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How to Plan an Aruba Vacation on a Budget in 2023

Is Aruba expensive? Like most other Caribbean islands, Aruba is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. The good news is I have a few secrets to help you plan an Aruba vacation on a budget. Save money while you visit paradise! 

Aruba is a small Dutch Caribbean island located a few miles north of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean.  Aruba is famous for its white-sand beaches, and temperate climate. Since Aruba is located just below the hurricane belt, the climate is dry, and they have very little rain.

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Aruba Vacation

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, if you eat local food, stay in cheaper hotels, and cut a few other expenses, you can save money while you visit paradise and have an Aruba vacation on a budget.

16 tips to have a Great Vacation in Aruba on a Budget in 2023

Planning a trip to Aruba in 2022? Worried because you have heard Aruba is expensive? It doesn’t have to be! When vacationing in popular destinations like Aruba or other Caribbean Islands, an important thing to understand is that it is possible to have a tropical vacation and not spend a fortune.  

Below are my top tips to have an awesome vacation in Aruba on a budget. These are tips based on my trip to Aruba with my son for summer vacation. These are great budget travel tips and I guarantee them!

1. Travel to Aruba 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 and the winter holiday seasons are the most expensive time to visit. My first Aruba travel tip is to visit Aruba outside of the high season.

Avoid the higher prices of the busy season, by visiting in September or October. These tend to be great months for budget travelers to vacation in Aruba and the best way to save money on everything from hotels to flights and tourist attractions.

2. Stay at a Budget Hotel

Dorado Eagle Beach Hotel in Aruba

Look for budget lodging rather than inclusive resorts or luxury resorts. 

Even in 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 a refrigerator, sink, microwave, coffee maker, as well as dishes, cooking utensils, and silverware.

This brings me to my next tip!

3. Stay at a Hotel with a Kitchenette

Tropicana aruba resort and casino
Tropicana Aruba resort and casino

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.

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.

4. Pack Food in Your Luggage 

pack food for travel

Bring your favorite snacks in your luggage. I bring granola or nut bars and beef jerky to carry in my backpack on daily excursions. I also like to bring dried fruit and nuts which can also double for breakfast.

When I am vacationing on a budget, I’ll bring a box of cereal and almond milk (if you aren’t doing carry-on). I simply buy a box of almond milk and place it in a large Ziploc bag. I also like to bring chocolate and other sweet treats.

5. Shop at the Grocery Store

Super Food Aruba

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. Of course, the best time to do a grocery shop is early in the vacation, as it will save you the most money. 

6. Eat at Local Restaurants

Instead of heading to fancy restaurants, do some research and find out where the locals eat. These local restaurants tend to be much cheaper than restaurants in the tourist zones or in hotels. As well as saving money, you’ll also have the chance to same true local cuisine. Start at Gasparito Traditional Aruban Restaurant; a small family-run Aruban Restaurant that has been serving local traditional Aruban food on the island of Aruba since 1989. 

7. Bring or Buy Booze

Bring a bottle of liquor or a 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.

8. 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 of the beautiful 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 beachgoers.

9. Beach Towels

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 and a great place to find them is on Amazon.

10. Explore the Best Happy Hour in Aruba

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. One of my favorites is Pirate’s Nest Restaurant located on Manchebo Beach at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. They have a live steel-drum and happy hour from 4-6 p.m. daily.

11. Rent a car in Aruba

Instead of doing a group tour to see the small island of Aruba, 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 rental car travel tip.

12. 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.

13. Limit Taxi’s or Take a Bus

Taxies 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 Sundays.

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.

14. Bring Snorkel Gear

snorkeling in Aruba

Snorkeling is one of the best things to do on an Aruba vacation. You can certainly hop aboard one of the many snorkel cruises, but if you bring your snorkel gear, you can head to any beach on the island and find brightly colored coral, angelfish, clownfish, 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.

15. Aruban Florin Vs. US Dollars

Aruba’s currency is the florin, but the US dollar is widely accepted. You can get dollars or florins at most ATM’s or banks on the island. Your best bet, is to use the Airport ATM when you arrive. You don’t save money by using Florin over dollars. Of course, make sure to keep an eye on any bank or ATM service charge. 

16. Cheap Flights to Aruba

The cheapest way to visit Aruba is from Florida or the East Coast of the United States. If you live on the West Coast of the United States, you’ll most likely have a layover when flying to the Caribbean.

As I said above, if you can incorporate a trip to Aruba during a visit to Florida you’ll find many direct flights. When I visited, we flew Jet Blue, with a layover in Fort Lauderdale.

Jet Blue is one of my favorite budget airlines. A great first step is to search for cheap flights by with Expedia.

Those were my top 16 Aruba travel trips for a budget trip to paradise. 

Save Big on Your Dream Trip to the Happy Island Aruba

Find the Best Prices on the Top Tours in Aruba

Read Reviews of the Best Hotels in Aruba on TripAdvisor 

If you liked this article about an Aruba Vacation on a budget, you’ll love 52 Top Tips For Budget Travel.

What are your favorite tips for saving money when you travel? Please share in the comments below.

Top Tours in Aruba


Where To Stay In Aruba

During my trip to Aruba, I stayed at four hotels ranging from budget to luxury so I could write an Aruba Hotel Guide. If you’re wondering where to stay in Aruba below are my suggestions. Also, remember your best bet for finding a good hotel rate, is to book in advance. Average price per room tends to go up when you book closer to the arrival date. much money 

Budget Accommodation

Dorado Eagle Beach Hotel – Run by a local family, the Dorado Eagle feels more like a motel than a hotel. It has 10 rooms that are similar to a studio apartment. The room has a kitchenette with a refrigerator, sink, microwave, coffee maker, as well as dishes, cooking utensils and silverware.

Major pluses were wifi in the room and it was only a two-block walk to Eagle Beach.

Cost: Rates will vary by season, but when I visited Aruba we paid $40 per night for our room. To check current rates, I suggest visiting Hotels.com.

Mid-Range Accommodation

Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino – Tropicana is more than a hotel but, not quite a resort.  This a perfect if you are on a budget, but want a bit more than a basic hotel.

The rooms are huge, in fact, they are more like suites. A one-bedroom also includes a kitchen and separate living area. Besides the size of the rooms, the huge feature they offer is their waterslide. It is the best on the island.
To check current hotel rates for the Tropicana Aruba Resort, I suggest visiting Hotels.com.

Luxury Accommodation

Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino – The 357-room property is located in Palm Beach and directly on the sand. The grounds are stunning with rivers, tiny waterfalls, geese swimming in a freshwater lagoon, and parrots in ornate cages around the property.

Not to mention several pools including a three-tier pool with a waterfall, whirlpools tucked away in little alcoves, and a great waterslide.

To check current hotel rates for the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, I suggest visiting Hotels.com

Check latest prices for Aruba hotels on Hotels.com 
Read reviews for Aruba hotels on TripAdvisor

Arrange your travel insurance

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance here.

Read More About Aruba

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Have any questions about Aruba? Want to know more about cheap holidays to Aruba? Leave me a message in the comments below!

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  1. Such an amazing list of tips 🙂
    Completely agree with shopping at local grocery store. I personally do it a lot and it’s definitely one of the best way to experience new culture. And plus, that normally saves me plenty of money.

  2. These are great tips! Really like the idea of bringing your own ice to cool down your drinks. I might go to Aruba as lately I heard a lot of good things about the place.

  3. I never thought I could afford to visit Aruba, it always looks like such a luxurious, exotic destination so this post really blew me away. I’m really surprised that accommodation & car rental is so affordable. Food & drink can really smash a budget, your tips are so helpful & can be applied to travelling in general. Thanks, I’m so happy I came across your blog 🙂

    1. You can definitely afford Aruba on a budget. I’ve been the past four years & I leave next week for trip number five. I stay in AirBnB’s on the island, buy groceries, and limit eating out to once a day- usually dinner with friends who live on the island. Definitely plan your trip for late August through October when it’s low season. Also, ask the locals for recommendations for good local places to eat. They won’t steer you wrong either. Some of the best food is at little roadside stands or hole in the wall places. I spend most of my time on the beach, just relaxing which only costs me gas money & food/drinks I bring from the groceries I buy. Most AirBnB’s will provide a cooler for you to use. Just buy a bag of ice, which you can usually refreeze at the end of the day & use multiple times. Enjoy the one happy island! You’ll fall in love with the people, the island, and the laid back vibe of the island.

  4. I love these ideas and the great thing is they can be used almost anywhere not just Aruba. Thanks for the tips and I’m checking out the towels. We usually end up buying towels there and then taking them home.

    1. Thanks Bob! Appreciate the comment. I agree about the hotel. I rarely spend much time, unless I’m at a resort. It’s a great way to stick to a budget.

  5. Wow Alexa, looks like a great place to spend your summer holidays. very good post with useful tips. During my Europe travel, we used to do the same thing, great way to manage your budget.

  6. We tried to take the bus once in Aruba and we missed the hourly bus by seconds! Such a bummer. Hitting up happy hour definitely saved us some cash though!

    1. I didn’t do buses when I visited, but that would be a great way to save money. The fact that most buses didn’t have a ‘bus stop’ worried me. We did a few taxi’s, but would probably Uber next time I visit.

  7. Alexa, if you cut out 7 & 8 (booze) altogether, you really save money, lol. A well-known NYC tour guide once said: “to learn another culture, shop at their stores.” With that said, I usually don’t bring much food. Btw, “No Rain” is a Blind Melon song!

    1. Hey Brian, Well #7 & #8 aren’t usually cut from my budget entirely, but good point! I agree about shopping locally — but depending on the location that can be spendy too. Aruba, though was reasonable. Oh and thanks for the Blind Melon trivia!

  8. Aruba looks like a perfect place to get away and relax. It has the Caribbean atmosphere about it. The fact that Aruba can be done on a budget is great news. Great tips and pointers towards this end.

  9. Great tips for saving money in Aruba and on vacation in general! I always prefer to stay at a hotel with a kitchenette. Although I don’t usualy cook, I like to shop at local supermarkets plus I pack snacks and energy bars from home.

  10. Great tips for saving money in Aruba and on vacation in general! I always prefer to stay at a hotel with a kitchenette. Although I don’t usually cook, I like to shop at local supermarkets plus I pack snacks and energy bars from home.

    1. Hi Patti. I don’t usually cook either, but love have the kitchen for an easy breakfast and saving leftovers. Also, nice to make sandwiches or something simple for lunch.

  11. Great tips. I liked the food you packed – I’m a big chocolate and nuts fan too 🙂 And yes, taking one’s favorite snacks saves a lot of money on a vacation. Thanks for sharing a useful post!

  12. Great info! We are tracking to Aruba in July! At the Tropicana, do the rooms have a fridge? Also do they have pans, plates, utensils and such? Also they mentioned a washer and dryer in the room, is this right? Is it included or is it coin operated? Thanks In Advance!

    1. Hi Rachel! The Tropicana has a full sized fridge. They also have a microwave and stove. There were plates and utensils, but I honestly don’t remember if they had pans. Let me look at my photo bank to see if I took a photo of the inside of the cupboard. Our room did not have a washer and dryer but they were working on upgrading some rooms when I was there. I bet the new rooms might. Otherwise the washer and dryer must have been located in a dedicated room and I’m not sure if it was coin operated or not.

  13. Just got back from Aruba! It is by far the most beautiful and safe island that we have ever vacationed to, as a family! We ❤️ Aruba and will be back soon!

  14. Booze is very marked up in Aruba. (The locals tell me that is is due to high taxes on the island.) One way around this regardless of whether you checked a bag or not is buy duty free liquor in the airport they will allow a plane side check and it’s much less expensive.

  15. Great post. We recently took our family to Aruba on the cheap. I think you added a few tips that we might have missed.

  16. Hi! I loved your post – do you have links to the car rental that was so affordable? Thanks!

  17. I have read not to go to Aruba in September as it’s hot and no breezes then as all the lovely breezes are sucked out to the rest of the Caribbean for the hurricanes. You also find more mosquitoes at that time.

    I read that mid April to October is the cheaper “off season” time to go since most northerners like to go when they can escape winter at home, from December to March.

    Would you recommend bringing your bicycle? With all the Dutch influence there, I was hoping bringing or renting was a good option for transportation on the island. If not, with car rentals, are there any strange rules if the road or traffic issues to be aware of?

    Thanks for the write up! I’m glad to look beyond the big resorts and see other’s takes on the “explore” mindset!

  18. For some people it is very expensive or complicated to go to Aruba, but I tell them it’s really worth it! If you go there I recommend you stay at Azure Beach Residences (www.azure-aruba.com), it’s a beautiful place, something expensive, but it will make your vacations unforgettable!

  19. The Holiday Inn on Palm Beach is a great place to stay. You can get a room for $129 a night. A lot of great restaurants are close by. BYOB or pick up a bottle at the airport on the way to hotel to save money. Bring powdered drink mixes for a cheap mixer. Bring snacks to save on a few meals.Also bring a box of baggies, great to store leftovers and extras off a buffet.

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