COUNTRY DESCRIPTION ^
Aruba , an autonomous island in the Caribbean , is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands . Tourist facilities are widely available.
SECURITY AND SAFETY ^
There are no known extremist groups or areas of instability on Aruba, although drug trafficking rings operate on the island.
Street crime is low, but there have been incidents of theft from hotel rooms. Armed robbery has been known to occur. Valuables left unattended on beaches, in cars and in hotel lobbies are easy targets for theft.
Car theft, including that of rental vehicles for joy riding and stripping, can occur. Vehicle leases or rentals may not be fully covered by local insurance when a vehicle is stolen or damaged. Be sure you are sufficiently insured when renting vehicles and jet skis.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES ^
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the U.S. and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the U.S. for similar offenses. Persons violating Aruba laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Do not agree or attempt to smuggle illegal drugs, either internally (swallowing) or in luggage. Aruba has strict gun control laws; if you plan to import firearms or ammunition into Aruba, please make advance arrangements through the Embassy of The Netherlands in Washington.
MEDICAL FACILITIES ^
Medical care is good in Aruba . There is one hospital, Dr. H.E. Oduber Hospital; its medical standards can be compared with an average small hospital in the U.S. The hospital has three classes of services and patients are accommodated according to the level of their insurance (i.e. first class: one patient to a room, TV, better food; second class: two to three patients to a room, shared bathroom, etc; third class: 15 to 20 people in one hall).
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS ^
Aruba lies outside the hurricane belt. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS ^
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the U.S. The information below concerning Aruba is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good
Driving in Aruba is on the right-hand side of the road. Local laws require drivers and passengers to wear seat belts and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Children under 5 years of age should be in a child safety seat; if older they should ride in the back seat. Right turns on red are prohibited in Aruba.
Aruba's main thoroughfare, L.G. Smith Boulevard, is well lit, and most hotels and tourist attractions can be easily located. Although there is a speed limit in Aruba , it is not consistently enforced. Drivers should be alert at all times for speeding cars, which have caused fatal accidents. In the interior areas of the island, drivers should be alert for herds of goats or donkeys that may cross the roads unexpectedly. Buses provide convenient and inexpensive service to and from many hotels and downtown shopping areas. Taxis, while expensive, are safe and well regulated. As there are no meters, passengers should verify the price before entering the taxi.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
For specific information concerning Aruba driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Netherlands National Tourist Organization offices in New York at 1-888-464-6552, Internet:
See also road safety information from other sources at http://www.aruba.com/.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT ^
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Aruba's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Aruba 's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at
http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at (618) 229-4801.
Please also refer to the separate
Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.
January 16, 2004