Local traditions and culture in Aruba

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Most Viewed Local Customs in Aruba

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    Fireworks!

    by SabrinaSummerville Written Jan 15, 2007

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    As we drove from the airport to the Hotel we were treated to a spectacular fireworks display. I had never seen one that was quite so amazing.

    This was two days before new Year's Eve, and the fireworks kept on flashing for the next two days and nights, though not quite as spectacularly.

    Then, on New Year's Eve night, all the guests in our hotel were invited to a party on the hotel roof. From there we could see fireworks exploding in a myriad of colours all over the island.

    Later we learned that the Arubans are a very superstitious people and one of their superstitions relates to fireworks and luck. The Arubans chase away the bad luck of the old year with fireworks, and welcome in the good luck of the new year with even more fireworks.

    Ah, if only it were so easy.........;-)

    Fireworks!
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    Lucky Piles

    by SabrinaSummerville Written Jan 18, 2007

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    As I said earlier, the Arubans are a very superstitious people.

    One of their little customs is to build stone piles or towers for good luck. We drove to the North of the island and in a very wild and rugged stony part of the island we found thousands of these pillars made of stone. Some of them are really enormous, but each one consists of one stone placed on top of another reaching towards the sky. There is no mention that the higher the pile the greater the luck, so I built just a nice tidy little one.

    The secret in keeping your pile erect is ...... good balance:-)

    Lucky Stone Piles Lucky Stone Piles
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    ROCK SCULPTURES

    by LoriPori Written Nov 10, 2006

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    While driving through the northern coast of Aruba, we came across an area filled with literally thousands of ROCK SCULPTURES, Throughout the years folks have created some pretty impressive rock art by piling one rock on top of the other and so on and some even adding some branches or other item they have found in the area. It's probably based on an Indian custom, to mark your way. I even "created" a little rock sculpture just to say I did. Actually it was pretty pathetic compared to most. On one rock formation. a little salamander peeked out from the rock as if to say "Hello".

    Very creative rock sculpture Ilona & huge rock sculpture Lori & her little pile of rocks Little salamander peeking out from the rocks
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    Christmas in Aruba

    by SabrinaSummerville Written Jan 28, 2007

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    The Arubans go "all out" (to quote a local) to celebrate Christmas. In fairness, the Arubans go all out to celebrate any occasion of any kind - this is a true party island!

    I was fascinated by scenes such as this life size crib in gardens, Christmas music playing from sound systems set up in the gardens of houses where the occupants were clearly at work for the day, incredible displays of brightly coloured Christmas lights strung on palm trees.

    Oh, just go there and see for yourself:-)

    Aruban garden at Christmas
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    Mango Juice Rocks !

    by amapola66 Written Apr 5, 2005

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    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!

    Mango Juice Rocks !
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  • briantravelman's Profile Photo

    They Don't Want Their Own Money

    by briantravelman Updated Jun 11, 2014

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    I have been to 13 countries, and have never seen anything like this before. First time in my life, I was in a place where the people didn't want to be paid in their own currency. Everyone wanted to be paid in American dollars. Sure, they would take the florin, but they always preferred U.S. Dollars, and the original price was almost always stated in U.S. Dollars. On the bus, in taxis, restaurants, street vendors, attractions. Everything was in U.S. Dollars. There were only a few shops and small street side restaurants that stated their prices in florins, everything else was in U.S. Dollars.
    I actually started asking vendors and waitresses if they accept florins.
    We asked a few people why they only want U.S. dollars, and they said the exchange rate is better for them. A lot of people didn't even want florins. We tried to pay with florins at a market, and the lady said to give her dollars, because she does not have change for florins. They would even take both. Anything to get their hands on a dollar.
    A few people got angry when we asked them why they don’t want their own money.
    We went to Fort Zoutman, and wanted to give the ticket lady 100 florins, because we had to spend it somewhere, and she would not take it. She wanted dollars. We told her, "What are we supposed to do with this? We have to spend this", and she got very rude and said, "I do not have to give you change for 100, if I do not want to!" I bet she would give change if it was $100. We also tried to pay with hundred in a store, and the lady would also not give us change, so we ended up walking away. We finally went to this local cafe, and the lady there knew us from before, and was really friendly, and didn't have a problem changing hundred for us.
    Another time, we went to buy tickets for a submarine tour, and the lady wouldn't take florins. She said we have to pay in dollars. Unbelievable.
    I noticed that the local run places will take florins no problem, but everyone else just wants to get their hands on U.S. Dollars. Cab drivers had huge wads of American dollars. They are very clever, because they know dollar is high right now, when it drops, I bet they will start asking for florins or euros.
    I don't even know why they have their own currency. It should just be the U.S. Dollar, like it is on Bonaire.
    The strangest thing is that, this is a Dutch island, but they do not accept Euro, but U.S. Dollars everywhere. I am very curious how Dutch tourists pay for things, if they do not have U.S. Dollars.
    We had about 40 florins left over, plus several coins, because we just could not spend them.

    If you are American, don't even bother exchanging for florins, and if you are Dutch tourist, exchange your Euros for USD. They will get you a lot further than the florin.

    Like I said, I have been to 13 countries, and have never been to a place where the people didn't want to paid in their own currency. They get their paychecks in florins, so I am very curious where spend them, if everyone wants dollars. Unbelievable!

    Useless

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    Ballet Folklorico Nacional di Aruba

    by cruisingbug Written Apr 22, 2004

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    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!

    Ballet Folklorico Nacional di Aruba

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    Coconut Vendors

    by briantravelman Written Apr 21, 2014

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    If you go to the popular tourist spots on the island, like Oranjestad, Alto Vista Chapel, and California Lighthouse, you will see these guys with stands, machetes, and coconuts. For $3 (5 florins), they will chop the top of the coconut off, and insert a straw, so you can drink the water. There wasn’t that much in there, and you have to throw the nut away, once you are finished, but it worth it for the experience. Because they are 100% natural, they aren’t as sweet as the ones you buy here in the U.S., but still refreshing.

    It took me forever to find these guys. I was searching for them in Oranjestad, but didn’t see any. I completely forgot about them, until I saw one at California Lighthouse.
    I later saw a bunch of them in Oranjestad, when the cruise ship came.
    It looks like they sell them when the tour groups, and cruise ships come, so that would be your best bet for trying one. It is difficult to know, exactly when they will be there, so you just have to get lucky.

    Coconut Vendor Coconut Vendor Refreshing
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    Cacti fences

    by kazander Written Apr 24, 2005

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    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,

    Aruba Cacti Fence
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    Rock Piles

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 24, 2011

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    On the east side of the island near where the old Natural Bridge was located, we saw a number of mysterious small stacks of rocks. I was told that they were piled there by tourists following an Indian custom - you must stack 3 rocks on top of one another. Each rock has its own name (love, wealth, and health). When you stack them, make a wish, if the rocks are blown over by the waves, your wish will be granted. Guides tell visitors this story and stop and let visitors make their own rock piles

    But according to internet sources

    The true story on these rock piles is that originally they were made by an Aruban artist expressing his art with rocks. There was an article in the Aruba Today newspaper about these very famous rock piles along the coast of Aruba.

    Pile of three rocks Piles of rocks Surf and rock piles More little rock piles Line of rock piles along the edge of the water
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    Curved Divi-Divi Trees Bow Your Path

    by RoyJava Updated Jun 27, 2005

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    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 ... : -))

    divi-divi-hooiberg-aruba
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    Money Makes The World Go'Round!

    by RoyJava Updated Jul 18, 2005

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    A bit of confusing:
    the Aruban Florin (AWG), the Antillian Guilder (ANG) and the US$!

    They do have all about the same value, though linked to the US$ it cannot be used in other country (US$ 1,00 equals 1,78 Aruban Guilder/Florin, and is 1.77 Antillian Guilder, about 1 Euro for now). Be aware on Aruba the prices are often qouted in US$ (not the case on Curacao & Bonaire) and, paying in US$ is peace of cake (even 50 & 100 $ bills, exchange rate of 1 to 1.75). Credit-cards & cheques no problems at all ...

    aruba-money
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    Language & Electricity

    by RoyJava Updated Jun 27, 2005

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    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.

    poster-aruba
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    Smoke a Cuban Cigar

    by amapola66 Updated Oct 30, 2005

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    Sister no 1, is rather partial to a Cuban cigar of distinction. Here she is, in the cigar salon at Cuba's Cookin' enjoying a quality puff with her after dinner cognac.

    Here in the UK, don't have the restrictions regarding the taking home of Cuban cigars.
    You can buy boxes in downtown Oranjestead, but they are even cheaper in Venezuela.

    (Shhh - I was also told, that if you really want to take some home to the USA, they will package them without the labels, naturally, I wouldn't recommend breaking the law though).

    Sister no 1, con Cigar
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    Local inhabitants

    by Kisu Written Feb 16, 2008

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    You'll meet these cool guys anywhere, mostly nearby the sea and rocks. Have a lunch on the beach and soon you'll see 10 iguanas around you waiting for tiny snack...They are harmless and really picturesque!

    Iguanas

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