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How to Take an Affordable Caribbean Vacation 2017

A Caribbean vacation can be described as simply irresistible. Who doesn’t want to visit a country with an endless supply of sunny weather? Very often a trip to paradise will have you shelling out the big bucks, but fortunately, there are ways to visit the Caribbean without bankrupting yourself.

In fact, you can enjoy a perfectly complete Aruba vacation for a fraction of the cost you may think you’d need to spend! This will leave you more money for the important things, like coming to Aruba even more frequently wink. Why break the bank for traveling if you don’t have to?  This post will introduce you to the best, most effective tips and tricks for planning the most amazing, yet cheapest Caribbean vacations possible.

Timing

Caribbean Get Away Having the beach to yourself can be nice!

Be mindful of the seasons! Aruba does not have the different weather seasons you may be used to at home. Spring, winter, fall? In Aruba, it’s summer 365 days a year! Keep in mind though that we do have a high and a low season, which differ significantly in pricing.  

So when is the best time to come to Aruba? Allow me to explain. Everyone wants to escape their cold hometown during the winter months, so Aruba’s high-season runs from January through March. During the winter, Aruba is a literal hotspot for anyone and everyone running from freezing temperatures, which causes increased rates.

In the summer, far fewer people are attempting to escape the cold, so prices on flights, accommodations and even cruises are significantly lower. The island is also much quieter at this time, which means you’ll have much more of the One happy island to yourself! If you are traveling on a budget, make sure to snatch those low season bargains!

Travel & Transportation

Oranjestad

The first step to enjoying your cheap Caribbean getaways is getting there. This can often be the least budget-friendly part of the trip. A great way to save money on travel costs is by flying on weekdays rather than weekends.

Another great option is choosing to prolong your travel time a bit by taking a flight with extensive layovers. Don’t worry about taking a while to get here, because once you touch down in Aruba you’ll be on island time anyway. Be on the lookout for airline specials too! A few times a year, airlines will offer special travel discounts, which are especially beneficial to those who are planning their affordable Caribbean vacations far in advance. If you’re not much of a planner, you can still fly on the cheap! Often, airlines sell the last available seats of their flights for a reduced price; so try to take advantage of those last minute offers.

Finally, if you’ve collected any travel rewards points over the years, now would be a good to redeem them!

And in other good news, once you get to Aruba, getting around on the island won’t cost much either. There are many attractions and sights you can visit traveling by public bus. Arubus is the island’s major transportation service, and they sell affordable round trip cards and day passes. They even offer a Baby Beach Card that can be used for transportation from Oranjestad to the popular Baby Beach and Rodger’s Beach and back!

Arubus stations are conveniently located at the centers of San Nicolas and Oranjestad.  If you prefer staying active while on vacation try renting a bike or walking. This way you get to stay fit while taking in the beautiful Aruban scenery; it’s a win-win!

Accommodations

Aruba Happy RentalsAruba Happy Rentals

There are many different ways to save on your temporary home away from home. Aruba may be a small island, but its selection of accommodations is anything but! We truly believe that every traveler should have a nice place to rest their head regardless of their budget, and Aruba’s got that in spades!

Even luxurious beachfront hotels and resorts can be a part of your budget-friendly vacation. Just remember to keep an eye on Aruba.com’s very own Deals & Offers page, which is frequently updated with attractive discounts!

Another great way to cash in on amazing deals is to follow your favorite Aruba Resorts on social media, as flash sales and special offers are usually promoted there.

Tip: Visit the Aruba Forum as well, where timeshare owners rent out their timeshares for an affordable rate.

The increasingly popular vacation rentals are often a much more affordable way to stay in Aruba. Whether you’re traveling with the entire family and want to rent an entire home to split costs, or if you just need a studio to call your own for the week, the island has a variety of properties to offer for a great price.

For Aruba’s best vacation rental opportunities, try visiting websites such as Airbnb and FlipKey to find your perfect fit at the best price. While searching, try to find inland properties rather than ocean front properties, as they’ll be priced significantly lower, and because Aruba is a small island, you’ll be able to rest assured knowing that the beach is never far away!

For more information, read Aruba.com’s Guide to other Accommodations.

Food

fishcakes_and_pan_bati.jpgCan you recreate this local dish?

Another way to save money while staying at a vacation rental or a timeshare resort is by cooking your own food.

You can purchase your ingredients at one of Aruba’s many supermarkets, many of which offer exceptionally low prices. Some favorites of locals and visitors alike are the Ling and Sons and Super Food Plaza grocery stores, which offer a good variety of local and international products. This way, you can have a hand at preparing your very own “keshi yena” or “funchi”. Consider inviting your local Aruban neighbors over for dinner so they can tell you how you did!

For those of you who don’t believe in cooking while on vacation, there are plenty of great eateries that serve great meals for a low price! Below are some examples:

eggs-bendict_at_14_bis_restaurant.jpgBreakfast of champions at 14-Bis Marketplace Restaurant

14-Bis Marketplace Restaurant: Yes, you CAN have a hearty and affordable meal at the airport! 14-Bis Marketplace Restaurant is dedicated to cooking with fresh and natural ingredients. If you visit the restaurant during their lunch buffet, you pay no more than $2.50 for every 100 grams of food, so don’t be afraid to pile up!

Jack’s Café Aruba: Located at the aforementioned Super Food Plaza, Jack’s café is an eatery offering Dutch and International food items ranging from sandwiches to complete dinner dishes. Be sure to check out their lunch special of the day for a full affordable meal.

De Suikertuin

De Suikertuin: De Suikertuin brings a new fresh look to a traditional old town house on Wilhelminastraat in Aruba’s capital of Oranjestad. Eating at this restaurant is often described as visiting a comfortable island home and sharing a meal indoors or on the charming outdoor patio. This restaurant serves breakfast and lunch.

Zeerover: This authentically Aruban seafood restaurant on the shores of Savaneta is known for its great portion sizes and friendly prices. Your meal is freshly caught, seasoned, grilled and served to you with a few slices of lemon and as much or as little hot sauce as you desire.

Entertainment

Natural Pool ArubaA fun day at the Natural Pool

Only on an Aruba vacation would anyone want to wake up at the crack of dawn to start their day. On the One happy island, there is simply so much to do that you may want to get started early, but the best news is that a lot of our entertainment options are either  inexpensive, or even entirely free!

Explore Aruba

For those wanting to go on an island adventure while getting the most impressive shots for Instagram, Arikok National Park is a great place to start. Sprawling across 20 percent of Aruba's land area, the park is a protected habitat for many wildlife species. There is a lot to see, but some of the can’t-miss sights are the Guadirikiri and Fontein Caves, Dos Playa beach, and the famous Natural Pool! You can traverse the park on a tour, but you can also opt for the more budget friendly biking or hiking. The entry fee is just $11 for adults, with free admission to children under the age of 17.

If you still haven’t had enough of Aruba’s furry and feathered locals, an inexpensive way to meet more of them is to visit these 4 places:

Aruba Butterfly Farm

Butterfly Farm: Step into a tropical garden filled with beautifully colorful butterflies from around the world at the Butterfly Farm. Observe the life cycle of these fascinating animals from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Your admission ticket gives you a free pass for the rest of your vacation!

donkey_sanctuary_ostrich_farm_animal_garden.jpgMaking new friends is easy in Aruba

Aruba Donkey Sanctuary: Donkeys, or were imported to Aruba roughly 500 years ago for transportation.  With the introduction of the automobile in the 20th century, the donkeys were set free into the wild which made survival challenging. In 1997, the non-profit Save Our Donkey Foundation was established in order to provide safety, shelter, food, and medical care at the Donkey Sanctuary Aruba.  Come pay them a visit! Entry is free but donations are much appreciated.

Ostrich Farm: Although Africa is the native land of the exotic ostrich, this intriguing bird finds a perfect home in Aruba's rugged landscape. A flock of flightless feathered friends are waiting to meet you at the Aruba Ostrich Farm. Tour costs are just $12 for adults and $6 for kids.

Philip’s Animal Garden: After years of saving and adopting abused and abandoned animals, Philip Merryweather has turned his love for exotic animals into a world-class shelter and rehabilitation center. Philip’s Animal Garden offers interactive and educational tours, where you can enjoy an up close and personal experience with over 50 species of exotic animals from around the world. Entry for adults is just $10 and $5 for children between the ages of 3 and 13. Kids aged 3 and younger enter for free.

Relax in Aruba – One thing that will always be free in Aruba is the lovely weather. Take advantage of this and be sure to get in lots of beach time. There is nothing like laying out on one of Aruba’s warm white sand beaches while listening to the relaxing sounds of the ocean. Since Aruba’s beaches are public, there is no price tag attached to this!

malmok-aruba-playaMalmok Beach

If you’d like to explore the deep blue, you can inexpensively rent snorkeling gear at any of the watersports companies at the beach. Some resorts even offer complementary gear to their guests. Aruba has a multitude of beautiful snorkeling beaches to explore, such as Arashi, Malmok and Mangel Halto.

Culture in Aruba

One of the main aspects that entice visitors to return to Aruba is the rich and unique culture. Visitors are always welcome to come see what the locals are doing by taking part in their cultural events and celebrations.

Visit Aruba in the beginning of the year for one of the biggest parties you have ever seen, Aruba Carnival. For about a month and a half, the streets fill with people dancing in beautiful costumes and joyful music. You can watch these parades for free and everyone is invited!

If you are not here during the Carnival season, you can still get a taste of it by going to the Carubbian Festival in San Nicolas (aka Sunrise City) on Thursday nights. Admission is free, and there’s live local entertainment and inexpensive local food and crafts for sale.

Aruba Art FairMasterpiece from the Aruba Art Fair

While you’re in San Nicolas, be sure to check out the beautiful artwork created by very talented artists at the Aruba Art Fair. Art fanatics will surely feel right at home at Korteweg, where local artists can display and sell their hand made arts and crafts to the public.

On Tuesday evenings, the Bon Bini Festival is the place to be. Fort Zoutman hosts this festival to acquaint island visitors with Aruba's unique culture and history through Dutch Caribbean music and dance, as well as local art and food. Admission is just $5.

people_dancing.jpgDon't be afraid to hit the dancefloor!

Nightlife in Aruba

If you fancy having a drink to relax after a long day of… relaxing, then be sure to take a stroll along Palm Beach and pick the coziest beach bar you can find! There’s no better time to buy someone a drink than during their nightly happy hours, where you can often get 2 drinks for the price of one, or at a great discount. Enjoy live entertainment, major sports events, or even a round of karaoke at the bar and you’ll be all set for one happy evening.

Casinos get a bad rep for costing people a lot of money, but this does not have to be the case. You don’t have to gamble all your funds away to have fun at an Aruban casino! Aruba’s many casino lounges offer free nightly entertainment with talented local musicians and singers.  For those that are gambling, cocktails, beer, and wine are often complimentary, just make sure you allocate your casino budget accordingly; you just might win big!

Conclusion

It may come as a shock to some that the cheapest Caribbean island is one as beautiful and luxurious as Aruba.

And while our island certainly welcomes and caters to those who enjoy 5-star restaurants, high-end dining and luxury shopping, what makes Aruba stand out from other Caribbean vacation destinations is that you can still have an amazing, incredibly fulfilling getaway without spending tons of money.

Aruba isn’t just the One happy island, it’s also the best destination for cheap Caribbean Vacations, and an exceptional opportunity to get a taste of what it feels like to live in paradise, all while enjoying the carefree mood  that comes with being on vacation.

So what are you waiting for? Summer is just a couple of months away. Start planning your cheap Caribbean destinations trip to Aruba today!

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About the blogger: Jennifer Richardson
She moved to Aruba when she was just 11 years old, and she hasn’t felt more at home since. She is very passionate about visual art and draws her inspiration from being out and about, observing the local people and trends. Being as excited about the One happy island as she is, Jennifer will gladly pass all her observations along to you!