This Strange, Yet Fascinating Aruban Lifestyle

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Before going into detail about dining options here on this One Happy Island, I’d like to share with you some of my observations that came strange or interesting to me while being here and basking in the ever-warm and friendly, but strong (!) sun.

sunset on Aruba

First of all, what I’ve noticed is the people who, as I mentioned earlier, speak four languages to start with! And they seem to be nothing ddifferent from any other Caribbean nation, but they seem so European to me, so independent, though laid-back and mañana-type. We got to know from a cab driver that early at school they are taught to respect tourists and do everything so that the tourist will want to return (not everything to suck more money from the toursit). And this is probably what I experience here: you don’t get so much of that nagging, “Come here and eat at my place!” or “Come and visit my uncle’s best shop of the island!”; they are proud of their little “country” and love their island and seem to me very sure of that I’ll be coming back again. Here you won’t be chased, kissed in the ass or cried after. And this is what I like about Aruba.

Aruban people

However, on the other hand, you want to be chased after from time to time, or to at least experience a good and friendly service, which I haven’t seen much here in Aruba, despite all the comments about how friendly these people are.

The other thing is how different this tiny island is from other Caribbean islands: it’s a little Europe of the Caribbean. It’s clean, civilized, people live quite well, it’s expensive, there’s a set of laws that people follow! For example, you don’t have a meter in cabs, they all have a flat rate, say, if you go from point A to point B, they have a set fare for that which is indicated on their special list that they can even show you! (And if the price seems too high to you, be sure to ask for the list!)

Oranjestad, Mainstreet

And you can drink their tap water here! It’s taken from the sea and distilled by the reverse osmosis principle, and even WHO states that it’s safe for tourists to drink Aruban tap water (I do it when I eat out here, but for the rest of the day, I drink bottled water, shame on me!).

The sun is veeeery strong here, and when I say strong, I mean it. Closer to the equator, you know. I always use SPF 15 when I start my vacation in the Caribbean and slowly go down to 6, but here I got sunburned the first day when I was applying SPF 15! So, I would say you are quite safe with SPF 30-50 here, and if you have sensitive skin, use even higher. Don’t go crazy.

Then it’s reaaally expensive here! And I, from Norway, am saying that! Eating out, grocery-shopping, mainly everything with food is expensive here. I wonder what the Arubians do or how much they earn.

refreshments at the Cilo

And in the supermarkets when you go to the cashier, you have these boys and girls who help you to pack your groceries. Sometimes they ask if you want them to do that or not. Remember to tip them: they don’t get any salary, so they live on the tipping they get. Though they are mainly young people, so it’s their summer wages or pocket money, and 1-2 USD should be enough. They can as well help you with your shopping trolley, to get it out and even put the grocery bags into your car or taxi!

I’ll be returning with more helpful tips next time! I do hope my observations will help you to enjoy your vacation on Aruba! However, you definitely have to visit this One Happy Island!

See you in the next post! And in the meantime, ENJOY!

Aruban north coast


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