Before jetting off to Aruba in July, I knew very little about the island, except that it’s in the Caribbean. And when I spoke to friends and family, it turned out their knowledge wasn’t too awesome either. What language do they speak? Is it still a Dutch colony? How many people live there? The questions were many, the answers few.
So I decided a ‘fast facts session’ would be the best way to introduce you to my series of Aruba posts. I spent three days there, and aside from enjoying heaps of sun and sea, I also learned a couple of factual things about the happy, Caribbean island. Here are 19 pieces of information about Aruba, all 100% true, of course ;)
The beaches are gorgeous! Duh, it’s the Caribbean! But, seriously, they are. So much so, that others are claiming ownership of them. Take a peek at this creative advertisement.
And check out this short video I made:
The island’s slogan is ‘One Happy Island’, a slogan which no doubt fits Aruba: There is A LOT of happiness happening here. My travel partner Sofia (from the Swedish travel blog Fantasiresor) and I were sceptical. We both wondered how happy one could possibly be. I mean, no place is perfect, right? But no matter who we asked, they all seemed extremely content with their life on the island. The happy concept is seeping through everywhere, even the license plates are happily sharing the happy message!
Together with the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten (the two latter also being Caribbean islands), Aruba forms the Kingdom of the Netherlands, though they all have their own constituency. Aruba is also one of three islands that make up the ABC islands. The other two are Bonaire and Curaçao.
Their currency is AWG (Aruban Florin), also known as Aruba Guilder.
Aruba has a teeny tiny population of just over 100 000 people.
Aruba is a gay friendly Caribbean destination, meaning non-straight people are welcome to take their pride with them for a fun holiday on the island. This is an important fact, in my opinion. You’d be surprised to know how many Caribbean islands are sceptical towards gay tourists. One some islands homosexuality is illegal and even punishable. I’m happy to say this is not the case in Aruba :)
Aruban food is delicious and so very varied. From food stalls to fiver star restaurants and everything in between – YUM! And, if you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I will be writing a separate food post, maybe two even!
A quick bite to eat at The Pastechi House on Main Street is an Aruban must!
Aruba consists of six official districts, and the capital is called Oranjestad, literally translated “Orange Town”. It’s Dutch and pronounced [oːˈrɑɲəˌstɑt].
Meet Susan, a lovely lady who’s lived her whole life in this bright yellow house.
There are two official languages on the island: Dutch and Papiamento. In order to obtain Aruban residency, you must be able to read, speak and understand either of the two.
‘Dushi’ is Papimiento for ‘dear’, ‘Bon bini’ means welcome.
Aruba is situated outside the Hurricane Alley and is therefore considered a very lucky island. This means ‘safe’ weather all year around, which again makes Aruba a consistently attractive holiday destination. The islands boasts 365 days of sunshine.
Due to the island’s proximity to South America (it’s just a few miles off the Venezuelan coast), Aruba tends to feel more South American than Caribbean. The sound of salsa music everywhere you go is a lovely reminder of this (said the salsa loving blogger).
You simply can’t visit Aruba and not have a bottle (or 5) of Balashi beer; locally produced and wonderfully refreshing in taste.
There is no need to buy bottled water in Aruba. The island has its own water distillery located in the Balashi district, where they turn seawater into drinkable water. A fact that Arubans are extremely proud of. It’s best water in the world, they say. And when the locales order ‘a Balashi Cocktail’, what they really mean is a glass of water.
On the subject of proud. Arubans are not just proud of their water, they’re proud of pretty much everything Aruban. You’ll here them phrasing their island all day, every day. From the clean beaches and the beautiful water to the fantastic food and the friendly people; there is just no limit to how wonderful this paradise is. I’ll admit, it was all a little too much at first. But at the same time here is something admirable about their national pride. Also, looking at Aruba’s history and its struggle for more independence, which the island achieved through “Status Aparte”, it is not difficult to sympathise with their level of pride.
Aruba is a safe haven. This is not to say there is no crime, nor should you venture into a back alley after dark (and why would you?). But it’s known for being a generally safe place, which makes for a perfect holiday destination for couples and families.
Arubans must be champagne lovers, because they mix the bubbly drink with all sorts of fruits and tastes; from orange justice to mango sorbet – champagne lovers, you’ll be in champagne heaven! My personal favourite is Champagne mojito, which I tried for the first time at Pincho’s Grill & Bar.
This one’s with orange juice. Super refreshing in the Aruban heat.
There are plenty of resorts to choose from in Aruba, but if you’re not the resort type of person, there are some really good alternatives. Like Boardwalk Small Hotel Aruba, which is where we stayed. An incredibly charming, colourful and comfortable accommodation option, which I will write a proper review about in a later post.
Even the cats are friendly at Bordwalk Hotel!
Heard of Beach Tennis? The sport, which is something between vollyball and tennis, was introduced to Aruba by a Dutchman, and has been a popular activity on the island since 2000. Today, Aruba organises the world’s largest beach tennis competition.
Phu, that was a lot of facts! But hopefully you found some fun information in there too. Was there anything you didn’t know? Anything you were surprised by? I’d be keen to know!
Thank you for checking in :)
This trip was sponsored by KLM and Boardwalk Hotel Aruba,
in collaboration with Aruba Tourism Authority
I have however not been told what or how to write.
These are my words, my opinions and my photos.
About the Author: Henrietta (Etta) Gran Myreng from coffee in a cup.
hi and welcome to my mini-magazine! i'm a curious coffee drinker and (white) wine lover from norway who, after more than a decade of travelling, studying and working abroad, moved back to viking land in 2013. i still continue to explore, and any chance i get, i jump on plane or a train to destinations known and unknown. and when i'm not pretending to be christopher colombus, i eat, drink wine, watch movies, work and blog!
This article is originally pubished on http://www.coffee-in-a-cup.com