Aruba, located in the Netherlands Antilles, is filled with white sandy beaches, clear water, colorful fish, and picturesque views. Pastel colored Dutch houses juxtaposed against the natural backdrop transport you to a tropical version of Amsterdam. But, like most other Caribbean islands, Aruba is very expensive. This destination is where grandparents and honeymooners go to relax – and the island caters to that end of the tourism spectrum. You’ll pay a premium for hotels, food, and activities in Aruba. However, by eating local food, staying in cheaper guesthouses, and cutting a few other expenses, you can make your trip to paradise a bit more affordable.
Typical Costs Accommodation – Accommodation is extremely expensive in Aruba. Hostels aren’t really an option here. There is only one listed called “Hostel Room Aruba” and beds runs for around 65 AWG per night. A night in a cheap guest guesthouse starts at 90 AWG per night. If you’re feeling fancy, a night in a budget resort hotel will start at 200 AWG. Airbnb is a great resource here. There’e a few shared room in someone’s house available for about 65 AWG a night, and entire apartments can be rented for as little at 90 AWG for 2-4 people per night.
Food – Lunch and casual meals begin around 27 AWG. Though you can find inexpensive restaurants that have 15-20 AWG priced meals, dinner (and drinks) in a moderately priced restaurant will start at 60 AWG per person. Basic groceries for the week (milk, eggs, bread, chicken, fruit, and veggies) will set you back about 100 AWG. When it comes to drinking, a beer in a restaurant/bar costs between 4-7 AWG, and picking up a bottle of wine from the market or store will cost about 30 AWG.
Transportation – The Arubus goes all around the island, and a ticket will cost you around 4 AWG (each way). Taxis start at 10 AWG. If you’re staying a while, think about getting a Smart Card that saves you each trip. You can rent a car for about 90 AWG per day.
Activities – Jet skiing will cost you about 115 AWG for half an hour, and parasailing will be about 105 AWG for 15 minutes. A two tank scuba dive will cost around 160 AWG.
Suggested daily budget – 200 AWG / 110 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)