Paid Parking in Downtown Aruba
A few years ago, on September 7, 2015 to be exact, the government introduced paid parking in downtown area Aruba.
The system was completely new, and a first on the island. They implemented the law, because locals and visitors parked their cars however and wherever they felt like it. This created dangerous situations, like cars parked on the sidewalk and blocking the driveway making it hard to watch for oncoming traffic.
The Situation at The Moment (Article Updated on October 27, 2017)
Since the new system was introduced, more parking spaces opened up and you don’t see any cars parked on the sidewalks.
The government implemented sanctions for drivers who break the law (a fine, wheel clamp or towing your car). However, a few months ago they eliminated the wheel clamp as a sanction.
The wheel clamp is no longer being used at the moment, but the parking authorities will still tow your car if you violate any of the parking laws.
In this article you will read everything you need to know about paid parking in Aruba and how to avoid a fine or getting your car towed.
Do You Need To Pay For Parking Everywhere in Aruba?
No, you only have to pay for parking in the downtown area. Paid parking is from 7:00 AM until 3:00 PM. After 3:00 PM you can park for free, inside the white parking spaces of course.
This includes the parking lot at Renaissance Marketplace, Royal Plaza Mall, Port of Call Marketplace, West straat, Werfstraat and the entire L.G. Smith Boulevard.
Parking is only free on Sundays and Holidays (or if mentioned otherwise).
What if you’re staying at the Renaissance Resort, should you pay for parking?
No, you can park your car for free as a guest at the parking lot from the Renaissance Marina Resort.
What about the beaches and the hotel area?
Parking at the beach is free! You don’t have to worry about paying for parking when you’re having fun at the beach in Aruba.
There’s also no cost to park around the low rise and hotel area (with exceptions of some parking lots near the malls in the high rise area).
How Much Is The Parking Rate in The Downtown Area?
The parking rate in the downtown area is 2 Aruban guilders for 90 minutes.
Every hour that you add extra after that will be 2 Aruban guilders (one guilder for 30 minutes).
If you’re wondering how to convert Aruban guilders to dollars – $1.00 dollar equals 1.75 Aruban guilders.
How To Feed The Parking Meter?
The parking meters in Aruba only accepts coins!
You can pay with local Aruban coins, US coins or an Aruparking smart card (I will explain what it is and how you can use it in a bit, keep on reading).
The parking meter doesn’t give back change (a very smart parking meter), so the best thing to do is pay the exact amount shown on the display.
Do people with disabilities have to feed the meters?
Yes, regular rates apply.
Instructions For Using The Parking Meter
So how do you go about paying for parking?
Here’s a picture of the parking meters in Aruba.
Now that you know how the parking meter looks like, follow these 6 steps to pay….
- Park your car (in a white marked parking space) and note the number of the parking space.
- Press the green button to start.
- Choose your language and press the green button.
- Type the number of your parking space and press the green button.
- Insert your coins or smart card to pay your parking fee.
- Pull your parking ticket out of the machine and keep it, because the receipt number can be used to add more time at any parking meter in the downtown area.
What Is The Aruparking Smart Card?
The Aruparking Smart-card is a prepaid card encoded with a computer chip that allows you to purchase a predetermined amount of parking time for use at any parking meter in the downtown area.
Hold the smart-card above the parking meter scanner until your hear a beep to feed the meter.
The smart-card can be loaded with credit at various stores in the downtown area with an Aruparking logo.
What Should You Do If A Parking Meter Doesn’t Work?
Move to another meter to pay for parking time.
Note the number of the parking meter and inform one of the Aruparking staff.
The number of the parking meter can be found on either side of the machine.
When Will Your Car Get Towed & What To Do After?
There are plenty of rules and regulations for parking in the downtown area, your car will get towed when…
- Your parking time expires.
- If you’re parked in a no parking area.
- If you’re parked in a handicap space (and you’re not).
- When you park in a permit only space, indicated by yellow lines.
- If you car is blocking the driveway or other vehicles.
- If you’re parked in two spaces.
- If you park in incorrect parking zones & areas (Permit Holders)
- If you don’t pay your permit for the month (Permit Holders)
- If you’re permit sticker isn’t visible (Permit Holders)
Which Parking Spots Are For Permit Holders Only?
The parking spots painted in yellow are only for permit holders.
If you park your car in a yellow marked space (and you’re not a permit holder), your car will be towed on the spot – even if you paid for parking time.
What To Do If Your Car Gets Towed?
You have to pay a fee of $45.00 at the Aruparking office, which is in the downtown area, adjacent to the green town hall building. The address is Wilhelminastraat 13.
They are open from 7:00 AM until 7:30 PM.
What If You Can’t Make The Payment On The Same Day?
If you can’t pay the towing fee on the same day, you will be charged an additional storage fee of $15.00 AWG, which has to be paid before your vehicle is released.
It’s certainly not fun to deal with paying for parking or getting a fine during your vacation, but if you follow the rules outlined in this article, you shouldn’t encounter any issues while parking in the downtown area of Aruba.
If you plan to explore the main street of Aruba, but still want to avoid the hassle of paying for parking, take the bus or taxi to the downtown area.
However, if you’re plan to visit the downtown area a lot for shopping and dinners, you should rent a car, because it’s less expensive than taking a taxi and more convenient than the bus.
Don’t have a car yet in Aruba?
Contact me to rent one of my cars or jeeps on the island.
Click here to ask me for a free car rental quotation.
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We’ve been coming to Aruba for over 15 years. Sadly we’ve seen Aruba become more and more greedy in the past 5 or more years. We own a timeshare and are beginning to think it may be time to start thinking of selling it.
The parking fees are just the next shortsighted move should hasten a decline in tourism in Aruba
Thank you for leaving your comment.
I understand your concerns about parking in the downtown area.
However, this shouldn’t be a reason to sell your timeshare and stop visiting Aruba. Paid parking in downtown area has been placed so, tourist can have a place to park. Because too many locals park their cars, leaving little space for visitors (not introduced against tourists, for more money).
If you don’t want to pay for parking, then you can park your car a little further, where paid parking doesn’t apply. But you may have to walk a little more to reach the main-street (or downtown area). Paid parking is only introduced in the downtown area, the rest of the island is free parking.
Paid parking hasn’t declined tourism in Aruba yet, instead Aruba is still breaking more records of visitors every month. 15 years visiting Aruba is so much and I’m sure everything is being done to comfort your stay here more and more.
By the way, when did you last visit Aruba and at which resort do you own a timeshare?
My husband and I went shopping near the Renasance mall. We were gone only one hour. We were not informed by our rental car agency about any parking fees and have always parked for free in the past. When we returned our car had a boot on it. We are both disabled. Your government doesn’t care about that which is sad. It cost us $75 and every person we spoke to was rude. We will not be shopping in Aruba anymore. The parking company is greedy. It really hurts the businesses and tourism in my opinion. Will be posting this on Facebook so no one else gets stuck. I’m a diabetic and couldn’t buy lunch due to this hardship. Will not be returning to Aruba but going elsewhere and plan to sell our timeshares. This is political greed. This company should be shunned.
I feel deeply sorry for what happened to you and your husband. I disagree with the way they treated you. Being rude is always uncalled for and doesn’t match our “One Happy Island” way of dealing with visitors.
A lot of locals also dislike the parking company and a lot is being done to stop this paid parking situation. I really hope we can remove it and make parking free again.
I partly blame the car company you rented from, because it is their duty to inform people who rent a car about paid parking in Aruba. Don’t you agree?
However, I really hope you can look passed the fact about what happened and still decide to travel to Aruba, next time. By the way, where do you lovely people have a timeshare? It is sad to see beautiful visitors like you and your husband never come back to our island. We hope everything else went well during your vacation and wish you much strength.
If you’re too disabled to observe signs about parking fees, you shouldn’t be driving. Being “disabled” (aka morbidly obese) isn’t an excuse for not observing driving laws and regulations.
Like many others I have been coming to Aruba for many years. I parked in the same place I always do and got a ticket and booted. Than had to walk a mile to get someone to take the boot off. No one told me of the changes in parking especially the fact I would be charged $75. Do not like this and will no longer spend any time in downtown, shopping, casino, or eating. May not come back.
That really sucks. I understand how you feel. I feel bad for what happened, and like to apologize for it on my part.
Help me, help other people avoid this situation. Share this article with people you know that might travel to Aruba (or Facebook etc), so they can avoid being charged 75$ for not paying a few dollars for parking.
Due to health issues, I can only walk short distances. Thus, I need to be able to park as close as possible to the business I am dealing with. As a long term visitor, up until this year I was always able to park right across from my hair salon. This time around, even when a parking space was available close by my salon, the parking kiosk that I had to use to pay was quite some distance from my parking space and salon. No leeway is provided for cars displaying a handicap card, in these instances. Next year, I’ll have to find a new hair salon in an area where there are no parking meters. Speaking of handicapped spots, why is there no enforcement of ineligible ppl parking in those spots? (I checked with the local police who verified they would honor my USA parking placard, when used in Aruba.)
Your new fund raising program aimed at tourists with your paid parking game will get you just what you want. Less tourists and less business for the downtown merchants. I was the recipient one of your parking boots installed by one of your staff. When I came back to my car and saw the boot, your employee stood there with a smile on his face which said “Gotcha sucker.”
I was directed to your parking office to pay the $43 fine which was paid to another employee with a smile on her face as she took my money. “Gotcha sucker.”
You will ruin the downtown shopping economy. If I ever come back to the most inhospitable vacation island (which I doubt that I will after many years) be assured that I will drive right past the downtown area. How many more merchants do you want to put out of business?
At some point Aruba will realize the parking and booting fees will be less than the lost revenue from the closed retailers and restaurants but it may be too late. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it. So, what are you fixing?
I am in no way or form, fixed or tied to this parking program. I am an Aruban blogger, independently showing tourist, what, and how to do things on the island ( just a online guide). I don’t get any commission or paid by aruparking, getting charged by you not paying your parking space. I typed this, blog post to warn (or help) any tourist about the parking meters (avoid being charged). Trust me… I’m sorry you got in this situation, but don’t blame me for typing this wonderful blog post for helping tourist to get aware of the parking situation…, you should of been the one I was trying to warn before you rented a car and parked in a paid parking space (read before you post)….good luck
Being a time share owner for many years at ABC I do not mind paying to p ark at downtown areas. It is getting hard to find a place to park down there. The only thing that I could suggest is having an ID card of sorts to de given to u either at the time share or auto rental agency and every time u park scan it at the meter all done electronically. This should be possible with today’s knowledge. And pay for you’re parking monthly or when u check out of your accomaditions or return you’re rental car. I know this is a crude idea but I believe that with a little thought on your side u can make it as easy as possible for you’re visitors. In today’s day and age this could be accomplished with some thought. Thank you
If you read the article, it states you can get a “smart card” to do what you are asking.
I have been using the parking lot downtown for 20 or so years and used to have a hard time finding a space,now there are plenty of spaces available.
The city did do aa lot of advertising on the parking before it was implemented and forewarned people that this would come into effect.
The local merchants did advise you when you went into there shops of the parking situation.
info was all over the place if you paid attention.
Now if you could only get the trolley company to post time that they run it would be better for tourists to park and then take the trolley down main street.If you have trouble walking this is the mode of transportation to use.
Thank you for this information. We always look for parking fees, no matter where we park, even by the high rise hotels. We have been to the island multiple times and will keep coming back to Aruba. We will keep this information handy for our next trip down so that we can avoid “The Boot”
First let me say that we have visited Aruba 18 times and have a trip planned in September. Secondly, I am not opposed to paying for parking. My problem is the way you have gone about it. Booting and towing is not visitor friendly. There were so many easier ways to do it. I suspect the system was set up for a businessman to buy all the equipment, set up the parking and reap the fees and fines while paying the government a flat fee. Otherwise, it makes no sense. You could have marked the parking places, set up the meters and added a fee to all rental cars for parking. This would be something like 5 or 10 florins on a weekly rental or 1 florin on a daily rental. This would assure that no visitor ever got booted or towed. Many of those renters would not use the parking anyway but the government would still get the money. Next is the locals. The meter maids tickets the car and the local pays a fine. If the local does not pay the fine, you pull his license tag until he does. No need for boots or tow trucks or those 14 extra employees. 100% profit. We will not be shopping downtown this trip as we usually do because I will not take a chance on getting booted or towed. I do not want to spend half a day of my vacation trying to get my car back.
WHY DO JUST MAKE CARS WITH V PLATES EXEMPT FROM PAYING FOR PARKING DOWNTOWN THIS WAY TOURIST WILL GO SHOPPING THERE IT’S STARTING TO LOOK DESOLATE.
This will definitely make me think twice when it comes to parking my rental car for shopping and eating downtown. I don’t wish to be the next “Gotcha Sucker”.
I thought I just recently read that after 5 pm (think this was the time) that you don’t have to pay any longer. Is this true? Thanks.
Hello Sue, the normal hours you don’t have to pay is after 7:00 PM. However, the government is going to change this soon to 3:00 PM (4 hours earlier than normal) and also the boot will get eliminated. You will only get a fine. I will make an update about the parking situation this Sunday. Stay tuned. Sunny regards, Angelo 🙂
Thanks Angelo. Hopefully the 3 pm will be in effect when we are there in February!!! Have a good day.
You’re welcome Sue. I think it will be in effect already when you are here. Sunny regards. – Angelo
How does the new paid parking system affect Ocean Suites timeshare owners who park in the lots adjacent to the building?
If you’re staying at the Ocean Suites, you can park free. The Ocean Suites has it’s own parking lot reserved for visitors.
Good news for a March visit!
I saw a number of articles on this paid parking in the tourist websites, as well as your blog and mention of it from our time share prior to our last arrival in Sept. 2016. When we got there,we also received notices in the airport upon arrival, and the car rental place we chose not only told us about it, they had plackard cards hanging from our rear view mirror, in our rental car. A very nice picture card with instructions of how to use the parking meters.(THANK YOU CARVIENENCE! YOU WERE WONDERFUL!) When we would park in areas of downtown where these were utilized, they were very well marked and easy to use. There are very few “downtown” cities in our travels that do not have some type of paid parking program. I appreciate it for the fact that it detours people from dropping their cars there for long periods of time when they should have probably parked elsewhere. I’m not sure putting a fee on the rental car price is a good idea, as some of the companies have enough fees on there as it is, and not everyone is a downtown shopper, some of us use our rental for exploring the island in other ways. Perhaps a purchasable card or promotional card at the rental counter would be a good idea. I’m glad to hear they are getting rid of the boot, But I believe paid D.T. parking is not that bad of an idea now that I have experienced using it, and how it was set up. The one time I did have a question, one of the local people walking around answered it for me. (Typical friendly Arubans!) I do like that they are moving the free park time 4 hours earlier as that’s when we like to head down there for dinner or walks, etc., and don’t want to have to keep an eye on our parking time. 🙂
Hi does anyone know if a uk disabled badge is valid in aruba?
Yes it is, you can park anywhere marked for disabled people.
Prior to my island visit, I checked with the local Police Dept. who confirmed that a U.S. Handicap Parking Placard is honored at Handicap Parking spots, but are not allowed to be parked in Paid Parking spots without paying the proper parking fees. My only issue is that Handicapped Parking spots appear to be far and few between in the downtown area, at hotels/resorts, grocery stores, and island restaurants. This being the case, I must plan my shopping and dining out according to whether or not the facility I wish to shop or dine at does have Handicapped Parking spots near their entrance(s).
How can I get a smart card?
Pass by the aruparking office. Or you can ask one of the parking polices and they will direct you to the closest shops where you are standing so you can buy one. Sunny Regards
Hello just reading all the post on the paid parking, not opposed to paying for parking, we have pay for it where I leave in the downtown area (much higher here). I would like to if the time change has taken place?
As of now, the government stopped using wheel clamps as sanctions, it’s still not sure what going to be the next step, there’s talks about sending fines – Let’s see what happens, I will surely cover it in my newsletter.
Hello. Is there currently free parking on the island close to the downtown areas or other areas of the island? Is it better to rent a car vs taking bus/taxis. I am heading to the island soon and have been debating which would be better. Thank you!
Yes there is free parking on the island close to the downtown area, but it’s a very small section. For example around surf side beach – also next to west deck, and a small area near the governors house. Also in the back of renaissance hotel, but mostly you will have to pay for parking.
Depending on what you’re going to do you may need a car.
If you’re going to be eating out, breakfast, lunch and dinner – planning on a few activities, visit a few beaches, I would use taxi or bus.
But if you plan on going to the supermarket, buy groceries, because you like to cook your own food, buy own drinks, you will defintly enjoy the luxury of having your own car. Plus you get to discover the island, at your own freedom.
If you need help finding a rental car let me know, and I’ll give you a quote.
The parking area next to West Deck SHOULD not be misrepresented as being “free” In essence, it’s “free” parking (only) for the restaurant, swimming area and boat launch. Due to nearby workers and others overtaking that parking area, West Deck’s patrons are being crowded out of parking spaces. Further, I don’t consider parking at Surfside Beach to be “near” downtown. Surfside is quite a walking distance from downtown shopping!
You are correct I agree with you. However, to give an answer to Alyssa’s question, if you had to park somewhere near the downtown area for “free” it would be there. Unfortunate some people who park there don’t visit west deck, or the beach and use it as a free parking space.
Thanks for your response Valerie, it makes everything clear and shouldn’t be seen as free parking.
Paying for is a natural evolution as the population grows, local and visitor. You don’t like it or are too fat to walk? Take a cab. Jeez. Too many cry babies!
And don’t blame Angelo. He’s just trying to help educate people. Thanks Angelo!