Aruba is truly one happy island. We came here with friends and had an absolute blast! The people here are so friendly and helpful. We got a ride from a local to the grocery store because we were lost, how nice?! Anyway, below are our recommendations for where to go and what to see without breaking the bank!
Where to Stay
We recommend finding an Airbnb first. Most likely the prices will be cheaper than the resorts. We stayed at the Caribbean Palm Village which is a apartment/condo style complex with two pools and complimentary shuttle to the beach. We paid under $100 per night here!
How to Get Around
Lesson learned: rent a vehicle, Jeep if you can. The island is small enough that it’s hard to get lost so exploring on your own is less intimidating. The taxis start adding up once you start hopping around from spot to spot. So rent a car! It’ll be worth it.
Where to Eat
The reason we recommend an Airbnb and not an all inclusive resort is because the food here is so good! Every restaurant had a fresh catch of the day and each time it was delicious!
For a romantic sunset dinner head over to the northern point of the island to Faro Blanco. You’ll have stunning views from this hillside overlooking the ocean. It’s also next to the California Lighthouse where you’ll have plenty of photo opportunities. The food here is delish!!
Another great spot we highly recommend is the Flying Fishbone. This place is right on the water. And when I mean right on the water, I mean you can eat dinner with your feet in the ocean. The place has a great vibe and also has amazing sunset views. We would 100% come back here.
For a casual meal, we recommend Red Fish Aruba. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere next to Divi Village but they have awesome fresh caught fish here as well. An added bonus is the small little liquor store called The Arubian Taste located in the plaza where a couple makes their own flavored rum. You have to check this place out. We were skeptical at first but all the rums were delicious and even bought a few bottles! Free samples!
For nightlife we recommend heading straight for the “High-rises” which is a neighborhood along the western coast. We don’t recommend going downtown because when we were there the place was a ghost town with bars and restaurants closing early. We think it’s more of a place for guests of cruise ships to go and explore for a few hours. The High-rises have plenty of restaurants, bars, and casinos to satisfy whatever you’re craving. Some of our favorites down there are Salt & Pepper and MooMba Beach Bar & Restaurant. We love Moomba because it’s right on the beach! Grab a bucket of Chill and watch the sunset. Come back at night for a beach party! And for the after-party go to The Mill Nightclub. It’s a cool outdoor nightclub with a old giant windmill as the back drop.
It’s easy to pick one of the beaches in Aruba and just be a beach bum for a day but there are plenty of other things to do by land and sea!
If you haven’t rented a Jeep for your trip, go on a offroading excursion along the eastern side of the island and hit up spots like Bushiribana Ruins, the Natural Bridge, Conchi. Conchi is an awesome watering hole surrounded by rocks where you can swim around and dive in the deep water. If you head further south you can check out some of the cool caves. If you’re lucky you’ll run into some wild goats frolicking around the rocks.
You have to go snorkeling or scuba diving here! There are some cool sunken ships you can explore. We opted for the open bar snorkeling cruise which brought us to some cool spots. You don’t have to snorkel if you don’t want to. Later on we set anchor and jumped in the water off the swinging rope. We booked our cruise through Jolly Pirates and highly recommend it!
What we want to do next time
We didn’t have time to do everything but next time we really want to go to Flamingo Beach where you feed flamingos! I believe you have to pay a small fee but we think it’s worth it. You must have seen by now on Instagram that any picture from Aruba is one of a cute girl feeding flamingos.
Also, we would absolutely love to stay at the Aruba Ocean Villas. They are bungalow (Maldives style) villas over the water. So we would love to spend at least a night here next time we visit.
So, there ya go. Aruba on a budget with plenty to do! Let us know if you have any questions!