Aruba is an incredibly happy and friendly place. People from all over the world feel like the island is their home away from home and the locals are more than happy to share with you. However, there are some things that we’d like you to realize before you come bask on our beautiful beaches. Here are a few simple tips for being the most considerate tourist you can be:
CST – it’s totally a thing
You might have noticed how easy it is to relax the moment you step out of the airport and the Aruban breeze kisses your face. It’s not just that your much awaited vacation has finally begun it’s also because you’ve entered the Caribbean Time Zone. Caribbean Standard Time is difficult to define precisely because it runs more fluidly than the other time zones. For example: 5 minutes can mean anything between 10 minutes to a half hour and 2 hours is somewhere between 3 hours to a day and a half. Visitors who stay here for extended periods of time will tell you that if someone says: you’ll get something tomorrow – there is a very good chance you won’t really get that thing until next week.
What can I say? We don’t stress too much… it’s a beautiful day.
As an American expat I realize that Caribbean Standard Time can be incredibly frustrating. Here are a few tips for adjusting to CST:
Don’t get to a restaurant when you’re already starving – leave yourself plenty of time to linger over dinner and don’t expect the fast food to be all that fast.
Don’t be surprised if things don’t start exactly on time. Your ship might sail at 6pm exactly like the brochure said – it might not. Your cab driver might be there in 5 minutes – he might not.
Waiting can be a little frustrating, but it’s not all THAT bad when you’re waiting in one of the most gorgeous places on Earth, right? Here’s a fun waiting game: try to name all the shades of Aruba Blue you see around you. It’s harder than you think.
Remember that you aren’t at home
The people of Aruba are the friendliest and most accommodating you could ever hope to meet. They go so far out of their way to make you feel comfortable that it can be easy to forget that you aren’t at home – and we love that. We want you to be as comfortable as possible as you enjoy your stay with us. However, things are different here. We don’t have all the same menu items you have in familiar places like Dunkin’ Donuts and TGIFs. We might not have the same brands you’re used to buying in the grocery store back home (we don’t even have the same grocery store) and prices are a little bit higher here since almost everything is imported. If there’s a beauty item or snack food that you absolutely can’t live without – you might want to consider bringing it with you unless you know for sure that we have it here.
Take care of our Environment
Gorgeous beaches with a backdrop of all those indescribable shades of Aruba blue makes our island one of the most sought out destinations in the Caribbean. We’re more than happy to share our natural splendor with you; but we ask – no, demand – that you respect the land.
Watch out for Wildlife Sanctuaries
Aruba is home to many amazing creatures. Our wetlands play host to exotic migrating birds and our beaches have been the birthplace of generations of turtles.
Always be conscious of restricted areas. Our national animal, the Shoco – a burrowing owl – is quickly becoming endangered because of over developing and people off-roading in restricted areas. Give a hoot, don’t run over an owl’s nest with your ATV.
Don’t Leave your Trash on the Beach
This one is completely self-explanatory. Use a trash bag – don’t be one.
Use Environmentally sound Sunblock
Our coral reefs need your help, people. It turns out that typical sunscreen is really bad for coral. Check out this biodegradable sunblock. It’s made locally with lots of love. You can order it online and have it waiting for you at your hotel when you arrive!
It’s Wack to Rock Stack
Look, you guys…I know, I know…. rock stacking is fun. It looks awesome on Instagram. They say you can make a wish on a rock stack. Everybody else is doing it….
However, there are many reasons why you should just leave the rocks alone (check out this article on the VisitAruba blog). In a hermit crab shell: it’s super bad for the environment. If you absolutely have to make a rock stack, knock it down immediately after you take a picture – just make sure you don’t injure any hermit crabs in the process.
When in doubt remember: Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
Follow these simple guidelines to make sure you get the most out of your vacation and that your island home away from home is always as beautiful as you remember.
*Feature photo by Pelican Adventures