If you like the Caribbean, you must pay a visit to Aruba. With nearly perfect weather year round and very low humidity, Aruba is one of those islands that you can bank on for beautiful days for the duration of your stay. People who visit Aruba usually find themselves coming back year after year.
Why? There are many reasons for the return visits, not the least of which is the hospitality of the people. A bustling downtown can be found in Oranjestad where shopping is abundant and heckling is nonexistent. The sprawling sands of the beaches welcome you while the blue-green water cools you. Rough terrain makes for excellent inland excursions. And the food. Ahh, the food. Aruba’s cuisine is some of the finest in the Caribbean.
When you land and smell the fresh air you feel transformed. The first time someone greets you with a warm, “Bonbini!” or “Welcome!” in the island’s native Papiamento you’ll feel like you are where you belong. Aruba has everything you could want in a beach vacation – scuba diving, snorkelling, deep sea fishing, and, of course, languishing in the sun.
The island’s Dutch influence is evident in some of the architecture. If you are a history buff and want to see the oldest building in Aruba which, coincidently, is the oldest structure remaining from the Dutch settlement, visit Fort Zoutman and King Willem Tower. This structure was built in 1796 and was originally used to protect the island against pirates. After several iterations the building is now the home of the island’s historical museum.
Fun in the sun, historical references, good food, and good people. Aruba has it all. So, the question isn’t why would you choose Aruba for your beach vacation, but why not?
Size: 54 square miles
Language: Dutch, Spanish, English, Papiamento
Government: Unitary Parliamentary Representative Democracy under Dutch Constitutional Monarchy
Currency: Aruban florin (Afl); plus US dollars (US$) widely accepted
Main City: Oranjestad
Main Airport: Reina Beatrix International Airport
Telephone Country Code: 297
Local Beer: Wadadli
Local Cuisine: Keshi Yena: a baked spicy mixture of shredded beef, chicken or goat stuffed into Edam or Gouda cheese.
Entry Visa: United States and Canadian visitors to Aruba must have a valid passport that doesn’t expire for at least 6 months after the trip. European citizens need a passport and a European Union Travel Card. A valid passport is required of all other nationalities. Keep in mind that when you arrive in Aruba you will need a ticket for another destination or a return ticket and the ability to prove that you have enough money available for your stay. Residents of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and European Union nationals are allowed to stay in Aruba for as long as one month without needing a visa. Timeshare and homeowners are allowed to stay on island for up to 180 days. You can apply for a visa was the Department of Immigration (DIMAS) or at a Dutch embassy or consulate if you plan to stay longer.
When To Go: Aruba’s climate is pleasant year round; the weather is hardly ever anything but warm, sunny, dry, and breezy. Because Aruba is located outside of the hurricane belt, there is rarely the threat of a tropical storm. Every month of the year has an average high temperature ranging between 85°F (29°C) and 89°F (32°C) with average lows between 76°F (24°C) to 80°F (27°C). December through April is high season. Cruise ships are plentiful during October through April.
Marriage Requirements: The only requirement for a legal marriage in Aruba is a simple civil ceremony at Aruba’s Town Hall. After that, couples can have a religious or nondenominational blessing at another location.
Documents Required: In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
• birth certificates along with driver’s licences or other forms of identification
• certificates of no impediment or single status report
Also if applicable:
• divorce papers i.e. decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
• proof of parental consent if under 18, stamped and signed by a solicitor
• proof of name change by Deed Poll, stamped and signed by a solicitor
Residency Requirement: None but would recommend at least 2 days before the ceremony.
Fees: The ceremony fee is US$200, which includes a wedding certificate.
Witnesses: Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony. When applying for the marriage license, you will need to submit a copy of their birth certificates or passport or valid state ID.