Drive time: What clients need to know in Aruba

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ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- As is the case on many Caribbean islands, driving on Aruba can be an adventure.

Here's a brief road map of everything clients need to know about renting a car and taking to the road on Aruba.

Clients will have no trouble getting air-conditioned automatic transmission models. Driving is on the right, as in the U.S., but right turns are prohibited on red lights.

Main roads are paved, but attractions in the outlying areas around Arikok National Park are better suited to cars with four-wheel drive. Aruba's directional signs are adequate, but street names often are missing.

If clients are planning to drive between the major hotels on Eagle Beach and Palm Beach to nearby Oranjestad, there is little danger of getting lost. The airport, right next to the capital, is found easily, as well.

And, a well-touted tidbit from all tourism folks: the island's native Dividivi trees all bend toward the resort area. If clients do find themselves lost, instruct them to follow the trees back to the hotels.

Most car rental firms provide handy maps containing tourist-oriented information, and Aruba has a good selection of car rental concerns at the airport, hotels and downtown. Hotel pick-ups and drop-offs are arranged with ease.

Parking is free islandwide, although somewhat limited in Oranjestad, depending upon the time of day. The Seaport Village Mall near the Renaissance Aruba's Marina Tower has a large parking lot.

One caveat: Dogs, cats, chickens and donkeys wander at will in some areas, creating road hazards.

Among rental firms represented in Aruba are Amigo, Avis, Budget, Economy, Hertz, Optima, Ruba, Sunshine, Super, Thrifty, Toyota and 2 Plus.

Be prepared to pay for gas in cash. While credit cards are accepted in Aruba for most purchases, the Coastal station in Oranjestad insisted on cash.

For more information, see related articles:Aruba's rough and rugged side, Desalination tour focuses on the sea-to-bottle process.

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