Things To Know When Traveling To Aruba – Aruba is a beautiful Caribbean island located under the hurricane belt, so the weather is great. This is a great place for honeymoons, family vacations, and bachelorette parties! Spending your honeymoon in Aruba is especially romantic!
Sorry to burst your sleep bubble…. When I heard Aruba, the first thing that came to mind was flamingos on the beach. This is what you see in all the pictures of people vacationing in Aruba, so it must be there, right?!
Things To Know When Traveling To Aruba
Of course because of this I always see beautiful pink flamingos in Aruba and you can go to the beach to see them and get some great flamingo selfies. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that it was quite the opposite.
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There are only flamingos on the 2 private islands and you have to pay for a day pass to visit each island. The most popular of these two is Renaissance Beach. If you stay at the Renaissance Hotel, you get free access with your room key. If you are not visiting, you can buy a day pass to visit them on the island.
However, eligibility to purchase a pass is not guaranteed and is first come, first served as passes become available. Not only that, but these sides will set you back $125 per person!
If the Renaissance Hotel is over 80% booked, they will not sell any additional passes. We want you to be aware of this now, so if you are only going to Aruba to see the “wild flamingos”, you will be very disappointed if you don’t get a ticket when you get there.
There are 6 flamingos living on the private island and they congregate in the same area. Often people take turns to get the picture you want.
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Our tip: If you must see the flamingos, book one night of your trip with the Renaissance Hotel so you can guarantee a visit to the island. If 2 of you are traveling, it will cost you $250 to go, and you will still pay for your hotel room where you are… and you may not even get the entrance fee.
If you are going when the hotel is not booked and want a day ticket, be sure to book it when they are on sale. You also get food and drink included in your pass.
I couldn’t get past the giant iguanas that roamed everywhere. They were so cool to look at and explore all the different colors we could find. The iguanas weren’t afraid of us at all and walked right by our feet as we ate lunch at several restaurants, sat by the pool, etc. But they are really amazing to see!
This is especially important on peak days and weekends. When we landed, the flight attendant told us to reach the airport 4 hours before our flight. I laughed a little because it was so long and it sounded so exaggerated. But … it took us almost 2 hours to get through security!
Hours In Aruba
And we went in low season (mid-September) so I can’t imagine what the lines would be like in high season.
Arrive early to avoid stress, and if you have a Priority Pass, you can hang out in the airport lounge if you’ve already passed through.
The US dollar is used everywhere. Even in local markets. Be sure to carry cash and small bills if you want to board the bus or buy souvenirs at the market or local shops.
Bus usually gives you money in your own money and when we got money it didn’t work for us. So make sure you have small bills or even coins if you are taking a city bus.
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We learned this the hard way. Island hotels often do not have their own airport shuttle. Our hotel, Eagle Aruba, would have booked us for $16 per passenger if we had done it 24 hours in advance. Unfortunately, we didn’t think ahead and booked it the night before we landed.
It was $10 one way and $20 round trip. I thought we would just do another route and find the best way back (we are budget travelers when we can). However, when we went to book our return transportation, they didn’t have the option to book online from the hotel to the airport, and the resort couldn’t help us because they could only go by road. So confusing!
Therefore, we recommend that you either book early through your hotel to get a discount or share a taxi with someone.
Taxi fares from the airport to hotels can range from $28 for low-rise hotels to $32 for high-end hotels. For more information, check the taxi ticket here.
Aruba Travel Tips Best Things To Do For A Fun Crammed Vacation
We booked a one-way car from the airport to the hotel for $10 per person with De Palm Tours so we didn’t have to worry when we landed. Sometimes it can be crazy being in a new place and trying to navigate and make sure you don’t get lost. So it was an easy way.
On the way back to the airport we saw a guy waiting for a taxi with his luggage and we asked if he would split the taxi to split the cost and he was up for it, saving us both about $14.
Obviously, depending on the number of people in your party, determining which is more economical…shuttle or taxi.
If you’re on a cruise and head to the port, or if you’re downtown and check out all the shops along the way, you’ll see many souvenir stands set up. (Not shops with doors). This is the easiest way to get there, but if you go a little further there is a local market and we found their prices very affordable.
Aruba Budget Travel Guide (updated 2023)
Save a little money and go a little further to get the same souvenirs and even more variety on some other items.
Shopping for gifts at resort stores is very easy and convenient because you don’t have to go anywhere. But we found that their prices were twice as high in local markets and in smaller shops near larger neighborhoods. The markup on hotels is huge, so shop on the road outside your resort and you’re sure to get exactly half the price!
I even got a piece of “handmade in Aruba” art for $15 when it was $32 at the resort.
You will see big buses called Arubus that will take you anywhere you want. A trip on a large bus costs $2.60 USD per person one way. There are also shops marked “Bus” and they stop at the same places. These buses are $2.00 one way.
The Ultimate Travel Guide To Aruba
While the difference of 60 cents doesn’t seem like much, it can vary depending on how many people you are traveling with and how often you use the bus.
Note: When we got to the big Arubus, we paid $3 and got change in local currency, which was not the case, so we only paid $3.00 when we got to Arubus.
Buses arrive approximately every 15 minutes. Check the bus schedule here for all your details.
Well, it might just be because we’re out of state, but Coke refills are charged per refill. We are used to getting free refills of alcoholic drinks in restaurants, but this is not the case. We also found that a $3.00 Coke at the restaurant turned into half a can of soda, so it wasn’t worth it.
The Ultimate Aruba Travel Guide
In Aruba, there is room for a tip on your receipt, and it seems to be the general consensus to tip. Many restaurants also add a 10-15% “service charge” to your check, so be sure to read the best tips for tipping in these situations. The service charge is divided between the service staff, so it is called their tip. We added more when we felt it was appropriate.
It was unexpected for us because you think you shouldn’t go to other resorts where you don’t live. However, each resort has a variety of restaurants, casinos and bars, and you are welcome to come and enjoy them. Most beaches are public beaches, so you can relax wherever you want.
You may not use their chairs unless you are at the resort and should probably stay away from their pools, but be sure to enjoy.
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