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Faces of Aruba fisherman

Happy people: from locals to repeat visitors. What makes Aruba special?

The One happy island is known for its white sandy beaches, sunshine, and friendly people.

But did you know that Aruba also has this intangible, indescribable thing that makes visitors fall in love and want to visit repeatedly? Some have visited yearly for over 50 years, passing down the love of the island to their kids and grandkids. We call it the Aruba Effect, but that’s not clear enough. In honor of our National Flag and Anthem Day (March 18th), let's break down everything that is Aruba into smaller pieces to see if we can figure it out together, shall we? Let’s analyze the Aruba Coat of Arms! Maybe that might give us insight into what makes our Aruba, well, Aruba.

Tip: Look for ♦ Aruba Fun Facts ♦ below!

Coat of arms

The red lion

The red lion crest at the top symbolizes power and generosity. It also represents the connection with The Netherlands. Did you know that Dutch is the official language in our local schools? That’s why most Arubans speak Dutch quite well. Other than Dutch and Papiamento, locals also speak English and Spanish. I think this may be one of the reasons we are friendlier than other Caribbean islands. Maybe we understand others differently; as we think in and speak multiple languages, we may somehow be able to connect to each person on a deeper, more meaningful level. Some words don’t exist in all languages, so some cultures may not thoroughly understand others simply because it is not part of their vocabulary and upbringing. They can’t help it.

For us, though, even the word love, amor, and liefde can have different levels of depth in each language. You may have also noticed the potency of certain words in your original tongue as opposed to foreign languages. So using this example, think of all the ways we can interpret emotion and needs in a more complex way simply by growing up with a mix of different languages and cultures. Even the Papiamento language itself is a mix of languages. All right, we may be on to something here, dushi! It’s almost like a cheat code for empathy, friendliness, and unity. But let’s move on to the next item to see if we can find more tangible evidence of what the Aruba effect is!

♦ Aruba Fun Fact ♦

Aruba's slogan is ‘One Happy Island.’ Known for its desert landscape, crystal clear waters, wonderful weather, and friendly locals. Who wouldn't be happy?

Laurel leaves

This one is pretty simple. The leaves at the bottom represent peace and friendship. It’s part of who we are as people. Aruba is a melting pot of over 90 unique nationalities, all living harmoniously amongst each other. It’s truly remarkable that we can all co-exist on such a small island without losing who we are as individuals. You can see it in all our culinary offerings on the island. Local cuisine, Chinese food, Indonesian delights, Arabic specialties, International comfort food, and more! That may be one of the reasons every visitor feels right at home so quickly. We’re not one specific thing. We’re everybody and everything.

♦ Aruba Fun Fact ♦

Aruba is located right outside the hurricane belt and is considered safe to visit all year round.

White cross

The white cross in the center represents devotion and faith. As mentioned in the previous section, coexistence is normal in Aruba. Religion is taught in most schools, and children are not pressured to follow any specific path. It depends on the families in which they grow up. They are encouraged to follow basic advice, such as respecting their parents, being kind, and treating others respectfully. So we all grow up with this in the back of our minds, and it carries on throughout our lives.

Aloë plant & helm/steering wheel

The aloë plant and the helm are both symbols of industry. The aloë sector was Aruba's first source of prosperity, and the wheel guides our industry. Nowadays, the Royal Aruba Aloë company grows, harvests, and processes its aloë on site. Considered the finest aloë in the world, the company now ships this Aruban product to many countries. Aruba’s desert-like environment intensifies the aloë plant’s natural healing qualities and produces the earth’s most potent Aloë Vera Gel. For most locals, the Royal Aruba Aloë’s signature products have this unique scent that we recognize from miles away. I don’t know how this all ties into the Aruba Effect, but this scent may take you back to your island experience and remind you of your home away from home. As it does for locals living abroad. It’s what Aruba and only Aruba smells like.

Nestled on 150 acres of Aloe fields, the Aruba Aloe Museum and Factory offers personally guided tours through the factory grounds, providing insightful cultural and scientific anthropologies behind this prosperous, life-giving green plant. Visitors are invited to watch chemists and Aruba Aloe bottlers in-action to see how the product turns from plant to potion.

♦ Aruba Fun Fact ♦

Aruba is one of the safest vacation spots in the Caribbean. Violent crime rates are extremely low compared to other islands in the Caribbean.


The island's second highest point of elevation and Aruba’s most recognizable landmark, Hooiberg, symbolizes Aruba’s rise from the sea. Just like "The Little Engine That Could" teaches children about optimism and hard work, our island is small but mighty. If you’ve ever climbed Hooiberg, you know the view is unmatched. It’s not an easy climb, either! You feel accomplished once you’re at the top. Up there, you realize just how small Aruba is. As kids, it was an adventure! We grew up with Hooiberg, so it’s just an everyday natural wonder in our backyard. I can imagine for you, our visitor; it is something a bit out of Jurassic Park. It’s not a tourist attraction but just something that is there and is uniquely ours. Locals use it for exercise or as a little break from the daily craziness. When you, as a visitor, climb it, it’s like a right of passage. Small steps toward the top and also toward becoming an honorary Aruban.

♦ Aruba Fun Fact ♦

There is no need to buy bottled water in Aruba. You can drink water straight from the tap island-wide.

View of Paradera from the top of the Casibari rock, with the Hooiberg mountain



The handshake symbolizes the many friendly ties Aruba enjoys with other nations and people on the political, cultural, and economic levels. A handshake in most cultures is a sign of mutual respect when greeting, congratulating, and agreeing. Unsurprisingly, these friendly ties make their way down to the individuals who live on the island and those who visit. From the first contact at our airport or cruise terminal to your taxi driver and all the other people you meet along the way. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard the word “friend” being thrown around between locals and visitors. You feel like you’re one of us. We feel like you’re one of us. We’re all the same.

So, what makes Aruba special and different from other islands?

To sum it up, language plays a crucial role in who we are as a people. Our diversity on the island and how all the different cultures coexist make us an open and friendly bunch. We share our experiences with our visitors, and it makes us happy to see you enjoying and appreciating the things we grew up with on our One Happy Island. We treat everyone with respect, kindness, and love because it’s how we were raised. We make friends easily, and we can never have too many. Everyone is welcome, and we are always waiting with open arms.


Friendly people, Happiness, Beaches, One Happy Island, Sunshine, Aruba Coat of Arms, Diversity, Melting pot, Culture

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