I'm about to declare an obvious probably, but before you continue reading I still have to make this premise: Aruba is not a cheap destination.
The Divi Divi, the symbolic tree of Aruba!
Aruba is not an island for backpackers or for the very young on a budget and I don't think there is a way to be able to stay on the island with only a few euros available.
But that Aruba is not cheap does not mean that it has to be very expensive: traveling to Aruba low cost it is possible, or at least, whether it is expensive or not depends only on you and the way you travel.
Contrary to what one might think (or what someone said!) Aruba does not offer only and exclusively very expensive resorts, 5-star hotels and restaurants at Gambero Rosso, quite the contrary.
The choice of cheap accommodation (but with high standards) is there, just as you can find places to dine without spending a fortune.
If you travel in low season (i.e. the one that does not coincide with the Americans' holidays) you can find prices even lower than 30% and if you already know what to do on the island book everything online first because often the prices are discounted compared to the cost they have locally.
Tip: take out travel insurance because medical care is very expensive in Aruba and insurance can save you any unpleasant surprises!
Where to sleep
Palm Beach is the so-called area of high-rise hotels: here there are many hotels and they are very expensive
While luxury accommodations abound in Aruba, the same cannot be said of hostels.
In fact, on the whole island there are only 3 hostels, they are all located in Oranjestad (the capital) and cannot really be called "cheap".
Just 10 minutes from the beach, theHostel Room Aruba is the most popular hostel in Aruba! They also have great reviews and is the first choice for solo travelers.
Price: From $ 35 per night. See prices and availability here.
Hostel Track Q it is only 5 minutes from the beach and the best thing is that it offers a kitchen, where you can cook your own meals and therefore save on those too.
Price: From $ 25 per night. See prices and availability here.
Aruba Harmony Hostel it is only 10 minutes from the beach and offers a large swimming pool for those who do not want to go to the beach.
The hostel also offers bike rental: Aruba is a more or less flat island and cycling is a great choice even if the sun is really strong so at certain times it is impossible to think about pedaling!
On Airbnb in Aruba you will find a wide choice of accommodations at a very affordable price: if you are more than one person, this is undoubtedly the best choice.
Vistalmar Apartment, my choice!
My choice: Vistalmar Apartments!
I would say that I was very lucky to find this apartment in Aruba which for two people cost us around 300 euros for the week (150 euros each).
I Vistalmar Apartments there are two small houses with 4 apartments each, all with veranda and terrace, parking for the car, practically facing the sea (just cross the road!) and a few steps from the international airport!
All the apartments (I asked Frendsel, the owner to let me see them, precisely because I had already intended to write about them) are spacious and bright with living room and kitchen, bedroom, a very large bathroom and terrace or veranda where to eat.
The veranda of one of the ground floor apartments, with a hammock and surrounded by flowers!
Frendsel is a very kind and always smiling person. He was super cute with us, advising us what to do and see, which beaches we absolutely shouldn't miss and he even gave us the name of some good and cheap restaurants to go to.
He booked the car directly for us, making us also get a great price!
The bedrooms at the Vistalmar all have ceiling fans, large closets and televisions.
Our room: all the rooms of the Vistalmar apartment are bright and equipped with all comforts
The bathrooms are large, with bath and shower and equipped with soft towels.
The Vistalmar apartments also have a private deck for guests directly on the Caribbean sea and located across the street.
The vistalmar apartment has a private dock dedicated only to its guests
There are also two restaurants within walking distance.
The …. it is a little more expensive, but the Yacht Club (closed on Mondays) is a fantastic choice for dining: the prices on the menu are in florins and the abundant and exquisite fish dishes are much cheaper than elsewhere, despite being a restaurant very nice.
Vistalmar apartments are without a doubt a great choice! You can book either on their website, both who knows booking o who knows Airbnb!
Just find someone with positive references, send an email and ask if they can accommodate you on their sofa! I personally do not love couchsurfing for the simple reason that often those who live are at home and it really seems to disturb their quiet or invade their private space.
Many, on the other hand, love this way of traveling because they say it allows you to make local friends right away, and because it doesn't cost.
So if you are on a tight budget and are feeling brave, this is the way to go!
Where to eat
Have you ever tried pastechi? And then you have to come and eat it at the Pastechi House, good and cheap! Yummie!
One thing that there is no shortage in Aruba is the restaurants and cafes! While many restaurants are terribly expensive and even a little ugly, there are other cheaper choices, just move outside the more touristy area and resorts.
If you have a car you can go and eat at the one evening pirate, one of the most famous places on the island located in Savaneta: you only eat the catch of the day so you won't always find everything, accompanied by fries, plantains or onions.
If, on the other hand, you don't have a car and therefore getting around is more complicated in the Marketplace area of Oranjestad the restaurants are very expensive, but there is a small place, The Dutch Pancakehouse which has a huge choice of both sweet and savory pancakes.
If, on the other hand, you have the hotel in the north, near Palm Beach, try the Pelican Nest, (which is located on the Palm Pier) and is much loved by both tourists and locals, it offers a typical cuisine of fresh fish, shrimp and lobster. The atmosphere is very relaxed, the staff are friendly and the sunsets are exceptional. A must try!
One of my favorite places: the Pelican Nest. Also famous among the locals, the fish is always very fresh and the atmosphere, well you can see it from the photo!
If you don't feel like fish, try the pastechi al Huchada (4 328, Santa Cruz) or to the Pastechi House (Caya GF Betico Croes 42).
Find others cheap restaurants on the Aruba Restaurants site.
A trick: ask the locals and eat where they eat.
If you want to save money and are in the apartment, you can cook your own meals and make yourself a sandwich for midday. Oranjestad is full of small and cheap Chinese supermarkets, but avoid the more expensive ones in the center by moving to the suburbs.
Hint: theAruba water it is among the best waters that can be found. Avoid buying expensive bottles and drink the one from the tap!
Some of the watersports like surfing and sailing can be quite expensive,
so it depends on how much money you want to spend.
Remember that all beaches (even those on which the resorts have stretched their tentacles) are free and free!
Don't miss my post on best beaches in Aruba!
Snorkelling doesn't cost (bring your own equipment), neither swim nor sunbathe.
Consiglio: if you don't have a car and you want to do something really local at a more than fair price, contact my friends Alex and Irina of Tango Barefoot on their Facebook page: they organize a lot of activities and will be happy to take you not only to dance tango, but also to snorkel or have dinner out!
Me and my friend Irina who lives in Aruba: if you come here you have to try the coconut
In most of the beaches you will also find palapas or trees under which to spread the towel without having to rent a sunbed and umbrella (not in Palm Beach where we spent 35 dollars for an umbrella!)
Another activity you can do is visit theArikok National Park where many hiking trails wind through the cacti and can be visited without having to hire a guide or transport.
If you have children you just can't miss another place with a free visit, the Donkeys Sanctuary. Before the motor vehicles in Aruba people moved with donkeys, then with the advent of cars the donkeys were abandoned. This place was created to be able to protect and care for them and today it hosts about 150 tender donkeys.
How to get around
Getting around Aruba is quite easy both by rental car and by public transport.
Le rental car they are expensive, but thanks to Frendsel from Vistalmar Apartment we got it for 35 USD a day. If you are not alone, renting a car is definitely the best thing: divide the cost, move more easily and get where you want when you want.
Apart from in the center of Oranjestad where parking is paid from 9 am to 15 pm, throughout the rest of the island i parking spaces are free!
I By public transport they are there and they go practically from north to south of the island: the main station is located in Oranjestad.
The main company, Arubus NV, is managed directly by the Aruba government.
The price of tickets varies according to your final destination: from $ 5 (round trip, therefore two trips) up to $ 10 for a day ticket with unlimited travel. Find more information on the Arubus website.
If you want to travel to Aruba without breaking the bank, i taxis are absolutely to be avoided: a short taxi ride of less than 5 minutes costs around $ 15.
Do you have other tips for traveling to Aruba low cost? Leave them in the comments!