Work and Travel in Aruba
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN ARUBA FOR TRAVELLERS
Aruba is a Caribbean paradise that remains a part of the Netherlands. If you want to work and travel in Aruba you likely already know that there are no hostels on the island. This is generally not a place for backpackers, and you’ll meet few travellers here outside of all-inclusive resorts.
So do something different and travel in Aruba. It’s possible to work in Aruba and enjoy the challenge of a traditionally expensive Caribbean island.
Take a look at our travel guide to Aruba to find out how you can make the most of the volunteering opportunities in Aruba (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/aruba-bonaire-and-curacao/aruba).
1. Reef Care in Aruba
Aruba’s reefs are famous within the diving and snorkelling communities. Get a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of Aruba’s coastline without the need to spend thousands of dollars on doing it.
Reef care groups are tasked with cleaning up the beaches and coral reefs of the region. As long as you’re confident in the water and you’re willing to work hard, this can be the perfect way to backpack in Aruba.
2. Care for Animals on Aruba
This island is so much more than the luxury resorts you see. Local people live normal lives here. Like many Caribbean islands, animals have been sadly neglected.
Sanctuaries are available all over the island. You’ll get the chance to work with animals of all kinds and gain the satisfaction of giving abused animals a better life.
Some of the sanctuaries include: cats, dogs, and donkeys.
3. Protect Sea Turtles on Aruba
Sea turtles are endangered all over the world, but Aruba is particularly vulnerable as the leatherback, green, loggerhead, and hawksbill turtles choose to lay their eggs here every year.
During the main laying season, thousands of turtles arrive on Aruba’s beaches. Even the slightest disturbance can make it impossible for young turtles to make it to the safety of the sea. Mass tourism is a major reason why turtles are so endangered.
Protecting sea turtles involves patrolling beaches and making sure that nothing is going to come between the turtles, their eggs, and the hatchlings’ ability to reach the water.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR ARUBA
Aruba is part of a common visa policy that extends to all of the Caribbean territories controlled by the Netherlands (https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/travel-and-residence/caribbean-visas). You should bear in mind that a visa to Aruba, and the other Dutch Caribbean islands, doesn’t allow you to travel in the Netherlands.
Citizens from the UK, Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Japan don’t need a visa to travel in Aruba for 30 days uninterrupted. However, the visa allows you to stay within the Dutch islands for 180 days per year (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Aruba.html).
Citizens of Russia, South Africa, and China need to apply for a visa (https://www.aruba.com/us/plan-your-visit/getting-to-aruba/passports-and-visas). However, countries like China do have a second option. If they already have a Schengen visa or residence permit they don’t need to apply for a visa to work and travel in Aruba.
On a side note, Dutch citizens can take advantage of the volunteer opportunities in Aruba for six months uninterrupted.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN ARUBA
Due to the fact Aruba receives an average of 20 inches of rain per year and is rarely touched by hurricanes or tropical storms, much of the island is constantly filled with tourists. It therefore lacks a true high season and low season.
Spring receives a tremendous number of tourists and you should consider trying to find work in the resorts at this time of year. Receptionists, cleaners, and guides (for those with qualifications) are all required.
Just make sure you apply at least a few months in advance.
The summer season is the only time when you will spot a decline in the number of tourists. It’s a good time to get away from the resorts because this is the main nesting season for sea turtles.
Spend your time caring for sea turtles across the island, whether it’s directly on the beach or in some of the many turtle parks throughout the island.
Autumn is arguably a more pleasant time of year to be enjoying what Aruba has to offer. It’s also the calm before the storm when North American tourists return in huge numbers for the winter. As well as being an excellent time to apply for jobs in resorts, autumn is a fantastic time to join the reef care teams.
This is a time of year when certain reefs may be deemed damaged and therefore protected during the tourist season.
You don’t have to have any professional qualifications to join these volunteer teams. Just make sure you’re a competent swimmer.
Plus you can enjoy the benefits of a quieter reef to explore!
For a real introduction to the luxury tourist industry, make sure you snag one of the volunteer opportunities in Aruba during winter.
Despite being challenging to get, they’re an excellent addition to any future job application in the hospitality industry. There are so many diverse and varied roles you can gain real experience in.
Along with the positions mentioned above, you could also become a diving instructor, a snorkelling instructor, or even an assistant tour guide to some of the island’s main sites.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN ARUBA
Aruba continues to be an island under the protection of the Netherlands. You’ll see a high level of Dutch influence here. Due to the mass tourism industry, communication won’t be an issue as practically everyone can speak at least a limited level of English.
Foreign workers are a common sight on the island, so you’re never going to look out of place. The main challenge of work and travel in Aruba is attempting to find one of these jobs in the first place. There’s a high level of competition and we recommend that you should apply for a position before arriving on the island.
Do you believe you have what it takes to travel in Aruba?
- Edited on Sep 20 2018 by Mariia