Bon Bini! Welcome to Aruba!
Located 15 miles north of Venezuela in the warm waters of the southern Caribbean, Aruba is home to beautiful white-sand beaches, 82-degree days, and some of the kindest people in the world. Our island is 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across, with a total area of 70 square miles. We’re located just below the hurricane belt. Unlike many islands in the Caribbean, our climate is dry, so we rarely have a rainy day. On the south and west coasts of Aruba, you’ll find Oranjestad, our capital city, and miles of beaches that have been named some of the best in the world. Here, you’ll find most of the hotels, all-inclusive resorts in Aruba, and Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA). In the interior of the island, you’ll find Arikok National Park, a desert-like preserve with a variety of wildlife, cacti and dramatic rock formations. You’ll also find some of Aruba’s most striking views, as the ocean crashes against the rugged shoreline below. On the northeast coast, along the windward shore, you’ll see our island’s unofficial mascots, the fofoti trees. The constant trade winds have permanently sculpted them into graceful, southwesterly bending forms.
Is there such a thing as perfect weather? If so, Aruba’s the place to find it! With clear skies, sunshine, and cooling trade winds, residents and visitors are happy year-round. The average temperature is 82° F / 28° C, with May through October being the hottest months and slightly cooler temperatures from December through March. Aruba gets very little precipitation, though even that small amount is welcomed by the area’s tropical plants.
What makes Aruba different?
With its Dutch heritage and Latin flair, Aruba is a sight to be seen. In the Lesser Antilles just off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is famous for its poster-perfect sugary-white beaches, some of the Caribbean’s top wreck diving and, thanks to nearly constant trade winds, world-class windsurfing and kite-boarding.
Mother Nature reserved her crown jewels to adorn Aruba’s south and west coastlines and sparkle in the depths of the surrounding Caribbean Sea. The tiny isle has some of the world’s best white-sand beaches and warm, translucent aquamarine water studded with colorful coral reefs in which to play.
Human activity on Aruba dates back at least 4,000 years. Colonization by the Caquetio people, originating in Venezuela, was established by 1000 AD. After Europeans arrived at the end of the 15th century, the island was held by Spain, then came under Dutch rule in 1636 as part of the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba claimed autonomy in 1986 and is now a separate entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Travel to Aruba
Getting to Aruba is easy. You can take direct flights from major North American cities, or take a cruise with a southern Caribbean itinerary. Once here, you’ll find friendly people, reliable transportation, safe drinking water, right-hand side driving and many of the comforts of home.
Getting around in Aruba
Aruba has a good network of roads allowing access to most places of interest. If you want to explore Aruba in air-conditioned comfort, you can do a lot of sightseeing by following the main paved roads. There are many types of cars to choose from for this purpose. Several Aruba car rental companies are present at the airport where you pick up your vehicle or you can request pick up at your hotel.
For the more adventurous, it’s a good idea to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle. To reach certain sightseeing excursions one must tackle what are often rugged roads, that are not suitable for a regular car. Many four-wheel drive cars often lack a roof, so plenty of sun block is necessary! Aruba also offers several motorcycle rental options, from scooters to Harley-Davidson’s.
Taxis in Aruba are also widely available, and they have fixed rates set by government regulations. There is also affordable and reliable daily bus service between several main districts and the hotel areas. The main bus station is located in downtown Oranjestad. Transportation between your hotel and the airport can be accomplished by charter motor coach from companies such as De Palm Tours and E.L. Tours.
Students are permitted to acquire private transportation, and there is a steady turnover of vehicles with students leaving the island selling to the new members of the incoming classes. When you arrive, you can obtain more information about getting a driver’s license, insurance, and registering your car at the Administration Office on campus.
Phone, Internet, & Cable
Aruba has a well-developed infrastructure for phone, internet and cable TV. We have three leading companies: Digicel, Setar, and MIO, and all offer excellent services.
Shipping to Aruba
Although all housing on Aruba is fully furnished, students and faculty may want to ship additional items directly to Aruba. The four companies that you could use for shipping are Fedex, UPS, DHL and Fast Delivery.
Currency & Banking
The U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere on the island. In addition, Visa, MasterCard and traveler’s checks are widely accepted. Banks in Aruba are open on weekdays but closed on weekends. The four banks in Aruba are RBC, CMB, Aruba Bank and Banco di Caribe. They are equipped with multiple ATM machines and branches. Generally, most students do not open a bank account in Aruba. Most students maintain their account at home and access funds with an ATM card. However, students could easily open a bank account if they desire. All that is required is identification and a letter from school which they can get from the Administrative Office on campus.
All electrical outlets in Aruba are 110 V, 60 Hz, which is the same as in the U.S. and Canada. It is a good idea to bring along a surge protector as added protection for any electronic equipment.
A gym can be easily found in every district on Aruba, so be sure to bring running shoes and workout clothes. If you prefer, the beautiful beaches are perfect for an outdoor workout.