The statistics vary, but reliable Caribbean and international
entities suggest that the region’s tourism sector is now delivering on
average directly and indirectly about 40.6 percent of the Caribbean’s
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), although, in Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda,
Barbados, The Bahamas, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
(OECS), and most overseas territories tourism, the figure is much
Detailed country by country analysis and statistics produced by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest that sustaining the
contribution tourism makes has become critical to the long-term economic
stability of almost every Caribbean nation other than Trinidad and
Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana.
Despite this, little thought has been given to how to future proof the industry as disruptive technologies take their toll, the region’s largely sun, sea and sand high-volume offering becomes subject to multiple global pressures likely to affect traveller sentiment and international competition increases.
If you want to enjoy beautiful white sand beaches, friendly locals, windsurfing, kitesurfing or terrific diving – Aruba is a good place to call home (1). You may have been searching for the perfect spot in paradise to retire – or you may just be looking for adventure in a faraway and tropical country. Either way, Aruba could be the right choice for your next destination.
Though you may have spent months or years looking before deciding to choose Aruba, the process of moving can also take time. You’ll need to prepare yourself beforehand, by packing up your household and selecting a qualified international moving service provider. A key part of preparation is also getting all the required paperwork pulled together, and learning about the various import regulations and duties. Here’s most of what you need to know, in one easy guide.
What Are the Duties?
Duties can add a significant amount to the total cost of your move, but fortunately Aruba allows you to be exempted from this expense. To receive import duty exemption, there’s a handful of requirements that you must meet.
First, your primary place of residence must have been outside of Aruba, for a minimum of the last year. This means you must have lived at that address, for a minimum of 185 days in the previous 12 months. You must demonstrate that you lived there for a job, and if not – then show documentation proving you were indeed residing there (not just had an address at that location). Second, you cannot already be a resident of Aruba.
The third requirement is that the belongings you’ll be importing, be used in the same way as in the origin country. For example, if an item was for personal (not commercial) use in your previous residence, it should remain so in Aruba. Fourth, these goods are required to have been used by you, in your residence within your country of origin for at least six months. Fifth, only used goods are eligible for duty exemption (2). Finally, you’re not allowed to sell, let others borrow or even give away these items while in the country (3).
Customs has some regulations that you must follow, when importing your belongings into the country. There’s a time limit to receive duty exemption, and you can’t import a shipment more than 12 months after you enter Aruba (some sources say 6 months). However, if you need more time, it’s possible that an extension may be granted by the Customs Commissioner (if you request it). You can also only receive duty exemption on two shipments total of household goods (4).
If your shipment is denied duty exemption by customs, you have one month to appeal this decision (the Commissioner of Customs will make the final determination). If your appeal to the Commissioner of Customs is again denied – you have another month to appeal to the Board of Appeals in Tax Affairs. It appears that the board’s decision will be final (5).
Aruba requires that you be at the point or port of entry, during the processing of your shipment. Be aware that customs has the full legal authority to examine your shipment, and this could take up to one month to complete. If your shipment violates the import regulations, the Customs Authority can impose fines or disciplinary action. Finally, you’re required to speak with the agent working on your behalf in Aruba, as soon as you enter the country (6).
What Paperwork Will You Need?
When it comes to importing your household belongings, customs requires that you provide the necessary paperwork for your shipment. This includes your passport and Original Bill of Lading (for sea shipments) or Air Waybill (for air shipments). An import declaration and Tax ID from the Tax Service Office are also required (7). An ID card may also be needed, and whether this is a separate document isn’t clear.
For census purposes, you’ll also need a Certificate of Registration from the Population Register in Aruba (customs will want this in triplicate). You’ll also need a Residence Permit from the Directorate of Alien Integration, Policy & Admission (DIMAS for short). A packing list is also mandatory documentation, along with a Household Goods Form and Exemption Declaration Form. A Duty Exemption Request Form (Form C420) should also be provided (8).
Finally, customs will need to see a comprehensive inventory, which includes monetary values for all of your items. This also must be submitted in triplicate, and it should bear your signature and the date (9).
What Are the Duties For Your Vehicle?
Turning from the importation of your household goods to your vehicle, you may be wondering what duties you’ll pay. You’ll be relieved to discover, that Aruba does allow you to be exempt from import duties – if you meet a single requirement. You must have owned and used the vehicle at your previous primary residence, for a minimum of the last six months.
If your vehicle successfully receives duty exemption, you’re not allowed to sell or transfer ownership of it while in the country. The vehicle also can’t be lent to others, used as security or placed in escrow. Exceptions to these rules are possible, but you must request one from the Commissioner of Customs. You also must give the Technical Department of Customs the Excise Documents for the vehicle – and you’re not guaranteed approval of your request (10).
Import Regulations For Your Vehicle
Aruba is quite open to the importation of all different types of vehicles. If you meet the requirement for exemption covered above, it’s possible to import not only your personal motor vehicle – but also your motorcycle, boat, sports craft or airplane without paying duty. Whether you can bring in more than one of these vehicles at a time isn’t specified, so speak to customs to learn more.
Another regulation imposed by customs, is that your Original Bill of Lading display the engine and chassis numbers, make, model, year and the size of the engine (11). Your shipment can also be examined by customs. Just like with your household goods, this process may take as long as one month. Also, once again if you’re found to be in violation of any regulations – you could face fines or disciplinary action (12).
What Paperwork Is Required For Your Vehicle?
Failure to provide the necessary paperwork, can delay the processing of your shipment – or cause it to be denied entry altogether. Therefore, it’s important that you have the correct documentation. According to knowledgeable international vehicle shipper A1 Auto Transport, Inc. – you’ll need to have your passport, driver’s license and proof of insurance. You’ll also need to show both the title (from the origin country) and a purchase invoice or receipt (13).
Registration from the origin country and insurance documents proving you’ve used the vehicle are also required. Finally, any paperwork that demonstrates you’ve owned the vehicle for the necessary six months to receive duty exemption, should also be provided (14). Typically, the purchase invoice is sufficient for this purpose, but you may choose to give customs additional paperwork – like your maintenance records or receipts.
Thanks to their highly favorable wind and water conditions and year-round pleasant weather, Aruba is a windsurfing mecca, and for more than three decades, the sport’s largest amateur competition has been held on Aruba. Along the way, kite boarding (including foiling) was added to the competition events.
The local community embraces this sport, with many of their youth spending afternoons and weekends on the water with the wind in their sails, joined by the adults (who are still kids at heart, after all!) who love to escape the stresses of everyday life for an exhilarating session on the water. In fact, the reigning PWA 14-time World Champion is local darling Sarah-Quita Offringa.
Every year, thousands of vacationers come to the island just to windsurf, while many others have enjoyed their first experience with the sport, learning from one of the several windsurf schools on the island. And just about anyone can learn—a 30-minute session on land to learn the basics, followed by another 30 minutes of instruction in the water will have you sailing on your own the same day!
The Aruba Hi-Winds is dominated by amateur competitors classified by sex and age, but there is prize money to be won!. Race events include slalom and long-distance courses for both windsurfers and kite boarders. All events are held at Fisherman’s Huts.
Even if you are not a competitor, the atmosphere is beach electric and contagious! Not only are the competitions exciting to watch-especially the Kite Big Air competition-but the festivities surrounding the event: live concerts and beach parties, it all creates a fun beach culture to experience! There will also be a Hi-Winds Mountain Bike Race.
The Aruba Hi-Winds will take place at Fisherman’s Huts, just a skip down the beach from The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba.
For schedules, news, sponsors and more comprehensive info go to HiWindsAruba.com
Other related info:
ACCOMMODATION: Casa Del Mar Beach Resort and Timeshare is located on Eagle Beach, just south of Palm beach. They might still have rooms available: www.CasaDelMar-Aruba.com
There are many car rental agencies on Aruba, but Thrifty Car Rentals may be one with a wider variety and more available: www.ThriftyAruba.com
WINDSURFING & KITESURFING LESSONS:
Aruba being the kitesurfing and windsurfing mecca in the Caribbean you will find several windsurf and kitesurf schools on island. Vella Aruba offers it all boasting top international instructors: www.VelaAruba.com
Photo taken at Casa Del Mar Resort, Eagle Beach, Aruba.
ARUBA. It’s been nearly a year since January 1, 2017 where all retailers and vendors in Aruba were no longer allowed to distribute nor sell carry-out plastic bags at supermarkets and retail shops.
This then allows tourists and locals alike to bring or buy a re-usable bag or use a carton box to put their groceries in.
Government or city inspectors can fine retailers 10.000 Aruban Guilders (which is about $5715) if they don’t abide by the law to ban plastic bags. This law was created and accepted on 30 June 2016. However, the government gave the community until the new year to adjust to the new rules.
So far this ban and its strategy have been important in a mind- and behavioral change toward increased corporate responsibility from retailers as well as locals and tourists.
You may ask how much of a difference does a plastic bag ban can make to the environment?
It’s estimated one can save 500 to 700 plastic bags from the ocean and landfills each year by bringing your own plastic bags when shopping, according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. If you consider these facts: Plastic is a substance the earth cannot digest and 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year, we’d all better start refusing single-use plastic.
According to Juliet D. Carvalhal, special coordinator of the Aruban government’s Green Agenda project, “managing waste on islands, especially those heavily dependent on tourism, has been an ongoing challenge. But then again, being an island in itself also presents the community with added motivation to apply concepts of “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Respect” seeing there is limited or practically non-existent access to “Recycling” facilities.”
Reducing not only your use of plastic bags, but managing your trash can also have a big impact if it is carried out daily. Take for example founder of Trash is for Tossers website, Lauren Singer of Brooklyn, New York. Lauren has proved that she could live in one of the biggest cities in the world for 4 years without producing more than one mason jar of waste.
She suggests composting and separating trash effectively, investing in a re-usable water bottle and mason jars and making sure you pack enough bags when you go out shopping to reduce your day-to-day waste. Every little bit helps, especially if everyone does their part.
In the words of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, “let’s make plastic bags go extinct!”
ARUBA. This week Arubans are celebrating the return of the wind! One of the most beautiful islands you’ll ever see, here the wind never stops blowing in a, mostly, northerly direction. It is advised to wear a hat to prevent your hair from being blown into a wild, vagrant-like style. And make sure you hold on to that hat or tie it with a string to your head, naturally.
But if it weren’t for the wind, this island would be very, very hot. Unless, of course, there are hurricanes in the rest of the Caribbean occupying, so to speak, all wind space. That is why Arubans have grown to celebrate the wind, make the most of it, they even miss it when it’s gone: “Aruba has been very hot and windstill lately, so now that the breeze has come back, the sails are out!” (Posted by @dushiyoga)
It’s been said that many a serious water sport enthusiast in Aruba have been very close to Venezuela at some point in their lives. That is, because the northerly wind might have taken them off-shore easily, especially if they are kitesurfers. It’s not that far away (about 17 miles), in fact you can see the country from Aruba.
Another good thing about Aruba is that its located at the southern edge of the Caribbean hurricane belt. So it avoids most of the hurricanes and storms that blow through the Caribbean from the Atlantic Ocean each year. So the best time to visit the island is always.
Lizpiano is a journalist, health lover and piano entertainer/singer who travels the world. She holds a B.A. degree with Music and Psychology as well as an MPhil (Masters) of Journalism. Follow her on Instagram: @lizpiano, Twitter: @thelizpiano, Facebook: lizpiano.www.lizpiano.com