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One Happy Island, One Happy Wallet: Discovering Aruba on a Budget

One Happy Island, One Happy Wallet: Discovering Aruba on a Budget

Imagine yourself reclining on pristine beaches, where the gentle turquoise waves caress the shore, and the sun casts a warm golden hue over the paradise of Aruba. Though Aruba is renowned for its lavish resorts and upscale offerings, don’t be quick to dismiss it as a destination exclusively for deep pockets. With a bit of strategic planning, an adventurous mindset, and an eagerness to embrace the local culture, you can uncover the charms of Aruba without breaking the bank.

While Aruba might carry a reputation for being pricey, it’s important to acknowledge that exploring this island on a budget is entirely feasible. Regardless of if you consider yourself a budget-conscious traveler or prefer a luxurious vacation style, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that an affordable Aruba getaway is well within reach.

Below are valuable suggestions for reducing expenses during your Aruba getaway. These range from selecting budget-friendly accommodations to clever methods of experiencing the island’s natural beauty and vibrant heritage, all while keeping a close eye on your expenses. Prepare to soak up the sun and create unforgettable memories on a budget!

Accommodation

Stay in a Place Off the Beach
Aruba offers a diverse array of lodging options, including all-inclusive resorts, luxurious hotels, and a plethora of vacation rental properties. The cost per night for lodging spans from $50 USD to upwards of $450 USD. Traditionally, many individuals opt to stay near Eagle Beach or Palm Beach due to its vibrant atmosphere. This area boasts the prominent high-rise hotels, which coincidentally escalate the prices. While the beach there is delightful, it’s important to note that there are other equally picturesque beaches to explore across the island. Those aiming for a budget-friendly Aruba vacation should avoid opting for upscale hotels offering ocean-view rooms. Consider finding accommodations away from the water or in the cities for deeper discounts.

Search for a Vacation Rental Property
Consider exploring vacation rental properties as an excellent way to save money on your accommodations. These properties often offer competitive rates compared to traditional hotels, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable and private space without exceeding your budget. Moreover, vacation rentals often come with added amenities such as kitchens, which can further contribute to reducing dining expenses.

Book in Advance
To maximize your savings on accommodations, it’s highly advisable to book your stay well in advance. By doing so, you can take advantage of early booking discounts and secure more budget-friendly rates. As Aruba is a popular destination, waiting until the last minute might result in higher prices due to increased demand. It’s recommended to book at least 3 months in advance. If you can do 6 months that’s usually cheaper. The further out, the better. Planning ahead not only ensures a smoother experience but also helps you keep your expenses in check.

Consider Off-season Stays
For substantial cost savings on your stay, consider booking your accommodations during the off-season. This period, typically characterized by lower tourist traffic, offers a golden opportunity to secure accommodations at significantly reduced rates. Hotels and rental properties often introduce special deals and promotions during these times. Embracing the off-season not only enhances your affordability but also provides a chance to savor the island’s beauty with fewer crowds. Think April-May or September-October for the lowest prices. Sometimes you can find a deal other times, but off-season is always lowest.

Food and drinks

Cook Your Own Meals
When searching for a charming vacation rental to stay at, prioritize finding one equipped with a kitchen/kitchenette and consider preparing some of your meals. Visiting local supermarkets like Superfood, Ling & Sons or Do It Center to purchase fresh ingredients can be a fun and cost-effective way to enjoy meals while saving on dining expenses. You can also stock up on simple breakfast items and snacks. This approach will not only help you economize, but also gives you more time to immerse in exploration, as you won’t need to spend excess time searching for meals.

Pack Your Own Beach Lunch
Maximize your beach time and maintain budget control by bringing your lunch to the shore. Purchase sandwich ingredients and some chips for a hassle-free lunch on the beach. This approach helps you sidestep the need to splurge at the restaurants near the bustling high-rise areas. You could also pack some snacks like fruit, nuts, or granola bars. This simple step can help curb hunger while you enjoy the beach and reduce the need for impromptu pricey snacks at the beach or hotel bar.

Lunch Specials
Many restaurants offer lunch specials that provide the same great taste at a fraction of the dinner price. Take advantage of these offers to relish delectable meals without straining your budget.

Consider Your Drink Choices
Opt for water or non-alcoholic beverages instead of costly cocktails when dining out. This not only cuts down your bill but also keeps you hydrated in the island’s warm climate. You could also consider buying your beverages from a store and perhaps finding a styrofoam cooler to keep them cold. With this approach you can save significantly.

Happy Hour and Specials
Keep an eye out for happy hour deals and specials at bars and restaurants. These often feature discounted drinks and appetizers, allowing you to unwind and socialize without overspending.

Carry a Reusable Water Bottle
Tap water in Aruba is distilled and meets the highest quality standards set by the World Health Organization. Bringing a water bottle helps you avoid purchasing bottled water. In some accommodations, you might even have access to cold water dispensers to refill your bottle.

Transportation

Rent a Car
Taxis in Aruba are government regulated. The fees are set according to your departure and destination points, so the costs can really add up. If you’re opting for a hotel on Palm Beach, a lot is within walking distance. If you’re not staying on the main hotel strip on Palm Beach, a rental car may be the best option for you. If you can rent a car there is no reason to ever take a taxi. Car rentals are conveniently available as you exit the airport, making the decision both practical and budget conscious. Unquestionably, renting a car offers not only affordability but also the invaluable freedom to explore Aruba on your terms.
Activities

Hit the Beach
Indulge in the serene beauty of Aruba’s beaches as a delightful and cost-free way to spend your time on the island. Eagle Beach is Aruba’s most famous beach and it’s easy to spend the day there. Or head to Baby Beach on the other side of the island for another beautiful spot.

Go Snorkeling
Aruba boasts exceptional snorkeling sites. While you could opt for a snorkeling tour, a cost-saving strategy involves packing your own snorkeling gear. Procuring equipment beforehand permits endless underwater explorations at spots like Malmok Beach and Mangel Halto. This approach ensures you can enjoy the marine wonders of Aruba without straining your budget.

Other Low-Cost Activities
Delve into an array of free or low-cost activities during your time in Aruba. Here’s a rundown of options:
• Go beach-hopping to the best beaches in Aruba;
• Visit the Natural Bridge, a geological wonder;
• Tour the Aloe Factory and Museum and gain insights into the art of aloe production;
• Ride the free trolley in Oranjestad for a city tour;
• Hike the Hooiberg Mountain for breathtaking panoramic vistas;
• Engage in a captivating mural hunt in San Nicolas;
• Pay a visit to the serene Alto Vista Chapel;
• See the Fontein or Guadirikiri Cave in Arikok National Park;
• See the Bushiribana Ruins;
• Visit the California Lighthouse for a beautiful view of the coastline.

Bring Your Own Sunscreen
Last but not least, when planning your time in the sun-soaked paradise of Aruba, don’t forget to pack your own (coral reef safe!) sunscreen. By bringing your preferred sunscreen, you not only safeguard your skin from the intense tropical rays but also save money by avoiding the higher prices often charged at tourist spots.


While tales of Aruba’s expenses might initially raise concerns, rest assured that with strategic choices, experiencing Aruba on a budget is entirely achievable. So, pack your essentials and prepare to embrace the island’s charm. Flexibility with your travel dates and thoughtful decisions about indulgences versus cutbacks will pave the way for a wallet-friendly Aruba adventure. Get ready to savor an affordable Aruba vacation that’s well within your grasp!

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One Response

  1. My husband and I will be traveling to Aruba 6/10/24-6/17/24 with two other couples. We will be celebrating my 60th birthday. We all like the party atmosphere and would like to find a condo on Palm Beach with an ocean view. We prefer to have the ability to walk to bars and restaurants. Is that possible?
    We have looked on VRBO & Airbnb, but it’s hard to tell where the fun is. LOL

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