Aruba, one of the ABC islands off the coast of Venezuela, has practically guaranteed sunshine year year. It lies just outside the hurricane belt, meaning there really is no rainy season or bad time of year to vacation there. This 21 mile-long island offers spectacular beaches, incredible deserts-capes and even volcanic rock beaches.
Aruba is a Dutch colony, and the majority of tourism comes from the US, making this an incredibly easy destination from customs standpoint and a flight standpoint. There are dozens of airlines with great options and prices to get to Aruba. A great example of Aruba’s tourism industry from the US is the fact that their airport has two terminals: US Travel and Non-US Travel.
Aruba really is exceptional year-round, so hotel prices don’t appear to fluctuate as much as they do in many destinations. The least expensive time of year is the fall, as it is hurricane season in the rest of the Caribbean. Palm Beach will have the most options in terms of accommodations ranging from $75-$500+ per night on pristine beachfront. Eagle Beach is another beachfront that offers some accommodations, but there are fewer options there and it is away from most of the action you see on Palm Beach. All-inclusive hotels are available, but are not as common as in Mexico or similar locations. All hotels located on Palm Beach has the same incredible beachfront and access to the ocean, so it is important to look at the hotel amenities to make sure you find what will suite your needs.
There are a number of brand hotels if you’re looking to spend your points. The Hyatt Regency is available for 25,000 points per night, for example. There are several Marriott properties including a Ritz-Carlton. Our favorite Marriott hotel is the Marriott Stellaris.
Taxis in Aruba are readily available and safe. It will cost approximately $20 to get from the airport to Palm Beach area. The minimum fare for a taxi is $4 and it is easy to get around. If you stay on Palm Beach, chances are, you won’t need a taxi. Many restaurants are within walking distance to the hotels, including a number of excellent options on the beach, like MooMba.
Tour companies offer hotel pickups and dropoffs as part of the packages, so it is incredibly easy to get away with not renting a car. If you want to get around the island, we recommend renting a jeep or UTV to explore, unless you do the tour.
The Palm Beach area is full of options when it comes to food. Since Aruba is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean, you can find just about anything. Prices range extensively, but expect to pay “US-prices” when it comes to dining.
Appetizers at MooMba on the beach, for example, are in the $12-15 range. Entrees are in the $25-40 range. Cocktails are about $10-15. This is fairly standard in Aruba.
Don’t miss Atardi’s on the beach at the Marriott Stellaris – it’s exceptional!
The shops in Aruba are similar to what you will find in other beach destinations around the US and Mexico. There are swimwear shops, beach clothing shops and gift shops. Nothing really stands out as a must-do, but we do love the night markets around the main street in the Palm Beach area for knick knacks and jewelry.
Aruba is fondly called, “one happy island” and it really is. People on Aruba are incredibly kind, friendly and helpful. The first time we went to Aruba, we came from Curacao, which was a very different experience. Aruba’s main source of income is tourism and therefore folks are incredibly service-minded, happy to see you and willing to help you with anything you need. Not once did we encounter anyone who didn’t greet us warmly with open arms in the hotels and restaurants.
You will find Aruba to be safe and tourist-centric, making it a perfect destination for families and friends alike.
To be honest, Aruba is the most fun I've had on a vacation in years. From water sports to ripping through the interior of the island on a UTV, there is nothing that you can't do in Aruba. We recommend Aruba for anyone looking for guaranteed sun and fun.
While some all-inclusive options exist (Barcelo and Riu most notably), most of you will be booking standard room rates or rates that include breakfast. Based on 3 meals a day, we typically recommend budgeting at least $300 a day for two. Other incidentals will include tours and excursions. If you only have budget for one adventure, we recommend the UTV adventure tour at $250 for two. Scuba diving is fairly standard at around $130-150 for certified divers and two tanks.
Here’s our usual breakdown of F&B packages for hotels that you may want to consider:
Hotel only: You will pay the room rate + tax and no inclusions. You will be responsible for food, beverages, getting to and from the hotel, etc.
Hotel + Breakfast: Room + Tax and breakfast for two included, either as a blanket buffet/a la carte experience or in the form of dining credit. Note this typically applies only for 2 people.
All-inclusive…ish: Some hotels market themselves as all-inclusive but be sure to read the fine print (aka our reviews and tripadvisor reviews). Some hotels will have a large amount of extra charges. Some extra charges include: extra charges for eating at certain restaurants (fine-dining), extra charges for “specials” like steak or lobster, extra charges for better alcohol…and the list goes on. Some of these are reasonable, however, some include only 1 restaurant in their true all-inclusive so it’s important to know this going into it. For almost every hotel, spa access is not included.
True all-inclusive: These hotels are the pinnacle experience where you will rarely find a dollar sign on a menu and when you do, it’s for something outrageous like caviar or Dom Perignon.
Suggested daily budget – Typical food & beverage costs range depending on how high-end the hotel brand is, but we typically budget $300 per day for food & alcohol. Transfers to & from the hotel to the airport range as well, but we typically budget $30-40. Excursions, such as tours or scuba diving, approximately $130-$150 per person.
There is quite literally no bad time to visit Aruba. With over 300 days of sunshine, you are practically guaranteed to have great sunny weather. If you're looking for the lowest rates, check out April through August. Aruba sits outside the hurricane zone and its consistent trade winds are great for wind-sports lovers.
Check out some of our favorite Aruba resorts and what we like and don’t like about each of them.
Nestled along the white sand of Palm Beach is the spectacular Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino in Aruba
In this luxury hotel review, we're going to share our 7 categories for ranking the beautiful Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino.
Friendly people and nonstop adventure are the perfect ways to describe Aruba. You can do as much, or as little, as you please and it’s an incredibly safe island. Looking to learn some water sports? Now’s your chance! Looking to do absolutely nothing but relish in the sun? No problem- with over 300 days of sunshine, Aruba’s got it. Expect American prices on the beachfront restaurants and on alcohol, but plenty of affordable and high end options exist for every price range.
As you start to plan your trip, first consider where you want to stay: Eagle Beach or Palm Beach? Eagle Beach will be a bit quieter and more seclude as the main hotel strip is Palm Beach. The majority of the restaurants and nightlife are located on the main Palm Beach strip.
If you’re concerned about weather and when to travel- don’t be. Aruba is one of the few places with practically guaranteed sunshine and 80 degrees. Keep in mind, constant trade winds provide a great breeze and is great for windsurfers and kiteboarders. In September, the winds do begin to die down.