What You Should Know About Aruba Weather, Rain, Storms, Earthquakes

It is hot, really hot on this island. But it is bearable, mainly due to the constant trade winds. Aruba runs on the weather. Weather makes or breaks any tourist destination, just like Aruba’s. This island is lucky to have amazing weather year around.

Most locals find our local weather a nuisance. In fact, most fellow islanders put effort to avoid the weather by staying indoors as much as possible, preferably in ice-cold air conditioning or alternatively in the shade. We “run” away from the weather.

Visitors, on the other side, soak in as much sun-hours as possible, bordering on to catching nasty sunburns.

In this post, I’m diving deep into Aruba weather issues revealing interesting, factual and publicly available information.

Location

The location of Aruba is the southern Caribbean, in the lower Antilles, just off the northern coast of Venezuela, about 17 miles (27 kilometers) away. Aruba’s climate is considered to be tropical, semi-arid. The sub-classification is hot semi-arid desert climate.

In layman’s terms, it means that Aruba has a predominantly hot and humid climate, with a lot of sun-hours, constant trade winds, and cacti everywhere.

Temperature

The average temperature in Aruba in 2016 was 83.8 degrees Fahrenheit (28.8 degrees Celsius).

August and September were the warmest of the year at average 85.8° F (29.9° C) and January was the coldest month of the year at average 81° F (27.2° C).

The absolute hottest it got in 2016 in Aruba was 95.2° F (35.1° C) in August, while the absolute coldest temperature recorded in Aruba was 74.1° F (23.4° C) in November.

The average yearly humidity is 75.8%.

Sun

Unfortunately, sun-hour data for 2016 was not available at the time of writing.

Rain

Aruba had precipitation of 16.9 inches (427.9 millimeters) in 2016, which is 1.7 inches (43.9 millimeters) or 9.3% below average.

Jan - MarApr - JunJul - SepOct - Dec
3.2%6.2%29.8%60.7%

Percentage distribution rain per quarter 2016

Above table shows how the rain is distributed throughout the year. Bear in mind that in November 2016 Aruba had a severe rain storm that skewered the number somewhat.

Normally when it rains, the showers tend to be stern but relatively short. Short as in minutes, where after the clouds move away and the sun shines again.

Storms

Atlantic Hurricane Season date is from June 1 to November 30 every year. Aruba is located in the Atlantic Basin where hurricanes occur. However, Aruba lies outside the so-called “hurricane belt.” The hurricane belt is the area in the Caribbean that historically is hit by hurricanes most. It is a similar theory as the tornado alley in the United States.


Major hurricanes since the 1950s

Mainland South America sometimes serves as a shoulder of protection for the Southern Caribbean. Storms tend to quickly lose strength when it touches land. ABC News wrote a nice piece about this topic.

Below you can see the aftermath of the hurricanes almost 10 years ago. While researching for this article I came across old photos and a video I shot back then. Again, images and video are old, almost a decade old, pre-iPhone or Samsung quality. My apologies.

Wind speed

Wind speed in Aruba is measured at a height of 32.8 feet (10 meters) at the local airport.The yearly wind speed average in 2016 was 16.8 mph (27 kph).

The yearly average wind speed in 2016 was 16.8 mph (27 kph). The highest average wind speed was 20.8 mph (33.5 kph) and occurred in June 2016. The lowest average wind speed was 8.7 mph (14 kph) and occurred in November 2016.

Earthquakes in Aruba

Every so often I receive inquiries asking whether Aruba is prone to earthquakes or not. I was born and raised on this island and I cannot recollect ever experiencing a major seismic event. However, during my research, I came across interesting information.

Does our ground shake near Aruba? Indeed it does. Does is shake much? No, it does not.

In 2016 there were 9 significant seismic events in the vicinity of Aruba. The weakest event was 2.5 on the Richter Magnitude Scale and the strongest was 3.8. I took the coordinates and put them in Google Maps for a better overview.

 

The strongest earthquake of 2016 happened early morning on October 1st, 2016 at 4:16 AM, local time. It measured at 3.8. The epicenter was in the territorial waters of Venezuela at a distance of about 61 miles (98 kilometers) off our coast.

The closest seismic event of that year happened on February 3rd, 2016 at a distance of about 11 miles (17 kilometers) off our coast and was 2.5 on the Richter Magnitude Scale, and was also the weakest.

Most people don’t comprehend the Richter Magnitude Scale. Neither do I.  United States Geological Survey defines it as follows:

1.0 to 2.9 Richter Magnitude Scale:
I. Not felt except by a very few under especially favorable conditions.

3.0 to 3.9 Richter Magnitude Scale:
II. Felt only by a few persons at rest, especially on upper floors of buildings.
III. Felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on upper floors of buildings. Many people do not recognize it as an earthquake. Standing motor cars may rock slightly. Vibrations similar to the passing of a truck. Duration estimated.

If you wonder about earthquakes in your area, United States Geological Survey maintains an interactive map with the latest earthquakes worldwide.

Tips and Suggestions

In 2016 Aruba hosted almost 1.8 million visitors (stay over and cruise travelers), which translates to almost 16 times its population. This in and of itself is quite an accomplishment. Just for kicks, multiply your country’s population by factor 16 to see how ridiculous that number really is.

Most visitors are here for our weather. Sometimes the weather will surprise you, mother nature is unpredictable. Don’t let that discourage you, however. Most “weather” passes by quickly and it will return back to “normal.”

In case you find yourself in a prolonged period of rain, just make sure to find activities that will allow the time to pass. Admittedly, our tourism ecosystem isn’t really well prepared for prolonged rain periods, but why should it be. It’s like having snow plows in Aruba, “just in case.” Makes no sense.

Some hotels (just a handful) offer indoor activities, but for the most part, it’s going to be difficult.

Do not underestimate the sun, it takes only about 10 minutes exposure to get a nasty sunburn. Please take the necessary precautionary measures, don’t let a sunburn ruin your stay.

Should you have further comments or questions you can do that below.

Source: weather data is provided by the Department of Meteorology Aruba (DMA) unless otherwise stated.

Additional sources: Wikipedia, Wikiwand, USGS

Reboot – Part 2

Aruba Beaches blog is celebrating 10 years of existence which is why a relaunch celebration. Following, I will outline what will be coming to this website in the coming weeks and months.

Reflection

This website will transition from opinion, newsy, real estate, weather related content to a more featured content, showcasing the best or quirkiest Aruba has to offer to most travelers. I will continue to feature “popular” content, but won’t shy away from featuring interesting, not so typical content that I feel deserves some attention. For instance, did you know that Aruba has a vineyard? I’m working on that piece.

Aruba grapes
Locally grown grapes for Aruba wines

The time between Reboot – Part 1 and this post, I spent, for the most part, going through 10 years worth of data about what content readers accessed most and what was accessed least on this website. Additionally, I went through old comments and emails to help me get an overview.

After sifting through the data, I went on to see what is being offered content-wise elsewhere on the internet, in terms of Aruba tourism, including social media, which helps me carve out a niche this website can operate within.

Past content

One of the reasons that prompted me to start writing was actually to challenge myself to improve my English both in writing and speech. If you didn’t know my native language, like most of autochthonous Arubans, is Papiamento. In case you are interested in learning more about this language, there is an article on Wikipedia about it.

It was around May 2007 I started writing about random tourist and beaches content but that subject matter dried up. I quickly learned that this topic was limited and decided to expand with “Beach” real estate and weather.

2007 became a busy storm season in the Atlantic basin with two particular storms threatening to move our way, namely storms Dean and Hurricane Felix with the former being the strongest of that year. Both storms grew and eventually became maximum Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

I can vividly remember that both brought significant rain to Aruba, but left no casualties here. Elsewhere in the region, however, the storms did devastating damage sadly.

Eventually, the storms moved farther north of Aruba than they were projected. The rain and aftermath, plus questions from readers prompted me to post content about this subject. Some of these posts became viral, so much so that my pictures were “borrowed” by other websites and media outlets to showcase current events.

Future content

What’s in

Expect a broader scope beyond tourism alone. “Lifestyle”-ish content? It sounds a bit hipster but we’ll see.

A feature I would like to do is visit some high-quality grocery stores, as this might be handy for people wondering what to expect in our stores. Did you know there are many people who don’t know that Aruba has world-class supermarkets that offer fresh fruit/vegetable from North America, meats from South and North America, wines from all over the world, European cheese, all under one roof? Stay tuned.

Popular and relevant information about hotels and restaurants will continue to be featured as these are the “basics” for any Aruba traveler researching their vacation to this island. I won’t do hotel or restaurant reviews because that’s not my forte, plus that’s done fairly well elsewhere.

Lastly, I would like to give up and coming tourism startups some exposure as well.

What’s out

Real Estate is out as I do that separately on its own website.

Weather is out. The “shelve life” of weather posts is extremely short and they become irrelevant quickly. Sometimes people search about storms in Aruba and come across posts I wrote years ago and think those are current events.

Gone are the rants or other types of negative content. I’m sure there is plenty of that elsewhere on the internet. Speaking of rants, I welcome relevant feedback, positive or negative criticism, but trolls, insults and off-topic feedback will be denied.

A post shared by Gabriel (@arubabeaches) on

No more Aruba weather content. FYI, it does rain in Aruba sometimes.

Social Media

For the most part, I ignored social media when this website was launched in 2007. Fast forward a decade to present day and the juggernaut of social media is here to stay and I cannot ignore it anymore.

Take Facebook as an example. Around the time I started writing, Facebook had a reported user base of about 30 million people, whereas in 2011 – the year I went o the hiatus – it had nearly 850 million. Currently, Facebook has nearly 2 billion (!) users. Instagram existed only a few months in 2011 and was nowhere as big as it is today with its 700 million users.

Social media will be slowly incorporated into the content creation scope. Later, there will be social media specific content only. It will also serve a line of communication with you, the reader.

Our handle is @arubabeaches on all three major platforms. If you are interested you can Like or Follow below:

Contributors

You may have noticed that the voice in this and previous article is in the first person. I thought about this and going forward I will keep doing that as I find it a bit more dynamic and personal. I would like it here to be more conversational, a bit less formal.

This time around I will take a different attitude toward content creation. I’m planning to unveil a schedule, I’m thinking at first two articles a week and slowly increasing that to four articles a week. I also need to see what the best days and times for releasing content are.

I’m currently in talks with a contributor that and that will help me produce articles. Also, not too long ago I met a talented local video producer that is willing to make some great videos. I will make an announcement whenever all details are sorted out.

Sponsors

In order to offer consistency and to pay the costs involved with the production of content, equipment, contributors, it needs to be self-sustaining. I will start offering space for relevant sponsored content, moderately of course.

Throughout the years I have been contacted by several parties interested in advertising but I refused simply because there was no new content for years and didn’t feel comfortable with that for some reason.

Final

Finally, I would like to finish this post by sharing with you the top 5 most read posts in 2017, including some of my remarks. Thank you for reading this far.

  1. How Common Are Sharks In Aruba – I wrote this in 2010 and updated it later on. I have received some criticism for this article as some people seem to think I misrepresented or was hiding something, which I’m not. It certainly made me want to learn more and I will revisit this topic. After I do some further research I will rewrite that post. I will try to get an appointment with officials at Aruban Search & Rescue and Aruban Coast Guard.
  2. Direction and Admission Information to Natural Pool – This is article is one of the original ones, wrote back in 2007, and updated several times. It surprises me that it still read as much as it does. I will revisit this topic and will make a video.
  3. Mega-yacht Double Haven in Aruba – This one dates from 2009. People are fascinated by this yacht, as much as I was. Did you know that the whereabouts of this yacht has been kept up to date in the comment section? The last spot was about a month ago in San Diego, California.
  4. United States of America on Aruba – It was written in 2008. This post is a pretty unremarkable one honestly. It went unnoticed for almost 10 years until earlier this year. What happened? It is actually a bizarre story that I still don’t fully understand. Back in March 2017 someone apparently “borrowed” my picture featured in that post, that I took personally in 2008, to make some sort political claim or statement, I think in Arizona. When readers to that website called the author out that he used my picture, and that his claims were false, the author doubled down and said that I stole that picture and that I doctored it. The last time I touched that post and picture was the day I posted it. After he doubled down some of his readers called him out again, providing proof from Archive.org while other analyzed the EXIF information of my picture, showing him that the picture is really mine. Either way, I don’t really know how that story ended, but if you are interested to find out what happened you can read about it here, here and here.
  5. Palapas: Rules and Rights – Originally written in 2010, this controversial issue is still a thing in 2017. Officials are still trying to figure out what to do. I’m not sure I will touch this topic anymore.

Above picture: Sunset at Surfside Beach, I recently visited

Reboot – Part 1

Back in 2007 I began writing about Aruba tourism and local weather on this website and did so until 2011. It has been silent ever since…..sigh. Ten years is a long time for a website to exist, that’s for sure. Ever wonder what happened ten years ago? I did. If you are curious, check out the year 2007 according to On This Day.

The reason for keeping this website up all these years is simply because some readers appreciated the content according to their feedback.

In all fairness, I made sure to respond to most comments and emails, additionally, I made sure to update several posts in order to reflect current information.

Now I have decided to make a comeback and reboot the website. Allow me to explain.

Why the hiatus and what I have been up to

A quick recap about me: I’m Gabriel and was born and raised in Aruba. I worked in tourism for many years and then went on my own.

The reason I stopped creating content back then was simply that I couldn’t combine my then job with writing anymore, especially time wise.

After I left my tourism job, I founded my own real estate consultancy agency and have been doing that since.

Why a comeback

It was always joyful writing about Aruba tourism and also fulfilling interacting with the readers. For the most part, this website’s readers are travelers visiting Aruba for the first time or Aruba travel veterans with an interest in this island.

Another reason for the comeback also is that at this point I can combine my day-to-day real estate work with the content creation for this website. In fact, the two can complement each other, especially when I’m out and about gathering information.

Lastly, perhaps, more importantly, this website still receives about 200 viewers a day, that translates to about 6000 viewers a month who are accessing old content. For a website for this subject matter, it’s rather a significant amount and a good starting point going forward.

Soon in Part 2

In Part 2 I will outline what the ideas are going forward. Expect information about the new theme, new content, new logo, topics, social media, and schedule. Stay tuned while I lay the last hand on the reboot.

Above picture: Bubali Bird Sanctuary, I recently visited

October Storm Forming In The Southern Caribbean, Headed For Aruba [Updated]


Storm near Aruba [image by Stormpulse]

Local weather service has issued an alert earlier today warning of potential heavy rainfall for the coming 24 hours. In this part of the world these kind of warnings are definitely unusual, causing some nervousness with some locals.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami this system has only 10% chance to become a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. It’s a very slow moving storm at 10 miles per hours (16 KPH) headed west-northwestward.

NHC: “Regardless of development locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds are expected to continue over the windward islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao through tonight.” As of 7:45 PM local time I can report that it’s dry and no clouds in the sky. Will be updated if necessary.

Updates below.

Update 1 – 9:55 PM: NHC raised the chances for this system to become a tropical cyclone from 10 to 20%. Still dry in Aruba. New imaged added with computer calculations.


New calculations on storm near Aruba [image by Stormpulse]

Update 2 – 7:00 AM 25 October: NHC upgraded the chances of this system to become a tropical cyclone to 40%. It started to rain modestly this morning. New image added.


Storm potential grows [image by Stormpulse]

Update 3 – 3:37PM 26 October: System moved without the expected rain. Island is still hotter than normal, waiting for the trade winds to pick up again to cool off the island.

Alhambra Casino and Shopping Bazaar Construction Update

Alhambra
Main entrance at Alhambra Casino

A building in bad need of a renovation is certainly Alhambra Casino and Shopping Bazaar, as it is officially called. Located in the heart of the Divi properties in the low rise district, this project was virtually abandoned by owner Divi Resorts for many years. Off course Divi is busy expanding and renewing their other resort properties on the island.

Currently, the renovation work is focused on the outside of the main building. A brand (grand?) entrance has been build, while the outer walls are getting a once over. Divi announced recently that it close the sports lounge inside to completely rebuild that area.

The shopping area has advanced to the roof structure now. Generally this means that the construction is 25% advanced. The rest generally takes longer as detailing takes a lot of time. This is going to take a few more months to complete it seems. Divi insists that the casino remains open for operation.

Alhambra
Front entrance Alhambra Casino

Alhambra
Building material in front of Alhambra

Alhambra
Construction at Shopping Bazaar continues

Say What?!? Natural Bridge To Become The New Natural Pool

I’m sure the title grabbed your attention, especially if you are a frequent visitor to the island of Aruba. If you are not familiar with the story, here’s a quick recap.

Aruba’s number one tourist attraction, by far, was the world famous Natural Bridge, also known locally as Cura di Turtuga (freely translated to Turtles Cove). This bridge was made of limestone and was the largest of its kind in the Caribbean.

Fallen Natural Bridge
Recent image of Natural Bridge

Throughout the years it attracted millions of people who fell in love with this massive natural structure, including the relentless punishing it received from the waves. Usually people walked across and the more adventurous ones swam underneath, fighting the waves.

Unfortunately the Natural Bridge succumbed under its massive weight and collapsed on September 2, 2005. The same natural elements that created this bridge, proved to be equally lethal. The bridge didn’t stand a chance. Above image depicts how the situation is currently. Thousands of people still visit the bridge on a yearly basis. Despite the presence of another, smaller bridge, the magic is gone and will never be the same again.

Numerous people have asked me if I thought it was going to rebuild and fixed in its original form, which I answered with a resounding no. However earlier this week I read an article in a local paper  which suggested that there are plans in the works to revive the area. More specifically they want to create a natural pool-like structure.

To make this a reality is not that hard, I reckon. Just remove some rocks in the middle to let some water pass through and voilà. The question is, do we need and want a Natural Pool there? It still attracts a lot of people as is and if you build something where people will stay longer, perhaps it’ll change the whole scene there. I’m not sold on the whole idea, but I don’t hate it either.

I’m sure everyone has an opinion about this but take this into consideration: when Baby Beach was created and rocks were piled there to shut of the water I don’t remember reading about people complaining back then. Now, decades later, Baby Beach is one the most popular beaches in Aruba.

Police helicopter near Natural Pool
Helicopter hovering over Natural Pool