As I was getting off the airplane when I arrived I heard a language I thought was Spanish. However, as I kept listening I realized I could only understand a handful of words so that couldn’t be.
Turns out they were speaking Papiamento, the most widely spoken language in the ABC Caribbean islands. It is a mixture of multiple languages including Dutch, Portuguese, and English with influences from African and the Caribbean’s indigenous languages.
Most Aruban’s speak at least four different languages. Papiamento is their household language that all Aruban’s learn to speak while growing up, when they begin school they’re taught in Dutch and in high school they learn English and Spanish as well. There are also several other languages I’ve encountered while here like Portuguese and French.
Speaking all these languages is also a great help when it comes to tourism or when folks from other countries want to move here.