I always form a special connection with a place where I go alone, and particularly with one where I stay for a long time and where I learn a lot. So needless to say, Aruba was definitely one of those places for me! Aruba does not need much help in getting tourists to the island, but here are some tips to keep in mind when visiting Aruba to get the most out of your trip and to be a respectful traveler.
- The island is full of all inclusive hotels – avoid those to get to see more of the country and its many restaurants and stay at a non-inclusive hotel or one of the many air bnb’s
- High Rise is the main tourist area – stay at Low rise to avoid being crammed in between expensive restaurants and tourist shops (though it’s also nice to visit!)
- The island has a big stray dog & stray cat problem, but most stray dogs stay away. (If they do not, instead of trying to run away, stop and stare away from them) Contact a local shelter to talk about visiting hours and donations (Sgt Pepper’s Friends, Animal welfare alliance Aruba, Aruba Animal Rights, etc), but do not show up unannounced, with or without dogs.
- Rent a car – Public transport is very poor on the island and by driving around you of course get to see more. However, the hotel stripe (so almost the whole width of the southern coast!) has a busline which is quite reliable
- The island is very safe – you can leave your belongings on the beach quite carelessly in touristy places, but do take more care in more remote areas
- There is no open container law on the island, so you’re allowed to take your alcohol around even in a keep cup from most restaurants! As a downside how ever, locals are relaxed about drinking and driving so be wary of lousy drivers.
- Sidewalks are scarce and drivers are not used to people walking on the road so you have to remain careful when doing that, but on Watty Vos and on L. G. Smith Boulevard you can find good sidewalks for jogging!
- Don’t skip the nice small hike (on stairs) to Hooieberg
- Do not drive on dunes or sand! It’s strictly forbidden as owls and sometimes turtles make nests there.
- You can recycle bottles and other products at (usually) blue coloured recycling stands near most beaches – only leave footprints and do not contribute to the island’s trash problem.
- The only night club on the island is called Gusto, but there are plenty of nice bars and cafés on the island. Especially keep your eyes and ears out for live music (special recommendation to Tsunami!), and check out Bugaloe for their karaoke nights (bets place for dancing id you ask me)!
- Due to the island’s many American tourists, tipping is customary.
- Due to its location, fresh fruit and vegetables are hard to find on the island, but you can try be as sustainable as possible and buy local herbs and vegetables that are usually on their own section at the super market (Superfood, Ling & Sons and Do it Center being the main ones)
- Keep in mind that there’s a lot more to do than just the beautiful beaches in Aruba! A new post about things to do in Aruba coming soon!
If you end up going to this beautiful island and/or have more tips, please do share!