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Aruba

Aruba is a Caribbean island 15 miles north of the coast of Venezuela. The island is an autonomous dependency of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is 30 kilometres (19.6 miles) long and 9 kilometres (6 miles) across, at its widest point, with an area of approximately 70 square miles (184 square kilometres). This flat, riverless island is renowned for its white sand beaches. Its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature is almost constant at about 27°C (81°F). The yearly rainfall usually does not exceed 20 inches. Aruba lays outside the Caribbean hurricane belt.

Aruba is divided into the northeast and southwest coasts. The southwest has the white sand beaches, turquoise seas, and warm waters. The northeast coast, exposed to the Atlantic, has a few white sand beaches, cacti, rough seas with treacherous currents, and a rocky coastline. The time in Aruba is Atlantic standard time; it is the same as Eastern Daylight Savings time all year round.

Cities

  • Oranjestad - Capital
  • Noord
  • Palm Beach
  • Paradera
  • Santa Cruz
  • Saint Nicolas
  • Savaneta

Understand

Climate

The climate is tropical marine, with little seasonal temperature variation. Because of its location south in the Caribbean there is very strong sun, but a constant light breeze keeps the temperature pleasant. (These persistent winds out of the east shape the island's distinctive, lop-sided divi-divi trees.)The divi-divi trees have become a signature tree to Aruba's landscape. The weather is almost always dry, with most rain showers coming at night and lasting only a little while.Temperatures in Aruba do not change dramatically. Between the months of January and March the temperatures stay around 76-85 degrees; this being their high season. However starting in April and through December this is considered off season and temperatures do not change much beyond 79 and 88 degrees.It lies outside the zone usually affected by hurricanes.

Landscape

The island is flat with a few hills, arid with mostly desert vegetation and negligible natural resources other than white sandy beaches. Highest point: Mount Jamanota (188 meters).

History

Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire and Curacao, the ABC Islands) in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.

Tourism is the mainstay of the small, open Aruban economy, with offshore banking and oil refining and storage also important (both ended in 2009). The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Construction has boomed, with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level.

Symbolism

Papiamento and the national flag, anthem, and coat of arms are the most important national symbols. They stress the inhabitants' love for the island, the close connection to the Caribbean Sea, and the multi-cultural composition of the population. The national anthem is played and sung on many occasions. The Dutch flag functions as a symbol of the unity of Aruba, the Netherlands, and the Netherlands Antilles.

Etiquette

  • You should not wear beach attire anywhere but on the beaches or by the pool.
  • Make sure to properly greet someone.
  • Ask before snapping a picture of someone.
  • Men should wear dress shorts or slacks to dinner, no jeans allowed in most restaurants.

Electricity

Officially 120V 60 Hz, which is identical to the U.S. and Canadian standard. Outlets are North American grounded outlets, identical to standard U.S. and Canadian wall outlets. Occasionally non-grounded outlets may be found, which do not accept the third, round pin present on grounded plugs, and require an adapter. Older North American outlets may not be polarized (with one slot wider than the other). Otherwise, adapters are available which accept a polarized plug and adapt it for use with a non-polarized outlet.

Entry requirements

Travelers are not allowed to work during their stay in Aruba.

  • a passport that is valid upon entry and for the duration of stay in Aruba. If the tourist holds a passport from a visa required country (list A), he must have a valid visa sticker in his passport;
  • a completely filled-in and signed Embarkation and Disembarkation card (ED-card);
  • a valid return- or onward ticket;
  • the necessary documents for returning to the country of origin or to a country that he has the right to enter, for example a valid residence permit (temporary or permanent), a re-entry permit or a (entry) visa;
  • if so requested, the tourist has to be able to prove to the satisfaction of the migration officer that he has a valid reservation for an accommodation in Aruba (e.g. hotel or apartment) or that he owns property in Aruba (a residence, condominium, apartment, timeshare apartment or a pleasure yacht moored in Aruba with a length of at least 14 meters measured on the water line);
  • if so requested, the tourist has to be able to prove to the satisfaction of the migration officer to dispose of adequate financial means to provide for hotel expenses (if applicable) and living expenses during his stay or that he has a declaration of guarantee from a legal resident of Aruba.

The final authorization for admission to Aruba remains with migration officer at the border-crossing/port of entry. The migration authorities at the border-crossing/port of entry have the authority to grant or refuse admission. Admission can be refused if not all admission requirements are fulfilled by the time of entering Aruba of if the tourist has been blacklisted.

Get in

By plane

All air traffic will arrive and depart from the Reina Beatrix International Airport (IATA: AUA) on the western side of the island.

Aruba no longer has a national airline. American Airlines is a popular carrier that schedules flights from Charlotte, Miami, and Philadelphia. Other major carriers from the US include Southwest (Baltimore, Orlando), United (Chicago, Newark, Houston Intercontinental, Washington/Dulles), Delta (Atlanta, New York JFK), and JetBlue Airways (New York JFK, Boston).

First Choice Airways flies charter flights from the London and Manchester in the UK, and KLM flights to Amsterdam connect to most of the rest of Europe. Avianca and Aires connect Aruba to Colombia.

Daily connections to Venezuela include Caracas, Maracaibo, Las Piedras and Valencia, by Aeropostal, Aserca, Santa Barbara Airlines and Avior.

InselAir [1] has several daily flights to Curacao, and from there to 11 destinations in South America (including Medellín - Colombia and Valencia (Venezuela)), the Caribbean and Miami.

There is an office of the American Department of Homeland Security at the airport for those traveling to the United States.

By boat

Cruise ships can dock quite close to the downtown area, offering their passengers an easy walk to many stores and services.

Get around

Cabs are available at the airport and at hotels. Cost about $30 including tip from the airport to Eagle Beach. You can also rent a car or jeep at the Queen Beatrix airport or through the hotel concierge. Additionally there is a bus system called "Arubus." This bus is great to see the island and to travel from Oranjestad to the tourist hotels all for about $1.50. You can take bus to the far end of the island, have lunch at St Nicholas, see how the 90,000 islanders live. The bus stops at 9pm. You can find city/island buses at a main station right downtown. During other than "rush hours", friendly drivers and some riders will help you choose routes and provide commentary on stops and sights. Fares are quite modest. An economical way to get to the resort beaches.

Because Aruba is small, consider not renting a car until you know what you want to do. Many activities are central to the resort area of the island and are within walking distance. Renting cars/jeeps is easy, and many rental companies provide pickup service from area hotels.

If you do decide to rent a car, be aware that the local rental car companies often rent older, higher mileage cars. It's especially important to recognize that even the big brand rental car agencies will rent you a vehicle in poor condition that may or may not function properly.

Driving in Aruba

The most important thing U.S. drivers need to remember is that there are no turns on red. Also, there are several roundabouts (circles), which can be frustrating to some drivers but are quickly gotten used to. Aruba uses international road signs, which generally have no words or obvious relation to their meaning. Fortunately, tourist maps usually contain quick references to these road signs if you are unfamiliar.

The major road is LG Smith Blvd, on which people usually drive at about 40 mph, though that is a very rough guideline. Because the island is so small, everything of interest is close to everything else of interest, and it takes special talent to get lost—if you don't know where you're going, you can basically just keep driving, and statistically speaking you are likely to end up where you need to go eventually. It should be noted, however, that most of the roads are not identified by signage.

The lack of road signage can be especially frustrating in downtown Oranjestad, so it might be best to park near the Renaissance Mall and simply walk to your destination. A cab might also be easier than navigating the narrow unmarked streets.

You should also be cautious when driving, as there are certain "bus only" roads that are not marked but that feature large pits in the road designed to trap normal cars while letting buses drive through.

Traffic rules

International road signs are used in Aruba. Foreign & international driver's licenses issued by a member country of the Geneva Convention, are valid. Car speedometers and road signs are in kilometres. The speed limit in urban areas is 40 km/h; out of town it's 60 km/h, unless a higher or lower speed is specifically indicated. Much of Oranjestad's traffic is one-way and at intersections, where there are no road signs, traffic from your right has the right of way.

Car Hire Although the island has a half decent transport system of its own, you can take life on this laid back island at a pace that suits you by using a car hire vehicle. Take a map with you to determine what road signs mean because they are not immediately obvious. This is one of the easier holiday destinations to negotiate your own car around so keep the pace easy and book ahead online.

Talk

Languages spoken are Dutch (official), Papiamento, (also official) (a creole of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch origin), Spanish, and English (widely spoken).

See

  • Natural Pool (Conchi) - On the northern side of the island and only accessible via ATV or Trail Rated 4x4. This is a small pool of water hidden in natural rock formation that jut into the ocean, just off the shore of Aruba. This location makes for a great day trip - make sure your vehicle has a spare tire.
  • California Lighthouse - On the northernmost tip of the island. Many scenic views and is also the location where you can access the dirt trails to travel down the northern shores of Aruba.
  • Our Lady of Alto Visto Chapel - On the northern side of the island. The chapel is very picturesque and historic.
  • Aruba Aloe Factory. – You can take a short tour and learn some interesting facts about aloe farming, production and uses.
  • Casibari Rock & Ayo Rock Formations – You can climb and explore these formations, the tops of which provide a great view of the countryside.
  • Natural Bridge @ Boca Andicuri – There are 7 "Natural Bridges" in Aruba. The original (biggest and most famous bridge that people are referring to when they say Natural Bridge) collapsed in 2005 leaving a pile of rubble in the bay. There is a smaller bridge right next to the fallen bridge that still stands.
  • Bushiribban Gold Mill / Smelting Station – The ruins of the smelting station are the way to the Natural Bridge. Climbing the ruins you can get great photos of the coastline.
  • Aruba Ostrich Farm. – The tour walks you around the ostrich pens and incubator. The Aruba farm is more for educating people, while the meat that is used for food in Aruba actually comes from the sister island of Curacao. (Ostrich is a red meat, which is high in protein and low in fat.)
  • Boca Catalina and the Antilla Shipwreck – These are 2 of the many sites snorkel tours will take you. The Antillla Shipwreck is the remains of a scuttled 400-foot German cargo ship that was anchored off of Aruba during WW2. It was thought that this ship was supplying German U-Boats in the Caribbean and after The Netherlands was invaded in 1940, the captain was given notice to surrender the ship. Instead of surrendering the ship to the Dutch Marines the captain sunk the ship by blowing up the boilers. (The crew swam to shore, and were taken POW and shipped to Bonaire.) The joke you will hear is "They did not want to surrender the cargo and they also wanted to provide future tourists with a site to see." The remains are off of Malmok beach. After the war, the captain and his crew purchased their former POW camp and converted it into a hotel. Today the site is the Divi Flamingo resort.
  • Arikok National Park - The park consists of lava formations, a quartz diorite formation and a limestone formation extending inward from the coastline. These formations have played a pivotal role in the history of Aruba.
  • Guadirkiri Caves
  • The Palm Island
  • Hooiberg (Haystack Mountain) a.k.a simply "the Haystack" – Standing over 500 feet, the haystack is in the center of the country and provides a breathtaking view of Aruba. People suggest going on a cool & clear day because it will be easier to climb the 561 steps required to reach the top and you can see the coast of Venezuela to the south!
  • Butterfly Farm - set in a tropical atmosphere, tour guides at the Butterfly Farm will elucidate butterfly habits and metamorphosis.
  • Bubali Bird Sanctuary - over 80 species of migratory birds reside in the sanctuary. Get the best view of the birds, by using the observation tower.
  • De Oude Molen/ Windmill First built in 1804 in Holland then shipped to Aruba in 1906.
  • Donkey Sanctuary. 9 am-12pm. A home for many rescued donkeys, who roam wild on Aruba and are often killed by cars or dogs. Staffed by volunteers who offer information about the donkeys and the sanctuary program. For a small fee, you can feed the donkeys pellets or apples--petting them is free! All proceeds from the feeding program and the small but well-stocked gift shop are used to care for and rescue the donkeys. free.

Do

On and of the resorts:

  • Horseback Riding
  • Jeep Safari
  • Hiking
  • Cycle Tours
  • 4 Wheeling Tours
  • Rock Climbing
  • Sailing
  • Scuba
  • Sea Trek
  • Snorkeling
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Kite Surfing
  • Windsurfing
  • Submarine

Museums

  • Historical Museum- It contains a large collection of artifacts and paintings from Aruba's earliest through those reminiscent of colonial times up to the present day.
  • Archaeological Museum - The archaeological museum exhibits ceramic, shell and stone artifacts which a.o. portray the customs, beliefs and traditions of these first cultures
  • Numismatic Museum- The museum contains over 35.000 different pieces covering over 400 countries.
  • Aruba Model Train Museum

Beaches

  • Baby Beach - Southern Tip of the island. It's called Baby Beach because it is no more than five feet deep at any point - like a giant wading pool. This beach also has some of the best snorkeling on the island.
  • San Nicolaas Beach
  • Eagle Beach – Often called "1 of the 10 best beaches in the world"
  • Hadikurari Beach a.k.a Fisherman's Huts. This is where the High Winds Pro AM windsurfing world championship is held every June.
  • Palm Beach White sand and excellent swimming conditions in calm water. Nearby hotels allow you to use public areas for changing. Accessible by bus, car or taxi.
  • Malmok Beach
  • Arashi BeacH - Calm water, white sandy beaches with palapas and huts for shade.
  • Boca Catalina- Shallow waters with plenty of fish, good place to snorkel. White sandy beaches with some pebbles and stone.
  • Manchebo Beach- Gentle surf, long white beach. Hotels near by.
  • Andicuri- Not advised for swimming,tough currents and big waves. This is a good beach for someone looking to go surfing.
  • Druif Beach- Excellent for swimming with calm waters. Hotels near.
  • Surfside Beach- White sandy beach with some pebbles and stones. Calm water good for swimming.
  • Dos Playa- can get there by 4 wheeler, not good for swimming strong currents and big waves. A nice place to have a picnic to check out the view.
  • De Palm Island- Waterpark for kids, great place to snorkel, with shallow waters.
  • Mangel Halto- Shallow waters,Can be reached by car or taxi.
  • Santo Largo-Shallow waters, good place for picnic. Can be reached by car or taxi.
  • Boca Grandi-Good for people who enjoy extreme sports, not good for swimming tough current.
  • Bachelor's Beach- A good beach for windsurfing or snorkeling. Not really good for swimming.
  • Rodgers Beach-Very calm water with white sandy beaches.

Buy

Money

The currency used is the Aruban guilder or florin, denoted by the symbol "ƒ" or Afl (ISO currency code: AWG).

The official rate at which banks accept U.S. dollar banknotes is ƒ1,77 and checks at ƒ1,78. The rate of exchange granted by shops and hotels ranges from ƒ1,75 to ƒ1,80 per U.S. dollar. U.S. dollars are widely accepted in Aruba, and banks may exchange other foreign currency.

Traveler's checks are widely accepted and there is no charge for using them in hotels, restaurants and stores. Major credit cards are accepted at most establishments while personal checks are normally not accepted.

Cash may be obtained with MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards at credit card offices, banks, in some casinos and via Western Union. ATM cards and credit cards are accepted by ATMs of Aruba Bank, Banco di Caribe, RBTT Bank, and Caribbean Mercantile Bank. The card must have either a Cirrus or Visa Plus logo. ATM instructions are normally given in Dutch, English, Spanish and Papiamento. Cash is normally dispensed in local currency.

American dollars are accepted virtually everywhere at a decent exchange rate. If you have U.S. dollars, there is no need to change money into the local currency, the Aruban florin. The island is actually not duty-free, but merchants respond well to competition on other islands, and duty free goods are offered by a few shops at the airport as visitors depart.

Shopping

Most stores open from 9 AM to noon or 1 PM and from 2 PM to 6:30 PM, although some remain open between noon and 2 PM. Shops are open from Monday to Saturday. Hotel stores have varying open hours so check at your hotel for these.

Above all, it appears that Arubans are very aware that their economy is completely dependent on tourism - so Arubans are polite to tourists, and even street vendors don't generally seek to rip off their customers (though as in all traveling, don't let advice like this lull you into a sense of complacency). This may be helped by the fact that Aruba is a relatively expensive place to visit, so it tends to attract the reasonably well-off.

Oranjestad's waterfront has many vendors/stalls selling souvenirs. Many of these souvenirs are imported from the United States with island scenes/slogans, only to be purchased by Americans and brought back to America.

In Oranjestad, the Renaissance Mall contains various American and European major apparel brands (i.e. Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gucci) at essentially the same prices as in the United States. The mall and the rest of the downtown area also hold numerous other types of stores catering to visitors, to include jewelers, souvenir shops, clothers, and two modest grocers.

You'll find strip malls and grocers at modest (not easily walked) distances west of downtown and elsewhere. They offer most everything a visitor or resident might need for short stays or living there. Groceries and other supplies are all imported, so prices tend to be high. You can catch the bus from the hotel areas to the Grocery shops which are about 10 mins from Eagle beach but before you get to Oranjestad, cost's $3 return just ask the driver.

With numerous cruise ships visiting, downtown stores offer buys in jewelry, etc., typical of that in other Caribbean cruise ports, some at "duty free" prices. For cheese lovers, mild Dutch Gouda, in boxes or wheels, is a popular buy in super markets, though not the great bargain it used to be. Do ensure the integrity of the package seal from the maker to avoid spoilage and difficulty at customs inspection.

If you've flown to the island and are returning home, the airport duty-free store offers some items at slightly better prices than downtown, e.g., a decent selection of rums.

Eat

The most famous dish in Aruba is Keshi Yena. It is a spicy mixture of chicken and peppers, capers, olives and tomatoes traditionally baked in a Gouda cheese "shell". This is often considered to be the national dish of Aruba.

Many chain restaurants, both fast food and upscale, from the United States are present in Aruba (i.e. Texas de Brazil, Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Hooters, Subway, Tony Romas). You'll find some downtown, and many near the large resort hotels.

The upscale restaurants near resorts vary in quality as there are a limited number of them and they have a steady stream of tourist customers, as they advertise in pamphlets available in the hotels. The fast food places are essentially no different than their American counterparts.

Also good are some of the local fare restaurants. While obviously relying on tourist income, good food can be had. Nos Cunucu is a good example of such. With meals like the traditional baked cheese and some more interesting items such as Iguana soup. Don't be afraid to eat at random bars and such along the road, (with normal caution of course). Good food can be had for relatively low cost. These pander to locals.

Drink

By the glass, sixpack or case, imported Dutch beers are relatively good buys. Balashi Beer - Aruba's National Beer...a must-drink beverage, perfect after spending all day at the beach. Don't, however, confuse it with a "Balashi Cocktail", which is a local term for the equally enjoyable Aruban water. Founded in 1996, the name Balashi is derived from the words Bala Bala and Balana and means "near the sea." It is the only beer brewed on the island of Aruba. Daily tours of the brewery are available with an open-aired bar and restaurant on the premises. Balashi Brewery / Tel. 592-2544 / 523-6544. Balashi Gardens open from 6:30AM – 4:00PM. Tours Monday - Friday. There is also a Balashi logo store, with mostly t-shirts, and a few other things located on L.G. Smith Boulevard, right before the Harley shop and after the Caribbean Mercantile Bank. Very easy to miss but worth a trip if you enjoyed the Balashi! There is also a drive-thru beverage store next door that is nifty.

Sleep

There are resorts located all over the island. See the individual city articles for listings.

Aruba offers many options for sleeping arrangements. There are hotels in downtown, but the majority of them located on or near the beach. There is a Holiday Inn, a Marriott, other chains, and smaller boutique hotels, such as Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts and local places. The Holiday Inn is located next to the Marriott. They share a long, narrow stretch of beach known as Palm Beach. The Marriott is the only resort that offers a timeshare on its premises. There are two timeshare "clubs" apart from the Marriott. One is the ocean club which has been around for quite some time. The second is the surf club which was built in more recent years. The Marriott includes three swim-up bars, a lazy river, two gyms, and a casino. The most popular hotel on the island is called Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, a boutique hotel with oceanfront rooms and suites. It has been number 1 on trip advisor for over 10 years in a row. The owner managed and award winning property is located on the widest stretch of beach known as Eagle Beach (voted number 2 for best beach in the world according trip advisor for 2013).

Learn

There are two private, but IMED approved, medical schools on the island that prepare students for practice in the United States. These are Aureus University School of Medicine and Xavier University School of Medicine (XUSOM).

Work

A working permit is required to work in Aruba.

Stay safe

Aruba is generally a very safe place at any time of day or night. However, it would probably be wise to stay away from the area surrounding the Valero refinery on the southeast part of the island at night (in the words of a Valero employee, "you will get some undesirables down there at night"). There is generally no reason for a tourist to go there at all anyway, so this likely will not be an issue.

While rarely enforced, all drug abuse - including cannabis - is illegal.

Stay healthy

The running water in Aruba is absolutely safe to drink. It is referred to as "Sweet Water" because it is very good.

Medical

The main 280-bed hospital is well-equipped both as regards staff and equipment. Oxygen tanks and hemodialysis services are available. Hotels have doctors and dentists on call and appointments can also be arranged through your hotel. Several other medical clinics also exist on the island.

Respect

Nature is very cherished by the Aruban people. 18% of their island is dedicated to the Arikok National Park.

Go next

  • Curaçao
  • Bonaire

Guys I am going to shock you here. Like really blow your mind. Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan.

Yeah, I know. Hard to believe when you’re a Tracy Flick loving, organizational spreadsheet making, perpetually over-planning-yet-somehow-still-a-scattered-helpless-hot-mess like I am. But every once in a while those plans just really go off the rails. Sometimes the weather is relentlessly terrible, sometimes your professional life crumbles at very inconvenient times, sometimes a dream trip you’ve been planning since you were thirteen is peppered with daily disasters.

Sunset from Praia Manguinhos, Buzios, Brazil

Some of you may have picked up that yeah — I’m talking about my trip to Brazil. And yup, it really boiled over when we got to Buzios. The day that we returned from diving, Heather and I went to check in for our flights to the final leg of our trip, a crazy whirlwind three days and two nights at Iguaçu Falls. I was stressed out from trying to decide what to do with my last week of travel after Heather left and exhausted from weeks of already being on the road. When I looked at the forecast and saw nothing but relentless thunderstorms for the next week in Iguaçu, I almost burst into tears.

We had had crazy downpour in Paraty. We had had rain in Rio. We had had drizzly days in Buzios. We couldn’t handle any more rain at a freakin’ waterfall, of all places.

So I did something crazy, something this type-A planner is not likely to do.

We skipped our flight.

Brigitte Bardot Statue, Buzios, Brazil

Courtyard at Nomad Hostel, Buzios, Brazil

And DAMN, did it feel good. I am not one to throw money down the drain no matter how small the sum, and I am not one to veer from the plan, no matter how awful a plan it seems when it comes time to execute. So this was a very big deal.

We traded an insanely ambitious 72 hours of non-stop travel and sightseeing for an extra night in Buzios and an extra night in Rio before our flights, an absolute luxurious bliss of near nothing-ness. I swear, it was the best decision I made in all of Brazil — as we booked an extra night in our hostel and headed out to a celebratory dinner, I was actually giddy.

I was free of the terrible professional situation that had been haunting me. I was free of the bad weather. I was free of the questionable itinerary I’d created for us. I was so flippin’ free.

And I was thrilled to have another night in Buzios, which I’d been stressed out feeling like we were short-changing. Between the work awkward-ness of our first few days and the bad weather that had delayed our diving and put cancelled two straight days of our plans, we’d hardly gotten to explore this highly-anticipated destination.

Can you even imagine a cuter place to enjoy our newfound liberation than the waterfront Nomad Hostel?

Name Sign at Nomad Hostel, Buzios, Brazil

Private Room at Nomad Hostel, Buzios, Brazil

At 210R ($67US) per night, our room wasn’t exactly the cheapest room I’ve ever booked. But for a private bathroom, a nice included breakfast, an oceanfront balcony, and the most central location a backpacker could ask for, it represented pretty good value for bougie Buzios. And dorms are available for those who have a little tighter of a budget.

View at Nomad Hostel, Buzios, Brazil

Nomad Hostel, Buzios, Brazil

Nomad Hostel, Buzios, Brazil

With our newfound day and night by the sea, we strolled the waterfront at sunset, more relaxed than we’d felt in ages. While I’m not much of a shopper, even I couldn’t resist the adorable boutiques of Buzios, and ended up with a new dress — and an adorably endearing hug from the salesgirl at check-out.

We had a celebratory dinner at Salt, where we ordered Thai curries and toasted to our new plans.

Buzios, a href=

Shopping in Buzios, Brazil

Dining in Buzios, Brazil

No longer shackled to a before-sunrise wake up call to get back to Rio for our flights, we finally got the chance to experience Buzios’s wild nightlife and danced the hours away at Privilege, an overpriced, high society nightclub along the waterfront.

View from Nomad Hostel, Armacao dos Buzios, Brazil

Armacao dos Buzios, Brazil

Armacao dos Buzios, Brazil

Armacao dos Buzios, Brazil

The next morning, we braced our hangovers for to check one last thing off our Buzios bucket lists — renting a buggy and exploring the peninsula’s dozens of beaches. This is pretty much the thing to do in Buzios, and it was bordering on criminal that we hadn’t gotten the chances to do so yet.

Renting a Buggy in Buzios, Brazil

Praia de Ferradurinha, Buzios, Brazil

Confession: we got a pretty late start on the day. Considering the cost of buggies — our rental was $20US each for the day and we also spent $7US each on gas and $5US each on parking — I’d recommend snagging one the second the rental companies open, or even better blocking off two or more full days to play. We were leaving the next morning for Rio but didn’t waste a moment lamenting our lack of buggy hours — after all, it already felt like we were on gifted time.

Our first stop was the beautiful rumored tide pools of Praia de Ferradurinha.

Praia de Ferradurinha, Buzios, Brazil

Praia de Ferradurinha, Buzios, Brazil

Perhaps the tide was really high or perhaps we went the wrong way, but we didn’t actually find a beach. We couldn’t have cared less though, captivated as we were by the gorgeous local scenery. The place was pretty much deserted aside from a local fisherman who enthusiastically showed us his catches and told us a long, dramatic story with so much passion that it didn’t matter to any of us that we didn’t understand a single word.

Praia de Ferradurinha, Buzios, Brazil

Praia de Ferradurinha, Buzios, Brazil

Praia de Ferradurinha, Buzios, Brazil

On the way back to the main road, we stopped briefly at popular Praia de Geriba so I could photograph some colorful buggies and swan floats that reminded me of a Gray Malin photograph.

Praia de Geriba, Buzios, Brazil

Praia de Geriba, Buzios, Brazil

Praia de Geriba, Buzios, Brazil

Praia de Geriba, Buzios, Brazil

Praia de Geriba, Buzios, Brazil

The next few hours were a blur of beaches, viewpoints, and colorful vignettes we pulled over on the side of the road to photograph. Buzios had such a different climate and feel from anywhere else we’d been in Brazil; it was as if we’d somehow driven our buggy all the way to Aruba.

Colorful Murals in Buzios, Brazil

Colorful Murals in Buzios, Brazil

The sun setting at around 5:30 meant that we often ate lunch only a few hours before sunset. Such was the case on this lazy day, when we drove along Praia de Tartaruga until we stumbled on the adorable Restaurante Tartaruga, where we watched beach-goers start to pack up for the day and head to their sunset spots.

Restaurante Tartaruga at Praia de Tartaruga, Buzios, Brazil

Restaurante Tartaruga at Praia de Tartaruga, Buzios, Brazil

Restaurante Tartaruga at Praia de Tartaruga, Buzios, Brazil

Eventually, we did the same, working our way towards the pier at Praia Manguinhos, Buzios’s most famed location for sending off the sun. The busy beachfront here was packed with chic boutiques and bars, a world away from the remote stretches of sand we’d spent the day exploring.

We decided to forgo the hustle and bustle — we were late to snag a prime seat, anyway — and walked to the end of the pier to dangle our feet over the edge and wait for the sky to catch on fire.

Sunset from Praia Manguinhos, Buzios, Brazil

After, it was a mad rush to return our buggy by the inconvenient hour of 6 (it would be nice if they gave you an hour post-sunset), reconfirming my suspicious that it’s best to take the buggy for at least two days.

The second half of our time in Buzios was a really happy high point for me in Brazil. With its close proximity to Rio, it’s amazing beaches, the great diving nearby, the indulgent nightlife and all the rest of the hedonistic fun on offer, I can’t imagine leaving it off any itinerary.

Am I said I didn’t get to see Iguaçu Falls? Kind of… but I also kind of know it will still be there when I eventually boomerang my way back to South America. And so why make myself miserable trying to fit it into this one trip? I’ll always be grateful to Buzios for reminding me that sometimes an impulsive decision is the best one, and that sometimes plans really are made to be broken.

What To Do in Buzios Brazil

Next up, back to Rio!

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We were full-paying guests at Nomad Hostel and all other businesses mentioned in this post.

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The Best of Buzios Pin

The Best of Buzios Pin

A cruise is one of the most cost-effective ways to travel the world. If you wish to set off on a cruise right away, you can find a last minute cruise deal to take you to your dream destination.

Here are some of the best cruise options that you can consider:

1. Panama Canal

It is this ship canal that connects the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. An engineering marvel, cruising over the canal is a great experience.

2. Aruba

It is a beautiful Caribbean island that is definitely worth a visit. The scenic beauty, the lovely ambience, the helpful people and the party loving atmosphere makes it one of the go-to spots for cruise lovers.

3. Hong Kong

A former British colony, the country draws worldwide cruise tourists every day. The land is an exciting blend of the modern western and the eastern culture. It is considered Asia’s cruise hub and is home to the wondrous Victoria Harbour.

4. Norway

Norway is home to some of the most beautiful fjords and steep rocks. The unique topography of the region makes it a wonderful place to visit.

5. Cayman Island

Apart from its charming beauty, Cayman Island is also known for its ship wrecks, underwater reefs and soft white sands; everything you need for a great cruise holiday. Regarded as a paradise on earth, travellers must definitely try the sunset cruise when here.

6. New Zealand

Till even a few years ago, New Zealand was not a very popular destination with cruisers. However, in recent times, several cruise lines have added some scenic spots of the country to their itineraries which has made it a great place for cruisers. Complete with glorious beaches, glaciers and a host of other natural and man-made wonders, this is one place you would love to cruise to.

7. Alaska

It is one of the most breath-taking destinations on the planet. If you love the mountains and enjoy basking in natural settings, this is one place that you must visit.

8. French Riviera

The Mediterranean has plenty to offer and it is impossible to narrow down to any one place to visit. However, the French Riviera is one place that stands out due to its awe-inspiring beauty. A cruise along the place is an incredible experience.

9. Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands is one of the most widely popular cruise destinations thanks to its pristine charm and beauty. Located amidst natural surroundings, the place is a popular spot with cruisers.

10. Barbados

With plenty on offer, Barbados is one beautiful island country worth a visit. The clear waters, warm sands, pleasant weather and some historic sites make it the perfect choice for a cruise holiday.

These are just some of the best destinations around the globe that travellers can explore by ship. With cruises catering to all kinds of budgets and destination choices, tourists have plenty to choose from.

The post Grab a Last Minute Cruise Deal & Sail Away! appeared first on Geeky Traveller.

WE KNOW that Americans are the second biggest spenders when traveling abroad (behind China), but where do they spend all their money? Orbitz researched the American people’s favourite travel destinations and created the map below to illustrate the data found.

Americans travel destinations

Map: Orbitz

Some of the destinations coincide with large populations of immigrants. For example, Indian people are the largest population of immigrants in Texas after Mexican people, therefore it is not surprising that Texas’ favourite travel destination is India (immigrants visiting their family members is an easy explanation). The same goes for The Philipines being Alaska’s preferred destination.

Other destinations do not seem to have any correlation with immigration but show that sunny locales are generally favored for vacations: Jamaica, Aruba, Costa Rica, The Bahamas. More like this: Mapped: The countries that supply the most immigrants to each US state

Moon Aruba (Moon Handbooks)

Rosalie Klein

Make your Escape with Moon Aruba! With its intense blue sea and some of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean, Aruba is nearly heaven. Find your version of paradise with Moon Aruba.What You'll Find in Moon Aruba:Curated advice from local author Rosalie Klein, who shares her adventurous expertise and love of her adopted countryFull-color, vibrant, helpful photosDetailed directions and maps for exploring on your ownIn-depth coverage of OranjestadEagle Beach and Manchebo Beach, Palm Beach, Malmok, and Noord, North Coast, San NicolasSavaneta, and Pos ChiquitoActivities and ideas for every traveler: Go off-roading through the outback, or go snorkeling through the calm turquoise waters. See incredible geological formations and native birds with startlingly bright plumage at Arikok National Park, or experience the festivities of Carnival with the locals. Try local favorites like keshi yena (filled cheese) or cabrito stoba (stewed goat), or taste the freshest ceviche while dining beachfront. Strategic itineraries in an easy-to-navigate format, such as The Best of Aruba, Best Beaches, Explore the Outback, and Best Bets for the Budget-ConsciousCurrent background information on the landscape, culture, history, and environmentEssential insight for travelers on health and safety, recreation, transportation, and accommodations from resorts to beachy bungalows, packaged in a book light enough to fit in your beach bagWith Moon Aruba's practical tips, myriad activities, and an insider's view on the best things to do and see, you can plan your trip your way.Looking for more fun in the Caribbean sun? Check out Moon Jamaica or Moon Dominican Republic.

Fodor's In Focus Aruba (Full-color Travel Guide)

Fodor's Travel Guides

Written by locals, Fodor's travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for 80 years. Travelers flock to Aruba for the sunny climate, perfect waters, and excellent beaches. Aruba presents more choices than nearly any other Caribbean island, from world-class oceanfront resorts equipped with gourmet restaurants and high-dollar casinos to intimate neighborhood motels and diners not far off the beach. Fodor's has it all covered in an easy-to-carry, full-color guide filled with everything you need to know to plan the perfect vacation.This travel guide includes:· Dozens of full-color maps · Hundreds of hotel and restaurant recommendations, with Fodor's Choice designating our top picks· Multiple itineraries to explore the top attractions and what’s off the beaten path· Coverage of: Oranjestad, Manchebo and Druif Beaches, Eagle BeachPalm Beach and Noord, Western Tip (California Dunes), Santa CruzSavanetaSan Nicolas, Seroe Colorado, Arikok National Park Planning to visit more of the Caribbean? Check out Fodor's Caribbean travel guide.

Aruba Reef Creatures Guide Franko Maps Laminated Fish Card 4" x 6"

Franko Maps Ltd.

A colorful guide that will help you identify more than 100 species of fish and other denizens of the waters surrounding Aruba. Great for snorkelers, divers and nature lovers! This handy, waterproof reference is made of rigid, laminated plastic. 4" x 6" with hole for lanyard.

Aruba Dive Map & Reef Creatures Guide Franko Maps Laminated Fish Card

Franko Maps Ltd.

Perfect for divers, snorkelers and nature lovers! Side One is a mini-map of Aruba with 35 dive and snorkeling sites named and located. Side Two is a fish identification guide with nearly 100 species illustrated. This convenient, waterproof reference is made of rigid, laminated plastic. 5.5" x 8.5"

Please note that hole punch varies from 3 (as pictured) to 1 to 0 depending on production run.

Aruba: Your Travel Guide: Isle of Enchantment Where Your Dreams Come True! (Traveling the World) (Volume 1)

Sherry Everett

Want a vacation spot that is both economical and has plenty of star attractions to participate in and watch? Look no further than Aruba. Let us show you how to vacation here as inexpensively or classy as you want to go. • Need to unwind? Lie back and sunbathe on any of the many white-sand beaches on Aruba where you can relax, read, sleep or veg as you watch the other beachcombers. • Love the water and water sports? Aruba offers swimming, snorkeling and Scuba in the clearest, most aquamarine waters you’ve ever seen. • Love the phrase shop till you drop? Aruba boasts of its many shops and stores, from clothing to diamonds, both of girls’ best friends. • Like to gamble? Aruba has at least ___ casinos, some that offer live entertainment also. • Enjoy fishing? Aruban waters offer a diverse variety of fish. If you enjoy fishing tournaments, Aruba hosts two of them in October. • Love to explore? Rent 4X4s, ATVs or motorcycles and explore the Aruban Outback or the Bushiribana Gold Ruin. • Enjoy drag races? Aruba hosts these in September. • Enjoy equestrian events? The paso fino horses in October’s Interpaso events show some of the best horses in Latin America. • Scuba around wrecks? The Antilla, which sank close to Aruban waters, is one of the most impressive wrecks in the Caribbean. • Live to Sail? Enjoy sailing with Aruba’s Tradewinds at your back or come in August for the Aruba Regatta. • Enjoy a good game of golf? Aruba has two golf courses, one that is one of the most challenging courses in the world. • Want to watch the sun slip into the sea every night while you are there? Aruban sunsets are some of the most memorable you will ever see. • Enjoy a great meal? Aruba’s restaurants serve the freshest seafood and the most delicious steaks in their finest dining establishments, plus every food in between. • Want to Tandem Skydive? Yep, Aruba offers this too. • History buff? Aruba’s history dates back to the 1500s and has three amazing museums, the Gold Ruins, various caves, . • Enjoy bar hopping or clubbing? Aruba has you covered there also. Where can you vacation and have all these amenities? To Aruba, the Isle of Enchantment Where Your Dreams Come True! For more information, scroll up and get this book now before the price increases.

Aruba Trip 2017 Travel Journal: Travel Journal for Aruba Travel 2017

CreativeJournals

A trip to Aruba is a wanderlust adventure, so it's a good idea to document your memories in your new Iceland Trip 2017 Travel Journal for writing and remembering. Your Aruba travel journal will help you remember your trip for years to come. Another idea-- write in this journal and give it to the person back home whom you love. A great way to communicate while you're away. Enjoy your trip to Aruba 2017!

Aruba : Road Map with Street Index, Diving Sites, and Biking Trails

Kasprowski Publisher

Aruba at 1:28,000 on an indexed map from the Caribbean-based cartographer Rafal Kasprowski highlighting numerous diving sites and various places of interest, plus indexed street plans of Oranjestad and San Nicolas. Topography is shown by altitude colouring with spot heights; the area of the Arikok National Park is clearly marked. Road network indicates main roads and shows secondary roads and local tracks or footpaths. Recommended biking and hiking trails are highlighted. Symbols indicate various facilities and places of interest including beaches, sugar mills, petrol stations, etc. Along the coast numerous diving sites are marked. Latitude and longitude lines are marked at 2 intervals. Map legend is in English. Also provided are indexed street plans of Oranjestad (including access to the island's international airport) and San Nicolas. One index covers both the main map and the street plans. Glossy paper. Printed on one side.

Laminated Aruba Map by Borch (English, Spanish, French, Italian and German Edition)

Borch

Folded laminated road and travel map, in color. Scale 1:50,000. Distinguishes roads ranging from expressways/motorways to country lanes/paths. Legend includes sights, museums, monuments, churches, chapels, synagogues, archaeological sites, windmills, beaches, shipwrecks, yachting, windsurfing sites, snorkelling, scuba diving sites, hospitals, golf courses, bus stations, parking, petrol stations, international airports, national parks, nature reserves, viewpoints, hotels, markets, prohibited areas. Includes inset map of Lesser Antilles (1:7,000,000), ABC Islands (1:1,000,000), Beaches (1:25,000), Oranjestad (1:10,000), San Nicolas (1:20,000). Climate charts show the average daily temperatures, humidity, hours of sunshine and precipitation for each month. Extensive index.

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime can occur. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Avoid unpopulated areas or unpatrolled beaches after dark. Check with local authorities to determine which beaches are patrolled.

Road travel

Major roads are in good condition, but road signs are rare. Wandering animals are a hazard. Driving is on the right side of the road, and turning right on red lights is prohibited.

Public transportation

Taxis do not have meters. Agree on a fare prior to departure.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Emergency services

Dial 911 to reach emergency services.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Caribbean, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, malaria and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical care is generally good. Hospitals offer several classes of service. Patients are accommodated according to the level of their insurance coverage. 

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Dual citizens may be subject to national obligations such as taxes. Those affected should inquire at an embassy or consulate of the Netherlands regarding their status. Dual citizenship may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

If you are interested in purchasing property or making other investments in Aruba, seek legal advice from appropriate professionals in Canada and in Aruba before making commitments. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.

The use of a cellular telephone while driving is prohibited, unless fitted with a hands-free device, and is punishable by a fine.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Rentals

Purchase insurance when renting motorboats, jet skis and vehicles. Ensure that you obtain detailed information, in writing, regarding personal liability.

Money

The currency is the Aruba florin (AWG). U.S. dollars, traveller’s cheques in U.S. dollars and credit cards are widely accepted. You may convert foreign currencies at all major banks and numerous exchange facilities. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available throughout the country.

Climate

The hurricane season extends from June to the end of November. The National Hurricane Center provides additional information on weather conditions. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.