A Guide to the Aruban Florin, Aruba’s Currency

Aruba is a Caribbean island country located just north of the South American coast. If you’re intending to live in Aruba or visit there, then you’re going to want to learn about Aruba’s currency, so you can easily pay for goods and services while you’re there.

The official currency of Aruba is the florin, but you can use U.S. dollars (USD) almost anywhere on the island at a fixed exchange rate.

Here’s our guide to Aruba’s currency, including how to exchange USD for florin and whether it’s better to pay using the local currency or the U.S. dollar.

The history of Aruban currency

People have lived on the island of Aruba for thousands of years. From the 1600s to the 1800s, the Spanish, Dutch, and British all occupied it for various periods of time. For the majority of that time, it has been part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with two neighboring islands, Bonaire and Curaçao.

Although Aruba became mostly autonomous in 1986, it has never completely declared independence, and citizens of Aruba are still Dutch nationals.

As for currency, Aruba used the Netherlands Antillean guilder for many years. It shared this currency with other Dutch territories in the Caribbean Sea between 1828 and 1986. Then, it introduced its own version of the currency, the Aruban florin.

The Dutch word for this unit of currency is “gulden,” while the word “florin” comes from the local Papiamento language.

As a result, the florin is sometimes called the “Aruban guilder.” The Central Bank of Aruba uses both the abbreviation “Afl” (for florin) and the currency code “AWG” (for guilder) to refer to Aruban currency.

Aruba currency denominations

Aruba currency: close-up shot of Aruban florin bills

The Aruba florin comes in multiple coin and banknote denominations, with each florin subdivided into 100 cents. You can use a lowercase “f” for florin and ¢ for cents.

Florin banknotes are bright and colorful, featuring native animals like the rattlesnake, frog, turtle, and owl. You’ll find banknotes in the following denominations:

  • ƒ10
  • ƒ25
  • ƒ50
  • ƒ100
  • ƒ500

The International Banknote Society chose the 100-florin as the “Banknote of the Year” in 2019. It praised the “new vertical format,” as well as the “beautiful artistic elements from Aruban culture” and advanced security features to prevent counterfeiting.

Coins come in the following denominations:

  • 10¢
  • 25¢
  • 50¢
  • ƒ1
  • ƒ5

There’s also a 2½-florin coin, but it’s no longer in production. Some coins feature the Dutch phrase “God Zij Met Ons,” which translates to “God Be With Us.”

5 essential facts about Aruba’s currency

Since visitors to Aruba can spend the U.S. dollar, many visitors miss out on using this beautiful currency themselves. Whether you choose to convert your USD or not, here are five key facts to help you understand more about Aruba’s currency.

1. Aruba’s currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar.

The Aruban florin has a fixed exchange rate with the U.S. dollar, meaning 1 USD will be worth the same amount of florin no matter when you travel there. This is in contrast to free-floating currencies that fluctuate over time.

The current exchange rate is set at 1 USD = 1.79 florin (or 1 AWG = 0.56 USD), but you may get a slightly different rate depending on where you shop.

2. Aruban currency features Dutch royalty.

Because Aruba is still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, you’ll notice some Dutch influences on Aruba currency. The most obvious is the appearance of Dutch royalty on some coins—but not on any banknotes.

Until 2013, Queen Beatrix appeared on the five-florin coin and two other denominations. After her abdication, her son, King William-Alexander, took her place.

3. Some of Aruba’s coins are square.

Some of Aruba’s coins have a surprising characteristic: They’re square. Although round coins make up the majority of the world’s coinage, the 50-cent coin (called a “yotin”) is square-shaped. So is the 2½-florin coin, which is now primarily a collector’s item.

4. You can’t spend the Netherlands Antillean florin (NAf) here.

Two nearby countries, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, use the Netherlands Antillean florin (or guilder). It uses the symbol NAf and the currency code ANG.

Although it shares a history (and a name) with the Aruban florin, these aren’t the same currency, so you can’t spend NAf in Aruba and vice-versa.

5. Aruba’s GDP is one of the highest in the region.

The cost of living in Aruba is one of the highest in the Caribbean—but so is its GDP per capita. As of 2021, it was around 51,000 florins, or just over $28,000 USD.

Aruba’s economy revolves around tourism, and its capital, Oranjestad, is the financial center of the island. That’s where the Central Bank of Aruba is located.

Understanding and using Aruban money

Aruban florin bills on a table

If you’re heading to Aruba, you’ll need to be prepared to carry cash. You can use major credit cards—especially Visa and Mastercard—at most retailers, but small businesses, such as taxis and roadside vendors, may only accept cash.=

Still, you’ll usually have the choice between two currencies: Aruba’s currency, the florin, and the U.S. dollar.

If you need to use an ATM, you’ll find them in many hotels and tourist areas, and you can expect withdrawal fees of around 2 Afl.

Try to have small bills and coins on hand. Aruba has a strong tipping culture, even if a service charge is already included.

Aruba currency exchange rates

The exchange rate between Aruban currency and the U.S. dollar is fixed, so you don’t have to worry too much about shopping around for the best rate. Still, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the USD to AWG exchange rate, that way you can quickly understand the cost of items, and ensure that you’re getting the correct change.

Of course, if you’re converting your money from another currency, such as the euro or the Indian rupee, the exchange rate with the florin will change over time.

You can use an online currency converter to check the current exchange rate between your home currency and the Aruban florin. Then, decide if you want to exchange your money for USD or AWG to spend while you’re in Aruba.

Send money overseas with a mobile app

Woman passing by a big house

Whether you live in Aruba or are just visiting, being able to transfer money overseas can make travel easier. Fortunately, international money transfers are more convenient than ever and can spare you high credit card fees and ATM withdrawal fees.

Remitly is an international money transfer app with transparent fees and a fair exchange rate. You can fund a transfer with a credit card, debit card, or bank account, and send money to friends and family members, or even to your own international bank account.

Over 5 million people have used Remitly for their international money transfer needs. Download the app today to get started!

Further reading