Driving Guide

Aruba Driving Guide

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

2023-12-04 · 9min read

When planning a Caribbean getaway, Aruba is a destination you shouldn't overlook.

Imagine yourself amidst its stunning turquoise waters and clear blue skies, offering a 360-degree panorama of the Caribbean's beauty. It's a place where the hustle of urban life harmoniously blends with the tranquility of desert landscapes and seaside vistas.

While public transport is affordable in Aruba, its coverage and scheduling are somewhat limited. Renting a car is ideal if you value your schedule's flexibility and want to explore at your own pace. Navigating Aruba's roads is a delightful experience, even for novice drivers, thanks to the island's gentle slopes and manageable terrain.

Although there are many public transportation options available on the island, renting a car and driving allows you the freedom to explore at your own pace. This is especially true if you are looking to visit some of the more ‘off the beaten path’ attractions like Arikok National Park.

Marianne Gordano, the writer and founder of Pasta, Pretzels, and Passports, shares in her post Driving in Aruba – What You Need to Know Before You Go 2024.

To ensure you can fully embrace all that your Aruba itinerary has to offer, we've crafted this guide to make your driving experience on the island both convenient and enjoyable. This resource is designed to streamline your journey, allowing you to navigate Aruba's roads easily and confidently.

Let's Take a Closer Look at Aruba

Before diving deeper into Aruba's diving culture and etiquette, here are some interesting facts about this beautiful isla

Geographic Location

Aruba, nestled in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, is an island known for its dry, tropical climate and stunning natural beauty. Positioned at 12.5124°N and 69.9789°W, this island lies just 15 nautical miles north of Venezuela and about 43 nautical miles northwest of Curaçao.

For those traveling from temperate regions, Aruba's warm and humid air calls for light clothing and portable fans, as the island is near the Equator and generally experiences dry conditions throughout the year.

Aruba boasts the least rainfall in the Caribbean, with March typically the driest and November seeing the most rain. The island's unique landscape includes a cacti-filled desert in its mid-region. Temperature peaks occur from May to October, while cooler weather prevails from December to March.

Fortunately, Aruba is situated below the hurricane belt, making it less prone to typhoons or hurricanes and ensuring a stable vacation experience.

Languages Spoken

As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Dutch is the official language of Aruba. However, the island also embraces its unique Papiamento language, which is widely spoken alongside Dutch and is also common in Curacao. English and Spanish are also fluently spoken, making communication for tourists relatively easy.

Land Area

Aruba covers about 180 km², comparable to the Marshall Islands and slightly larger than Liechtenstein. The terrain is mostly flat, with the highest elevation being Mount Arikok at 184 meters above sea level. The island's inland areas are dotted with cacti, while palm trees line its coasts. The southern coast features white sandy beaches, contrasting the rocky northern shore.


Aruba's earliest inhabitants were the Caiquetio Indians, part of the Arawak lineage, with remnants of their presence visible in Arikok National Park. Spanish explorers arrived in 1499, marking the beginning of over a century of Spanish rule.

Then, the 17th century saw Dutch control to protect their South American salt supplies, and Aruba officially became part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1845.


While Aruba is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it gained autonomy in 1986. The island has its own internal government, with foreign affairs managed by the Kingdom.

The governmental structure includes a Governor as the Head of State, a Prime Minister, a Council of Ministers, and a unicameral parliament, reflecting its status as a representative parliamentary democracy.


Aruba's popularity as a tourist destination is attributed to its favorable climate. Additionally, the government has made substantial investments in tourism infrastructure, including world-class hotels, ensuring that every visitor's stay is a well-deserved vacation.

International Driving Permit FAQs

An International Driver's Permit (IDP) serves as an official translation of your native driving license, supplementing but not replacing it. It is similar to a passport, providing translations in 12 of the world's most widely spoken languages to ensure your license is understood globally.

Is an IDP Necessary for Driving in Aruba?

While not a legal requirement in Aruba, having an IDP is strongly recommended. This is particularly useful if your native license uses a non-Roman alphabet or isn't in Dutch or English, as Aruba's national language is Dutch. An IDP not only facilitates driving in a foreign country but also offers several advantages:

  • Streamlines the car rental process.
  • Aids in explaining your native license to authorities.
  • Accessible in digital format, equally valid as the printed version.
  • Recognized in numerous countries worldwide.

Can I Drive With My Native Driver’s License in Aruba?

You can drive in Aruba with a native license printed in the Roman alphabet. However, to ensure hassle-free driving, acquiring an IDP is wise. This is especially important if your license's language is not readily recognized in Aruba.

Additionally, you must meet Aruba's minimum driving age of 18, regardless of younger driving ages permitted in your home country.

How Can I Apply for an IDP?

To obtain an IDP from the International Driver’s Association, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the homepage.

2. Click the cart icon or any orange button on the page.

3. Select your IDP package.

4. Provide your complete personal information.

5. Choose your shipping destination.

6. Complete the payment process.

7. Verify your identity.

8. Await confirmation from the IDA.

Why Should You Apply for an IDP With Us?

Opting for an IDP from the International Driver’s Association offers several benefits:

  • Satisfaction guarantee with a full refund within 7-30 days.
  • Fast shipping, with regular applications dispatched within 24 hours.
  • Free IDP replacement for lost documents (shipping fees apply).
  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • Express shipping options for receiving your IDP swiftly.

Securing an IDP ensures a smoother driving experience in Aruba, enhancing both convenience and compliance with local regulations.

Renting a Car in Aruba

Aruba's eight regions boast unique attractions like beaches, restaurants, and historic sites. To fully explore these diverse areas, consider renting a car, which offers the freedom to traverse the island at your own pace. Here's a guide on how to rent a car in Aruba:

Car Rental Options

In Aruba, most car rental agencies are located in Oranjestad. Conveniently, you can pick up your rental car at various locations, including directly at the airport or your hotel. Advanced technology lets you check on the best car rental in Aruba and arrange your vehicle rental online before arriving on the island, saving precious vacation time.

Some recommended car rental companies in Aruba include:

  • 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

Required Documents

Renting a car in Aruba typically requires the following:

  • A valid driver’s license from your home country.
  • Third-party car insurance.
  • A valid credit card.
  • An International Driver’s License, particularly helpful for foreign visitors.

Choosing the Right Vehicle

Aruba's well-maintained roads are suitable for various vehicle types. However, if you plan to venture into more rugged terrain, consider a vehicle that matches these conditions. Economy sedans are ideal for budget-conscious travelers, while SUVs, jeeps, vans, and luxury cars are available for those seeking more comfort.

For the adventurous, renting an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) is an excellent way to explore Aruba’s off-road landscapes. Keep in mind that guides are often required to navigate areas where ATVs are permitted.

Rental Costs

Car rental rates in Aruba can range from USD 17 to USD 367 per day, varying based on factors like the car model, transmission type, passenger capacity, and additional features. Consider additional fees such as administrative, insurance, and maintenance fees, gas, and rental extension charges when budgeting.

Age Requirements for Renting

The age requirement for renting a car in Aruba is typically between 21 to 70 years. Younger drivers (21-25 years) and senior drivers (above 70 years) may face additional surcharges, which vary among rental companies.

Car Insurance Essentials

Basic rental insurance in Aruba includes third-party liability coverage. Opting for additional insurance like Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) for comprehensive protection is advisable. CDWs generally cost between USD 10 and 30 daily, making PAI more affordable.

If you have existing car insurance, check with the rental company if it meets their requirements. Alternatively, explore the best car insurance in Aruba to select the most comprehensive coverage for your needs.

Finalizing Your Rental

Most car rental companies in Aruba require a credit card for the security deposit, though some local firms may accept cash. Before finalizing your rental, it's best to contact the company to confirm your arrangements and understand the insurance policies thoroughly.

With your rental car sorted, you're all set to embark on a memorable journey across Aruba's captivating landscapes and vibrant cultural scenes.

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.

Minimum Age for Driving

In Aruba, the legal age for unsupervised driving is 18. This is higher than in some countries where the driving age starts at 16 or 17. Therefore, younger drivers with a valid license from their home country must wait until they are 18 to drive in Aruba.

Drunk-Driving Laws

Aruba enforces strict drunk-driving laws, with a maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 50mg per 100ml of blood. Exceeding this limit can lead to immediate arrest. Foreign drivers should note that their driver's license and International Driver’s Permit (IDP) could be confiscated for violating these laws.

Speed Limits

Aruba's speed limits vary based on location:

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

Though fixed-speed cameras are uncommon, police often use handheld speedometers for random checks. Violating the speed limit can result in penalties.

Parking Regulations

Aruba offers plenty of designated parking areas, including metered street parking available from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Be mindful of no-parking zones, such as near street corners, service roads, bridges, and pedestrian crossings.

Seatbelt Requirements

Seatbelts are mandatory for all vehicle occupants, front and back. Children under five must be in car seats and are not allowed in the front passenger seat. Car rental companies provide child car seats for rent.

Aruba has improved its traffic management and navigation infrastructure. Digital maps provide real-time traffic updates, and directional signs are abundant. Traffic signs in Aruba are in English, using clear, universal symbols across three categories: informational, regulatory, and warning signs.

Right of Way

In Aruba, certain vehicles have the right of way:

  • Emergency vehicles
  • Vehicles in roundabouts
  • Vehicles on main roads when merging
  • Larger vehicles in specific situations

Overtaking Laws

In Aruba, overtaking is done on the left. It's important to overtake quickly and safely to avoid obstructing traffic.

Driving Orientation

Arubans drive on the right-hand side of the road. For those used to left-hand driving, it's advisable to practice in less trafficked areas first, especially when navigating Oranjestad's one-way streets.

Additional Road Rules

Other important rules to keep in mind include:

  • Motorized vehicles have priority over non-motorized ones.
  • Speed is measured in kilometers.
  • In intersections without traffic lights, vehicles from the right have the right of way.
  • Distracted driving is illegal.

Understanding and following these road rules ensures a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Aruba, allowing you to explore the island's beauty without any worries.

Driving Etiquette in Aruba

By following these unspoken rules of the road, you contribute to a safer and more pleasant driving experience for yourself and others in Aruba:

Handling Car Breakdowns and Emergencies

In the event of a car breakdown or collision, the first step is to remain calm. This helps in assessing any potential hazards. Seek help immediately, either by contacting locals or calling Aruba's emergency number, 911.

If your car rental includes roadside assistance, notify the rental company as well. Always secure your vehicle and belongings if you need to step out.

Interacting with Police

The Aruba Police Force maintains law and order on the roads. If stopped by the police, pull over safely, roll down your window, and interact respectfully. Stay in your vehicle unless asked to step out, and keep your driving and car documents handy for inspection.

Asking for Directions

While most locals understand English and Spanish, knowing a few phrases in Dutch can be helpful. Use simple greetings and questions to ask for directions. For instance:

  • Hello: "Helli" (Dutch), "Hola" (Spanish)
  • I need help: "Ik heb hulp nodig" (Dutch), "Necesito tu ayuda" (Spanish)
  • Can you tell me where this is?: "Kun je me vertellen waar dit is?" (Dutch), "Puedes decirme donde esta esto?" (Spanish)
  • Thank you very much: "Hartelijk bedankt" (Dutch), "Muchisimas gracias" (Spanish)

Though police checkpoints are rare in Aruba, they may be established for community safety. Be prepared for a thorough vehicle check, including your trunk and passengers. Police may inquire about your travel details; respond truthfully as these checkpoints are for everyone's security.

Dealing with Road Closures

For road closures due to maintenance or accidents, the Zipper Merge Method is advised. This involves using the open lane and merging in a zipper-like fashion at the last moment, promoting an orderly flow of traffic.

Lane Switching and Road Merging

Always signal your intentions when changing lanes, merging into traffic, or making turns. This simple act ensures not just your safety, but also that of others, including unseen pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles.


While waiting for a traffic light to turn green, stay alert and ready to move. Avoid distractions like mobile phones to prevent traffic delays when the light changes.

Driving Conditions in Aruba

In Aruba, the road network is less dense than more urbanized countries, with most of the well-maintained roads found in Oranjestad. This setup might raise questions about the ease and safety of driving on the island.

Safety and Accident Statistics

Historically, Aruba has seen low rates of road accidents. Between 2000 and 2009, the average annual road fatalities were about 16, despite less advanced road conditions than today.

By 2017, this number had significantly reduced to only two fatalities. Reports from the Overseas Security Council (OSAC) also highlight Aruba's safety, with few negative incidents noted. Driving in Aruba is considered safe, and it is hoped that road safety will continue to improve alongside the island's development.

Variety of Vehicles in Aruba

Aruba's status as a popular tourist destination has led to a diverse range of vehicles on its roads, from compact cars to 11-seater coasters, including vintage and luxury models. Selection should be based on your planned activities; rough terrain requires more robust vehicles.

Toll-Free Roads

A major advantage for drivers in Aruba is the absence of toll roads, allowing unrestricted travel across the island without worrying about toll fees.

Road Conditions

Driving in Aruba is generally straightforward. Most roads, particularly in tourist areas, are well-paved and maintained. However, some dirt roads, particularly in central and coastal regions away from Oranjestad, can pose challenges for unsuitable vehicles.

Wildlife crossings are common in Arikok National Park, necessitating cautious driving. Due to the island's arid climate, roads are primarily dry, reducing the risk of accidents caused by slippery conditions.

Driving Culture

Arubans are known for their warmth and friendliness, which extends to their driving habits. While you may encounter the occasional discourteous driver, most locals are respectful and courteous.

Travel Time Across Aruba

Aruba stretches 33km north to south and 9km east to west. A direct drive from north to south can take about 50 minutes without stops. However, a complete tour might take longer, given the island's many attractions. A stay of at least five days is recommended for a leisurely and thorough exploration.

The Top Destinations in Aruba

From the bustling capital of Oranjestad to the laid-back natural landscapes, here's a guide to some of the best places to visit in Aruba to add to your itinerary:


Oranjestad, the vibrant capital, is a fusion of Aruban history, culture, and modernity. It's where the island's past and present collide, evident in its well-preserved old buildings amidst new developments. This city reflects the resilience and forward-thinking spirit of the Aruban people.

Activities in Oranjestad

  • Discover Aruba’s past at the National Archaeological Museum.
  • Shop and dine at the Renaissance Marketplace.
  • Experience local culture at the Bon Bini Festival held at Fort Zoutman.
  • Enjoy performances at the Cas di Cultura National Theater.

Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach is renowned for its vast expanse of white sand and iconic Fofoti Trees. This public beach is a hub for numerous activities and is accessible free of charge.

What to Do at Eagle Beach

  • Explore turtle nesting areas with guided tours.
  • Camp under the stars during Easter Week.
  • Relax with beachside activities like volleyball and water sports.
  • Discover marine life through kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.

Fontein Cave and Blue Lagoon

For a mix of history and natural beauty, visit Fontein Cave and the tranquil Blue Lagoon. The cave, adorned with ancient stalagmites, stalactites, and Amerindian carvings, offers a glimpse into Aruba's earliest settlers.

Exploring Fontein Cave and Blue Lagoon

  • Marvel at the ancient rock formations in Fontein Cave.
  • Learn about the Arawaks, the island's first inhabitants.
  • Enjoy a refreshing swim at the Blue Lagoon.

Aloe Vera Factory Museum

The Aloe Vera Factory Museum is a testament to the agricultural sector's significance in Aruba's history and economy. The museum offers insightful guided tours in various languages, showcasing the processing and benefits of Aloe Vera.

Visiting the Aloe Vera Factory Museum

  • Understand Aloe Vera's role in Aruba’s agricultural history.
  • Learn about the plant's numerous benefits and uses.
  • Observe the processing of Aloe Vera from plant to product.

Get an IDP to Explore Aruba

Whether you're planning a family vacation or a romantic retreat, Aruba stands as an ideal destination. To fully experience its beautiful beaches, national park, and other natural attractions, consider obtaining an International Driving Permit for a hassle-free experience!

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