Driving Guide

Aruba Driving Guide

Aruba is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

2021-08-03 · 9min read
Aruba Photo by Gregory Wangsadikrama

When clear turquoise waters meet clear blue skies, there isn’t really much to think about except that you’re probably in the best vacation place in the world. With 360-degree views of the Caribbean skyline, you wouldn’t really believe the existence of a thriving urban community nestled between the desert and the sea. But hey! This is Aruba!

How Can This Guide Help You?

If you’re planning on traveling to Aruba, this guide will help you move through some critical technicalities smoothly. This includes Aruba driving directions, securing an International Driver’s Permit, international border status, entry requirements, and standard road rules, road conditions, renting a car, and many more.

General Information

Before flying to any country, it is essential to know the requirements and protocols that every visitor has to observe. This will not only take the edge off facing immigration; this will also allow you to have a headstart on what to expect once you arrive in the country.

Before flying to any country, it is essential to know the requirements and protocols that every visitor has to observe. This will not only take the edge off facing immigration; this will also allow you to have a head start on what to expect once you arrive in the country.

Geographic Location

Aruba is situated within the Caribbean Sea. Specifically, it is located 12.5124oN and 69.9789oW. It is about 15 nautical miles north of Venezuela and about 43 nautical miles northwest of Curaçao. If you come from a temperate country and traveling to Aruba will be your first time to taste the humid, bittersweet air of the tropics, you might want to pack fewer layers. Instead, bring some portable fans along. As it is located 12o north of the Equator, Aruba is mostly dry throughout the year.

Within the Caribbean, the country is hailed as the island with the least amount of rainfall. The average low rainfall occurs during March, while the highest average rainfall mostly occurs during November. So dry that Aruba actually has a cacti desert in the mid-region! Temperature-wise, the highest values have been recorded between May to October, while the lowest between December to March.

  • Fill-up the online Embarkation/Disembarkation Card between 4-72 hours before the travel schedule
  • Purchase the mandatory Aruba Visitor’s Insurance (included in the processing of your online Embarkation/Disembarkation Card)
  • Subject yourself to a nasal swab test for SARS-CoV-2 before entering Aruba (you can take the test at your origin country, or take the test once you land in Aruba. Note that if you choose the latter, you’ll have to pay for it in advance during the online processing of your Embarkation/Disembarkation Card)
  • A swab test is not required for children 14 years old and below
  • All travelers ages 15 and above are required to wear a mask inflight, in the airport, and until they reached their accommodations
  • Download the Aruba Health App

Much to a lot of vacationers’ delight, the country rarely experiences typhoons or hurricanes as it exists below the hurricane belt. No worrying about tours being canceled or flights getting postponed.

Languages Spoken

As a constituent of the Kingdom of Netherlands, you’d expect that the primary language of Arubans follows the Kingdom. Indeed, the Aruban national language is Dutch. However, Dutch isn’t the only widely spoken dialect in Aruba. The locals have what they call the Papiamento Language, and it is also spoken in Curacao.

A lot of Arubans are also fluent in English and Spanish. So if you want to drive in Aruba, make sure your ears and tongue have practiced these four (4) common languages.

Land Area

Aruba covers a land area of about 180km2. It is almost the same size as the Marshall Islands and a little bit bigger than Liechtenstein. The country mostly has a nearly flat terrain, with the majority of its elevation at less than 80 meters above sea level. The highest point in the country is Arikok, and it stands at 184 meters above sea level. Inland, the vegetation is dominated by cactus, while the coastline is dominated by palm trees. With regards to its coastal geology, the southern side of the country has plenty of white sand beaches, while the northern side is mostly rocky.

History

The first known residents of Aruba were from the Arawak line, particularly the Caiquetio Indians. You can see plenty of their original tools and markings in one of the caves at the Arikok National Park. In 1499, Aruba was discovered by the Spaniards and remained a Spanish colony for over 135 years.

During the start of the 2nd quarter of the 17th century, Aruba was seized by the Dutch mainly to protect the Dutch’s salt supply sourced from South America. Aruba also became a naval base during the Dutch war with Spain. It was during 1845 that Aruba became an official part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Government

Aruba is a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands, together with St. Maarten and Curacao. It was once a colony but had been granted autonomy in 1986. At present, Aruba operates with an independent internal government, while all of its foreign affairs are taken care of by the Kingdom of Netherlands.

Instead of a President, Aruba has an appointed Governor as its Head of State supported by the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers, Parliament, and the Judiciary. The country exists under a representative parliamentary democracy as well. As such, the Prime Ministers and the Council of Ministers Members are selected by the Parliament; and the members of the unicameral parliament are chosen by the general public.

Tourism

Between 1995 – 2019, Aruba has seen a consistent increase in its number of tourist arrivals. From around 619,000 in 1995 to about 1,950,000 in 2019, and this does not include same-day visitors. A major percentage of these visitors come from South America, the U.S., Canada, and Europe. One of the major reasons why Aruba is a sought-after tourist destination is because of its climate. The government has also invested well in plenty of tourism infrastructures, including world-class hotels that make every visitor’s stay a vacation they well deserve.

IDP FAQs

When driving in a country outside your residence, you must adhere to the destination country’s traffic laws. Different countries have different sets of traffic standards. Although you’d find some commonalities between the countries, it will still be best to go through each local rule. One of the most important is the driver’s license.

An International Driver’s License is a valid translation of your domestic driving license. It is not an independent license as it has to be presented together with your valid domestic driving license. It is likened to a passport wherein you’ll find a booklet with different versions of your native driving license. Specifically, you’ll find 12 translations in your IDP that represents 12 of the most spoken languages in the world.

Do You Need an International Driver’s Permit Before Driving in Aruba?

An International Driving Permit is not legally necessary in Aruba. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended because, for one, the national language of Aruba is Dutch. The Dutch Language specifically uses the Roman Alphabet. So, if your native driving license is printed in non-Roman Alphabet characters, it might not be understandable to the locals. Likewise, if your native driving license is printed in the Roman Alphabet but is not in Dutch or in English, you should also secure an IDP just to make sure.

An International Driver’s Permit is your official supporting license whenever you’re driving in a foreign country. However, being legally able to drive a car isn’t the only benefit of an International Driver’s Permit. Other benefits include:

  • You’ll be able to rent a car more conveniently
  • You’ll be able to effortlessly explain your native driving license to any authority whenever it is needed
  • You’ll be able to access it anywhere, considering you secure a digital IDP (which has the same degree of validity as the printed one)
  • You’ll be able to use the same valid IDP in so many countries worldwide!

Can You Drive in Aruba With Your Native Driver’s License?

If you wish to go driving in the Aruban zip code, you can use your native driver’s license, provided that it is printed in the Roman Alphabet. However, just to ensure that it is safe to drive in Aruba for you, secure an International Driving Permit before you head out on the road. Chances are, if locals do not recognize what your native driving license says, it will not be considered valid.

Also, a valid driving permit will not be the only consideration for you to be able to drive in Aruba. You need to meet the minimum Aruba driving age. What is the driving age in Aruba, you may ask? The answer to that is 18. If you come from a country that permits 17-year-olds to drive without company, that will not be recognized. If you are 17 and have a valid native driving license, you will still not be allowed to drive in Aruba.

Who Is Qualified to Apply for an International Driver’s Permit?

The requirements to obtain an International Driving Permit for Aruba are quite basic. You only need to be at least 18 years old and in possession of a valid driving license. This means that you should already have learned the practical theories and skills of driving before applying for an International Driver’s Permit. Likewise, if you’ll be applying for an IDP online, you will need to have a credit card or Paypal account to course your payment through. But don’t worry, most online IDP-issuing agencies welcome a variety of card payment networks. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find one that’ll work.

An International Driver’s Permit is only intended for short-term travelers (i.e., tourists) and temporary residents. As such, an International Driving Permit is only valid for 1-3 years. Specifically, an IDP issued under the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic is only valid for one (1) year.

To secure an IDP with us, follow these steps:

  1. Go to our homepage.
  2. Click on the cart icon on the upper right-hand corner of the page or any orange button on the entire page.
  3. Select your IDP package.
  4. Type-in your complete personal information
  5. Indicate where you want your IDP to be shipped.
  6. Pay for your IDP.
  7. Verify your identity.
  8. Wait for confirmation from the IDA.

Why Apply for an IDP with the International Driver’s Association?

The International Driver’s Association is only one (1) of many companies that produces a valid International Driving Permit. However, it stands out as one of the most preferred because it prioritizes customer convenience and process efficiency. Apart from that, here are some of the other services that you can get with the International Driver’s Association:

  • 7 - 30 days satisfaction guarantee (with a full refund)
  • Fast delivery (all regular applications for printed IDP is shipped out within 24 hours)
  • Free replacement for lost IDP (you only need to pay for the shipping fee if applicable)
  • 24/7 live chat customer support
  • Express shipping (receive your IDP in as fast as 2 hours)

Renting a Car in Aruba

Aruba has no official administrative regions. However, for statistical purposes, the government divided Aruba into eight (8) regions. And in each of these regions, you’ll be able to find something interesting — be it a beach, a restaurant, a hotel, historical establishments, and many more. To cover all of them, the best option for you would be to rent a car. Below are some useful information.

Car Rental Companies

Car rental companies in Aruba are mostly concentrated in Oranjestad. You can pick up your car from a chosen location or have it delivered to you at the airport or your hotel. When you arrive at the Queen Beatrix International Airport, you can also find stalls of car rentals just within the airport complex

In addition, the advantage of today’s technology is that you can actually rent a car remotely. This means that even if you haven’t set foot in Aruban soil, you can already arrange for a vehicle to save time. Car rental companies have already increased their digital presence. You can just make a raw search on any search engine or social media platform for “car rentals in Aruba.”

Here are some companies that you can check out:

  • ACO Rent a Car
  • Aruba Car Rental – Top Drive
  • XL Car Rental
  • Alamo Rent A Car
  • Drive 4 Cheap Car Rental
  • CarVenience
  • Jay’s Car Rental
  • Tropic Car Rental

Documents Required

One (1) of the main benefits of getting an International Driver’s Permit is to be able to rent a car. Technically, the IDP is an indirect requirement to rent a car faster. This is because most car companies require foreigners to have third-party insurance, and an IDP is beneficial when applying for insurance.

To answer the question, yes, foreign passport holders can rent a car in Aruba as long as they meet the minimum requirements. Furthermore, if you have a valid International Driver’s Permit, you can expect to undergo a more hassle-free rental procedure.

There are only five (5) fundamental requirements to be able to rent a car in Aruba. These include:

  • A valid driving license from your native country
  • Third-party car insurance
  • Credit card
  • A valid International Driver’s License

Vehicle Types

What kinds of vehicles will give you the best experience when driving in Aruba? Aruba generally has decent roads within major tourist attractions. However, if you enter the outskirts, you can still find dirt roads both in central and coastal regions. There are a variety of car types in Aruba. To decide on which car to rent, you should revisit your itinerary and research the recommended routes at least. This way, you will know how many dirt roads you’ll be driving in or whether you’ll need to rent a car with specific functionalities.

In addition, if you’re on a budget, economy sedans in Aruba are actually in top shape. You’ll still get more than what you pay. There are also luxury cars, jeeps, vans, and SUVs if you have some extra budget.

Car Rental Cost

Car rentals in Aruba can cost between USD17 – USD367/day. If you research for more and talk to a lot of companies, you may even score rental deals below USD17 if you are on a budget or rental that are more luxurious than USD367 if you’re feeling quite generous. Car rental costs would usually depend on the following:

  • Car unit
  • Transmission type
  • Passenger capacity
  • Number of airbags
  • Other car features

Furthermore, the posted rates you see online may not really reflect the total cost. As such, when canvassing for car rentals, you should also ask about the following:

  • Administrative fees
  • Insurance fees
  • Maintenance fees
  • Gas fees
  • Rental extension fees
  • Other fees

Age Requirements

To rent a car in Aruba, you need to be between 21 - 70 years old. Do expect, however, that if you are between 21-25 years old, some car rental companies will ask you to pay a surcharge. Similarly, if you are above 70 years old, you may still find companies that will allow you to drive, but also with a corresponding surcharge. Age-related surcharges vary per company, so make sure you include this on your checklist.

Car Insurance Cost

The basic car rental insurance in Aruba only includes third-party liability insurance. This covers loss or damage expenses that you’ve caused to another road user in case that road user does not have his/her own insurance. Car rental companies will also offer you optional insurances that you can avail of on a daily basis. This will depend on the type of car you are renting

There are various kinds of optional insurances, but you are encouraged to at least avail of the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Personal Accident Insurance (PAI). CDWs can go between USD10-USD30 per day, while PAIs come at lower prices than CDWs. The Collision Damage Waiver will cover the costs of any physical repairs to your damaged rental car, while the Personal Accident Insurance will cover your expenses in case you need medical care

Car Insurance Policy

If you already have existing third-party car insurance, you can use that in Aruba as long as it meets the minimum standard coverage of the car rental company. Types of car insurances that can be required by car rental companies include:

  • Third-Party Liability Insurance
  • Collision Damage Waiver
  • Theft Insurance
  • Full Car Insurance

It will be best to call your preferred car rental company first and clarify your arrangements. Lastly, a credit card is usually required for your security deposit. Nevertheless, some local companies may allow you to pay for a security deposit with cash.

Other Facts

Driving around Aruba is a worthwhile experience. Plus, if you are a new driver, driving around shouldn’t be a problem because the slopes and terrain are generally driver-friendly. Here are some other common questions that we get from travelers in Aruba:

Which is a better option, driving in Aruba or taking public transportation?

Public transportation services in Aruba include buses and a tram. The tram network is specifically within the capital of Oranjestad, while buses mostly run within resort areas only as well. You can come across buses every 15 minutes on average up until 6:00 pm. Beyond that, buses only pass by once every 40 minutes (and it will only be up to 11:30 pm).

Bus and tram fares are relatively cheap, but then again, these services don’t operate non-stop. Buses only run from 5:45 am - 11:30 pm. Likewise, the tram only runs from 9:00 am - 5:30 am.

If you want to have the convenience of time, it will be best to rent a car instead. Anyway, local car rentals can go as low as $6/day if you really look for them.

Can You Drive ATVs on the Road in Aruba?

If you are a hardcore adventure buff and game to explore Aruba’s rugged areas, you might want to go renting an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV). ATVs are quite famous for off-road adventures, and a lot of tour packages offer these as long as you have a guide/assistant with you. Guides are needed to help you navigate roads that allow and don’t allow ATVs.

Road Rules Photo by Katalin Hoczane Melich

The Road Rules in Aruba

Even though Aruba is a relatively small country where you can drive coast to coast in less than a day, there are still many road rules to observe, considering that the number of road users in Aruba is continuously increasing. Here are a few of the most important road rules.

Important Regulations

Regulations are in place for all road users to follow. Failure to comply with any of the regulations will be a violation. As such, you’ll have to pay certain fines or risk imprisonment. Some traffic regulations are made known through physical road signs that are placed in strategic portions of the road, while other regulations are only taught during driving lessons prior to getting your driver’s license. For Aruba, here are some of the most important road regulations:

Drunk-Driving

What are Aruba’s drunk-driving laws? When people talk about relaxation and parties, it is often inevitable that alcohol use doesn’t come into play. With this, the Aruban government has set standard limits for drinking to maintain peace, order, and safety within Aruban roads.

Specifically, everyone is only allowed only a maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) of 50mg per 100ml of blood. Beyond that, violators will be apprehended and can be sent to jail right away. Aruban authorities are stringent when it comes to drinking and driving. In fact, the maximum BAC on Aruba is actually the lowest in the world.

Foreigners who violate the drinking and driving laws in Aruba will also run the risk of having their driving license and IDP confiscated. So when you’re in Aruba, do not forget this rule.

Parking Laws

There are plenty of designated parking areas around the island. There are enclosed parking lots, and there are also parking meters on some roadsides. Metered parking spaces along the road are open between 7:00 am – 7:00 pm. So if you need to go out beyond these times, check with your destination establishment where their parking area is.

As observed also in other countries, there are fixed no-parking areas. To name a few, these include:

  • Street/junction/intersections corners
  • Service roads of hospitals, government buildings, and buildings of emergency responders
  • Bridges
  • Pedestrian crossings
Seatbelt Laws

The wearing of a seat belt is a must whether you are the one driving, on the front passenger’s seat, or on the back passenger’s seat. If you are traveling with children, car seats are required for children below the age of five (5). Likewise, children this young are not allowed to sit on the front passenger’s seat. You don’t have to bring children car seats with you when you fly over to the country, as car rental companies offer them for rent at relatively low prices.

General Standards

When driving anywhere in the world, safe driving is always imperative. Safe driving takes in plenty of meanings. To name a few, this includes not texting while driving, keeping your eyes on the road at all times, no tail-gaiting, no road racing, no driving barbarically, and many more. If you maintain a safe level of driving in Aruba, you are sure to have a pleasant trip experience.

Speed Limits

For relatively small countries like Aruba, one of the more exciting things to do would be to find out how long it would take to drive around Aruba. As mentioned earlier, it would really depend on the skills of the driver. Everyone is welcomed to experiment on this type of adventure. However, you should take note to drive below the maximum speed limit.

These are the speed limits to remember when driving in Aruba:

  • Highways / Major Roads - 80 km/hr
  • Urban Areas - 30 km/hr
  • Countryside / off-roads - 80 km/hr

Some visitors have noted that they haven’t come across fixed speed cameras while driving in the Aruban zip code. However, traffic police are known to carry handheld speedometers to randomly check vehicle speeds. Therefore, if you will violate the rules about the speed limit, you could be penalized.

Driving Directions

Aruba driving directions have become more efficient over time. Apart from having digitized maps that can even inform you of real-time traffic situations, the traffic management infrastructure in the country have also improved. It will not be that difficult for you to navigate the roads even outside Oranjestad because there are ample directional signs.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic road signs in Aruba are written in English. Although, anyone who isn’t adept at English would still not have a difficult time understanding the signs because the symbols are clear and universal. This means that the traffic symbols you see in your home country are the same with what you’ll see in Aruba.

There are three (3) categories of traffic signs: informational signs, regulatory signs, and warning signs. When you see regulatory signs, you should follow whatever instructions it is relaying. Again, failure to comply with regulatory signs is a violation. Second, when you see warning signs, make sure to reduce your speed and watch out for the potential road obstacles. Lastly, information signs will advise you of your current location. These will inform you about your current route.

Right of Way

Yielding or giving way to other road users is an ingredient to maintain the peace within the road. However, there are cases wherein right of way is not optional. For example, when entering a main road, you cannot just accelerate. You have to wait until the vehicles on the main road will give you an opening because they have the right of way over you.

Other vehicles that have the right of way at all times include: emergency response vehicles, vehicles inside roundabouts, vehicles inside the intersection that are coming from the opposite direction, and larger vehicles than yours.

What is the legal driving age in Aruba? To ensure the safety of all road users, Aruba has put in place a standard driving age. If you’ve reached 18 years old, you are legally allowed to drive in Aruba without company. Some countries allow a younger driving age of 16 or 17 years old. So if you come from these countries, have your valid driving license, but are not 18 years old yet, you’ll not be allowed to drive in Aruba.

Laws on Overtaking

Since Aruba’s driving side is on the right-hand side, overtaking should be observed on the left-hand side. You need to be mindful of any oncoming traffic (coming from the opposite direction or behind you). Once you’ve maneuvered to the left, you have to speed up rapidly overtake.

Some vehicles that overtake do so very slowly, and this is not advisable. Overtaking slowly will hold traffic up on the left lane, and you wouldn’t want to cause this. You should overtake fast, but very carefully

Driving Side

Do Arubans drive on the left or on the right side of road? Foreigners who plan on exploring what driving is like in Aruba commonly ask the same initial question, “Do Arubans drive on the left or on the right?”. Since Aruba is a constituent of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, its general traffic rules mostly mirror those of the Netherlands. For one, like the Netherlands, Arubans drive on the right-hand side of the road. So if you come from a country that drives on the left-hand side of the streets, it would be best to practice away from significant traffic first once you arrive in Aruba.

Driving on the other side of the road different from the one you are used to might not be that difficult when you’re going off-road. Off-road usually have no strict driving lanes. However, if you’ll be moving on paved roads, that would give you the bulk of the challenge.

Other Road Rules

As you read succeeding sections, you’ll know how much road safety has improved in the country. It wasn’t just because of traffic enforcement, but people had really developed a strong sense of responsible driving.

What do you need to drive in Aruba?

You need to be at least 18 years old to drive. A license in Aruba for driving can only be a valid license from your native country and an IDP. Road traffic management in Aruba implements their road rules strictly, and patrol cars monitor the roads. Even though Aruba is a relatively small country with many countryside roads that seem unmonitored, you should always think twice

If you’re planning on going on a self-service off-road driving adventure with an ATV, it would be best if you had prior experience also. Off-road terrains have significantly different tractions compared to paved. Specifically, in Aruba, you’ll have to drive through rocky roads and dunes.

What are other road rules that make it safe to drive in Aruba?

Road rules in Aruba more or less adhere to international standards. On top of the most critical road rules mentioned above, here are other things to remember:

  • Motorized vehicles have the right of way over non-motorized vehicles
  • The unit for speed used in Aruba is kilometers, so don’t be confused
  • There are a lot of one-way streets in Oranjestad so watch out for traffic signs
  • In intersections without traffic lights, vehicles on the right side have the right of way
  • It is illegal to use any device that can distract you from driving

Driving Etiquette in Aruba

Driving etiquettes can be defined as road rules that are not regulated or that have no corresponding legal consequences. However, these driving etiquettes are just as important as the official road laws because it promotes peace among all road users. Here are a few driving etiquettes that you can review on:

Car Breakdown

Road emergencies can either be having your car break down in the middle of the road or colliding with another road user or road structure. If you meet an accident, the number one (1) is not to panic. This will help you stay mindful of any hazards and risks that may have potentially developed during the collision. The next thing to do is to immediately seek help, either by calling nearby locals or calling 911 (Aruba emergency hotline). If you have roadside assistance or rescue insurance, you should also contact your car rental company immediately.

Do not leave your car unattended. If you need to get out of it, make sure to secure all your belongings first and lock your car doors. One cannot be too complacent of potential petty crimes.

Police Stops

Law enforcement in Aruba is under the mandate of the Aruba Police Force. Even if you don’t see any police patrolling the road you are in, do not be complacent, as onlookers can still report you. In cases where you’ll get pulled over by police, do not attempt to escape. Instead, bring your car to a complete stop on the side of the road, roll your window down, and politely greet the police. You do not need to get out of the car unless the police instruct you to do so. Most likely, your driving and car documents will be requested, so it would be best to place them all in one folder or compartment for easier access.

Asking Directions

The official language of Aruba is Dutch; however, a lot of the locals understand English and Spanish very well. However, in the rarest case that you come across someone who doesn’t understand English, here are other alternatives that you can use:

  • “Hello”

Dutch: “Helli”

Spanish: “Hola”

  • “I need help”

Dutch: “Ik heb hulp nodig”

Spanish: “Necesito tu ayuda”

  • “Can you tell me where this is?”

Dutch: “Kun je me vertellen waar dit is?”

Spanish: “Puedes decirme donde esta esto?”

  • “Thank you very much”

Dutch: “Hartelijk bedankt”

Spanish: “Muchisimas gracias”

Checkpoints

Police checkpoints are rare in Aruba. But police do sometimes establish checkpoints in strategic places especially when there are brewing threats to the community. If you come across a checkpoint, expect that the police will conduct a comprehensive vehicle check. This includes your trunk, all your passengers, if there are any, and your driving documents. Expect also that they might ask you about your travel details. Nevertheless, checkpoints shouldn’t alarm you because they are for your own safety and protection.

Other Tips

Wherever you go around the country, make sure to observe proper road etiquette. It may be inevitable for you to come across aggressive drivers. In any case, you should always maintain your calm. Here are some other tips that you should practice:

How do you approach road closures while driving in Aruba?

Road closures are quite inevitable, especially when there are road maintenance works or there are road accidents. If you notice, in a lot of places in the world, vehicles tend to line-up in one (1) lane as this seems to be the more orderly way of approaching road closures.

However, some actually recommend following the Zipper Merge Method. This is done by also using the open lane and merging at the last minute in a zipper-like manner.

What to do when you want to switch lanes or enter another road?

We know that signaling is one of the most fundamental things to remember when driving. However, some drivers still overlook this important guideline. Whenever you’re turning left or right, merging onto traffic, overtaking, backing (reverse driving), etc., you shouldn’t forget to signal even when there is no heavy traffic around.

This will not only ensure your safety but as well as the safety of other road users that go unnoticed. These include non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians.

What to do while waiting for the stoplight to switch green?

You might be wondering why this is a vital road etiquette question. Can you guess? Well, one of the annoying manners of drivers during a full stop is to wait haphazardly. Some drivers tend to go on their mobile phones, watch other road users, or do something else that could distract them from noticing the changing traffic lights

Because of this, traffic can be held up due to delayed response time. You should be fully ready when the traffic light goes green to avoid delaying traffic.

Driving Conditions in Aruba

If you try to research Aruba’s traffic situation, you may find articles that talk about traffic congestion in some areas. However, if you look at videos about Aruba, you’ll find that a lot of road sections are actually suitable for stress-free road trips. With this, it is often quite difficult for some foreigners not to get excited about driving in Aruba. Maybe it will also be for you too!

If you try to look at the map, the road density in Aruba is relatively lower than in most urbanized countries. In addition, most well-paved roads are concentrated in Oranjestad. But does this make it safe to drive in Aruba? Or does this make it hard to drive in Aruba?

Accident Statistics

To answer the question on whether it is safe to drive in Aruba, well, data between 2000 - 2009 showed generally low road accident counts. Numbers averaged about 16 road fatalities per year, and this was way back when road conditions were not as pleasant as they are now. Fast forward to 2017, only two (2) deaths were recorded. If you also look at reports from the Overseas Security Council (OSAC), you would rarely see Aruba having negative reports.

In general, it is safe to drive in Aruba. Hopefully, road incident statistics will continue to decline in the years to come to support all the developing places to drive to in Aruba.

Common Vehicles

Because Aruba is a tourist destination, the car industry has also developed in the country to cater to the growing population and visitor count. You can see almost all kinds of cars in the country, from two-seater cars to the 11-seater coasters. Moreover, you can also find plenty of vintage and luxury cars plying the roads. However, at the end of the day, you should always use the car that will best serve your itinerary. For example, if you plan on driving through rough terrains, you shouldn’t rent very low-rise cars.

Toll Roads

Fortunately for your budget, there are no toll roads in Aruba. You can go around the country, back and forth the roads, without worrying about the expenses of toll fees. This is one of the advantages of living in and visiting Aruba.

Road Situations

The second most asked question about driving in Aruba is whether it is hard to drive in Aruba. Outside the elements surrounding the Aruban drunk-driving laws, road conditions also influence the quality of driving in the country. Generally, it is not that difficult to drive in Aruba.

A lot of roads are well-paved around the island and well-maintained at the same time. There are, however, dirt roads in both central and coastal areas that are away from Oranjestad. It becomes difficult to drive in these areas when your car is not suited for rough roads or your car wheels are not durable enough

Roads within major tourist attractions are well-lit, so you wouldn’t really find it difficult to navigate at night. Outside the urban center, specifically within the Arikok National Park, a lot of wildlife cross the dirt roads, so you have to proceed or drive in these areas with utmost caution. Lastly, since Aruba is visited by very minute rainfall throughout the year, the roads are generally dry. Traffic incidents caused by slippery roads are very low to non-exist at all.

Driving Culture

Arubans are warm and friendly people. If you come across an arrogant driver, do not generalize because these types of drivers are most likely one in a million. The majority of local drivers are respectful, and they really yield to other road users. When you’re driving around, also make sure that you maintain this level of civility.

Other Tips

Roundabouts are also distributed around the country, especially with Oranjestad and the southern coast. With this, do not forget the right of way rules when approaching and entering these roundabouts. Considering the efficient road systems, traffic lights, and good road conditions in Aruba, do you think you can complete a road trip in the country in less than a week?

How long would it take to drive around Aruba?

Aruba runs for 33km from north to south and 9km from east to west. Visitors who hear these words often ask right away, “How long would it take to drive across Aruba?”. On a normal day, the fastest route from north to south will take you about 50 minutes to drive, considering you don’t stop. So if you want to go around Aruba, it will not take you 3 hours to arrive at your origin point.

However, since Aruba is full of fascinating sites, it would be hard not to take 5 minutes to get a glimpse of the area. If you’d want the most relaxing time in Aruba, we recommend staying in the country for at least five (5) days.

Things To Do in Aruba

Aruba isn’t just a good country to spend your vacation in. It is also an excellent place for personal and professional development. Have you heard about the “One Happy Workcation” Program? This program is extended to U.S. residents who want to work in Aruba for a short time. Through this program, U.S. residents can work in Aruba for 90 days without any kind of work permit. If you’re interested in spending more time in Aruba, here a few other activities that may entice you.

Drive As A Tourist

Even if you are a new driver, driving in Aruba is highly recommended. Tourist guides are not mandatory as they are in some other countries like Bhutan, so you get to have the freedom to go wherever you want to go. Time-wise, you wouldn’t have to limit yourself to every destination, unlike when you join tour packages. You are welcomed to join tour packages, though; however, should there be other destinations not covered in your guided tour, renting a car and visiting them before you leave the country will be worth it.

Work As A Driver

The Aruban economy is driven by tourism, export of aloe, as well as, gold & phosphate mining. Government standards, however, will require most people to have a work visa in order to legally work in the country. Tourists are not permitted to accept paid work during their stay nor participate in any business transaction. If you like driving a lot, you can explore working in Aruba as a driver. You can either work as a private/personal driver, a delivery driver, a public transit driver, or a company driver.

Work as a Travel Guide

Before being granted a temporary work permit, you should already have an employer. Your employer will be the one to file your application for you. You will not be allowed to apply by yourself. This is because the company has to guarantee that they will take responsibility in paying for all your government-related expenditures. If your job falls under an internship or trainee level position, your employer will still have to file for a special work permit (different from a temporary permit) for you.

If you love engaging with people, you might want to try working as a travel guide also. Of course, this would entail you to learn everything about the country, including its culture. Working as a travel guide is an exciting career because the chances of you learning something new every day is high, especially when you’re meeting new people.

Apply for Residency

Apart from the work visa and the internship visa, the other types of visa that will allow you to reside in the country are the Aruba retirement visa, the Aruba passive income visa, the family visa. All of the visas mentioned bring you one step closer to getting a permanent resident visa. ?

All residence visa applications are submitted to the Departamento di Integracion, Maneho y Admision di Stranhero. You can either file them yourself at the embassy or hire third-party visa processors.

Other Things To Do

If working in the country isn’t in any one of your options, there are still other options that will lengthen your stay. For example, you can join short academic courses in your chosen field of study. Or, you can make a difference by joining non-government organizations.

Where Can I Volunteer in Aruba?

You can extend your stay in Aruba as an official volunteer in a registered non-profit organization. Non-profits in Aruba cover a variety of advocacies that could give you a wider or new perspective in life. You can check out the following groups:

  • Fundacion Respeta Mi
  • Fundacion Salba Nos Borico
  • ScubbleBubbles: Aruba Youth for the Ocean
  • Aruba Animal Shelter
  • Fundacion Telefon Pa Hubentud Aruba
  • Fundacion Pa Hende Muhe Den Dificultad
  • Clown Doctors
  • Aruba Blood Bank Foundation
  • Foundation Casa Cuna Progreso
  • Animal Rights Aruba
  • Fundacion Respeta Mi
  • Fundacion Salba Nos Borico
  • ScubbleBubbles: Aruba Youth for the Ocean
  • Aruba Animal Shelter
  • Fundacion Telefon Pa Hubentud Aruba
  • Fundacion Pa Hende Muhe Den Dificultad
  • Clown Doctors
  • Aruba Blood Bank Foundation
  • Foundation Casa Cuna Progreso
  • Animal Rights Aruba
Do I Want To Retire in Aruba?

If you’re looking for a place to retire to, you can consider this tiny island nation in the Lower Antilles. It has been considered as one of the most economical yet healthy and desirable places to live in. Apart from that, if you prefer the more luxurious, the country also presents high-end residential communities that will surely make you feel like royalty for the rest of your life.

Aruba is ideal for people who prefer the humid climate. What ex-pats love about Aruba is that it offers a lot of outdoor activities that promote physical and mental wellness. In addition, the country also offers a relatively easy process for those who wish to apply for permanent residency, so the government is actually really welcoming. The requirements to be eligible for the special residency programs for seniors are:

  • 55 years old and above
  • At least an annual income of US$56,200 from any legal source (including pension)
  • You need to be a homeowner in Arubae

The Top Destinations in Aruba

The Museum is open from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, Mondays to Fridays. You can also visit the Museum on Saturdays between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. You can go around the museum by yourself or join a guided tour

Oranjasted Photo by Lex Melony

Oranjestad

Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba. As you would expect, here is the melting pot of all things Aruba - history, culture, modern developments, restaurants, hotels, businesses, etc. As locals would say, Aruba’s history was built on resilience and the drive for a better future. When you go around Oranjestad, you will notice how a lot of buildings seem to be new developments. However, if you’d look closely, these are actually buildings that have existed for years. This is one piece of evidence that illustrates how Arubans value cultural preservation.

Driving Directions

Oranjestad is located on the southwestern coast of Aruba. It is the central transportation hub of the country where major seaports, one (1) airport, and modern road infrastructures are found.

An economical way to go around Oranjestad is to ride the tram, more popularly known as the Aruba Streetcar. The tramway network connects major spots around the city, including the docking port for cruises. However, this hop-on/hop-off road trolley only operates from 9:00 am - 5:30 pm daily. If you want to explore the city earlier in the morning or later in the evening, it would be best to rent a car instead.

Things To Do

Within the capital, you’d already see pristine beaches just a few meters away from the main roads. It also hosts major jump-off points for sailing, so you wouldn’t need to travel far to experience Caribbean waters. But beaches and sun-lounging aren’t the only sought-after things to do in Oranjestad. Here are other activities that you can do:

1. Visit the National Archaeological Museum

Learn about Aruba’s history at the National Archaeological Museum. Some artifacts date as far as back as 2500 BC. Here is where you’ll learn a lot about the earliest inhabitants of the island, their way of life, and how they shaped the present-day culture of the Arubans.

2. Shop at the Renaissance Marketplace


If you’re planning on buying souvenirs, the Renaissance Marketplace is a good place to find items. It is an entertainment center where you’ll also find various restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and even a movie theatre.

3. Join the Bon Bini Festival

The Bon Bini Festival is a celebration of folk dance and music in Aruba. It is held every Tuesday at Fort Zoutman — the country’s oldest, still-standing colonial fort built in 1798. It is also a good avenue to take your dinner because the festival doesn’t only exhibit different kinds of Aruban music, but also different local, mouthwatering food! Festivities happen between 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

4. Visit Cas di Cultura National Theater

Since 1958, the national theater has been the country’s primary cultural platform where talented locals come together. The national theater is privately managed, and this is where you’ll also find the Aruban School of Music and the Diana Antonette Dance School.

Watch local artists perform at the Cas di Cultura National Theater. You can check out the theater’s social media pages for schedules of upcoming events.

Eagle Beach Photo by David Troeger

Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach is the longest and widest, white, powdery beach in Aruba. If you’ve ever heard and seen pictures of the famous Fofoti Tree, Eagle Beach is where you’ll find them. Due to the beach’s enormous space, it is a hub for a lot of beach activities. These include:

  • Join a guided tour to the turtles’ nest areas on Eagle Beach
  • Camp on the beach during Easter Week
  • Take out your beach mat, lounge on the sand, and read your favorite book
  • Play beach volleyball
  • Swim on the crystal clear waters
  • Ride a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard

These are just some of the few activities that you can do on Eagle Beach. Furthermore, what’s the next best thing about Eagle Beach? It’s actually accessible to the public for free!

Driving Directions

Eagle Beach is located on the northwestern side of the island. The fastest route to Eagle Beach is via the Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard from the Queen Beatrix International Airport. It will only take you around 15 minutes to drive from the airport to the beach.

  1. Exit the airport by driving west towards Sabana Berde.
  2. Turn left on Rte 1.
  3. At the Las Americas roundabout, take the 3rd exit towards the Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard.
  4. At the next roundabout, take the second exit to continue towards the Lloyd G. Smith Boulevard.
  5. At the next roundabout, take the first exit again to continue driving along Lloyd. G. Smith Boulevard.
  6. Once you reach the next roundabout, take the third exit and drive until you reach J.E. Irausquin Boulevard. You’ll find Eagle Beach right across the road.

Things To Do

Due to the beach’s enormous space, it is a hub for a lot of beach activities. Apart from swimming on crystal clear waters, here are some other recommended things to do in Eagle Beach:

1. Learn About the Biology of Turtles

A section of Eagle Beach is a nesting area for Leatherback Turtles. Guided tours are available for people to learn and witness how baby turtles are born. Nesting season happens between March to September. Since incubation usually occurs for 60 – 70 days from nesting, you can expect that hatching season can happen up to November.

2. Camp On the Beach During Easter Week

Easter break is vacation season for a lot of people. This period also welcomes the largest count of tourists in a year. If you are fond of camping under the stars, bonfire nights, and just sleeping with the relaxing sounds of the sea, Eagle Beach is a good place to be.

3. Play Beach and Watersports

If the beach energizes you and you like being active on the beach, the soft white sand makes the beach a safe place to run around. You can also rent boards and go kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

Fontein Cave and Blue Lagoon by madmack66

Fontein Cave and Blue Lagoon

Aruba is mostly known for its soft, sandy beaches and shallow, vibrant-blue waters. But behind all the popular listings, there are also lesser-known destinations in Aruba that exude the same enchanting charm as the more popular ones (or maybe even better!). This includes the Blue Lagoon and Fontein Cave.

If you have a penchant for both history and adventure, check this destination out. The cave features century-old stalagmites and stalactites, as well as cave carvings thought to be written by the Amerindians. If you want to get a glimpse of the stories of the earliest inhabitants of Aruba, don’t miss Fontein Cave. After which, head on over to the peaceful Blue Lagoon for more cooling off.

Driving Directions

Fontein Cave is located within the Arikok National Park. Specifically, it is found within the eastern coast of Aruba. The spot is about 14.1 km from the Queen Beatrix International Airport. It would take you about half an hour or so to reach the destination via private car. From the airport:

  1. Exit west through Sabana Berde.
  2. Turn right onto Rte 1.
  3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit to continue on towards Rte 1.
  4. At the next roundabout, take the exit towards Mahuma.
  5. On the 2nd corner, turn right to stay on Mahuma.
  6. Keep right and continue driving towards Jucuri.
  7. From Jucuri, continue to drive straight towards Sabana Grandi until you reach the T-junction with Rte 4.
  8. Turn left on Rte 4.
  9. On the first corner, turn right towards Macuarima.
  10. Then turn left towards Warawara.
  11. Keep left and continue driving towards Picaron.
  12. Once you reach the T-junction, turn right towards Rte 7.
  13. Stay on Rte 7 until you reach the eastern coast of the Northern Loop.
  14. Near the Boca Prins Bar, turn right towards Fontein Cave.
Things To Do

If you have a penchant for both history and adventure, check this destination out. Although both destinations aren’t in the same complex, both are relatively near each other, so it is recommended to visit them on the same day.

1. See the Century-old Stalagmites and Stalactites

Stalactites are growing mounds of mineral deposits on cave ceilings, while, Stalagmites are growing mounds of mineral deposits found on cave floors. These rock formations are very popular subjects of preservation because they grow very slowly. If you see huge stalactites and stalagmites, they’ve probably been around for hundreds or thousands of years.

2. Learn About the Arawaks

Fontein Cave is believed to be the site where the Arawaks, the first inhabitants of the island, hid during the early years of the colonial period. The cave is made up of limestone, and you will still see the original markings or drawings of the Arawaks.

3. Swim at the Blue Lagoon

After visiting the cave, you can head on over to the peaceful Blue Lagoon for more cooling off. The Blue Lagoon is a nice place to stop over, considering the arid, tropical climate of Aruba.

Aloe Vera Factory Museum by pisauikan

Aloe Vera Factory Museum

Telling the story of how Aruba came to be would be incomplete without the Aloe Vera plant coming into the picture. Before the advent of tourism, Aruba was driven by an agricultural economy that mostly focused on Aloe Vera. Guided tours are held every 15 minutes, and you’ll have a choice between an English-guided tour, a Dutch, A Spanish, or a Papamiento-guided tour.

Driving Directions

The Aloe Vera Factory Museum is just located within Oranjestad, specifically on Pitastraat Road. It will take you about 10 minutes to drive from the Queen Beatrix Airport.

From the airport:

  1. Turn left onto Sabana Berde.
  2. Then turn right on Rte 1.
  3. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit towards Watty Vos Boulevard.
  4. At the succeeding roundabout, take the 2nd exit to stay on Watty Vos Boulevard.
  5. You’ll come across another roundabout and still take the Watty Vos Blvd. Exit.
  6. Expect to drive across two (2) more roundabouts (always take the Watty Vos Blvd. Exit).
  7. After that, at the last roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Caya Ernesto Petronia (Rte2).
  8. Then on the first corner to your left, turn left towards Cocorobana.
  9. On the 3rd corner to your left, turn left.
  10. Then turn right onto Pitastraat. You’ll find both the Aloe Farm and Aruba Aloe Factory Museum on your left.
Things To Do

The Museum is open from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, Mondays to Fridays. You can also visit the Museum on Saturdays between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. You have the option to go around the museum by yourself or join a guided tour. We recommend joining a guided tour because you’ll get to learn about many things.

1. Know About the Role of Aloe Vera in Aruban History

As mentioned, the agricultural economy of the country mostly relied on Aloe Vera. Decades after its discovery, learn about the recent advancements of how Aloe Vera is being extracted and processed before it is shipped to different parts of the world.

2. Learn About the Benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera isn’t just a pivotal ingredient in the cosmetic industry; it also has plenty of medical and domestic uses. Plus, it is also easy to grow Aloe Vera. We bet you that once you learn of its many benefits, you’d want to grow this plant in your home, yourself.

3. See How Aloe Vera Is Processed

When you visit the museum, you’ll not only see the different Aloe Vera products. You’ll also get to see the different production areas, including the cutting room, testing laboratory, filling room, package, and storage rooms. Plus, if you join guided tours, the museum tour guides will gladly explain to you each of the processes involved.

To know more about what driving is like in Aruba, driving licenses in Aruba, and other road trip tips, you speak to any International Driver’s Association representative. Get your IDP now from the website to jumpstart your road-tripping adventure around this wonderful country.

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