Here is some basic Aruba information that every tourist, vacationer, and even business traveler, should know before planning a trip to Aruba.
Geography: 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across, totaling 77 square miles/193 square kilometers. In comparison, Aruba is slightly larger than Washington, DC.
Location on Map: Aruba is located in the southern Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Venezuela. 12° 30’ north latitude; 70° west longitude • 1820 nautical miles from New York City • 990 nautical miles from Miami • 890 nautical miles from the equator.
Time zone: Atlantic Standard Time year round (equivalent to Eastern Daylight Savings Time). They do not “change the clocks”.
Population: 96.104, Central Bureau of Statistics 2003
Currency: The Aruban guilders/florins (AWG). At the time of this writing, (Nov. 2008) the exchange rate (U.S Dollar) is 1$ to 1.79 AWG. This rate has not fluctuated for over 5 years.
Water/Electric: Aruba’s water is distilled in one of the world's largest saltwater desalination plants, called WEB (Water and Electricity Bureau) - responsible for both the desalination of water as well as the production of electricity for the island. The electricity is North American voltage standard of 110 A.C. (60 cycles), the same as in the United States and Canada.
Telephone/Area Code: 297
Cell Phone/Internet: Most U.S. Cell phones with worldwide capability and with GSM capability will work in Aruba, however I have been told the international price to call back to the states is close to $2/minute. (Please check with your service provider regarding rates.) Most people with a need to call home during their vacation find it is more economical to rent a phone. If you bring a laptop, most hotels provide internet access for a small fee, making communicating by e-mail or Skype the most cost-effective.
Most of the hotel properties on the island now offer WIFI service at their properties, accessed through SETAR. To access the Wi-Fi service with your laptop or handheld (PDA) you need to purchase a Setarnet Wi-Fi card. You can purchase these cards at the front desk of your hotel. (Some resorts offer this as a complimentary service.)
Most people who need to call home during their vacation find it is more economical to rent a phone.
My husband and I, along with several other wedding guests stayed at the Boardwalk. They offered a computer corner in the front office, free to guests. Scott brought his laptop and we purchased a SETAR card with 1 week (7x24hrs) of unlimited access for $35.00. We used it to look at restaurant reviews, registered for tours, checked e-mail, find phone numbers of the local hotels where other guests were staying… It was well worth it.
Local dial-up access numbers for America On-Line, Prodigy, CompuServe; AT&T etc. are not available in Aruba and are all considered as long distance calls to the US.
There is several other Internet café's through out the island that provide access for a fee of about $5 an hour.
Medical facilities: Aruba has a first class hospital just a few minutes from the hotel sector and an emergency room staffed 24 hrs. a day. We hope you won’t need to use it, but, unfortunately, my friend Vicky did, and she can attest to the facilities and service.
Aruba history is rich in culture from its original inhabitants, the Caquetios Indians to the first European conquests to modern day tourism.