Aruba, is a small Dutch Caribbean island located a few miles north of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean. Aruba is famous for it’s white-sand beaches, temperate climate and because it’s located just below the hurricane belt, the climate is dry, and they have very little rain. Like most other Caribbean islands, Aruba is expensive.
Aruba Vacation on a Budget
Aruba seems equally popular for couples and honeymooners as it does for families. You could pay a premium for hotels, food, and activities in Aruba. However, by eating local food, staying in cheaper hotels, and cutting a few other expenses, you can save money while you visit paradise and have a Aruba vacation on a budget. Here are 14 tips to vacation in Aruba on a budget.
Travel in the off season
While the weather in Aruba is fairly consistent year-round, they do have an off season. As you can imagine summer is the most expensive time to visit. My first Aruba travel tip is to visit Aruba after the summer season such as September or October.
Stay at a Budget Hotel
Even on Aruba, you’ll find budget hotels. Dorado Eagle Beach Hotel, Sasaki Apartments and the Coconut Inn all offer reasonable rates. Dorado Eagle Beach Hotel is located just a few blocks from Eagle Beach and just outside of the touristy Palm Beach areas. When I visited Aruba we paid $88 per night for our room. The hotel offers 10 rooms and is more like a studio apartment than a hotel room. The room has a kitchenette with refrigerator, sink, mircowave, coffee maker, as well as dishes, cooking utensils and silverware. This brings me to my next tip!
Stay at a Hotel with a Kitchenette
Hotels like Dorado Eagle Beach Hotel or Tropicana Aruba Resort and Casino offer the convenience of a mini kitchen. Besides the cost of accommodations, food can be a major expense. I especially like to have breakfast in my hotel room. Just eating this one meal in the hotel room saves at least $10 per person each day.
Bring your favorite snacks. I bring granola or nut bars and beef jerky to carry in my backpack on daily excursions. I like to bring dried fruit and nuts which can also double for breakfast. I also bring a box of cereal and almond milk (if you aren’t doing carry on). I simply buy the box of almond milk and place it in a large Ziploc bag. I also like to bring chocolate and other sweet treats.
Shop at the Grocery Store
Now that you’ve secured a hotel with a kitchenette, it’s time to go shopping. If you happen to stay at the Tropicana Aruba resort, there is a Super Food grocery store within walking distance. Otherwise, it’s well worth a taxi to head to the store and stock up for your Aruba vacation. This store has everything you could want and quite a nice deli.
Cook some (or all) meals at your hotel
You can save a lot of money if you don’t eat out for every meal. Or for that matter, having the convenience of a refrigerator also allows you to bring home leftovers for a meal or snack.
Bring or Buy Booze
Bring a bottle of liquor or few bottles of wine or beer in your suitcase (if you check your luggage). There are some great Portable Wine Bottle Protector Sleeves that are great for travel. If you bring wine, don’t forget the wine opener. If you don’t bring the booze with you, you can find it at the Super Food grocery store. They have quite a good liquor store within the grocery store.
Bring Booze to the Beach
All the big hotels have bars and waiter service at the beach. If you fancy a drink or two while you are relaxing at one of Aruba’s beautiful white sand beaches and you want to save a lot of money, bring your own cocktails. I saw people with coolers and picnics at many beaches. Do it like the locals and bring ice, a bottle of rum and Coke. It seemed to be the drink of choice for many beach goers.
Most budget hotels do not provide towels for the pool or beach. Bring a beach towel, or if you are tight on space there are a few great brands like Lightload and GO! 100% Organic Bamboo towel, that can be used several times and then tossed. The towels are compressed, so they take minimal packing space.
Happy hour is a great way to save money on both food and drinks. Do a bit of research and find out who is offering the best happy hour deals during your visit.
Rent a car.
Instead of doing a group tour to see the island, rent a car for a day. You can rent a car starting at $40 per day. Tours run about $100 per person. Simple math will tell you that you are saving a lot of money with this Aruba travel tip.
Bring a Water bottle
Every hotel I visited during our trip to Aruba provided fresh, cold water in the lobby. In fact, most hotels offered cold water infused with herbs or fruit. You can fill your water bottle with fresh water daily at your hotel instead of buying bottled water.
Limit Taxi’s or Take a Bus
Taxi’s are a simple way to navigate the island, but it does add up. Much of the tourist areas are within close proximity, so fares are fairly reasonable. Be aware they charge an extra $3.00 per direction on Sunday’s.
Arubus N.V. is the major public transportation of Aruba. Arubus provides public transportation over major areas of the island. The main bus station is right across the street from the Cruise Terminal. The lines that can take you from Oranjestad to the beach and hotel areas are: Line 10, Line 10A, and Line 10B. A single bus trip costs 2.50 florins with your Smartcard or $2.50 U.S. dollars.
Bring Snorkel Gear
Snorkeling is one of the best things to do on a Aruba vacation. You can certainly hop aboard one of they many snorkel cruises, but if you bring your snorkel gear, you can head to any beach on the island and find brightly colored coral, angel fish, clown fish, and even the occasional octopus.
Note: Some hotels offer their guests free use of snorkeling equipment. Check in advance of your Aruba vacation to see if your hotel offers this service.
Those were my top 14 Aruba travel trips for a budget trip to paradise. What are your favorite tips for saving money when you travel? Please share in the comments below.
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