Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao

Introduction

These 3 Islands are also called the ABC islands and they are part of the Netherland Archipelago covering a total area of 925 km2. Aruba does not belong to the Netherland Caribbean; however she is an autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. These Islands are located about 60 km North of Venezuela, outside of the Hurricanes belt. Aruba is West of Curacao, Bonaire about 48 km East of Curacao and Curacao itself is located between Aruba and Bonaire and North of Venezuela. Curacao is the biggest and most important Island of the Netherland Caribbean (76% of the inhabitants of the Netherland Caribbean). She is 60 km long by 11 km wide and its capital is Willemstad; this city is also the capital of the Netherland Caribbean.

History

Spaniard Alonso de Ojeda and Italian Amerigo Vespucci discovered South America by coming into Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao in 1499. Alonso de Ojeda took the three Islands on behalf of Spain. The Dutchman, with the creation of the first West Indian Company in 1621, took the monopoly of the slaves for the Spaniard and as of 1634, they owned the Island of  Sint Maarten, Saint-Eustache, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. The Dutch imported more than half a million of slaves to the Caribbean and Surinam but Curacao Island recei- ved the majority of them. After the abolishment of slavery in 1863, workers came under contracts from the British India, Indonesia and China, but there were also lots of inter- breeding in the Netherland Islands: Aruba (Venezuelans, Sint Maarten, Americans), Bonaire (English and Americans) and Curacao (South Americans, British, Americans, and French Caribbean).

Culture

The Dutch settlers built the capital, Willemstad, like the Amsterdam they left behind them. Then, immigrants and traders came from all around the world (America, Europe, Middle-East, and Asia). 50 nationalities live on Curacao Island and it creates a relaxed and cosmopolitan melting pot that offers everything for the perfect tropical vacation. In Aruba, people are spontaneous and full of energy, they are also very proud of their rich multicul- tural heritage left by the Dutch settlers, Spaniards, Portugueses and by the South Americans Indians. Finally, Bonaire is the quietest island. She gives the impression of sleeping, but the atmosphere is easy going and authentic. When the sundown comes, all is calm. The Island capital, Kralendijk was build by the Dutch. There is only one main street and the majority of the inhabitants and visitors do not want to change anything at all to preserve this serenity.

Map

To See

The 3 Islands are paradise for scuba diving! They are all quite small but each of them offers a wide range of activities and tourist attractions.

ARUBA : Aruba is proud of her long, and powder-white beaches. Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are considered two of the finest in the Caribbean. The hotels industry is very developed, with all hotel types ranging from budget to luxurious. Night life has also a wide offer with many night clubs, bars, restaurants and above all casinos. The sea is has delicious warm and clear waters with several fish species. All around Aruba, there are 42 exceptional sites for the passionate scuba divers. You can discover wrecks of the Second World War and magnificent corals. The water sports lovers will be delightful with the many possibilities the can play in water. There is also a wild range of plants, animals you can discover on the specials paths in a beautiful natural reserve covering about 1/5 of the Island territory. Finally, Aruba is well known for its 18 holes golf.

BONAIRE : This is the paradise for all nature lovers, and particularly for the divers of the entire world. The clear waters surrounding Bonaire easily gets to 30 meters of visibility. More than 80 sites are specially designed for them to enjoy their passion in the best con-ditions. The coral formation starts only about 6 meters from the shore and almost come to the surface. In the offing, the ocean is full of all kind of fish and fishermen can enjoy their sport. Bonaire also has a national park of 55 square km with more than 195 bird species, and a fauna and flora just only unique. You can hike the trails, mainly goat paths where you’ll find the salt lakes of Bonaire as well as the Goto Lake, with its ping flamingos. Explore Bonaire, and discover that time has been stopped here.

CURACAO : Curacao is an island of salsa, jazz and tumba – a local specialty. There’s more than enough to see and do in this large, lively island that has for centuries been a major cultural and trading crossroads. Sunbathers will find 38 popular beaches, from large strands to secluded sun-traps cut into the rocks on the craggy coast, while the Curacao Underwater Park is a haven for divers and snorkelers with coral beds, walls and shallow wrecks. Water sports such as fishing, windsurfing and water-skiing are major activities, as is golf. For exciting after-dark entertainment, there are smart casinos, discos and dozens of restaurants offering Caribbean and international cuisines.  In the back-country there is a 10-square-mile nature preserve which has species of flora and fauna found nowhere else in the Caribbean. Eco-tourists will want to visit the 18 square km Christoffel National Park to see protected iguanas and tiny Curacao deer. They can also take in the Island’s ostrich farm and sea aquarium where they can swim with lemon sharks. Finally, on of the best
features of Curacao is the famous blue, orange, red, green, and clear liqueurs made here from the bitter oranges grown on trees imported by the Spanish from Valencia.

Usefull Information

Airports: A= Queen Beatrix Airport B= Flamingo Airport C= Hato Airport.

Area: A= 193 square km,  B=288 square km, C= 444 square km.

Business: Business attire and punctuality is very important to do business. Business hours: From Monday to Friday, 730AM to noon and 130PM to 430PM.

Capital: A= Oranjestad, B= Kralendijk, C= Willemstad.

Climate: Warm all year long, with an average temperature of 28°C but also cool with the Trade winds. The major rain season is from October to December. These islands are outside the Hurricanes belt.

Clothing: Light clothes during the day. Vest for the evenings as well as rain coat for the short showers.

Currency: A= Aruban Florin (AWG), B and C= Netherlands Antilles Guilder (ANG). US dollars are widely accepted.

Customs: A=  = Visitors are allowed  200 cigarettes or 50 cigars; 1 litre of distillated beverages or 2,25 litres of wine or 3 litres of beer; 2 gifts of 1.100 AFl value, B et C= Visitors over 15 are allowed 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 250 grams of tobacco, 2 litres of distillated beverages, 2 litres of wine.

Economy: Tourism, petroleum refining, and offshore finance are the mainstays of this small economy.

Electricity: A= 110 Volts, 60 Cycles,  B and C= 127/120 Volts, 50 Cycles.

Entry & Departure requirements: Please refer to the Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao tourist offices websites (link below) or ask us.

Health: Aruba boasts the Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital, a medical facility equipped with reputable medical staff, 280 beds and modern. Bonaire has the 60-bed hospital and a number of doctors. Medical services in Curacao are first quality and the Island maintains a high standard.

Holidays: News Year’s day (01 JAN), Croes’ Day (JAN, Aruba), Carnival Monday (FEB, B and C), Flag’s Day (MAR, Aruba), Good Friday, and Easter Monday (MAR-APR),  Queen’s Day (APR), Labour day (MAY), Whit Monday (MAY), Flag’s day (JUL, Curacao), Caribbean Day (OCT, B and C), Christmas (25-26DEC).

Language: Papiamento (local language), Dutch, English and Spanish.

Political status: A= autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands,  B = special municipalities of the Netherlands (Dutch Caribbean) and C = Constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Population: A= 94 000 B= 14 000 C=152 700.

Religion: Catholic, Protestant, Methodist denominations among many others.

Security: These islands are stable and friendly but like anywhere else please exercise normal precautions; for instance, don't leave valuables unattended in rental cars or on the beach.

Shopping: From Monday to Saturday: 8AM or 9AM to noon and 2PM to 6PM.

Taxes & Service charges: A Departure Tax for international destinations is due at the airports upon departure). Tipping is greatly appreciated. Some restaurants add a 10-15% service charge automatically. For taxis and dive shops, 10% is also the norm. Most hotels a 12% service charge to the bill. Hotels charge an additional 7% government tax. On Bonaire only, there is a 5% tax on virtually all goods and services (NAOB tax).

Telecommunications: The international dialling code for A= is 297 and for B and C= 599

Time: Time Zone: GMT – 4 hrs. ABC Islands Time do not operate Daylight-Saving.

Transportation: Easy and affordable public transportation on Aruba and Curacao. On Bonaire, it is better advised to rent a car, or scooter. There are no Ferry services between the Islands.

MORE INFORMATION: http://www.aruba.com/ for ARUBA
http://www.infobonaire.com for BONAIRE
http://www.curacao.com for CURACAO

 

Aruba
Aruba flowers
Aruba
Bonaire fauna
Bonaire
Bonaire diving
Curacao
Curacao flora
Curacao liquor
Curacao
Norwegian Cruise Line
Diving in Bonaire: Combined Activities
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Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort, Curacao
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Papagayo Beach & Design Hotel, Curaçao
Divi Resorts, Aruba, Bonaire, Barbados, St Maarten, St. Croix
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Aruba
Westhill Bungalows, Curacao
The Out Islands of the Bahamas
From: 2695 CHF/2625 €
St Maarten & St Barthelemy : Islands Combination !!!!
From: 4195 CHF/3395 €
St Maarten & St Barthelemy : Islands Combination !!!!
From: 4195 CHF/3395 €
St Maarten & St Barthelemy : Islands Combination !!!!
From: 4195 CHF/3395 €

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