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Aruba is an island in the Dutch Caribbean which is 69.5 square miles. The island is approximately 29 kilometres North of Venezuela and 80 kilometres Northwest of Curacao.
Aruba is part of the Dutch Caribbean group called the ABC islands. Bonaire and Curacao are the other islands in this grouping.
The pros of living in Aruba are that the island is multi lingual with easy access to international cities and sunny weather is almost always guaranteed. Alternatively, the cons of living Aruba are the high cost of living, unreliable public transportation and the American influence on the island.
Read on for comprehensive details of the pros and cons of living in the Aruba. Contributions to this article were made by an Aruban.
Pros of Living In Aruba
Aruba is a very multi-cultural society. There are many different nationalities living on the island.
Based on a survey conducted in 2010 by the Central Bureau of Statistics in Aruba, the five top foreign born nationalities of individuals living on the island were from Colombia, The Netherlands, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Curacao.
The document also further explains that this was due to the growth of the tourism sector which led to a boom in construction as many new hotels were built.
As a result, the island is truly a melting pot of many cultures which makes the atmosphere extraordinary.
Aruba is known for its amazing beaches. There are four main beaches on the island being Baby Beach, Eagle Beach, Palm Beach and Malmok beach.
Beaches on the western coastline of the island tend to the calmer than those on the East Coast.
This makes these beaches ideal for swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding and jet skiing. Alternatively, it is advisable that care and caution is exercised in choppy waters on the East Coast.
Located in the Southern area of Aruba in San Nicolas, Baby Beach is well loved by both visitors and locals for its shallow and calm waters.
This makes this beach suitable for babies and children and hence the name Baby beach. There is a refreshment area on this beach where you can buy drinks and hamburgers.
Big Mama’s Grill is also nearby if you are looking for a hearty meal.
Malmok Beach is the premiere beach for snorkeling on the island due to its shallow and clear waters.
Malmok is also the name of a community on the island located in close proximity to the California Lighthouse and other attractive things to do on the island. Malmok area is usually very lively with locals and visitors enjoying outdoor activities.
Eagle Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It is located in Oranjestad and is over 1000 metres long and is the widest beach in Aruba.
There are shaded areas with parking available. Turtles are fond of nesting on Eagle beach.
Last but not least, Palm Beach is a two mile long beach and it shares its shoreline with many high rise resorts on the island.
Its calm waters make it an ideal spot for water activities. The area is also one of the main night life spots on the island with clubs, bars, restaurants and shopping malls all in the vicinity.
Aruba Is A Multi-Lingual Country
Aruba is multi lingual just as it is multi-cultural. The languages spoken on the island are Dutch, Papiamientu, English and Spanish.
It is mandatory for children to learn English at school and if you are a Spanish or English speaker you will find it easy to integrate on the island.
There are expats living on the island from Holland, Europe, Jamaica, other Dutch territories, Venezuela, Colombia and Suriname to name a few other countries.
Aruba’s Currency Is Stable
The official currency of Aruba is the Aruban Florin. It was introduced on the island in 1986, replacing the Netherlands Antillean Guilder.
It is pegged to the United States (US) dollar at a rate of USD$1 to AFL$1.79.
The US dollar is accepted throughout the island. Prices by most businesses are quoted both in US dollars and AFL.
Today, there are still many Arubans who use (AWG) which was the abbreviation for the Aruban Guilders when describing the local currency.
There is universal health in Aruba and everyone working on the island contributes to this fund.
The coverage is excellent when compared to public health care in other Caribbean islands as well as the service.
The restaurants on the island are of a high quality. One factor that may have contributed to this is the island’s dependency on the tourism sector.
As a result, restaurants ensure that their culinary experience is world class. Sea food plays a major role in the dishes served on the island. There are many high end restaurants on the islands as well as affordable ones.
Some of the well-loved places to eat by the locals on the island include O’Neil Caribbean Kitchen, Zeerovers, Peanuts restaurant and Red Fish restaurant.
The water quality on the island is also exceptional. Generally, the water is safe to drink from the tap.
Sunny Weather Almost Always Guaranteed
On a whole, the rainy season in Aruba is much shorter than other Caribbean Islands. Annually, the rainy season begins in October and ends in January each year.
Neighboring islands of Bonaire and Curacao also have similar weather patterns. As a result, visitors to the island are almost always guaranteed sunny and warm weather during vacation.
The warmer weather on the island means also little to no mosquitoes and flies when compared to other Caribbean islands that have longer rainy seasons.
The Threat of Natural Disaster In Aruba Is Relatively Low
One major advantage of Aruba’s location is that it is south of the hurricane belt. As a result a direct hit by a hurricane is highly unlikely.
Nevertheless, while a direct hit from a hurricane is rare, it is not impossible. In 2007, the island was affected by a category 2 hurricane named Felix.
The damage to the island and infrastructure was minor.
While the threat of hurricane is extremely low, if you are visiting Aruba during the hurricane season, as a precaution it may be wise to consider travel insurance in the event of travel interruptions.
There Is Easy Access To Major International Cities
Getting to Aruba is very convenient as there are several airlines provide direct and non-stop flights to Aruba daily and weekly.
Some of these airlines include American Airlines, Air Century, Avianca, Air Canada, Copa Air, Delta Airlines and Frontier Airlines.
Jet Blue Airways, Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), Sunwing, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, TUI Netherlands, West Jet also provide service to the island.
There are also a large regional footprint from Aruba to other Dutch Caribbean and South American Countries via Insel Air.
In addition, if you are traveling to the United States (US) from Aruba, you can clear immigration in Aruba.
Therefore on arrival into the US, you only collect your bags. This makes traveling to the US extremely convenient.
Cons of Living In Aruba
The Island Is Americanized
If you are in search of the typical Caribbean/ West Indian atmosphere, then Aruba may not be your preferred destination.
Due to the great strides the island has made in growing its tourism product, there are many international brands on the island that has made Aruba more Americanized when compared to its Caribbean counterparts.
Almost all the main fast food chains have a presence on the island. KFC, Mc Donalds, Wendy, Subway, Taco Bell, Dunkin Doughnuts, Dominos Pizza, Pizza Hut all have a footprint on the island.
Additionally, there are a number of high end luxury international brands that typically do not have a presence in most Caribbean islands.
At The Renaissance Mall, there are shops such as Louis Vuitton and Kate Spade where you can buy luxury items.
High Cost of Living
Cost of living is very high in Aruba. The cost of food, groceries and other items are expensive when compared to other Caribbean islands. This is due to the fact that most of what is consumed on the island is imported.
Nevertheless, the salaries on the island are also higher when compared to other countries. You Tuber Tish Wonders from the UK shared a very informative food haul on her channel in January 2021.
This video provides great insight into the cost of goods on the island. She completed her shopping at the popular shopping plaza called Super Food Plaza. This supermarket also provides an online shopping service.
Unreliable Public Transportation
Public transportation system exists on the island but it is unreliable. In certain instances, the service may not be available in an area. Therefore, you may be required to walk until you get to a required stop.
For ease of getting around, having a car is ideal. The driving side in Aruba is the right hand side.
Lack of Privacy
The friendliness of the people and community spirit that comes with island life means that people are close knit.
With that there may be a loss of privacy as persons may overstep which can lead to strife and confusion.
Things Can Become Repetitive
Aruba is a small island with a population of 107,365 according to worldometer.com at the time of writing.
Despite the fact that there are many things to do for nightlife, these activities may become very monotonous living on the island.
Nevertheless, if you have an active and enjoyable circle of friends this can overshadow the repetitive nature of these activities.
Things Take Long To Get Done
As with many Caribbean islands, things take longer to get done when compared to larger more developed countries. People tend to operate on island time.
Some processes are still quite manual so expect delays especially when doing business at public service establishments.
The pros of living in Aruba are high quality of health care, stable currency, sunny weather is almost always guaranteed and the low threat of natural disasters. On the other hand, the cons of living on Aruba are the high cost of living, lack of privacy and the repetitiveness of activities.
If you are contemplating traveling to Aruba or the rest of the Caribbean, cruising is an affordable option to consider. I have recently completed an informative course by cruise specialist, Emma Cruises which you should check out titled How To Cruise For Less.
This course provides detail tips and techniques on how to save money while cruising onboard, onshore as well as the importance of insurance. So if you if you are considering a cruise for your next Caribbean vacation, check out How To Cruise For Less.
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