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As a rule, water is pure and food is wholesome in hotels and local restaurants throughout Aruba, but be cautious when buying food from street vendors. And just as you would at home, wash or peel all fruits and vegetables before eating them. Traveler's diarrhea, caused by consuming contaminated water, unpasteurized milk and milk products, and unrefrigerated food, isn't a big problem—unless it happens to you. So watch what you eat, especially at outdoor buffets in the hot sun. Make sure cooked food is hot and cold food has been properly refrigerated.
The major health risk is sunburn or sunstroke. A long-sleeve shirt, a hat, and long pants or a beach wrap are essential on a boat, for midday at the beach, and whenever you go out sightseeing. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15—especially if you're fair—and apply it liberally on your nose, ears, and other sensitive and exposed areas. Make sure the sunscreen is waterproof if you're engaging in water sports. Always limit your sun time for the first few days and drink plenty of liquids. Limit intake of caffeine and alcohol, which hasten dehydration.
Mosquitoes and flies can be bothersome, so pack strong repellent (the ones that contain DEET or Picaridin are the most effective). The strong trade winds are a relief in the subtropical climate, but don't hang your bathing suit on a balcony—it'll probably blow away. Help Arubans conserve water and energy: turn off air-conditioning when you leave your room, and don't let water run unattended.
Don't fly within 24 hours of scuba diving. In an emergency, Air Ambulance, run by Richard Rupert, will fly you to Curaçao at a low altitude if you need to get to a decompression chamber.
There are a number of pharmacies and stores selling simple medications throughout the island (including at most hotels), and virtually anything obtainable in North America is available in Aruba.
Shots and Medications
No special vaccinations are required to visit Aruba.
National Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (877/394–8747 international travelers' health line. www.cdc.gov/travel.)
World Health Organization (www.who.int.)
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