Exploring Aruba on a Budget
Exploring Aruba on a Budget
Aruba, also know as “One Happy Island”, is a tiny Dutch Caribbean Island off the coast of Venezuela. Even though it’s tiny, it can cost a pretty penny to visit. Aruba is a desert island known for growing aloe vera plants and cacti (or cactuses). These are Aruba’s only sustainable plants due to lack of rainfall. In fact, Aruba averages less than 20 inches of rain a year. There is also little manufacturing of products on the island. Therefore, most products, besides fish and seafood, are shipped to the island (which is costly). This cost is reflected in Aruba’s prices. However, I have some tips for making a vacation to Aruba a bit more affordable.
Our Trip (Sept. 29-Oct. 6, 2017):
My husband and I just returned from our first trip to Aruba. We stayed a full week in the family friendly Renaissance Aruba Resort in Oranjestad. This vacation came at a much-needed time thanks to my aunt who shared one of her timeshare weeks with us. Talk about a money saver! Even so, we continued to find other ways to save money, and if we went back again, we would be even better at it! Check out my tips for exploring Aruba on a budget:
Budget saving tips:
- Travel off-season – Visit Aruba during the off-season (April-November). Anytime is a great time to visit Aruba as it maintains a fairly constant temperature of 82°F (28°C) and it is located outside the hurricane belt.
- Skip the All-Inclusive – All-Inclusive doesn’t mean it’s cheaper. Often the cost is more than if you paid for everything separately and if you are like me, I can’t eat or drink my money’s worth.
- Research flights – When I booked our flights to Aruba, I used Expedia to find the best rates. I like Expedia because it searches all airlines and it will match you with the best prices, even if it means two different airlines. Remember, flights with short layovers can save you a lot of money. Be sure to check out JetBlue Airlines.
- Book a hotel with a kitchenette – A small kitchenette in your hotel room can save you from eating out every meal. A basic refrigerator and microwave are all you need, unless you want to do some cooking. During our recent stay in Aruba, my husband and I went to the local supermarket and bought cereal and milk for breakfast and lunch meat, cheese, bread, and some snacks for lunch. Dinner was at a restaurant, which we chose wisely.
- Pack food – Bring snacks from home. As stated above, everything is expensive on the island. My husband and I were in sticker shock the first time we entered the local supermarket. Save yourself some dinero by packing your favorite snacks.
- Bring a water bottle – The water on the island is completely safe to drink straight from the tap. Bring a water bottle from home or purchase a couple of disposable bottles to keep refilling. You’d be surprised how much a case of water costs at the local supermarket!
- Enjoy Happy Hour – Many restaurants and bars offer happy hour specials for both drinks and food. We found many places that offered 1/2 off drinks (some multiple times a day) and early bird dinner specials. If you enjoy adult beverages, be sure to find happy hour!
- Choose restaurants wisely – Spend some time researching restaurants before your trip. I used Tripadvisor to search affordable highly rated restaurants. I like that Tripadvisor categorizes restaurants by their ratings, types of food, price, and more. As a budget friendly traveler, I looked at the mid-priced and cheap eats.
- Book activities online before your trip – If you are planning on any paid activities, you might save money by booking them in advance. My husband and I took a jeep tour through ABC Tours Aruba and we saved 10% by booking 7 days in advance. Although tours can be expensive, they are sometimes worth the price. Be sure to check out online reviews before booking any activity. The jeep tour with ABC comes highly recommended from this cheapskate :).
- Enjoy nature – Aruba is a great place for those who like to relax and enjoy nature. There are plenty of free things to do in Aruba. Relax on the beach, swim in the Caribbean Sea, go for a hike, photograph birds and iguanas, or watch the sunrise and/or sunset. You will never run out of natural beauty when it comes to Aruba!