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By No owner — last modified Feb 03, 2017 03:45 PM

 Aruba - Profile

Facts

  • Aruba together with  Bonaire and Curacao form the ABC islands. They are the three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean and Aruba is the westernmost of the ABCs.
  • Aruba lies just 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela. The island is 20 miles at its longest and 6 miles at its widest. The southern, leeward side of the island has long stretches of white sand beaches, while the northern coast has a more rugged and dramatic landscape.
  • Aruba is a flat island, exposed to the ocean currents. Bonaire and Curaçao are surrounded by reefs, and so are much more sheltered from the weather.
  • Aruba is an autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island has the same status as the Netherlands Antilles.
  • The official language is Dutch, but English and Spanish as well as a local dialect called Papiamento are spoken.
  • The island is a convenient last stop for yachts heading for Panama.
  • The new Renaissance Marina in Oranjestad has improved the previously poor yachting facilities.

Security

Based on reports to Noonsite from cruisers, petty theft from yachts is on the rise in the Caribbean in general. Cruisers should take basic safety precautions and use common sense when leaving the boat or going ashore at night. Dinghy thieves operate throughout the Caribbean and best advice is to place your dinghy on deck and chain it overnight.

The Caribbean Safety and Security Net (safetyandsecuritynet@gmail.com) provides information by anchorage or by island, so sailors can plan their cruising in the Caribbean with an eye to appropriate behaviour and precautions wherever they decide to go. Should you have suffered a boarding, robbery or attack on your yacht or have information about a yachting-related security incident, go to the CSSN homepage and click on the "Report an Incident" icon. The associated form is quick and simple to complete and ensures that all the necessary details are reported. The CSSN is the most comprehensive source of Caribbean security incidents against sailors. Remember, it is every cruiser's responsibility to ensure that incidents are reported. Also cruisers can subscribe to e-mail alerts, follow on facebook and twitter and listen to the SSB Voice Service.

The Caribbean Security Index (CSI) is a a tool to assist cruisers in assessing the probability of crime at ports and anchorages throughout the Caribbean. The CSI provides a means of assessing risk in a given area.
http://freecruisingguides.com/caribbean-security-index/

Also be sure to check the noonsite Piracy & Safety Pages

Last updated October 2015.

Weather

Aruba lies outside the hurricane belt and has a dry climate. Temperatures are higher from August to October, although there is not a great difference to the cooler months, which are from December to February.

Departamento Meteorologico Aruba

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

Main Ports

Oranjestad *

* indicates port of entry

Share |
RonaldL
RonaldL says:
Feb 02, 2017 06:39 PM

Despite earlier messages, we found the Navionics charts dated september 2016, to be spot on.

RonaldL
RonaldL says:
Feb 02, 2017 06:35 PM

The Port Athority has listened to complaints appearantly: for immigration and customs, when entering from sea go to the commercial harbour, go in between red and green bouys, just stay in the channel between the docks on your starboard and the reef on your port, just before the giant yellow crane at the second slip you see at the round corner of that slip some yellow boulders and a white wooden board for your fenders. Briljant. Only the mooring lines should still be somewhat longer and not new! Use some old ones. It is a bit bumpy because of windwaves in the harbour and wake from passing ships. But not problematic. You will be between big tugs probably. If a cruiseship is entering the main channel, you will almost be able to touch it, so close does it seem to be.
However before entering the harbour from sea, call Aruba Port Control CH11 for permission to enter.
When docked the immigration and customs officers will come by car to your boat for the simple effective procedure (yes, 2 forms to be filled out and an entry-card for each crewmember.
When leaving the dock, first check with Port Control if they allow you to move, cruiseships have right of way here.
This is all our experiece when entering Aruba february 2017.

burnettmed
burnettmed says:
Oct 26, 2015 09:54 PM

I agree with the comments on clearing in at Aruba. At the moment, they still have you go to the commercial dock right next to the marina in Oranjestad, not Barcadera, to clear customs first, which is frustrating as the Renaissance Marina and customs are literally right next door to each other. The reason many don’t like the dock is because it is not designed for small boats. Huge, rotting rubber tires 1.5 feet wide line the concrete dock and oil the side of your boat, and the giant bollards provided to lasso your lines around are spaced too far apart. We had to tie our 48 foot catamaran dockside to a bollard at the bow and a tiny rusty hook (not cleat) that happened to be sticking out of the ground at the stern, because the next bollard was too far away. No one is there to help you tie up, which means the lineperson has to lasso the bollard from the boat or jump the huge divide between the boat and the dock created by the fat tires. If the port authority arrives early, they will just watch the madness from their cars. We heard that the port people are not trained to handle lines (not sure why, liability?) and apparently too many sailors/yachties screamed at them when they tried to help in the past. When we went to check out, a very nice dockworker assigned to the tugboat next door helped us with our lines. We thanked him profusely! Would recommend putting all fenders out on the port side and have some long lines available as you approach the dock.
It is also irritating that you have to return to the same dock to check out, “in case they need to inspect your boat,” which they apparently rarely do. However, once docked, customs and immigration came to the boat immediately for us, and the check-in and check-out process was as quick as it could be (you can’t escape all those declaration forms!) We were done in 45 minutes. Note “Cruise Ship Season” is October through April; might be busier then as they get up to four ships a day, and they all come in before noon and leave around sunset. Would therefore recommend an afternoon check-in/check-out.
Note that our Navionics Gold charts were completely off regarding buoy locations, depths, and just about anything around Oranjestad. It’s unbelievable how bad they are, especially since the Garmin charts we run on our iPad were much more accurate.
However, it would be a tragedy if one skipped visiting Aruba because of fear of the customs dock. It is a fun island, and the people are friendly! It is expensive and some of the best sites are away from marinas and anchorages, so I think those with enough resources to afford renting a car for a few days to explore would get the most out of it. I highly recommend tropicalsnorkeling.com for places you can snorkel without paying a tour company, and aruba-cruisingguide.com has excellent info on anchorages and more details on clearing in.
Renaissance Marina doesn’t have many spots and is pricey, but the location is primo and with your fees you get access to Renaissance Island as well as the hotels and pools within walking distance from the marina. They use med mooring. This was the first time we med-moored, and it was easy because the marina sends someone out on a dinghy to help you with the ball, and they also have a trained person at the dock to help with lines. It helps if you have long docklines; we bought two 60-ft ones while there from the marina store. This chandlery is well-stocked with good pricing and helpful staff.
Do not pay for “Wi-Fi Aruba!” It is slow and clunky. We got much better Wi-Fi boosting up the marina’s Renaissance Wi-Fi. Unlike in America, the Wi-Fi at Starbucks in Aruba is terrible.
Melinda Burnett
SV The Amazing Marvin
www.burnettsahoy.com

Debswoods
Debswoods says:
Jul 17, 2015 02:10 PM

You must call Aruba Port Control for permission to enter Oranjestad. We were asked to wait an hour before entering which can be a bit tricky if it is blowing as it was for us (35kn). You may need to be patient as we then had trouble contacting Aruba Port Control and had to ask Ren Marina for some assistance contacting them. The Customs Quay is H quay you come past the Marina and there are two docks on the right and it is the most Northerly dock. There are yellow bollards. Be aware this is used for cargo ships also and there are large tyres keeping you off the quay for the most part but in some areas these are missing and there are some nasty looking rusty extrusions so it is advisable to have plenty of fenders out on the port side to keep your hull from being marked. If you are single handed there may be someone on the quay to help but this is a little haphazard. We then had to wait over three hours for customs and immigration to come to us.it can be frustrating. Leaving Aruba you reverse the process and for us having expected to be waiting on the Customs Quay a while we were rushed through and told to be off the quay and out in five minutes and leave via the Northern channel as a large ship was due in. All yachts are now being asked to use the Customs Quay whilst work is ongoing at Barcadera and so calling Aruba Port Control on Ch 16/11 is necessary to ensure you don't argue with any of the large cruise liners and container ships in the Port!
Renaissance Marina were very helpful and sorted out all the paperwork for us. Having said we would be there for 7 days ....it was over three weeks before we finally got a weather window for Colombia.
SV Orion1

gregory vanwinkle
gregory vanwinkle says:
Jan 24, 2015 03:02 PM

Call Aruba Port Control on VHF 11. They will direct you to Barcadera or the North Basin beside the cruise ship dock which is 100mt from the Ren Marina. If in Aruba more than 7 days, will have to temp import vessel. (65$)

Ren marina is a god clean marina. full access to all hotel amenities etc.

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