Aruba on a budget, is it possible? Of course it is! While the island might not be designed to cater to budget travelers, it can definitely be done with the tips below. Here is what you need to know to be able to visit Aruba on a budget.
Accommodation in Aruba on a budget
Timing will be important as during low/off season (mid-April to mid-December) hotel rooms can be 20-50% cheaper than in high season. Aruba is more catered to luxury vacations than to backpackers. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find some cheaper options. Below are lots of details on how you can do Aruba on a Budget.
There are only 3 hostels in Aruba, all in the capital, Oranjestad. This means try to book early if you can.
You can get $23 beds in hostels if you are traveling on your own. Click on the name of each to see the booking options for these: Pisa Q, Hostel Room Aruba, Aruba Harmony.
There are over 300 options on Airbnb from houses to Rooms for two people for as little as $35 dollars per night. If you can, look for options with kitchens so you can cook. Normally be cheaper than eating out.
Click here to see a list of options on Airbnb for Aruba.
There are 400 hosts on Couchsurfing in Aruba as of October 2021. As you know Couchsurfing is free, so you can’t beat that price. In addition, even better is the fact that you’d be staying with a local or expat, They can tell you all about Aruba and become a friend for life! Click here to see a list of Couchsurfing hosts in Aruba.
Or if you want to treat yourself, hotels like Holiday Inn Resort Aruba are beyond amazing. This one is right on the beach in the best area to stay in Aruba and can be as $180 USD per night for 1 person, or $240 for two.
Transportation in Aruba on a budget
Keep in mind that the island of Aruba is not very big. It is 20 miles (32 km) long and 6 miles (10 km) across at its widest point. Getting from the northern tip of the island to the south only takes about an hour.
Renting a Car
You can rent a car for $40 a day, and if you get it for a few days the price goes down. For example the compact 4 person cars can go for as little as $186 a week, so that would be $26 dollars per day for the car (excluding the fuel). You can divide that between your group. If you are 4 then it would be around $6.50 excluding fuel, per day per person.
There are many rental places at the airport, like Amigo. You can rent a car when you arrive and drop it off when you are leaving the island which is very convenient.
The island’s Arubus system is reliable and affordable with buses running every 15 minutes from 5:45 a.m. until 6 p.m. Every 40 minutes until 11:30 p.m. Retour cards are good for two trips cost 8.75 Aruban florin (or about $5). Day passes, which cover unlimited travel on all the routes, cost 17.50 florin (less than $10). The bus covers the major resort areas and downtown, as well as Baby Beach.
I would advise against taking taxis as they are very expensive. Even the shortest rides are around $25 USD,
and way more if you want to go from one side of the island to the other.
Recommended Activities in Aruba on a Budget
If you can, check out all the beaches! The best ones are considered to be:
-Eagle Beach (great for sunsets)
2. San Nicolaas
The second biggest city on the island, which feels more like a vibrant neighborhood. It is near the refinery and the city had died out after the refinery closed. That is until both local and international street artists were invited to paint murals and it is now a must-see place on the island. It feels like the most authentic place on the island and it is like an open-air gallery or museum, and free.
Explore the capital, Oranjestad, by hopping on and off the free trolleys or explore by foot. Admire the spectacular Dutch architecture with bright pastel colors and explore downtown Aruba, for free.
4. Arikok National Park
While this one isn’t free, it’s worth it! Arikok National Park is up there with the beaches as the most beautiful things on the island. Check out the natural pools and caves as they are impressive. At $11 USD to visit the park, it is definitely worth it.
5. National Archeological Museum
Get some culture! Check out this museum to learn more about the first inhabitants and how Aruba has changed throughout the years. It is full of informative displays, photos and best of all, it is free. Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The NAMA is located at Schelpstraat 42 in downtown Oranjestad.
Food in Aruba on a Budget
While there are tons of nice and expensive restaurants, there are also a good deal of fast-food options.
A non-expensive dish in restaurants is around $15 USD. However, you can do even cheaper. For example, you can pay as little as $5 for breakfast at the self serve eatery Jacks inside the SuperFood Supermarket. And you can pay $7.50 for lunch and dinner options. For an example of having all 3 meals eating out for $20 like on this link from June 2021, click here.
TIP: Try something local like a Pastechi, it is one of the official local snacks. They are tasty and cheap!
And probably even cheaper would be to stay at an Airbnb or hostel with a kitchen. That way you can buy groceries and prepare your own food. Also you can make sandwiches or take food to you to the beaches.
If you want to treat yourself to delicious food, we had the pleasure of trying Papillon, and it was delicious!
In Conclusion, Can you visit Aruba on a Budget?
Aruba on a budget may sound impossible to some, but it can be done! You can spend as little as $50 a day. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it can definitely be done. $50 might not sound cheap for budget travelers, but Aruba is well worth it! Its crystal clear waters and white sand beaches are legendary!
Here is a Breakdown of how you can do Aruba on a Budget by category:
-Accommodation: $25 per person per night (if 2 people are sharing a room on Airbnb or 1 person bed in a dorm)
-Transportation: $5-20 per person per day (depending on how much you move around and how many people are in your group if you rent a car)
-Food: $20-$45 per person for food.
Activities: $0-11 If you don´t want to do the many recommended free activities, “splurge” for the National Park.