Local traditions and culture in Aruba

  • Sunset
    Sunset
    by Twan
  • Sunset
    Sunset
    by Twan
  • Iguanas
    Iguanas
    by Kisu

Most Viewed Local Customs in Aruba

  • RoyJava's Profile Photo

    Language & Electricity

    by RoyJava Updated Jun 27, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Language: >>>
    While Dutch is the official language of the islands, the people from the ABC-islands also have their own language: Papiamentu. It is an Creole language, originally from Spanish & Portuguese, with a lot of Dutch, English, and African influences. Fortunately everybody do speak English, as well as Spanish and Dutch. Antillians have a good sense for languages.

    Electricity: >>>
    110-130 volts a.c. 50 cycles. 60 cycles will work fine, too, except items like hair dryers, irons and some battery charging equipment, which may overheat if used for an extended period of time (like mine!). European appliances that run on 220 volt cannot be used, so bring adapters.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • RoyJava's Profile Photo

    Curved Divi-Divi Trees Bow Your Path

    by RoyJava Updated Jun 27, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Good to know >>>
    When you should get lost at Aruba, just follow the world-famous Divi-Divi trees. These gnarled spooky trees permanently bent towards Westerly side, caused by the constant trade winds. They will be your natural compass and show you the bustling hotel district ... just trust the bonsai-like figures!
    Good to know ... : -))

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • kazander's Profile Photo

    Cacti fences

    by kazander Written Apr 24, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I remember our tour guide explaining to us that the farmers in Aruba grew these cacti in straight lines to form fences to keep their animals in. What a great way to use nature to your advantage! It also makes a lot of sense seeing as there are not many trees on certain parts of the island,

    Related to:
    • Desert
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • amapola66's Profile Photo

    Mango Juice Rocks !

    by amapola66 Written Apr 5, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Small Person developed an addiction to fresh mango juice. The one she liked the best, was at Mangos bar at the Amsterdam Manor. She also took to ordering mango icecreams & smoothies all over the island.

    Highly recommended for small people all over the world.

    Yum!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • cruisingbug's Profile Photo

    Ballet Folklorico Nacional di Aruba

    by cruisingbug Written Apr 22, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    These dancers appeared at Welcome Night at our resort (which was actually closer to our departure due to the weeklong, island-wide blackout, but that's another story). If you have a chance to see them, do so! From Caribbean (including Aruban) to Latin to African dances, this talented troupe wowed the crowd and seemed to have endless energy. A great show, which we would have paid good money for if it hadn't been free!

    Was this review helpful?

  • annk's Profile Photo

    Currency is the Aruban Florin...

    by annk Updated Sep 6, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Currency is the Aruban Florin which is divided into 100 cents. Silver coins are in denominations of 5, 10, 25 & 50 cents, one florin, 2 1/2 florins and 5 florins. The florin fluctuates with the dollar and exchange rate is AF 1.77 to the U.S. dollar.

    If visiting from the States, it is not necessary to obtain the local currency since U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere and dollars may be withdrawn from ATM's as well. Just don't take $50 or $100 dollar bills as they are not accepted due to counterfeit problems.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Here it's a good one. Aruba's...

    by idrincon Written Aug 26, 2002

    Here it's a good one. Aruba's natives speak Papiamento, and some Spanish and English. However, not all of them have a good skill on the latter two.. so be patiente and do not be afraid to ask again is pronunciation is hard to understand.

    Was this review helpful?

  • mocca's Profile Photo

    Aruba is an island of the sun,...

    by mocca Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Aruba is an island of the sun, to enjoy the good weather and most people will do this, but it still has some nice culture. There are old dutch colonial houses scattered around the island, and a windmill, so even on Aruba you can take in some culture.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jefvdw's Profile Photo

    If there is a cultural thing,...

    by Jefvdw Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If there is a cultural thing, it are the people themself.
    In the last years the interest to conservate the old houses is growing. The Netherlands are financially helping to restaurate our heritage.
    Visit downtown and in the outback (=cunucu) for old typical houses.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jefvdw's Profile Photo

    The ARCHELOGICAL MUSEUM next...

    by Jefvdw Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The ARCHELOGICAL MUSEUM next to the St Franciscuskerk
    is a one room eposure of the pre-colombian history of Aruba. While Arubians are proud of there Indian history and many places still remember this past by there names, and local archeologists do a lot of excavating, this liliput exposition is a shame for the goverments effort on this terain. The positive side: it's completely free,
    if there is a guard, he's sleeping, so don't disturb...
    which can be sead from this guy: the classical way to let the native indians to there final rest.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jefvdw's Profile Photo

    Downtown Oranjestad we get...

    by Jefvdw Updated Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Downtown Oranjestad we get FORT ZOUTMAN an old part of the dutch defense of the island. There is a nice museum in it whitch shows parts of the history of the island aswell as some documentation of fauna en flora.
    Every tuesday night there is a cultural performance with dancing, foodtasting and/or life music.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jefvdw's Profile Photo

    Here some of those typical...

    by Jefvdw Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Here some of those typical Arubian houses. A low piramidal roof for passat winds, borders decorated with the own island blend of traditional decoration: a mix of old french designs and indian motives whitch have to keep te bad gosts away. Old houses were build with coral stones and adobe for a cooler place. Ocker earth with Aloe Vera was used as paint.

    Was this review helpful?

  • BR0WND0G's Profile Photo

    The people of Aruba a very...

    by BR0WND0G Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The people of Aruba a very friendly. However, some of the waiters will lure you into double-tipping them. Every restaurant on the island automatically adds 15% to the bill, although some of the waiter's deny this fact, and ask for an additional tip. Get an itimized bill and check it.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Aruba is said to have the...

    by Arubasun. Written Aug 24, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Aruba is said to have the third most beautiful Carnival in the world after Rio Brazil and Trinidad in the Caribbean, but it ranks of course number 1 in safety amongst the top 5 most beautiful Carnivals.

    Carnival in Aruba is a sense of celebrating humanity, celebrating being happy and Arubans are good in doing just that. Aruba has celebrated this year its 46th annual Carnival. What simply began as a street music celebration, with locals playing their drums while dancing with masquerades and costumes has evolved in being Aruba's top Cultural attraction, attracting thousands of visitors.

    Carnival in Aruba originated in the town of San Nicolas. With the coming of the refinery many Caribbean islanders especially from Trinidad came to Aruba to settle. At that time San Nicolas was the town to live as the refinery was located there. You can say that the land that invented Calypso music and great Carnival costumes, Trinidad, has gave a piece of its culture to Aruba and Aruba has made something out of it.

    Carnival is the most popular cultural celebration on the island. Carnival in Aruba officially starts on the eleventh month of the year November, 11th day at 11hours 11minutes 11seconds in the morning, but it is not until early January that the first Carnival activities start. It starts with the torch parade in the streets of Oranjestad and the additional activities such as queen elections, carnival jump ups and the famous Roadmarch and Calypsonian contest in the entire month of January. In February is when we see the first Carnival parade initiate. In Aruba there are three children Carnival parades only for children at separate days each weekend in the three main towns of the island, Oranjestad, San Nicolas and Noord. There is a lightning parade which is also famous and there are two adult parades one in San Nicolas and one in Oranjestad. The adult parade in Oranjestad is the Grand Carnival parade which start 11:00 am in the morning and ends at 7:00pm while celebrations continue the entire night with locals dancing and having fun along side the streets.

    The Grand Carnival parade is always scheduled each year in the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday. It is on the day before Ash Wednesday which is Tuesday that we do burn King Momo a made up large doll and say farewell to the Carnival.
    On Ash Wednesday many Arubans do go to church to receive a painted ash cross on their forehead. So on Ash Wednesday and the days after no more Carnival music is to be heard on the island and the celebrations are over until next year.

    The RoadMarch Contest is a very rhythmic Carnival music contest held at the Joe Laveist Sports park in San Nicolas. The contest has a duration of 3 days. The winning song of the contest will be heard playing in the bands leading the many parades. The Calypsonian Contest are slow rhythm songs, the words of these songs often reflects on the problems that society is facing today. So Roadmarch is much more of a jamming song and Calypso is more like a listening slow dance songs. Calypso is not heard in the parades only the jamming Roadmarch Songs. A popular Carnival activity is the Jouvert Morning, many people get up at 3:00 am in the morning and head to the town of San Nicolas for Jouvert Morning which starts at 4:00am.
    Jouvert Morning is the peoples parade in which people dance behind the many bands that are playing in their pyjamas until the sunrises at 7:00am. On that same day at 2:00pm the Grand Carnival parade in San Nicolas will start. The lightning parade is night parade with costumes lit up with lights in the streets of Oranjestad. The lightning parade starts at 9:00pm and ends before midnight. All in all there is much to do and see in Aruba in terms of culture celebrations during the month of January and February and may be March depending on what day Ash Wednesday falls which marks the end of the activities.

    ARUBA'S CULTURAL FEATURES.

    Arubans are very delighted if visitors would try to speak a few words to them in Papiamento. For instance if you are going to a store and you greet the one that is attending you, you would want to say Bon Tardi which is good afternoon in Englsih or Bon dia which is good morning.
    And if you are leaving the store you would like to say thank you and good bye. Thank you in English is Masha Danki in Papiamento and goodbye in English is Ayo in Papiamento. It is just these few words that can make the Arubans smile so beautifully.

    Papiamento is a language only spoken on the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. It is a mixture of Portuguese, French, English, Dutch, Spanish and West African.

    Words in Papiamento;

    Bon Dia: Good morning.

    Bon Tardi: Good afternoon.

    Bon Nochi: Good evening.

    Bonbini: Welcome.

    Dushi: Sweetheart.

    Ayo: bye bye.

    Tip:

    Travelers should never expect fast service in the Caribbean which includes Aruba. Arubans do take life one second at the time.

    The overall service on the island is excellent and very customer oriented, in Aruba the client is king.

    If you are planning to book your vacation in January, February try to book well in it advance as it is the Carnival season and flights may be filled.

    That’s all for now,

    Ayo

    Edward

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bunununu's Profile Photo

    Everyone there speaks English,...

    by Bunununu Written Aug 24, 2002

    0.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Everyone there speaks English, Spanish and an island dialect called Papiamento. The American dollar is accepted everywhere. Go up these stairs at the mall and you can spend all the dollars you want.
    No problem, go have fun.

    Was this review helpful?

Aruba Hotels

See all 50 Hotels in Aruba

Top Aruba Hotels

Aruba Hotels
11 Reviews - 27 Photos
Oranjestad Hotels
55 Reviews - 176 Photos
Sint Nicolaas Hotels
1 Review - 6 Photos
Noord Hotels
28 Reviews - 99 Photos

Instant Answers: Aruba

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

71 travelers online now

Comments

Aruba Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Aruba local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Aruba sightseeing.
Map of Aruba