With sun-kissed sands, perfect weather and a peaceful population that welcomes visitors with open arms, it's no wonder Aruba keeps visitors coming back for more. Rooted in the Dutch tradition of hospitality, Aruba has earned a reputation for being one of the most welcoming islands in the Caribbean. Once in the country, guests quickly encounter the warm spirit of the Aruban people, offering a smile and the official greeting of "Bon bini!"
Nearly 770,000 visitors per year enjoy the famed Aruban hospitality. Guests are finding it even easier to do so, thanks to the multi-million dollar renovation and expansion project at Aruba's Queen Beatrix International Airport. Streamlining the process for U.S. travelers, Aruba's state-of-the-art airport has a terminal specifically designed for those traveling to and from the United States. Once in Aruba, getting around the island is as easy as hailing a taxi or hopping on the public Arubus.
With such an amenable attitude, it's no surprise that Aruba remains ahead of the curve in the meetings and incentives market. In fact, it continues to garner accolades such as Meetings & Convention magazine's Gold Service Award and Corporate & Incentive Travel magazine's Award of Excellence. Earning this world-class reputation, Aruba's meetings facilities are available for events of any type or size. Just 10 minutes from Queen Beatrix International Airport, the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is home to one of the largest convention centers in the Caribbean. Its Renaissance Convention Center features over 2,000 square meters of flexible meeting space. Its 1,400-square-meter ballroom and 12 meeting rooms are also ideal options for post-event receptions or mid-day breakout sessions.
The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is one of many sprawling resorts on the island that combine impressive meeting facilities with first-class amenities. At the Westin Aruba Resort, groups ranging in size from 10 to 1,000 people can use one of six indoor meeting spaces equipped with the latest audio-visual technology. The 378-room Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino has seven well-appointed meeting rooms and a new ballroom in its versatile facility. Meeting planners can also take advantage of the glorious island temperatures by hosting an event for up to 480 people in one of its outdoor settings.
One-of-a-kind event settings await not far from these lavish hotels and resorts as well. The Tierra Del Sol Resort, Spa and Country Club feature a spacious outdoor venue where guests can enjoy the breathtaking views of Aruba's northwestern tip. For an event of historic proportions, the Numismatic Museum sets the stage with a unique backdrop of ancient coins and artifacts.
Aruba enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean. Sometimes referred to as the "Island of Aloe", Aruba is one of the world's top producers of the healing aloe vera plant and home to the corporate headquarters of Aruba Aloe. The nation is also home to a number of colleges and universities including All Saints University of Medicine, the University of Aruba and Xavier University School of Medicine.
Located in the heart of the southern Caribbean, Aruba sits just 15 miles off the coast of South America. Part of a trio of islands, Aruba joins Bonaire and Curacao to form the southern chain of the Lesser Antilles. A small independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba has a total area of 193 square kilometers. With a population of just over 100,000 residents, it has the 19th highest population density in the world.
Although fairly compact, Aruba's charm and beauty continue to attract tourists and business travelers alike. In fact, Aruba enjoys the highest repeat visitor rate of any Caribbean destination. With phenomenal weather every day of the year, it's not surprising that Aruba has such a loyal following. Unlike many Caribbean isles, Aruba lies outside the hurricane belt, does not have a rainy season and benefits from cooling trade winds that keep temperatures moderate.
Its spectacular climate creates an ideal setting for enjoying the wealth of outdoor activities Aruba has in store. Make a splash at one of the island's many beaches, which have ranked as some of the most beautiful in the world. Snorkeling, scuba diving and underwater tours also top the list of aquatic fun. In addition to the vibrant marine life and colorful coral colonies, Aruba is known as the wreck dive destination of the Caribbean. Guests can explore some of the half dozen wrecks submerged along the coastline with excursions such as Atlantis Submarine Tours.
Back on land the excitement continues on championship golf courses found throughout the rugged terrain. Golfers can play 18 holes at the Robert Trent Jones II-designed Tierra del Sol, the island's first world-class golf course. At Arikok National Park , visitors are likely to catch a glimpse of several animals unique to Aruba, such as the Aruban rattlesnake and the Aruban burrowing owl. To get up close to an animal unique in its own right, stop by the Aruba Ostrich Farm. Here, visitors learn all the secrets of these giant birds and can even see newborns at the farm's hatchery and incubator.
Aruba's dazzling landscape certainly offers enough activities to fill an entire trip. Still, guests will not want to miss the chance to explore the historic side of the island as well. A rich tapestry of cultures, Aruba has more than 96 different nationalities living beneath its sunny skies. Tracing its roots to Caquetios Indians, Spanish conquerors and Dutch explorers, Aruba preserves and celebrates its past through a number of attractions. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Aruba to see ancient marvels such as shell and stone tools dating back to 2000 B.C. Or stop by the solemn Chapel of Alto Vista, which marks the birthplace of the Catholic religion on the island.
After the sun sets on these treasures, Aruba's nightlife sparkles with everything from pulsating dance floors to relaxing lounges. Unwind to the tunes of Frank Sinatra while sipping on the signature Bikini Martini at the Sopranos Piano Bar, or groove to the live music emanating from Mambo Jambo in downtown. Risk takers can raise the stakes at one of 16 blackjack tables at the Westin's Casablanca Casino or at the slots of the lavish Occidental Grand Casino. No matter how they roll the dice, visitors to Aruba are certainly in for a win.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Aruba is blessed with a dry sub-tropical climate that results in consistently beautiful weather throughout the year. The average annual temperature is a pleasant 29°C, as continuously blowing trade winds keep temperatures mild. Unlike many Caribbean islands, Aruba lies outside the hurricane belt and has no rainy season. The island has a modest average precipitation of 408.9 millimeters per year. When rainfall does occur, it generally consists of short showers during the months of November and December.
With very little variability throughout the year, anytime is a great time to visit Aruba. From an attractions standpoint, perhaps the best time to visit Aruba is in February when the island hosts the 3rd largest Carnival celebration in the world.
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
L.G. Smith Boulevard # 101
Total Meeting Space – 11,000 Sq. Ft.
Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa
J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 81
Total Meeting Space – 35,000 Sq. Ft.
Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino
Tucked away on a 40-acre private island at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, the Renaissance Convention Center lures guests from far and wide with its idyllic beauty and impeccable service. Just 10 minutes from the Queen Beatrix International Airport, the center is the largest and most modern convention facility in Aruba and one of the largest in the Caribbean as well with a total of 2,000 square meters of meeting space.
The convention center offers up to 12 well-appointed meeting rooms and seven breakout rooms as well as an elegant ballroom. With five-meter-tall ceilings and a seating capacity for up to 1,600 people, the center's Crystal Ballroom is a majestic backdrop for receptions and black-tie galas. The Renaissance also takes advantage of Aruba's breathtaking scenery by offering an additional 1,672 square meters of lush outdoor space.
Ready to provide all manner of conveniences to its meeting guests, a professional event management team, full-service business center and an expert catering staff are all on-site. Wireless Internet access is also available. Groups can take advantage of the many exciting options featured at the Renaissance Aruba Resort, including 556 guest rooms and suites, seven restaurants, a world-class spa, an on-site casino and two nearby golf courses.
The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba
J.E. Irausquin Boulevard 77
Total Meeting Space – 19,000 Sq. Ft.
Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA)
Approximate taxi fare: 33 AWG
Visitors traveling to Aruba by air arrive at Queen Beatrix International Airport in Oranjestad. Offering service to the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Europe, Queen Beatrix International is one of the Caribbean's newest and most modern airports. For its regular service to 12 U.S. cities, the airport houses a separate departure facility for passengers with 42 check-in counters and U.S. Customs pre-clearance area. Travelers can also fly direct to Aruba from five cities in Europe. Airport amenities include Internet stations, televisions, arcade games and a variety of shops and restaurants.
As part of the ambitious "Beatrix 2000" construction project, the airport added two new departures buildings and renovated the arrivals terminal. Completion of new dining and shopping facilities is expected in the near future.
Airline carriers serving Queen Beatrix International Airport
Providing reliable service across the island, Arubus operates a fleet of 48 modern, comfortable buses. Six lines operate among San Nicolas, Orjanestad and the hotel zone. Many of the Arubus lines include stops at Queen Beatrix International Airport.
Buses run daily from 5:30 to 1:30 AM. Single-trip fare is US$1.25. A two-ride pass, good only for same-day service, costs US$2.25.
De Palm Tours operates luxury, air conditioned motor coaches to transport visitors from Queen Beatrix International Airport to their hotels. Travel for any number of guests can be arranged in advance or at the De Palm customer desk at the airport. A round-trip transfer from airport to hotel and back costs US$21.
De Palm Tours also offers trips to some of Aruba's most exciting attractions. Tours can be arranged through guests' hotel or through De Palm directly.
Over 20 rental car companies serve the Queen Beatrix International Airport. Alamo, Amigo Rent a Car, Avis, Budget, Dollar Car Rental and Hertz Car Rental are among those with counters across from the arrivals terminal.
To drive in Aruba, travelers must have an international driver's license or any other valid license that is at least two years old. A US$500 security deposit is required for rentals. Insurance is highly recommended.
Taxis are plentiful at Queen Beatrix Airport just outside of the arrivals terminal. In Aruba, the taxis do not have meters and rates are fixed by the government. Riders should agree on fare before beginning their trip. Fares from the airport to the hotel area range from US$17 to US$20 for up to five passengers. There is a US$5 minimum fare on all trips. The hourly rate of hire is US$40.
Photo Credit : Aruba Tourism Authority
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