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Aruba - Customs

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Arriving By Yacht:

The Customs form (two copies are needed) can be downloaded at the Aruba Ports site.

Yachts can stay on the island up to 180 days. After this they will need to be imported. Exception: Yachts in storage at the entrepot section of Varadero Aruba. While in storage the 180-day count is stopped.

The temporary import permit officially is required, but Customs doesn’t have a proper system set up for this, so in practice you won’t be able to do the paperwork.

Firearms and spear guns must be declared. These will be held until your departure.

Customs may undertake a quick search of your boat.

Arriving By Air:

Parts brought in by air in your luggage are duty free.

Importing Parts/Spares:

Considered one of the easier places in the Caribbean to ship or bring in spare parts because of its duty free status. Parts/packages can be shipped in without any hassles via a variety of companies. Renaissance Marina accepts packages for yachts in transit.

Other Customs Rules:

Aruba Customs regulations allow incoming visitors to bring articles for personal use. Persons 19 and over can also bring in 2.25 liters of wine, 3 liters of beer, or 1 liter of liquor and 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, and or 250 grams of tobacco. Yachts have reported being charged per litre of alcohol over the limit, so drink up before you arrive in Aruba!

Outside of the regular clearance, there is a rule requiring a Temporary Import declaration, but due to the complexity of Customs requiring a local tax ID number most yachts are unable to comply and the rule is not enforced.

Last updated: September 2023

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Aruba was last updated 2 months ago.

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  1. June 14, 2020 at 11:55 AM
    arubapaul says:

    Aruba becoming THE place to safely leave your boat or shelter during the hurricane season.
    With quarantine in place in many islands and the difficulty to plan for the future we have seen a large increase of sailing boats arriving at Varadero Marina in Aruba, the best and only place to haul-out.
    Reasonable prices, boatyard for repairs and work, friendly team.
    As of today 14/06/2020 there are still a few spots available. Contact me if you need help with that Capt. Paul

  2. April 4, 2020 at 10:15 AM
    xoan says:

    Argentine sailor’s story: he was adrift, unaided for fear of coronavirus
    They did not allow him to dock in ports of La Guajira and Santa Marta to review the fault that finally led to the grounding in Bocas de Ceniza. Embassy of Argentina also abandoned it.
    Ramiro Catriel Gayoso, an Argentine political scientist by profession and a hobbyist sailor, is experiencing a dramatic situation.

  3. May 16, 2019 at 10:45 PM
    arubapaul says:

    Lots of new improvements at Varadero Marina to allow more sailors to find shelter during the Hurricane Season.
    Think Aruba to spend the HS:
    – Safest island in the Caribbean (you can walk at night Oranjestad’s street without fear)
    – Friendliest locals
    * lots of daily flights to the USA all year
    – plenty of casinos, bars and restaurants where to spend the $$ your boat didn’t take away from you.

  4. May 8, 2019 at 6:16 PM
    arubapaul says:

    Aruba also offers you one of the best opportunities to leave your yacht away during the hurricane season on a dry dock off Customs duties.
    The island is so safe!
    If you need help bringing back your boat to the Northern Caribbean, help is available.

  5. November 3, 2018 at 12:25 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Reasons to stop at Aruba in ABC’s

    We almost skipped Aruba based on the postings from other cruisers regarding the check-in procedures. There are complaints about having to tie to a commercial dock with large tires and limited cleats.

    We found this to be only a very minor inconvenience. We had no issue with the dock and used our fenders. Yes, we did get one black tire mark on the boat but nothing that didn’t wipe off. One person complained they had to dock between two tug boats.

    Well, I guess if you cannot control or dock your boat perhaps you should skip the island. However, I think to skip Aruba based on having to do this check-in procedure is really a bad decision. The island is wonderful.

    We are so glad we did visit. Here’s why:

    • Easy check-in and check-out. Customs and immigration request you to tie at a commercial dock (free) and they come to the boat. It took us about an hour to clear it. No fees for entry or exit.

    • Very friendly English speaking people.

    • Beautiful beaches

    • Duty-Free – parts shipped onto the island are not charged duty. No need to prove Yacht in Transit status.

    • Cheap Air Fares – We went to the USA briefly and paid $250 each for a round trip ticket on Southwest Airlines from Aruba to Ft. Lauderdale.

    • If you need a boat part, consider picking it up in Ft. Lauderdale in person rather than freighting it. It may prove to be cheaper. (Southwest allows two free checked bags up to 50lbs each)

    • Great grocery stores. Ming and Son’s have a full selection of food such as you might expect to find in European and American city supermarkets.

    • A conveniently located marina in downtown Oranjestad who also provide a dinghy dock for boats on anchor

    • A bus system (mini and large buses) for about US$1.50 per person per trip. The buses are clean and run regularly.

    • Great restaurants. Because of the large amount of tourism (over one million people a year who are about 60% American), there are tons of choices.

    • This is the cleanest island we have ever visited. No trash and no graffiti anywhere.

    • Statistically, Aruba is the safest island in all of the Caribbean with virtually no crime.

  6. October 22, 2017 at 4:04 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Agree with everything Amazing Marvin wrote.

    Rick SV Airborne

  7. October 22, 2017 at 3:57 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    October 2017:

    The only place worse than Aruba to tie up to for clearance is Barbados… Concrete dock, old black tractor tires, lousy placement of cleats, no one to help with lines, and winds and swells pushing you onto the dock… Not cruiser friendly at all…

    The island is great, but not sure the struggle with checking in and checking out is worth it?

  8. February 2, 2017 at 6:39 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

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

  9. February 2, 2017 at 6:35 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    The Port Authority has listened to complaints apparently: for immigration and customs, when entering from sea go to the commercial harbour, go in between red and green buoys, 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 wind waves in the harbour and wake from passing ships. But not problematic. You will be between big tugs probably. If a cruise ship 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 the 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, cruise ships have right of way here.

    This is all our experience when entering Aruba February 2017.

  10. October 26, 2015 at 9:54 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    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 doors to each other. The reason many don’t like the dock is that 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 linesperson 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 to rent a car for a few days to explore would get the most out of it. I highly recommend for places you can snorkel without paying a tour company, and 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 dock lines; 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

  11. July 17, 2015 at 1:10 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    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 offenders 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 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 was 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

  12. January 24, 2015 at 3:02 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    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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