Aruba – Aruba is located just 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela, nestled in the heart of the Caribbean. Tourists flock to the beautiful, 70 square mile island. Travel to the island of Aruba is fairly easy for tourists, but there are some things that are important to remember.

Tourists are defined as anyone traveling for vacation and relaxation, sport, health reasons, family matters, study, religious purposes or a business visit. It is important to remember that tourists are not permitted to work during their short stay on the island.

Before traveling to Aruba to enjoy one of the many beautiful beach villas, tourists should be sure they have the necessary documents and paperwork. The most important is a valid passport. The passport must be valid upon entry into Aruba and be valid for the entire stay. Tourists must also have a valid return or onward (continuing on to another destination) ticket.

If requested by the migration officer, the tourist must also be able to prove he or she has a valid reservation for an Aruba accommodation, whether it be a hotel or one of the many villas for rent, or that he or she owns a property on the island. The migration officer may also ask the tourist to prove that he or she has adequate financial means to cover the cost of the accommodation expenses or living expenses while in Aruba.

“It is also important to remember the length of time a tourist is permitted to be in Aruba,” says Matthew Smillie, owner of Aruba Villas Vacation Homes, specializing in Aruba vacation rentals for tourists. “A tourist is allowed to be in Aruba for 30 days at a time, and the total amount of days a tourist visits Aruba in a year cannot exceed 180. After entering the country, a tourist can apply to extend their initial visit beyond 30 days, keeping in mind that they cannot stay more than 180.”

Those allowed to seek an extension include nationals of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. If not a resident of the Netherlands, the tourist must own property, or have a declaration of guarantee from an Aruba resident that they will act as the tourist’s guarantor and be liable for any costs incurred during the stay. The migration officer will need to determine the visitor has sufficient funds to cover their stay, otherwise. Tourists requesting an extended stay must also have medical and liability insurance that will cover the duration of their stay.

Once the tourist has entered the island, there are a few things to remember. The official languages of the island are Dutch and the local Papiamento, however most Arubans speak several languages, including English and Spanish.

“Tourists should easily be able to communicate with all those on the island,” says Smillie. “But if need be, my staff and I are always on call to assist our guests. We can help them with arranging rental cars, scheduling excursions, or anything else they might need during their stay.”

U.S. currency, major credit cards and traveler’s checks are generally accepted in Aruba. Travelers should check with their credit card companies before traveling to avoid international service fees. Personal checks are not accepted, and due to the dangers of counterfeiting, some merchants may not take $50 or $100 bills. Banks are typically open until 4 p.m., and ATM cards with Cirrus, MasterCard, Maestro or Visa logos may withdraw cash.

There is a first-class hospital located on the island, as well as medical clinics. All hotels have doctors on call 24 hours a day. Pharmacies in Aruba cannot fill prescriptions from doctors outside of the island, so tourists need to be sure to bring all medications they will need with them.

Parents traveling with their children should keep in mind that the minimum drinking and gambling age is 18.

Travel to Aruba can be an exciting adventure for tourists of every background – from families, to scuba enthusiasts, to those just seeking a relaxing getaway. By doing a bit of research before leaving home, tourists can be sure they have everything they need to know before traveling.

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Posted on Jul 22, 2013.