latest news in Aruba

Transformation Project at Ayo Rock Formation

A new renovation project was announced by the Prime Minister of Aruba to transform Ayo Rock Formation into a visitors site, including a botanical garden.

Renovations at Ayo Rock Formations started on May 31, 2021. There’s no scheduled date yet announced for completion of the renovation project.

This transformative project is part of the Government’s plan to create new outdoor activities on the island.

What is Ayo Rock Formation?

It’s a large site of monolithic boulder formations located about 3 kilometers away from the popular natural bridge, in a neighborhood called Ayo, located in Santa Cruz. 

The Ayo rock formation was inhabited by Arawak Indians many years ago. They considered this rock formation a sacred site to send prayers and perform religious rituals. 

The Arawak Indians also left behind various petroglyphs (carvings on rocks) that are interesting to see. Most carvings on the boulders, also known as rock art, are white or red, and form a large part of the island’s history and heritage. 

Ayo Rock Formation is one of the 32 sites on the island where you will find paintings by Indians. 

Renovation at the rock formation will happen in three phases. 

The first phase of renovation includes repairing the stone walls surrounding the rock formation, adding cabins for shade, and fixing the restrooms. 

Phase two of the project includes renovating the entrance of the rock formation and construction of a new parking lot. A new art and souvenir shop (called Cosecha) will also be constructed, where visitors can purchase handmade crafts by local artists. 

The last phase of renovation is landscaping and creating a one of a kind botanical garden featuring native plants in Aruba. 

You are invited to visit Ayo Rock Formations after renovations are completed to learn more about the history and heritage of Aruba, and enjoy the stunning views of the island from the boulders.

Baby Beach Beautification Project

Last week I mentioned that the Tourism minister completed the first phase of renovation at Baby Beach – a new road towards one of the most popular beaches in San Nicolas. 

The new road starts from the ex-Aruba Esso Club towards Baby Beach.

It’s a road used by locals and visitors who want to enjoy the moon shaped bay on the Southern part of the island.

Baby beach in San Nicolas is currently in the midst of a beautification project, which started in 2019.

The beautification project includes additional palapas on the beach for shade, large parking lot, restrooms, new restaurants and bars, new courts for beach sports, and facilities to exercise.

There’s no final date yet as to when the project will be completed. 

Here’s a view of the current renovations happening at Baby Beach…

Upward Trend Continues For Tourism in Aruba

Aruba recuperated 79% of its tourism in May 2021 compared to May 2019, before the pandemic broke out. 

Tourism is getting back to normal, and faster than expected, according to the Tourism Minister. 

A total of 58.000 visitors stepped foot on Aruba during the month of April 2021, but the month of May exceeded all expectations, with over 70.000 visitors. 

Airlines are also increasing their seats, reaching an average of 70% seat capacity.

June seems to be another month for tourism to keep surging as dozens of airplanes are expected to arrive. 

The first cruise ship will also arrive on June 10, 2021 which will bring more tourists, and start the recuperation of the island’s economy.

Renaissance Aruba Resort Awarded “Best of the Best” recently ranked Renaissance Aruba Resort as one of the best 25 hotels that topped every traveler’s list.

Renaissance is known in Aruba for offering unique experiences, and ofcourse beautiful pink flamingos. 

This is the second year in a row that Renaissance has been nominated for this award. 

Tripadvisor ranked Renaissance resort number 11 on the list, last year it was ranked number 18.

Have you been to Renaissance island already?

Celebrity Cruises Switch Cruise Ships For First Summer Cruise

Celebrity Millennium was scheduled to arrive in June, however, the cruise lines are swapping ships for the summer’s first sail, after cruises were halted at the start of the pandemic.

A new bill signed into the US laws to allow cruise ships to visit Alaska this year is the reason for swapping ships. 

According to Celebrity Cruise Lines, the new US legislation accidently listed the Celebrity Cruises ships to sail in Alaska, but unfortunately didn’t include Celebrity Summit cruise ship.

The Alaska Tourism Restoration Act specifically listed all the ships the new law applies to, which Celebrity Millennium is listed, but not Celebrity Summit. 

This means that Celebrity Summit is not legally allowed to sail to Alaska this year without visiting Canada. 

In order to comply  with the new law, Celebrity Millenium must sail roundtrip from Seattle in Alaska. 

All bookings with Celebrity Millennium will be transferred to Celebrity Summit.

Celebrity Summit will change the port order section of the itinerary. 

Summit will be visiting Bridgetown Barbados on Monday. Followed by a day of sailing on the sea, visiting Curacao on Wednesday, and Aruba on Thursday (June 10, 2021).

Cruise ship visiting Aruba

Freewinds Volunteers Sanitized Twenty Million Square Feet in Aruba

Can you believe that the Freewinds volunteers have managed to sanitize over 20 million square feet of location on the island. 

This includes supermarkets, schools, churches, government offices, gyms, restaurants, bars, and the most visited tourist attractions.

The freewinds boat has been stranded dockside in Aruba since March 12, 2020 and they have since then helped minimize coronavirus infections on the island. 

I remember seeing the volunteers sanitizing different locations on the island since the beginning of the pandemic.

Besides helping to sanitize most parts of the island, they also distribute various informational booklets in regards to how to prevent coronavirus. They also give seminars and training on how to use one of the strongest virus and bacteria neutralizing agents. 

The Aruban Community is thankful to the Freewinds Crew for all of their efforts.

Hurricane Season 2021 Started Officially

The 2021 hurricane season started on June 1, 2021. 

Meteorologists are forecasting that this year’s hurricane season has a 60% chance of being more active than normal. 

They are expecting between 13 – 20 tropical storms, which are already named. 

From these, between 6 and 10 have the potential to become hurricanes, including 3 high category hurricanes. 

The first storm for 2021 is named Ana, which formed east of Bermuda early Saturday morning on May 23, 2021.

Here’s a list of the 2021 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Names, provided by the World Meteorological Organization.

  • Ana
  • Bill
  • Claudette
  • Danny
  • Elsa
  • Fred
  • Grace
  • Henri
  • Ida
  • Julian
  • Kate
  • Larry
  • Mindy
  • Nicholas
  • Odette
  • Peter
  • Rose
  • Sam
  • Teresa
  • Victor
  • Wanda

Aruba is known to be one of the safest places in the Caribbean during the hurricane season, because the island is outside of the hurricane belt.

Vaccination Statistics in Aruba

Aruba continues its efforts to vaccinate 85% of the island’s population. 

Here are the latest vaccination statistics as of June 5, 2021.

  • 63.997 Locals vaccinated
  • 11.445 locals with first dose
  • 52.552 locals fully vaccinated
  • 115.144+ total applied vaccinations

The more locals vaccinate, the less chance there is of the virus infecting new people and keep on mutating into different strains, which our current vaccines offer no protection against. 

The total population of Aruba that received vaccination is currently at 64%.

Aruba’s goal is to reach  85% in order to get herd immunity.

Once this goal is reached, Aruba will most likely allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter the island without having to test for corona.

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