aruba.com.

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