Is Aruba Expensive to Vacation? The Ultimate Guide

Is Aruba Expensive to Vacation? The Ultimate Guide

Aerial view of a sandy peninsula with turquoise waters surrounding it and a village nearby.

Are you wondering if Aruba is (too) expensive? Then I got you covered!

Aruba is a beautiful island in the Dutch Caribbean. Over the last few years, Aruba has acquired a reputation for being overpriced and overrated. But is that true?

The answer is: kind of! You’ll definitely pay more in Aruba than you would in neighboring islands. But some things are definitely of a higher quality standard for sure.

Naturally, not everyone has the same needs and wishes for a vacation. So in this post, we’ll discuss the price level in Aruba, and talk about some cheaper alternatives.

Let’s get to it.

Is Aruba Expensive to Vacation? Quick Answer

If you are just here for a quick answer, look no further. Yes, Aruba is very expensive.

Of course, it also depends on what you compare it with and where you come from. We have vacationed in a lot of different places in the Caribbean and Europe, and we experienced Aruba as very expensive. Since we are from Europe, it felt shocking to us.

By American standards, prices are elevated, but not ridiculously overpriced. 20 % tips are expected in most restaurants. This won’t feel shocking to Americans, but it did to us.

If you are looking for a budget vacation destination – Aruba is not it. We spent 10 days in Aruba (5 days resort, 5 days Airbnb) and it cost us about USD 3.500 without flights.

Wide aerial shot of a beach and adjacent neighborhoods with blue coastal waters and clear skies

Average Prices in Aruba

🏨 All-Inclusive Resort on Palm Beach: around 700 USD per night

🛏 Smaller Airbnb in Savaneta: around USD 100 per night

🦑 Dinner at Pure Ocean for two: between 200 and 300 USD (appetizer/main/dessert/wine)

🐬 Snorkel Tours (4 hours): around 80 USD per person

🥾 Adventure Tour (full day): around 150 USD per person

🦩 Flamingo Beach Day Pass: between 125 USD and 300 USD per person

🚗 Rental Car: between 50 USD and 100 USD per day

Can You Budget-Travel in Aruba?

Honestly, I don’t think it is wise to go to Aruba on a tight budget. Most of the nice things on the island are pricey, and you’ll definitely miss out if you don’t bring enough money.

Aruba is mostly famous for its flamingos, stunning resorts, beachfront restaurants, and awesome nightlife. All of these things are pretty pricey, so you won’t have a good time without money.

You can try to save money by getting an Airbnb and preparing your own food. There are also plenty of free activities in Aruba. Keep in mind that there is only one proper grocery store on the island, and it is still pretty expensive.

You’ll also need a rental car if you want to see stuff on the island. Public transportation systems in the Caribbean are not awesome, so I wouldn’t rely on them. Also, they don’t bring you to any of the hidden gems.

A good option is to split your time on the island between a pricey resort and a cute rental house. This way you get to experience the awesome things, without breaking the bank.

So while it is possible to go to Aruba on a budget, I would not recommend it.

Is Aruba Overrated?

Since Aruba is so expensive, a lot of people ask me if the island is overrated. And the answer is: no!

If money is no object, I would go back to Aruba in a heartbeat. The island is beautiful, and extremely safe (especially for Caribbean standards) and the people there are friendly.

Aruba is the only place in the Caribbean where you can actually interact with the flamingos. You can also see them in Curacao or Bonaire, but in Aruba you can really get up close with them.

Most people love Aruba because you get American service quality with Caribbean flair. Others might find it a bit too touristy or expensive.

Personally, we loved the atmosphere and would not say that Aruba is overrated, despite the steep prices.

Aerial view of a coastal area with clear blue waters, sandy beaches, and sparse greenery Baby Beach in Aruba.

Why is Everything in Aruba so Expensive?

Aruba is a small island in the Caribbean, and many things need to be imported, like food, clothes, and even building materials. Because of this, the cost of living is higher.

Also, since it’s a popular tourist destination, businesses often raise prices to make more money from visitors.

Plus, there are taxes and other expenses that add up. Aruba is partially affiliated with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This foreign relationship impacts the price level in Aruba quite a bit.

Aruba is very safe, and the infrastructure is done well. That can only be achieved by raising prices on the island.

Lastly, Aruba is mostly visited by Americans. This means the service quality in Aruba is quite good. But it also means that a 20 % tip on everything is expected.

So, all these factors together make stuff more expensive in Aruba compared to some other places.

Aerial view of a sandy peninsula with turquoise waters surrounding it and a village nearby.

How Much Does a Meal Cost in Aruba?

How much a meal costs in Aruba depends a lot on where you eat. Especially at popular beachfront restaurants, you’ll pay extra just for the location.

Important: most restaurants add a 15 % service charge, and an additional tip of 20 % is expected as well. keep that in mind when comparing restaurant prices.

Beachfront Restaurant

A typical meal at a nice beachfront restaurant will cost (without service charge and tip):

  • Appetizer USD 15
  • Entree USD 40 – 60
  • Dessert USD 12
  • Cocktail USD 15
  • Bottle Wine for USD 60

Off the Beaten Track Restaurant

There are quite a few good restaurants in Aruba that are not as pricey. Keep in mind that the service charge and tip are still expected.

One of our favorite low-key restaurants in Aruba is located in Savaneta, and it is called Marina Pirata.

A typical meal there costs:

  • Appetizer 12 USD
  • Entree 25 USD
  • Dessert 10 USD

Are Day Trips in Aruba Expensive?

Yes, day trips and excursions in Aruba are pretty expensive.

The cheapest adventures in Aruba are 4-hour-long snorkel tours with around 80 USD per person.

Slightly more expensive are full-day trips, costing 120 USD and up.

One of the most expensive day trips in Aruba is going to Renaissance Island, to visit the flamingos. You’ll have to pay at least USD 125 per person for a day pass (unless you stay at the Renaissance Hotel). If you can’t get a day pass, you can buy a Spa Cove package, which is more than USD 300.

Is Shopping in Aruba Expensive?

Yes, shopping in Aruba is very expensive.

Aruba has some of the best shopping experiences to offer – with awesome brands and shops all over Oranjestad. You can get most designer brands on the island.

But they are also pretty expensive, especially compared to the US.

From our shopping tour, I know that most products were about 20 % more expensive than in the United States.

Is it Cheaper to Go To Aruba or the Bahamas?

Whether Aruba or Bahmas is cheaper depends on a few factors like where you’re traveling from, the time of year, and your travel preferences.

Generally, the Bahamas might have a bit more variety in terms of accommodation and activities, which can cater to different budgets.

Aruba often has more direct flight options from the US, which can sometimes make it cheaper to get there.

The price level is pretty similar on the islands. Overall, it’s best to compare flight and accommodation prices for your specific travel dates. This way, you’ll see which destination works out to be more cost-effective for you.

drone shot of a nice hotel in the bahamas

Is it Cheaper to Go to Aruba or Turks and Caicos?

Generally, Aruba tends to be more budget-friendly than Turks and Caicos.

Accommodation options in Aruba can be more varied, including more budget-friendly hotels and guesthouses, while Turks and Caicos is known for its luxury resorts which can be pricier. Overall, the difference is not too big – since Aruba is already pretty expensive as well.

Additionally, dining and activity costs in Aruba may be lower compared to Turks and Caicos due to a wider range of options catering to different budgets.

Relaxing hammock set up on a rocky beach with a vibrant blue ocean and a yacht in the background. Renaissance island is one of the most expensive day trips in Aruba on vacation.

Which Is More Expensive Aruba or Hawaii?

Hawaii is generally more expensive than Aruba.

Accommodation prices in Hawaii can be significantly higher, especially in popular tourist areas like Waikiki or Maui. Additionally, dining out and groceries tend to be pricier in Hawaii compared to Aruba.

While both destinations offer beautiful beaches and outdoor activities, Hawaii’s popularity as a tourist destination also means that certain activities and attractions may come with a higher price tag.

However, prices can vary depending on the specific island in Hawaii and the time of year, It’s advisable to compare prices and consider your budget carefully when planning a trip to either destination – since neither of them is very cheap.

Sunset view from a beachside bar, with hanging lights and a silhouette of a sailboat in the distance. Dining out in Aruba is very expensive.

Which Are The Most Expensive Months to Vacation in Aruba?

The three most expensive months to visit Aruba are December, January, and February.

This period aligns with the island’s peak tourist season. Many travelers seek refuge from colder climates.

During these months, demand for accommodations, flights, and activities is at its highest. Additionally, many holiday festivities and special events take place during December, further driving up costs. If you have the money, December is a beautiful month to visit though – I always love the charming Christmas decorations.

January and February also see an influx of visitors escaping winter weather, particularly from North America and Europe, contributing to the higher prices.

Which Are The Cheapest Months to Go to Aruba?

The three cheapest months to visit Aruba are typically September, October, and November.

During these months, Aruba has its off-peak season, where everything is a lot cheaper.

September, October, and November also coincide with the hurricane season in the Caribbean. This can deter some visitors – even though Aruba is located outside the hurricane belt.

While these months may see slightly warmer temperatures and a higher chance of rain, they still offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy Aruba. We visited in September and did not have any issues with the rain.

Stunning beach in Aruba, without tourists. the water is crystal clear, and the picture is taken with a dron

Alternatives to Aruba

If Aruba is too expensive for you, I got good news. Aruba has to very similar sister islands, Bonaire and Curacao, that are just as charming – and much cheaper to visit.

They have a similar tropical climate and all three islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and have a strong Dutch influence in their culture.

All three ABC islands are home to cute flamingos, colorful colonial-style buildings, and stunning marine life.

Bonaire is the cheapest of all three ABC islands, followed by Curacao. Aruba is by far the most expensive!

For a more detailed review: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao – how to choose the ideal destination

Conclusion: Is Aruba Expensive To Vacation?

To sum it up: yes, Aruba is an expensive place to vacation. It is important to know, that travelers from the USA don’t experience Aruba as too expensive (because the price level is pretty similar), unlike visitors from Europe.

Day trips, hotels, and fancy dinners are definitely overpriced – and contribute to Aruba’s vacation as a luxury travel destination.

You can try going to Aruba in the off-peak season (September, October, and November) to save some bucks. Overall, I would not recommend going to Aruba if you don’t have a bigger budget. The place is just not very budget-friendly.

If you need more information about Aruba, keep on reading:

🇦🇼 One day in Aruba from cruise ship perfect itinerary

🇦🇼 6 amazing most instagrammable places in Aruba

🇦🇼 10 days in Aruba – the perfect tropical vacation

🇦🇼 Discover the most romantic beachfront restaurants in Aruba

🇦🇼 Guaranteed way to see the flamingos in Aruba + Is it worth it?

🇦🇼 Best Sunset Cruises in Aruba

🇦🇼 Is Aruba in South America?

🇦🇼 Is Aruba Worth Visiting? An Honest Review

About the Author

Justin enjoys discovering the world together with his wife and venturing out with his drone to take magical shots.

The post Is Aruba Expensive to Vacation? The Ultimate Guide appeared first on Shades of Summr.