When you’re at home and want to know what’s going on with Aruba you look for news online. However, finding local Aruba news in English can be hard.

Local Aruba News Update

Keeping up with island news can be a difficult task (mainly because of the language barrier). So to help you make sense of what is happening on your home away from home, I post a weekly recap of local Aruba news just for you.

Sign up for my newsletter to get weekly local Aruba news updates via email if this is your first time reading local Aruba news on Vacations By Aruba.

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Plans for Bushiri Hotels

Do you know the building that used to be the ex Bushiri hotel (in front of Certified Supermarket on LG Smith Boulevard)?

Well a lot of offers have been made by investors and the private sector to buy the building. Buyers want to make it into a hotel, condominiums and other business ideas.

However, the government recently notified the press that they have their own ideas for this old ruin.

The ex Bushiri Hotel will be transformed into a recreational area for locals to use.

And the beach will become public.

But there are many things that should be worked out before construction starts.

For example, many locals that know the hotel from back then say that the beach at Bushiri is very deep.

According to them no one really swims there since the hotel closed down. Only fishermen who use a nearby pier to unload their fresh fish go here.

So the government needs to examine (and fix) the beach before it becomes public. 

The Damage Hurricane Matthew Left Behind

It wasn’t too long ago that Aruba was taunted by the giant hurricane Matthew.

The damage this tropical storm left behind was unbelievable.

The beach at Divi was completely gone. Including palapas and huts.

Near Malmok beach all the sea stars, conch and snails were completely washed away.

The gas station near the hotel area in Noord suffered a lot of water damage.

Last week the total cost of renovation of this area was announced. The gas station alone was around 300.000 Aruban guilders (that is 171.429$). 

Plus various shops in that area lost a lot of money also.

Restaurants like Gari Wasabi, Subway and other shops like Natures Discount were heavily damaged and needed renovations.

They lost a lot of equipment also due to the flood.

The total renovation cost of the gas station including shops, restaurants and condominium in the area are estimated to be around 500.000 Aruban guilders (that’s about 285.714$).

Check out a video of the floods near the area in Noord.

Black widow spider in Aruba?

A local spotted some strange insect in their yard. After further inspecting the creepy crawler they noticed it was a spider they had never seen before.

They informed the Department of Public Health and told them to let someone come and see what kind of spider it is.

It seems that the spider is a black widow spider (viuda preto).

So how can Aruba probably have black widow spiders?

The spiders can enter Aruba during the importing of products like fruits, vegetables, car tires and construction materials.

There hasn’t been any other reported cases of encounters with black widows (for a long time until this once)

I don’t think you should be worried about black widow spiders (I know I am not worried about it).

Gas price went up again…

It was about a month ago that I posted the last update on gas price.

The Minster of Economy announced on 8 February that the price for gas is going to raise again due to the price in the combustibles market.

The price for gasoline is now 180.4 cent per liter (increase of 1 cent). Only the price of diesel was reduced to 147.2 cent (-1.2 cent). All prices include BBO/BAZV.

This time it doesn’t seem much, but a raise is a raise still.

So if you’re planning to rent a car in Aruba don’t forget to budget for gas.

Click here to read more about renting a car via Vacations By Aruba.

Be Careful When Driving in Aruba

Last night police received a call that an accident happened with a rental car near Savaneta.

When the police came they were surprised to see a white Mitsubishi stuck in a ditch.

The tourist said he was going to Flying Fishbone (a well known restaurant in Aruba), but he completely missed the entrance of the restaurant and got off on the wrong side of the road into a ditch.

No one was hurt in this accident.

That’s a situation you don’t want to be in.

So, if it’s your first time (or not) driving in Aruba always be careful.

  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Watch the speed limit.

The white rental car

More Police Visibility in The Tourist Area

There will be more visibility in the tourist section (low rise and high rise hotel area).

The police station in the area of Noord just received 2 new police cars from Aruba Tourism & Security Foundation and Korps Politie Aruba.

The 2 new Toyota RAV4 Hybrids are going to be used to reinforce visibility in the beach area.

Listen to the Minister of Justice (Arthur Dowers) and president of Aruba Hotel & Security Foundation (Jim Hepple) talk more about the new police cars and their plans to ensure security for every tourist on Aruba.

Queen of Aruba Carnival 63

It’s carnival season in Aruba. And it’s a local tradition to have a queen that opens all the carnival parades and represents Aruba during the entire year.

Aruba’s famous Queen election took place on 10-February-2017. 

local aruba news

Mrs Carnival Julie Tromp (left) and Aruba’s Carnival Queen Sabina Rey (right).

The new Queen of Aruba’s carnival 63 is Sabina Rey representing the bario (local way of saying city) of Santa Cruz. And Mrs Carnival of Aruba is Julie Tromp representing Champagne Carnival Group.

Congratulations ladies!

Check out the Carnival Schedule for 2017 here.

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News From Aruba

Vacations By Aruba is a travel blog that promotes Aruba.

So naturally you would expect to only read “tourist” news.

However, if something “bad” is happening on the island I would also like to inform you about it. Just as much as I do the good things that’s going on in Aruba.

So here’s what is been going on in Aruba last week…

Be Careful in Aruba

There was two cases of tourists who lost their belongings.

Fortunately one of them was lucky to get all of his stolen items returned.

The first incident happened near the beach at Ritz Carlton – Fisherman’s Hut.

A family decided to go to fisherman’s hut since they were on a cruise stop on the island. They left their belongings behind unattended under one of the huts and went swimming.

When they returned they were surprised to find that all their belongings were gone.

The police was notified and came quick to the scene to find out what happened and brought the family back to the cruise port.

When they returned to the cruise port, they found their belongings back.

The person who returned the families belongings did the right thing.

The second scene happened at midnight.

A lady went for a late night swim on the beach in front of Hilton Hotel. After a while she spotted someone standing under the palapa where she left her belongings.

Before she could get out the water and find out what’s going on someone took her belongings. Left with here clothes and purse. The police found her clothes a few meters further from where the incident happened.

These two incidents could of been easily prevented.

Aruba is a safe place for tourist.

However, if you’re not going to be careful when traveling these things are bound to happen – anywhere.

Even in Aruba – Paradise!

My advice for you, whether it’s you’re first time or return visitor – be careful with your belongings.

Some tips for safety in Aruba are…

  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended
  • Don’t give out personal info about your credit cards
  • Avoid walking in dark areas at night
  • Don’t leave with all you’re cash at hand. (Leave money in the safe at the hotel)
  • Park your rental car in a safe place and always lock the doors
  • Don’t leave phones, wallets, tablets and money where it can be seen in the car.

Something new to do in San Nicolas

There’s a new initiative going on in San Nicolas to get the local community and tourists more in touch with the city’s rich culture and history.

It’s called “Experience San Nicolas”.

Experience San Nicolas is a unique way to get in touch with the rich culture of San Nicolas.

The culture of San Nicolas is a mixture of all the nationalities that live in the city. This mix of nationalities gave birth to a whole pot of delicious culinary dishes, art, music and it made history. 

Experience San Nicolas will be held on the first Sunday of every month.

Shops like WEMA, El Gallo Royo, Alankar, JM Enterprises, La Aruba, Joy’s Restaurant, Aruba Store and O’Niel Restaurant will have different deals and promotions.

Search for “Experience San Nicolas” on Facebook to see their page for updates.

Here’s the program for the 3rd edition of Experience San Nicolas, which is today 5 February 2017.

Experience San Nicolas Program for 5 Feb 2017

Giving Away Free Re-usable Bags

If you didn’t know it yet, plastic bags have been banned in Aruba.

The decision to ban plastic bags was made, because plastic bags cause damage to Aruba’s environment.

You usually see plastic bags that flew away stuck in the trees along the roads.

But plastic bags are gone for good now!

Following the ban on plastic bags AHATA (Aruba Hotel and Tourism Authority) gave away re-usable bags for free to people. They gave away the bags at two supermarkets where a lot of locals shop for groceries, Save a Lot in Noord and Hong Kong in Paradera.

Here’s a video of what exactly went on that day…

Aruba Bird life Conservation is on a mission

The members of Aruba Bird life Conservation and 15 kids traveled as special guests to the annual festival of birds in Colombia.

The prime Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman, was also on board for the trip.  

The mission of Aruba bird life conservation and the government is to learn from other countries how they protect their birds.  

Greg Peterson, of Aruba Bird life Conservation said the birds in Aruba are not protected as they should be. That’s the reason why this trip was essential in learning how Colombia protects their birds. So Aruba can implement these different strategies to conserve Aruba’s birds.

The kids and all invites learned how to analyze, observe and recognize birds they saw.

The prime minster said during a speech that there is plans of making a marine park in Aruba. This should be interesting, there’s plenty of places to build it.

I hope the marine park becomes reality.

It will be another fun thing to do in Aruba.

Aruba has over 900 different species of birds. And protecting them is going to be top priority from now on.

Accident At Mangel Halto

Last week a teenage boy managed to get the car he was driving into the beach at Mangel Halto.

The boy who was driving didn’t have a driver license and was under the age limit of driving. He was driving near the beach at Mangel Halto and somehow ended up in the sea.

The car that made it into the water.

Bystanders quickly notified the police and ambulance.

The authorities didn’t take long to respond and got to the scene quick.

Two other girls were also in the car.

They all got out without injuries and sent to the hospital for further check up. 

The boy probably took the car without his parents knowledge and this happened to him.

We all did things we weren’t allowed to do as kids and learned our lesson – this will definitely teach them a lesson.

Thank God none of them got hurt.

Carnival Casio & Soca Monarch Winners

It’s carnival season in Aruba and the biggest music festival during carnival took place last night.

Casio & Soca Monarch is the largest local music event featuring the island’s greatest music creators and bands of carnival.

The music event took place on 3 days featuring over a 100 song compositions by carnival bands and only 2 winners to be selected at the final day. One person as the Casio Monarch and the other as Soca Monarch (one person can also win both prizes, if their song is good enough)

The winners of this years Caiso Monarch is Mighty Talent Jr. (The son of Claudius Philips, you might know him from happy hour at La Cabana) and Blacky won the Soca monarch. He’s a talented singer from San Nicolas.

Click here to see the carnival schedule for 2017.

Might Talent Jr (Left) and Blacky (right)

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It’s that time of the week again to read up on some fresh Aruba local news.

If this is you’re first time reading news articles on my blog, welcome.

I know it is hard to find Aruba local news online in English. I also know how much it means to you to feel connected to Aruba, by reading my news articles. 

Subscribe for the Vacations By Aruba newsletter to get notified by email about future Aruba local news articles, travel tips and other offers.

The sign up form is at the end of this article.

Aruba Local News 

This week a lot happened in Aruba.

So here’s some Aruba local news that you can relate too that stood out this week.

Let’s start by congratulating…

A New General Manager At Hilton Aruba

The Hilton Aruba announced the arrival of a new general manager.

The new manager is Hans-Georg Roehrbein. 

Before his new position in Aruba, he was general manager of the Marriott Hotel in Egypt. He supervised over a 1000 rooms, a dozen F&B outlets and 1600 employees.

He started his career as sous chef at the Marriott hotel in Miami and now has over 30 years of experience in the hotel industry.

I would like to wish him much success leading the Hilton Aruba.

80/20 Rule For CITGO

The reopening of Aruba’s refinery is in full swing.

A lot of locals and politicians want to ensure that the people of Aruba get most of the jobs in the refinery.

The minister of Labor, Paul Croes, stated and promised that 80% of the employees at CITGO will be locals.

He also said the unemployment rate is going to drop about 2% because of the reopening of Aruba’s refinery. 

The government is planning to work closely with high schools and universities in Aruba.

This will help students get into the economic and energy sector so they can get a job in the refinery. It’s a 25 year contract between CITGO and Aruba, so a good move to invest in Aruba’s youth and future leaders.

Finally Claimed Jackpot Lottery 3.1 Million

Many people have speculated why anyone hasn’t claimed the biggest Aruba lottery jackpot yet.

The reason no one claimed it for so long is because the winner went to a lawyer before they claimed the prize.

I guess the process itself was a long one since they won it, but they finally claimed it.

The winner wanted to stay anonymous, so the lawyer, Chris Lejuez was authorized to claim the check.

A remarkable fact is that the winning ticket was received as a free ticket they had won.

They only added 2 guilders to win the jackpot.

I’m glad someone finally claimed it.

I was beginning to think that they lost the ticket somehow taking so long to claim it.

Protest Against Car Insurance Payments

This week truck drivers protested by blocking the road in front of the parliament.

They were protesting against the government for forcing everyone to pay their car insurance in one time payment in 2017.

Previously you could of paid your car insurance quarterly. Now, there’s a new law that is going to change the rules.

The drivers parked their trucks in the middle of the streets in front of the parliament.

You couldn’t go near the downtown area ( or LG smith boulevard).

The truck drivers are protesting against Minister of Finance, Angel Bermudez, to stop the situation.

What’s going to happen to Bushiri hotel?

Minister of Infrastructure, Benny Zievinger, wants to bring down the remaining structure of Bushiri Hotel.

It’s an ugly site down the road in LG Smith Boulevard. It’s going to be a long process, before the government can bring down the building.

In the meantime there’s already offers to buy the land to build another hotel. There’s also interest in the private sector to build a malls or other commercial projects.

Child Breaks Hand at Bushiribana Gold Mill

This week a terrible accident happened at Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruin that could’ve been easily prevented.

A person who was there, told the police a family reached with ATV’s at the gold mill.

Afterwards the mother and father went to the coastline to see the beach.

They left their child at the gold mine without supervision.

The child decided to climb on the rocks, but the hard wind caused the child to a fall. 

The poor kid suffered a broken hand.

The police and paramedics responded quick after they were notified about the accident. They brought the kid to the hospital to get further treatment.

The parents are wrong for this one though, how could you leave the child alone?

If you’re travelling with kids in Aruba, keep them safe.

Aura Casino Is a Closed Case

There seems to be an agreement made between the new owners of Aura Casino (Island Gaming) and the ex employees.

In total there are 44 employees that were fired by their previous employers.

However, only 26 of them will continue to work at the hotel. 

The owners, Island Gaming, reduced the size of the casino during renovation by more than half of its original size.

It was impossible to take all 44 employees back, they only took back 26 people.

From the rest of the employees 15 chose a package (4 months of pay).

However, 3 of the employees opted not to accept anything the company offered.

They are still in process in the court about a possible solution.

I guess this case is finally coming to an end after months.

Faster Service in Aruba’s Airport

The CEO of Aruba’s airport, James Fazio, explained that they are going to eliminate one of the two points of control in the USA Hall.

The main concern is the baggage area.

The plan is to remove the baggage reclaim area which will automatically take out the need to control for a second time.

So eventually you will check in your luggage, go to the immigration department, continue to passenger screening on to the US pre clearance (in the crying room) 🙁

Smoking Going To Be Banned in Casino

The government is creating a law that will ban smoking in the casino.

The smoking ban is going to take a while to take full effect. Because all the casinos have to adapt their establishments to comfort both smokers and non-smokers.

For example the casino at the Hyatt is already making plans to create a room where you can smoke.

It’s going to take about a year for this smoking ban to become reality.

Do you like to smoke in the casino?

What are your thoughts on the smoking ban…

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If so subscribe to the Vacations By Aruba newsletter to get notified by email for future Aruba local news articles, travel tips and special offers.

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We’re already a week later in the year 2017. The days are passing quick. As fast as the days are flying there is a lot of news about Aruba you should know about.

So let’s start with some relevant…

News About Aruba

I decided to do a weekly round-up of the most relevant news about Aruba for you.

Why am I doing this?

Because I noticed that news about Aruba is hard to find online – especially in English.

So here’s the weekly round-up for the first week of January 2017.

The Start of Aruba Carnival 2017

January is the month carnival season starts in Aruba.

This year is the 63rd carnival edition.

The carnival season was kicked off with a carnival party inside emotions nightclub. Then on the 7th of January there was the famous torch parade.

This year promises to be a great year for carnival because of the bigger groups of people joining the parades.

The carnival season ends in the last week of February. 

The End of Plastic Bags

Since the 1st January 2017 it’s prohibited for supermarkets and other retail stores to give away plastic bags. 

Supermarkets like Superfood and Ling & Sons were well prepared for the plastic bag ban. They made sure to have re-usable bags available and for sale for their customers. The smaller supermarkets around the island (which are primary Chinese supermarkets) also are contributing to the new change.

However, there are a few smaller Chinese supermarkets that are still giving out plastic bags. If they get caught by the Government or city inspector they can be fined 10.000 Aruban Guilders (which is about $5715).

The law to ban plastic bags has been created and accepted about 6 months ago (30 June 2016). However, the Government gave the community until the new year to adjust to the new rules.

The transition from plastic bags to re-usable bags is a process that has to be given time for everyone to get used to. Sometimes I go to a supermarket to do some grocery shopping and forget they don’t give out plastic bags. So I’m obligated to buy a re-usable bag. I just have to remember each time to bring it again. 

So what should you do if you’re going grocery shopping?

Well you can…

  • Bring or buy a re-usable bag.
  • Use a carton box to put your groceries.

It’s a great idea to ban plastic bags, because they damage our environment and nature. I’m not sure what is going to happen with the teenagers who work at the supermarkets like Superfood that fill your groceries and bring it to your car for a tip.

I guess they lost their jobs.

New Flights To Aruba From Fort Lauderdale

On 4th of January Jet Blue flew its first inauguration flight from Fort Lauderdale.

Jet Blue started flying to Aruba since 2006 out of Boston. Today after almost 10 years Jet Blue is a strategic partner in growing Aruba’s tourism.

The partnership with Jet Blue and Aruba is a strategic one. With 2 objectives. One being able to connect with the tourism market in Florida. And the second is connecting Aruba in the western market of the United States (states like San Francisco, Los Angeles, but also other important nearby destinations like Hartford, Connecticut and Washington DC).

Jet Blue will be using an airbus A320 for flights between Fort Lauderdale and Aruba.

This might be a reason to visit Aruba more often now. 

Aruba Has a New Governor

This week there was meeting in Aruba’s parliament to welcome to new governor for Aruba.

Representatives of the parliament of Aruba were invited to witness the new introduction. 

The new Governor of Aruba is Sr. Alfonso Boekhoudt.

I wish the new Governor of Aruba all the best and success.

The Aura Casino Still Having Issues

The new owners (Barcelo Aruba) of the Aura casino (which was previously owned by Occidental Grand Aruba) had a meeting with the ex-workers of the casino to talk about getting their job back.

The whole issue is the owners only want to pay 2 to 4 months of salary for the whole year that the ex-workers were jobless. Some employees took the payment, but others are didn’t accept it. Now the ex-workers are taking the whole situation to the court to be resolved.

According to the lawyer of the ex-workers, Barcelo Aruba is obliged to take every one of the employees back. In addition they have to keep paying their salaries and benefits.

However, the new owners don’t want to pay out the full years salary. They said why should we pay them if they even haven’t worked for them yet. Barcelo Aruba also doesn’t want to take back all the employees.

It’s still not sure if all the employees will get their jobs back.

The case is still in ongoing in the court and not yet settled.

Disposing of Garbage is a Problem

To many people the new year means a fresh start. However, not every one feels the same. Especially the inhabitants from the city of Simon Antonio (which is located in the back of the airport).

They are unhappy because the dump in the area is disturbing. The dump is causing a lot of smoke that is produced by burning of organic waste, construction residue, chemicals and hospital waste.

They are waiting for the government to come up with a solution for the dump since the month of November in 2016.

People who live in Simon Antonio say the problem is that there is no space available to dispose of trash on the dump anymore.

The Government is burning the existing trash to make space available for more trash. However, this is not a great solution. Because the smoke and gas is bad for the health for those who live nearby.

The people who live near the dump want a better solution than burning trash. They are still waiting for the Government to come with a better solution. 

I hope it doesn’t take long to fix this problem.

Roads On Aruba Need Repairing

It has been raining a lot these past couple of months in Aruba.

The amount of rain and sun quickly deteriorates the asphalt. First small holes appear on the driveways, but after a lot of people keep driving on the holes they always get bigger.

DOW (Dienst Openbare Werken) the company that is in charge of our infrastructure takes a bit too long to fix these roads in my opinion.

Some locals are tired of the situation and decided to let out their frustration on Facebook.

Somebody said…

“The Government is waiting for petroleum to come out the roads and fix itself”

Ha ha that’s pretty funny.

So after this rant on Facebook, some roads that are known to have holes got patched up by DOW.

However, the situation is still bad.  I wonder if the roads we have is just part of the ecosystem we live in on the island. The roads just can’t handle the amount of rain in the rainy season and the amount of sun when it’s dry.

DOW and Government have to give an explanation about the situation and how they are going to fix our infrastructure.

Wharf Side Markets Are Not Making Money

Many owners of Kiosks near the wharf side said that 2016 hasn’t been a good year for them.

They say that tourist that stroll along the kiosk strip aren’t buying as they are used to.

Many of these tourist are cruise ship passengers who spend less than people who come in with flights and stay at hotels.

Owner of a kiosk since 1939, Mr.Saladin, said the quality of cruise ship tourist back in the days were Latin Americans and that they would spend more. However, because of the current Government situation in Venezuela the sales have dropped according to Mr.Saladin.

He also says that Americans and Canadians do buy souvenirs, however not as much as back then.

Kiosk owners say that back then there were not a lot of places to buy souvenirs. But since 2015 there has been a lot of new kiosk that opened and are taking a share of the pie leaving a smaller cut for everyone else.

The new kiosk they are talking about are situated next to the side of the central bus station and in front of the gas station.

Back then they only used to sell fruits and vegetables at the wharf side markets. But as the downtown started to grow some kiosk owners starting selling souvenirs.

According to commerce owners in the downtown the kiosk next to the Central bus station are illegal. They say these illegal kiosk owners don’t pay their taxes or even rent. The reason why? Because they we’re given the kiosk to vote for certain politicians.

The’re isn’t even a control on prices according to a kiosk owner. Because one side of the wharf side kiosk may sell a souvenir for $15 and the other side may sell the same thing for $7.

When is all of this going to stop?

In my opinion if you are looking to buy a souvenirs support the local people who have the best price and pay their taxes to make an honest living. 

Downtown Area is Getting Safer

Since the beginning of the new year their has been a increase of amount of police who patrol the downtown area. This is done by the Government and Aruba Tourism Authority to keep the protect tourist and locals from any one who is having any bad intentions.

If you walk in the downtown area you will see a lot of police walking or on bike.

Tourism is until now one of Aruba’s only pillars – so your safety is very important.

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Wondering what’s the latest Aruba news?  Here’s the top 3 local Aruba news you should know about.

Latest Aruba News

You’re not the only one who’s having a hard time finding quality Aruba news in English on the internet. That’s why I decided to start a weekly round up of the most important Aruba local news. This way you can stay up to date with the news from Aruba.

Free Parking in Downtown Area

Yes, it’s true. You can finally park for free again now in the downtown area of Aruba. However, it’s only free parking after 15:00 PM in the afternoon.

You still have to pay for parking from 7:00 AM until 15:00 PM.

The Government and Aruparking is also going to stop blocking your car with boots.

Instead you will get a parking fine if parked incorrectly or exceed your parking time.

I agree with a parking fine better than blocking a car. Because blocking a car is counter productive. Let’s see if this is the solution that brings a change in the parking situation in Aruba.

Read paid parking in the downtown area of Aruba for everything you need to know about paid parking.

latest aruba news

You can finally park free now.

Free Wi-Fi in Aruba’s Main Street

Business owners say that paid parking has had a negative effect on the business in the downtown area.

Providing free internet is an incentive to attract more people to visit the main street.

Setar (a local phone provider in Aruba) is managing the free Wi-Fi project.

Now you can connect your favorite smartphone or other devices to the internet while exploring the main street of Aruba.

Want to know what activities there are in the main street? Read this article.

latest aruba news

Visit the main street of Aruba, it’s beautiful!

New Addition To Aruba’s Infrastructure

A new bridge is being built.

The bridge is a part of the new Green Corridor roadway that is being created.

The building of the bridge already reached the highest point.

The bridge is a great addition to Aruba’’s infrastructure.

The Green Corridor and the new bridge promises to reduce the driving time between Oranjestad and San Nicolas.

latest aruba news

The bridge is already looking nice.

Changes to Expect in The Future

The Government said that they will make more changes in the future for the main street of Aruba.

When you visit Aruba soon there will be…

  1. A sound system in the main street.
  2. Being able to drive through the main street after 19:00 at night.
  3. More activities in the main street like street performances and shows.

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