View Full Version : Home swaps: a good idea?

02-01-2011, 05:12 PM
Hi! I am selling 2 new properties in Spain and I can not move as I have planned until I sell at least one of them.
Would it be possible to swap my property in Spain (a beach condo by the way) for a similar one in Aruba?
I believe there are Europeans, apart from northamericans, living in Aruba, so there might be a chance they want to get a beach home in a closer region, right?

Anyway, just a thought, I'd like to hear what you guys think about it. Has it been done before? Do you know of anyone interested? :rolleyes:

Andrea J.
02-01-2011, 05:27 PM
i think it is an idea and i hope tat you have plenty of responses and suggestions.
welcome to the forum.

02-01-2011, 05:31 PM
Thank you for your warm welcome.

02-03-2011, 01:39 PM
Where are your properties in Spain?

02-12-2011, 08:14 PM
Where are your properties in Spain?

I'm sorry, I had not seen this message until now.

Our property is in Benidorm, Alicante, Spain.
More info about the city of Benidorm in Alicante can be seen here:

www.benidorm.com (http://www.benidorm.com)

and here you can see my beach condo, come on in! :
www.condospain.com (http://www.condospain.com)

It is a touristic city with great houses and skycrapers right next to 3 long beaches. It has many waterparks, theme parks, shopping malls, theater, cinemas, zoos, etc. It is sorrounded by quite a few mountains too, specially mountain chaine Sierra Cortina. It is a very nice holiday place , just like Aruba.

Yet we do get to know what winter is ;)

02-15-2011, 03:25 PM
What a beautiful condo. i spent many years, 30 to be exact vacationng in Spain. Always stayed in the Carihuela area of Torremolinos. Many, many great memeories. And then came the Euro... I have to admit that I like Spain even better than Aruba (don't tell anyone)!!!!!:rolleyes:

02-27-2011, 06:50 PM
What a beautiful condo. i spent many years, 30 to be exact vacationng in Spain. Always stayed in the Carihuela area of Torremolinos. Many, many great memeories. And then came the Euro... I have to admit that I like Spain even better than Aruba (don't tell anyone)!!!!!:rolleyes:

hush,hush, I'll keep the secret.
Yes, it's nice here in Spain, I can't deny it but without entering in details it is still too European for me, everything must be done by yesterday and people rush too much, like in most US cities too, I guess.
yet Benidorm is beach touristic laid-back city but not like the Caribbean anyway. I miss that other part of the world..where I spent childhood and youth, where life is taken less seriously and less "in a hurry"

Thanks for the compliments on my condo, it is for sale too ,you know, not just for swapping :D

note: I still do not receive email notifications from this forum

02-28-2011, 08:21 AM
Hi there.
I have been following your quest to come to Aruba for a while and was honored to have you contact me personally and ask questions directly. Thank you for that. I would like to make an observation. Benidorm is a great place as is Barcelona. I have visited both while on business and Barcelona afterwards for vacation. Where you live offers a multitude of possibilities and opportunities for the well rounded growth of a child. True, it is a faster pace and things are different on a smaller island, however there are so many limitations as well.

You have to truly be ready to live on an island and to consider all aspects of the island as your home and to adapt to those local aspects of life. It can be a bit tougher than it might seem.

I will look for the names of people who have moved here an (with your permission) give them the way to contact you. Perhaps a discussion with those persons might be of help to you.

Let me know

be well

02-28-2011, 09:11 AM
Caribbean-tattler, thank you very much for the follow up. I'm overwhelmed by the wonderful people in this forum trying to help. It just ensures me I've come to the right place.

I understand very well what you mean, of course living in an island has its pros and cons, and we have evalutated all sides. In any case, we're not planning to move in a hurry and settle for good, we will try for a few months and see if we adapt well to the island and if it is indeed what we look for.

You see, it's not like I'm going to face a totally unknown and different way of life. I was born in an island in the Caribbean, not in Spain, so for me it's a way of being closer home and not the other way around. For my husband is different of course, but he's willing to try.

We do not care about fancy stores, super mega huge shopping centers with all you can dream of within reach, having all brands to chose from, etc. What I am truly concerned about is having access to proper health care, education and safety. And if I get in touch with any of the people you can recommend me, all my questions will basically have to do with those issues.

Maybe you can comment a bit on the topics I'm concerned about. Your observations and comments will be very helpful . You know both Aruba and Spain so you have a solid background to make a comparison or give me an idea on what to expect in terms of healthcare, education and safety.

02-28-2011, 08:38 PM
I am Scandinavian and have lived in Spain. I now spend around ½ my time in Aruba, so got a good chance to compare.
Just a few pointer to your post in this thread.
There are many Europeans here, but almost all of the are Dutch. If they want to leave the paradise here, they will almost always move back to NL if they go to Europe again. Actually think there is a better chance to find an American that want to try Europe for a while but again, anyplace is hard after Aruba.
To be realistic: Your chances of finding someone to swap with you is not your best bet. To find someone who have something you like who also like what you have and are in the point of leaving Aruba to go to Southern Europe...... Your chances might be better playing the lottery :rolleyes: and then you can keep all the properties if you win.
Better to just sell in Spain for whatever you can get. In general you have to accept a lower price level now that when the property bubble was at its highest.
This will give you the freedom to choose between all the properties for sale in Aruba.
Bad news is that the lower prices in Spain have not been reflected in the same discount in Aruba. However if you know where to look there are good deals here (especially foreigners that need to sell due to problems back home like Americans and few Europeans).
Prices here are doing pretty well and even rising in the best areas, mainly due to the fact that the economies in South America are extremely strong with a brand new rich middle class and upper class looking for a safe nice place.
So my advice is just sell, don't hold out for the former fantasy prices and get you dream moving forward.
Spain's health care is at a very high level Internationally and all specialties are covered. Aruba is a small Island that cannot cover all specialties, but the overall standard is very high and should keep you sleeping calmly at night :).
Education could be a concern. Your kids either have to go to a public school (Dutch language) which is no problem if they are very young. Other option is private school (English) which is expensive, but would be my preference if the kids were a bit older. Dont compare the level to be completely up to par with Spain (at least not in a big city in Spain), again this is a very small country.
But your kids will have a childhood that almost any kid can only dream of :D.
The beach and the ocean and everything related to it is a perfect playground.
Besides the people, the weather, the ocean and the beaches, Safety is one of the main attractions in Aruba. This is way safer than almost any place in modern Spain.
But even here there is a big variation depending one where you are on the Island, but in general it is extremely safe here.
Compared to Benidorm and Costa del Sol, crime is almost non-existent here.
Price of living in general here is a bit lower than in Spain but not much difference.
Pace of life is very different like you say. Here it is like it was in Spain 25 years ago.
So I would say that you should focus on three areas. 1. Sell your property outright. 2. Decide if the education system here fits your kids. 3. Make sure that you will be able to get residency and work permits here.
The last one is harder than you think for most people.
Even though Aruba has a special status with the EU and EU sends a lot of money this way, it does NOT mean that you can just more here like you can to other EU countries. These rules are very strict. The present government is easing them up a bit, but still very hard.
I love Spain, but compared to Aruba there is no competition. Spain is great, Aruba is Paradise :D.

Good luck


02-28-2011, 09:02 PM
Carsten, wow!! This is just the sort of "summing up" I was looking for. Thanks a million for your comments and advices! I appreciate it very much.

It's very late over here so I'll be brief and continue tomorrow:
-Healthcare: That is such a relief! I do not expect the same level as in here but I feared for a worst scenario and it's good to know it's not like that.
-Education: My baby is not even 4 years old yet but I prefer education in English. I have nothing against Dutch but I will not be able to help him with homeworks and that would kill me. The question is: how expensive is private school?
-Safety: yes, I know Aruba is quite safe and I must say I feel very safe in the city I live too.

As for prices, that's the only thing I do not agree with. Spain seems to me less expensive than Aruba, in many aspects. I have been in Aruba and in general food, breverages, apartment rent, real estate prices, electricity,etc , they all are more expensive than over here. I was rather shocked by the community costs per month, my God, they're skyrocketed.

I am glad to see a Scandinavian enjoying himself in Aruba and participating in this forum. It was a pleasant surprise to read your post!:)

02-28-2011, 10:14 PM
Glad if you can use my comments :).

Regarding the cost, I guess it depends on where you are in Spain as well.
It has been a while since I lived there, so your perception is probably more correct than mine. I compare it to i.e. Barcelona or Marbella.
In Aruba there is also a big difference where you do your shopping etc. etc..
Since almost everything is imported it is pretty expensive here. But local fish is cheap (if you know where to buy it) and you are almost stupid if you spend any money on bottled water here.
A lot of other living expenses also go way down, when you live here and learn the ropes of Aruba living. I.e. a lobster is $80 in the shops per kg., but $20 or less on the right beach :D.
Be very careful where you buy as some places almost seems like a big scam when it comes to community costs while others are extremely cheap.

The private school is around $13-17.000 per kid per year (cheaper the younger they are). So maybe you better start learning Dutch ;).


03-01-2011, 12:48 AM
Great posts!

I heard the most difficult part is to actually get a working permit. As for all job offers, Aruban residents are preferred (by government requirement). And it can be time-consuming (years?) to get a working permit.

Here is some online info:

Temporary or Permanent Work Permit
Any foreigner who wants to exercise a profession/occupation must have a work permit to do so. The work permit will normally be granted only if there are no qualified persons locally available. In general, requests for work permits will only be taken into consideration if submitted through a local employer, who has to accept full responsibility for any possible expenses to be incurred by the government relative to its employees. For a trainee position or internship a special work permit is required.
With the exception of tourists, all other foreigners should have a permit document to prove their legal presence on the island. This means that one (unless a tourist) should not travel to or be on the island pending a request for a residence and/or work permit.
To obtain more information and application forms contact

Department of Public Order and Security
Caya Dick Cooper 11
San Nicolas, Aruba
Phone: (297) 584-3322
Fax: (297) 584-3258/584-3534

More info at link:


03-01-2011, 07:08 AM
Schnauzerjoy, you got it right. Prices vary greatly from city to city and even depending on what you buy. Generally as you go south things get cheaper, Marbella is an exception to that but well, it aims at the rich and extravagant.
Barcelona (north Spain) is a great city, where you can find anything you can imagine, but it is expensive. Madrid (center) is also expensive.
Alicante (south by the Mediterranean sea) is not expensive and the weather is nice. I have also lived in the Canary islands, mildly hot all year round and prices are cheaper eventhough most things are imported from the mainland.:confused:
And there is a universal rule, you must obviously know where to buy. I guess that it happens in any country that if you walk around acting like a typical tourist you will be charged as such :D Spain is no exception to that.
And I must say taxi drivers have a special detector for tourists , specially those that arrive for the 1st time...or is it just that they kindly want to give newcomers a city tour? :rolleyes:

CK1, I suppose that applies for those who seek for a job there, hard task anywhere. What about those who already have a job and can carry it along wherever they go? Do they get strict in those cases too?

PS: is Dutch very difficult?

03-01-2011, 11:03 AM
CK1, I suppose that applies for those who seek for a job there, hard task anywhere. What about those who already have a job and can carry it along wherever they go? Do they get strict in those cases too?

PS: is Dutch very difficult?

http://www.arubachamber.com/relocation.htm (http://www.arubachamber.com/relocation.htm)

03-01-2011, 12:59 PM
CK1, I suppose that applies for those who seek for a job there, hard task anywhere. What about those who already have a job and can carry it along wherever they go? Do they get strict in those cases too?

PS: is Dutch very difficult?

FromSpain, here is an excerpt from the link I posted last night, Arubalisa posted the link again as well.

In general, it boils down to:
- do you have enough money to take care for yourself and your family
- will you not take a job away from an Aruban resident.

You probably have to prove that you make enough money from your clients abroad (outside Aruba). However, there will also be lots of job opportunities on Aruba when you move there. With only a Permanent Residence Permit, you are not allow to take that opportunity. It would be great if you could convince the Aruban authorities to get both, a Working Permit and Residence Permit. I think you have a good shot. If you plan on going to Aruba, it might be good to apply in person, bringing the required documentation along. JMO.

Permanent Residence Permit
When requesting a residence permit without a working permit, one must submit:

1 bank references indicating that the applicant is financially self-supporting or any other proof that he will not become a financial burden to the local government or community;
2 the home and business addresses for the last ten years;
3 the reasons for wanting to reside in Aruba, and
4 a certificate of police clearance (“good conduct” document), not older than 2 months.

Persons desiring a permanent residence permit must be in possession of:

1 a passport valid for Aruba;
2 three passport photographs of true likeness;
3 a valid vaccination certificate for smallpox, not more than three years old;
4 a medical certificate that the holder is not suffering from any contagious disease or mental illness, issued within 30 days before the trip started, and
5 a proof of payment of the required legal fee.

03-01-2011, 01:32 PM
PS: is Dutch very difficult?

IMO: Yes.

I speak German and understand only bits and pieces when hearing/reading Dutch.

Here is an online newspaper in Dutch:


Dutch is the official language in Aruba. But Papiamento is spoken by many Aruban people:


Many times, people mix the languages. They speak English with a tourist, then they turn to their coworker and talk to them in Papiamento, the next moment they talk to someone else in speak Dutch, they they turn around and speak English with the tourist again.

03-01-2011, 01:42 PM
And here is a link to the "International School of Aruba":


As there are no universities on Aruba, many parents send their kids after graduation (17 or 18 years old) to the Netherlands to continue with their education.

03-01-2011, 04:01 PM
Thanks everyone for your responses.
Arubalisa, nice to have you here.

Ck1, thanks for all your posts.
Regarding the goverment restrictions, they're tough but not sth to be worried about.
I work online, I will continue having customers outside Aruba no matter where I am, and my business certainly does not take the job away from an Aruban resident or any other resident in this planet, my business is "mine" and so are my dear customers ;)
I'm not rich but I do have enough money saved so as not to show up empty-handed over there plus I have good reference from many Spanish banks, including ING :D

Curiously enough now my only concern is my sons's education and me finding 17 000 usd per year extremely expensive . If somebody robs a bank in Aruba, police should start looking for someone whose son studies at ISA :eek: That'll be a good clue.

Now, seriously, is that the only school in Aruba that teaches in English and/or Spanish? As for the university, I wouldn't mind sending my baby to study in Spain, when the time arrives. Yet, it is strange most people send their children to The Netherlands as you say and not to the USA that is so near. is it because of the language? is it because Universities in the Netherlands are more prestigious than USA? is it tradition?
I'm just guessing here, I'd like to know.
I must admit I like the "Native Spanish Language Program " they have at ISA.

As the poet Quevedo would say " Poderoso caballero es Don Dinero" :rolleyes:

03-01-2011, 04:22 PM
You are very welcome, FromSpain. I find it very exciting that you consider moving to Aruba! :)

Just a quick note as I'm in a hurry:

You can contact ISA and find out their exact rates. I know it's a very nice, modern school. I believe there are more international schools.

The reason why many parents send their kids to the Netherlands: Aruba and the Netherlands have strong ties and support the education of Arubans, there are certain programs, housing etc.

Some go to the USA which is expensive unless they have a scholarship.

Education in many European countries is free. Not so in the USA.

Gotta go! Later! :)

03-01-2011, 10:12 PM
Have to put a few comment in again:

There are Universities in Aruba, although very small and specialized.

I am very interested to hear what other International schools are in Aruba :confused:.

Dutch is not harder or easier to learn that other languages. It all depends of your capacity in general to learn a new language and your age. If you are old (over 40) any new language is pretty hard to learn for most people.
I have friends that expect to move here in 3 years, who have studied Dutch 2 hours a week only this winter and they are already at simple conversation level.
I can tell you that if you speak German, Danish and English and have a good language ear, you are able to read Dutch to a level where you get the point, hear and understand Dutch spoken to a point where you can guess it and speaking it is out of the question ;).

Even if you are self employed, you still need a work permit in Aruba. Nobody might care if you don't do any business at all in Aruba (all clients abroad) but you still need it formally.

I (and everyone else I know who know the system here) would strongly suggest getting a local representation if you are going to get a work permit, especially when you have special circumstances like you do. This is a very special process.

Since you work online, I can assure you that broadband here is very good for being an Island. Just got mine upgraded, so my house have 10 down and 1 up (just measured it right now to 8/0.95).


03-02-2011, 01:10 AM
Interesting comments, Carsten. If you are old (over 40)... :confused:

I stand correct on the universities, however, many students go abroad to study because of the limited opportunities.

When I was on Aruba during my vacations, I liked very much talking to people and hearing their stories. Some were Americans who live now on Aruba, got married, got kids. They also mentioned the schools their kids went to (sorry, cannot remember the school's name) but it was not the International School of Aruba, however, their kids still learned English, Dutch, Papiamento, some even more languages. I believe, one could be the Colegio Arubana. That's when I thought there were more international schools. But I don't know the specifics. Maybe I'm wrong.

I looked up some schools, will post the links. Maybe you can point FromSpain in the right direction.

03-02-2011, 01:15 AM
List of Schools:


List of Schools (from Yellow Pages):


03-02-2011, 01:23 AM
University of Aruba:


Colegio Arubana:


03-02-2011, 01:25 AM
Facts about Aruba

Excerpt about "Education":

Aruba's educational system, patterned after the Dutch system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_the_Netherlands), provides for education at all levels. The Government finances the national education system, except for private schools, such as the International School of Aruba (ISA), which finance their own activities. The percentage of money earmarked for education is higher than the average for the Caribbean/Latin American region.
Arubans benefit from a strong primary school education. A segmented secondary school program includes vocational training (VMBO), basic education (MAVO), college prep (HAVO) and advanced placement (VWO).
Higher education goals can be pursued through the Professional Education program (EPI), the teachers college (IPA) as well as through the University of Aruba (UA) which offers bachelors and masters programs in law, finance and economics and hospitality and tourism management. Since the choice for higher education on the island itself is limited, many students choose study in the Netherlands, or abroad in countries in North America, South America as well as the rest of Europe.
There are 68 schools for primary education, 12 schools for secondary education, and 5 universities. In 2007, there were 22,930 fulltime students registered.
There are two private medical schools in Aruba: All Saints University of Medicine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints_University_of_Medicine), Aruba and Xavier University School of Medicine, Aruba (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xavier_University_School_of_Medicine,_Aruba). All courses are presented in English. School's curriculum is based on the United States medical school model and will lead to a Doctor of Medicine degree that is recognized in North America.[4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aruba?PHPSESSID=08b67f9ad40c72207d8e91e2aefb169e#c ite_note-imed.ecfmg.org-3)

Much more info on link:


03-02-2011, 01:27 AM
This is an older article about "Schools on Aruba" but still interesting, IMO:


03-02-2011, 02:03 AM
Here is an older post from Lizzardo from this forum with some interesting info:

There is also a group called the International Friends of Aruba. It has a group
of ex-pat women with kids and have 'meet ups' all the time.

Here is their website:

I personally think Aruba is a great place for kids. They can run
and play without a lot of the worries that are in the EU and States.
If I had moved here earlier in life, I would have had kids here.

03-02-2011, 07:11 AM
Wow! This thread keeps getting better and better.
I'm in a hurry now, I'm working, now moe than ever I need work and to save some money :)
I'll drop by again in a few hours.
Thank you for all the fine comments and information, it is all very useful.