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2020’s Cheapest Caribbean Vacation Destination: Aruba

Are you looking to visit a beautiful, interesting and exciting Caribbean island, all without breaking the bank?

Well we’ve got good news, because Aruba is just the spot to take such a trip!

If you’re looking to save as much money as possible, then you’ll pleased to find out that the One Happy Island of Aruba just happens to be one of the cheapest Caribbean islands to visit. But perhaps the best news is that you can take that cheap getaway to Aruba all without having to sacrifice the quality of your stay simply to save a little coin.

How? Because Aruba offers loads of excellent travel deals for every component of the vacation experience, from accommodations to entertainment. At each and every turn of the travel planning process, you’ll be amazed by the exceptional value Aruba brings to the table.

But to make sure you’re getting the best possible experience at the lowest possible price, this Blog Post will teach you how to sort through the many excellent Aruba vacation deals and discounts available to build a picture-perfect, exciting and memorable, yet truly affordable Caribbean vacation!

Bushiri Beach Located next to Harbor Arena

Why Visit Aruba?

Other than the fact that it’s one of the cheapest Caribbean destinations to visit, there are several other excellent reasons to pick Aruba for your next vacation.

First, the One Happy Island offers some of the Caribbean’s best things to do, with a huge assortment of options for having a great time, from exciting, adventurous activities like skydiving, off-roading, snorkeling or scuba diving to tranquil, peaceful, rejuvenating experiences like yoga, spa treatments, massages or simply relaxing on one of the world’s top-rated beaches.

No matter what you’re looking to do during your stay, you’re sure to find a variety of excellent options in Aruba, and all without having to fork out a ton of cash.

Second, Aruba is home to many of the Caribbean’s best places to stay, from top-rated Hotels and Resorts, to incredible, yet affordable private vacation rentals, timeshares, beachfront villas, and virtually every other type of accommodation you can imagine, all at exceptional prices!

Aruba’s places to stay feature excellent value all throughout the price range, from our world-class, 5-star, luxury hotels to some of the Caribbean’s cheapest all-inclusive resorts, and of course, a large assortment of extremely authentic and entirely affordable local Airbnb’s.

And finally, it may be our weather that makes us stand out the most from the pack, as we’re widely regarded as being the best Caribbean island to visit simply because we get more days of sunshine than any of the others. But what may arguably be even more important is that we’re located outside of the hurricane belt.

Unlike most of the other affordable Caribbean islands, our location ensures that you can choose to visit the One Happy Island whenever you like! While we do certainly have a “high season” (what vacation destination doesn’t?), when the island gets busier and prices inevitably rise, you should feel free to book your trip any time of the year since you won’t have to worry about poor weather or hurricanes spoiling your getaway!

If that’s not enough to convince you to pick Aruba for your next cheap Caribbean vacation, then let’s look at some additional reasons to consider the One Happy Island. In the sections below, we’ll review each of the major cost elements that go into designing a cheap, yet incredible vacation, talking about what sets Aruba apart for each of the topics explored.

Family Cruise

Travel Costs

When thinking about the costs of a vacation, one of the first places to look for calculating your total expenses will be the price of arriving wherever you’re going, be it by plane, cruise ship, or some other form of travel.

In Aruba’s case, the fastest, cheapest and most typical way to arrive on the One Happy Island is to fly. Fortunately, there are affordable direct flights from airports all across the Eastern and Southern US, and there are easy, 1-stop flights from virtually everywhere else as well.  

Costs of Flying to Aruba

Here’s a quick summary of the most popular departure points, airlines and average costs for flying to Aruba:

  • Miami, FL
    • Airport: Miami International (MIA)
    • Airlines: American Airlines
    • Average Cost: $250 to $500
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
    • Airport: Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
    • Airlines: Spirit Airlines and JetBlue Airways
    • Average Cost: $250 - $300
  • Charlotte, NC
    • Airport: Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
    • Airlines: American Airlines
    • Average Cost: $750
  • New York City
    • Airport: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
    • Airlines: JetBlue Airways and Delta
    • Average Cost: Jet Blue ranges from $400 - $700, Delta is typically $300 - $700
  • New Jersey
    • Airport: Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
    • Airlines: United Airlines
    • Average Cost: $450 - $550
  • Dallas
    • Airport: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
    • Airlines: American Airlines
    • Average Cost: $550 - $800
  • Atlanta
    • Airport: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
    • Airlines: Delta
    • Average Cost: $600
  • Boston
    • Airport: Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
    • Airlines: JetBlue Airways
    • Average Cost: $600 - $800
  • Los Angeles (NOT Direct Flights, will require at least 1 stop)
    • Airport: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
    • Airlines: Several
    • Average Cost: from $504
  • Toronto, Canada (NOT Direct Flights, will require at least 1 stop)
    • Airport: Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
    • Airlines: Several
    • Average Cost: from $491

There are several ways that you can ensure your flight costs end up being at the lower end of the price ranges provided above, including: traveling during the off season (outside of the Winter), flying on off days (mid-week), avoiding booking a direct flight (which typically saves a couple hundred dollars per passenger), utilizing travel promotions (bundled vacation packages), and buying your tickets well in advance!

But to be crystal clear about your arrival, you don’t HAVE to fly to Aruba, because there are other ways to get here. For those not interested in flying, perhaps you’d rather cruise?

Costs of Cruising to Aruba

One thing to keep in mind about choosing an Aruba cruise is that you’re likely to only get a day or two on-island, which will limit your options for seeing everything we have to offer.

However, if your goal is to take the cheapest Caribbean vacation possible, then cruising may just be your best bet, because it tends to cost less than a traditional stay.

If you do choose to cruise to Aruba, then you’ll have a ton of different options to choose from, with each of the following cruise lines operating regular routes to the One Happy Island:

  • Carnival Cruises
    • Carnival offers a variety of options for getting to Aruba, but our favorite option is probably their Southern Caribbean 8-day Cruise from Fort Lauderdale, which goes through Grand Turk, La Romana, Aruba and Curacao. Costs for this cruise start as low as $609
  • Royal Caribbean
    • Royal Caribbean has all sorts of options as well, but we like their 11 Night Beantown & Beaches Cruise, departing from Boston, MA, and cruising through Puerto Rico, Curacao, Aruba, Grand Cayman, then finishing in Tampa, FL. Costs for this trip start at $725
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
    • Norwegian offers several ways to see Aruba, but our favorite is their 7-Day Southern Caribbean Cruise, which departs from San Juan, Puerto Rico, hitting Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, St. Lucia and St. Kitts before returning to San Juan. This is one of the more affordable options in our list, as it starts at just $531
  • Celebrity Cruises
    • Celebrity Cruises is one of the larger cruise lines, and again, will provide plenty of different ways to reach the One Happy Island, but we like their 7-Night Southern Caribbean Cruise, which is similar to the Norwegian option listed above, leaving San Juan, Puerto Rico, cruising through St Kitts & Nevis, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, then returning to San Juan. This trip’s pricing starts at about $699
  • Princess Cruises
    • Princess Cruises is another luxury line, so again, not the best place to look for a cheap Caribbean vacation, but on the chance you want to consider a more expensive trip, we do like their 8-Day Southern Caribbean Cruise, which leaves Fort Lauderdale, hits Curacao, Aruba, and Bonaire before returning, and starts at around $1,539
  • Holland America Line
    • Holland America is a middle-priced cruise that gets you a lot of bang for your buck, even if they aren’t the cheapest option available. One of our favorite trips of theirs is the 10-Day Southern Caribbean Seafarer Cruise, which leaves Ft. Lauderdale and sails through Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and three different Dutch outposts, starting at $999
  • Regent Cruise Line
    • Just for fun, let’s look at one of the most expensive trips out there. Regent is luxury cruise line that won a variety of awards in 2019, including the “Best All-Inclusive Cruise” from Fodor’s, the “Best All-Inclusive Luxury Cruise Line” from TravelAge, and the “Best Suites-Cruise” from TravelAge, but being a higher-end option, this is not at all your best option when seeking out an affordable Caribbean cruise. Just how much do their cruises cost? Their 12-Night Gems of the Southern Caribbean Cruise starts at $15,998

As you can see, whether you choose to fly or cruise your way to the One Happy Island, there are all sorts of affordable options to ensure your Caribbean vacation doesn’t break the bank.

For additional details on all of your cruising options, make sure to visit our 2020 Guide to Aruba Cruises.

Brickel Bay Beach Club & Spa Boutique Hotel in Aruba

Accommodations Costs

Once you’ve arranged your means of travel, assuming you’re going to stay a while, we’ve got further great news: one of the reasons why we’re so well-known as an inexpensive Caribbean destination is that the One Happy Island is home to a whole slew of perfectly affordable places to stay.

But better yet, you won’t have to worry about losing any sleep over booking a discount hotel in Aruba, because even our budget-based accommodations are extremely nice, featuring fine appointments, great locations, and everything you need to have a spectacular, yet affordable Caribbean vacation.

When it comes to staying in Aruba without breaking the bank, here’s a few of our favorite hotels and resorts:

  • Serene by the Sea
    • Intimate, with just 4 rooms, this locally owned hotel is one of our absolute favorites when looking for affordability, but what’s great about staying at Serene by the Sea is that you don’t have to sacrifice much in terms of your location, considering that it’s located mere steps from the water, where guests can enjoy complimentary oceanfront shade, beach towels, lounge chairs, and snorkeling gear, all for as little as $185 per night
  • Holiday Inn Aruba Beach Resort & Casino
    • While the size of the Holiday Inn Aruba Beach Resort & Casino is nothing like our previous two listings, since it’s much larger, at 590 guestrooms and suites, the good news is that the resort does offer extreme affordability, as well as a prime location, right on the spectacular white sand of Palm Beach, in the heart of Aruba. Rates from as low as $120 per night 
  • MVC Eagle Beach Aruba
    • If your goal in Aruba is to stay at our top-rated beach, Eagle Beach, recently awarded the third best beach in the world by TripAdvisor, then MVC Eagle Beach Aruba is probably your ideal place to stay, especially if you’re looking to save some coin. Not only is MVC Eagle Beach situated in one of the best spots on the entire island, but it was also recently renovated, so you can rest assured that you’ll be rewarded with a great destination in excellent condition, all for prices as low as $140 per night
  • Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa
    • Another excellent, yet affordable option at Eagle Beach is Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, which offers all the amenities you’d expect from a mega resort, but a much more reasonable price. One of Manchebo’s prime draws, other than its rate and location, is certainly the complimentary Pilates and Yoga classes, as well as the Spa Del Sol, which offers a variety of excellent treatments. Rates here start at $250 per night
  • Paradise Beach Villas
    • Paradise Beach Villas is another excellent option for those interested in staying at Eagle Beach, located just seventy-five steps from the sand, and offering some excellent amenities, including an assortment of fantastic international restaurants (Italian or Peruvian anyone?), as well excellent rates, as low as $190 per night
  • Talk of the Town
    • Whenever a local is asked about where to stay for the best price, Talk of the Town inevitably shows up near the top of their list of recommendations, and for good reason, this is simply one of the most affordable hotels anywhere in Aruba, with rates starting at just $110 per night. But don’t worry, because this boutique-style resort offers everything you need to enjoy your stay on the One Happy Island, including its great location just across the street from Surfside Beach, and steps away from Tourism Plaza and Linear Park
  • Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort Aruba
    • If you’re looking for an affordable stay, but you also want to do right by the environment, then Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort Aruba should be right up your alley; this is one of Aruba’s greenest businesses, period, and the first hotel in Aruba and second in the entire Caribbean to obtain the Master Achievement Award from the EarthCheck organization, but the great news is that it’s also located just a hop away from Eagle Beach, and offers excellent rates, with rooms starting at just $250 per night
  • Caribbean Palm Village Resort
    • Voted one of TripAdvisor’s best Aruban Vacation Rentals, Caribbean Palm Village Resort is still supremely affordable while offering excellently appointed rooms set amongst lush tropical gardens and featuring two impressive swimming pools, two Jacuzzis, a BBQ area for guests, and complimentary transportation to the beach (which is only about a mile away, so still walkable). But perhaps the best news about this resort is that it’s exceptionally cheap, with rates starting at only $124 per night
  • Brickell Bay Beach Club Aruba
    • Anyone looking for an affordable adults-only destination will want to consider Brickell Bay Beach Club and Spa, one of the Aruba’s cheapest adults-only destinations, though you wouldn’t be able to tell it was so inexpensive until you got the bill, because Brickell Bay offers excellent amenities, with over 35 excellent restaurants, shops, a full casino, and some of the most exciting nightlife located anywhere on the One Happy Island, and all at an excellent price, since rooms start at just $125 per night

For full details on each of the excellent hotels and resorts mentioned above, make sure to visit our Guide to Aruba’s Cheapest Hotels & Resorts.

And with room rates as good as these, is it any wonder why Aruba keeps showing up near the top of everybody’s list when offering recommendations for the cheapest Caribbean island?

All that we can say is that we’re not surprised, we’ve known it all along, and we’re glad the secret about Aruba’s affordability has finally been let out of the bag!

Things to Do Costs

We’ve already covered how affordable it is to get to and then stay on the One Happy Island, but what good would that be if it were expensive to enjoy yourself while you were here?

Fortunately, Aruba’s chock-full of fun, interesting and exciting, yet affordable things to do too; so next, let’s set our sights on all the excellent things you may want to consider lining up on your agenda for your cheap Caribbean getaway!

Here are just a few of our favorite, most affordable options for entertainment and attractions:

  • Our Beautiful Beaches
    • Not only are all of the beaches in Aruba public, but they’re also absolutely free, so unlike some other destinations, you won’t have to worry about strolling through private areas you’re not allowed to access, pining away for the most scenic spots, or needing to pay to access any of our spectacular white sand stretches of beach. Almost everyone who comes to Aruba is here at least in part to see our world-famous shoreline, and if that’s your primary objective, then the good news is that fun things to do on your affordable Caribbean vacation won’t just be cheap, but entirely free if all you want to do is hang out on the beach. Visit our Guide to Aruba’s Best Beaches for all the details you need to determine which of our exceptional beaches you’ll want to visit during your stay!
  • Natural Attractions
    • If beaches aren’t quite your thing, or if you simply want to add a bit of variety to your stay, then you’ll be pleased to find out that Aruba offers far more than just a set of perfect beaches. The island’s natural beauty certainly radiates along the shore, and that’s what you’ll see in most of the travel photos other people have posted, but Aruba’s rugged northern shore is completely different, yet still spectacular in its own right, and Arikok National Park, located along our North Eastern shoreline is another excellent destination to see a completely different type of scenery than you’d expect from the typical Caribbean island. If you’ve into hiking, running, cycling, animal observations, or just simply like being in the great outdoors, then Aruba’s got you covered, and again, at an exceptional rate, as most of these destinations are entirely FREE. Check out our page on Aruba’s Most Beautiful Nature Attractions for details on all of our top-rated natural wonders!
  • Snorkeling
    • Aruba may not be known as the absolute best destination in the Caribbean for snorkeling, but we certainly do have several hotspots located all throughout the island offering all sorts of excellent things to see, including beautiful coral and tons of different types of fish and other sea-life. Visitors looking for something fun and exciting to do, all without breaking the bank will certainly want to consider snorkeling, since many of our hotels and resorts offer free snorkeling gear, but even if you do end up needing to rent, it’s typically only about $15 per day. Check out our Guide to Snorkeling in Aruba for all the information you need to plan a great trip on the water!
  • Self-Guided Tours
    • One of the best things about Aruba is that it isn’t so big or complicated that you’ll get yourself lost if you choose to explore the island entirely on your own. And while we would certainly recommended checking out the many excellent, professional, guided Aruba Tours on offer, anyone trying to save themselves some cash should feel confident enough to simply hit the pavement and start exploring the island on their own. Whether you opt to wander through downtown Oranjestad, marveling at the colorful buildings and interesting architecture, or you choose to wander along the shoreline, there are all sorts of interesting things to see and explore—all without having to spend a single cent!
  • Phillip’s Animal Garden
    • Families looking to avoid over-spending will certainly want to consider a visit to Phillip’s Animal Garden. After all, tickets are just $10 for adults, $5 for children, and free for kids 3 or younger. Inside, vacationers can experience amazing exotic animals from the region, including colorful birds like the Salmon-crested Cockatoo and small wild cats like the Jaguarundi. For additional details, visit the Phillip’s Animal Garden website.

But don’t think that this is anywhere near a complete list of all the amazing things to do in Aruba, because we could go on for page after page about all that there is to see, do, explore and enjoy here on the One Happy Island.

In fact, we’ve already done that, so if you’re looking for additional ideas on what you might want to do while staying in Aruba, please make sure to check out comprehensive Guide on Things to Do in Aruba, where we breakdown virtually everything the One Happy Island has to offer!

Food presentation at Eduardo's Beach Shack located at Playa Linda Beach Resort.

Finally, Food Costs

Last but not least, we’d better cover food costs, because obviously you wouldn’t be able to take an affordable Caribbean vacation if there weren’t cheap places to eat during your stay, right?

Just like we saw with travel arrangements, accommodations and things to do, we’re pleased to report that Aruba’s also home to a variety of affordable, yet delectable restaurants.

No matter what kind of food you’re in the mood for, there’s sure to be an inexpensive restaurant offering exceptional tastes no more than a few minutes from your current location, but if you’re looking for ideas, you might want to try the following destinations:

  • Eduardo’s Beach Shack
    • Anyone looking for affordable vegan food will absolutely have to check out Eduardo’s Beach Shack, located right along the heart of Palm Beach, and offering all sorts of excellent options, from smoothies to fresh acai bowls and excellent pad thai. Meals from just $5 - $10.
  • The Pastechi House
    • One of Aruba’s most famous, and most authentic foods is the pastechi, a pastry dish that looks like an empanada with a hand crimped edge, and typically filled with gouda cheese, chicken or other meats. Some of the best pastechi on the entire island can be found at The Pastechi House, but the best news of all may be that it’s incredibly affordable too!
  • Scott’s Brats
    • When you find yourself on Palm Beach looking for something quick, affordable, but good, there may be no better spot to stop than Scott’s Brats! Featuring a relatively simple, but extremely yummy menu of mostly comfort food, you can get a great meal here at an exceptional price. Most menu items are only $7 - $14.
  • CocoPlum Restaurant
    • Situated in central Oranjestad, CocoPlum Restaurant has a prime location, but excellent prices, and exceptional cuisine that you’re sure to love! Featuring Caribbean and International dishes, like fish and chips prepared the authentic, local way, this is a great place to stop in and grab an affordable bite.
  • Garden Fresh Café
    • Have you gone gluten free, or are you looking for some great vegetarian, or even simply healthy cuisine, all without breaking the bank? Garden Fresh Café, just off Eagle Beach, is one of the best spots to stop for lighter, fresh, affordable fare. With options from $3  - $15, you’re sure to be able to find something that’ll fill you up without wiping out your wallet.
  • Zeerovers
    • Zeerovers isn’t just merely affordable, but is regularly rated as one of the most excellent seafood restaurants in all of Aruba. This place is absolutely a local favorite, and for good reason, everything they make is fantastic, yet reasonably priced. There’s a reason so many return visitors go to Zeerovers over and over again, this place is absolutely one of our best restaurants, no matter what price range you’re shopping in.
  • Pika’s Corner Arubian Cuisine
    • Another Eagle Beach hot spot for excellent, local cuisine (especially seafood!) is Pika’s Corner Arubian Cuisine, where you’ll be delighted by an extensive menu featuring fresh Caribbean Seafood as well as a wealth of vegetarian items. Locals flock their way here, but tourists love it too, and since it’s situated right in the heart of Palm Beach, it’s easily accessible, and entirely worth the trip.

But don’t let this list be all that you explore when it comes to eating in Aruba, because we’re widely regarded as the single-best destination in the entire Caribbean when it comes to food!

To get a complete picture of all the excellent dining options we have to offer, make sure to look at our Guide to Aruba’s Best Restaurants, where we cover each and every type of cuisine, and make specific recommendations on where to go no matter what kind of meal you’re in the mood for!

Duna Aruba E Miho Dibo Campaign

How to Ensure You’re Getting the Best Deals

Before we wrap up this Blog Post, let’s go through one of the most important topics for designing the cheapest Caribbean vacations possible; let’s cover the tricks you need to know to ensure that you’re getting the best deal!

While every vacation to Aruba always offers a tremendous amount of value, there certainly are ways to get a better deal, and this section will explain just want you need to do to make sure you’ll get the cheapest plane tickets, lowest room rates, and best discounts and deals on everything you choose to do on the One Happy Island.

  • Traveling During the Off-Season
    • If you’re looking to score the best deals, then make sure to book your travel between September and October, which is almost always going to be the cheapest time of the year to visit Aruba, simply because it’s our “off-season”. Don’t worry though, because the weather’s still great, there are still all sorts of interesting, exciting, and fun things to do, but there are just fewer tourists, so you’ll get better prices!
  • Flying on Off Days
    • One of the easiest ways to save a couple hundred dollars per person on plane tickets is booking flights that leave and return mid-week, meaning on weekdays. Flying in and out during the middle of the week, on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, will typically get you the lowest rates, so if it’s possible, make sure to plan your travel away from the weekend, and you’re almost certain to be rewarded with better rates
  • Avoiding a Direct Flight
    • This one may or may not work, and for some people, it may not be worth it, even if it would save you a hundred or more dollars, but if you’re all about the deal, then booking a non-direct flight is one way you could trim some of the travel budget, so look around for flights to Aruba that include connections, and you could stand to save some coin
  • Utilizing Travel Promotions
    • There’s a reason why Aruba Vacation Packages are so popular; bundling the costs of your airfare, accommodations, and entertainment is almost certain to save you a significant amount of money, with most travel packages trimming at least a couple hundred dollars off the total cost of the component parts included in the bundle
  • Buying Tickets in Advance
    • The earlier you book everything, the less likely flights and hotels are to be near or at capacity, and the lower the rates are likely to be. This one is a bit of a double-edged sword, as sometimes the absolute best deals can be had at the last minute, but waiting too long to book bites many people instead of rewarding them, so be sure to plan well in advance and you should be able to save yourself some cash

Following one or more of the suggestions above is sure to help reduce the costs of your trip to the One Happy Island, but as long as you spend some time researching options, shopping rates and making good decisions about what you choose to book, you’re virtually guaranteed to be capable of planning an Aruba trip that counts as a cheap Caribbean getaway.

Book Your Trip Today!

And now that you know just how affordable Aruba can be, and you’ve been trained on everything needed to get the best deals, what else are you waiting for? It’s time to book your trip today!

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