Aruba has a reputation for being a luxury travel destination that honeymooners and rich retirees visit. Even among the Caribbean countries, it is considered a premium location where hotels are relatively expensive, and the finer aspects of the tourist experience are emphasized.
The cost of living in Aruba is $1100 per month, excluding rent, while the cost of living, including rent, is $1850 per person on average. The cost of vacationing in Aruba is $1,830 per week, including accommodation costs.
This article provides a complete cost breakdown using price averages from up-to-date market queries. By the end of this post, you will know your expected cost of permanently living in Aruba as well as the cost of staying in the country for a short period, be it a vacation or a trip to check out the place before you move.
Living In Aruba: A Brief Overview
Living in Aruba has different cost implications than visiting Aruba. A few major differences are in your accommodation choices and rates, the ratio of eating out to cooking, and other expenses like owning a car instead of taking a cab.
To get an appropriate picture of the cost of living in Aruba, one must start with living expenses instead of the visiting expenses that most tourists end up having.
Aruba Cost Of Accommodation
The cost of renting an apartment in Aruba is between $700 and $1090 in metropolitan areas of the country. In contrast, the average rent is $1029 even when you account for Middle America and rural areas.
The cost of long-term accommodation in Aruba is the greatest advantage of living in an island nation otherwise famous for being a summer haven in cold seasons.
You can save $4000 to $6000 per year renting an apartment in Aruba compared to renting it in the US. If you’re a homeowner in the US, you can earn that much money from putting your own home up for rent and living in a lower-rent apartment in Aruba.
Aruba Cost Of Groceries
Aside from rent, groceries are the second largest chunk of an individual’s budget. In Aruba, groceries can cost $40 per week, which is almost half of what they cost in metropolitan America. That said, many southern states and rural areas in the US have cheaper grocery rates.
Still, the cheapest grocery trips in the US are 25% more expensive than medium-level grocery shopping in Aruba.
You can save $80 to $160 per month in grocery expenses if you choose to live in Aruba. That equals $960 to $1920 in annual savings from the grocery budget alone.
Aruba Cost Of Utilities
Your utility bill in Aruba is likely to be minute compared to your bill in any first-world country. That has more to do with less power usage than cheaper power. Still, utilities are pretty cheap in Aruba.
You can expect to pay $160 for electricity, an amount that would barely cover a week in a city like New York. Your monthly phone bill is likely to be around $75. This is comparable to some US carriers, and the service in the US is much better. In other words, you pay for a lower quality service with less money, no surprises.
Aruba Cost Of Clothing
Clothing in Aruba can be expensive if it is imported. Locally made clothes can be cheaper, but the country’s textile manufacturing isn’t big enough to offer as much variety as is available in the US. On average, you spend 30% to 70% more on the same brands of clothing that you can find in America and Europe.
Aruba Cost Of Transportation
The cost of transportation in Aruba jas recently risen and is catching up to other tourist countries. The cab fare in Aruba can be anywhere between $12 and $60 depending on how far you go. Public transport for long-term users at least is a lot more manageable with $45 monthly passes. If you choose to own a car, you can shell out $29,000 for a mid-range Toyota.
Aruba Cost Of Education
Education price in Aruba isn’t as much an issue as the education quality. You can enroll your child in a nursery in Aruba for $265 per month. Educating your child at a local primary school can cost $11,000 per year. This factor can offset any cost savings you might have from visiting Aruba.
Visiting Aruba: A Brief Overview
When you visit Aruba, you pay a tourist premium on your accommodation because you choose a short-term stay. You also use restaurants more often than you cook at home, and your transport options often consist exclusively of cabs.
Whether you plan to take a temporary scouting visit before committing to Aruba or you intend to genuinely vacation in the island nation, here is how your expenses will differ from those of a resident.
Cost Of Hotel Stay In Aruba
Depending on the hotel you choose to stay in, you might pay anywhere between $223 and $879 per day. That’s cheaper than the Hotels in the US but more expensive than hotels elsewhere.
Airbnbs used to be cheaper but the cost difference is fast vanishing with the consolidation of private property on the island. Some vacation rentals in Aruba are listed at $690, which is even higher than The Hilton’s prices for some nights.
If you plan to visit Aruba strictly to check it out before you move, you should probably visit in July or January. These are low-demand seasons with low hotel prices and poor weather conditions. It is actually beneficial to see the extreme weather before committing to a permanent move.
Aruba Cost Of Tourist Transport
You can expect to shell out $15 to $45 per cab trip in Aruba. But if you play your cards right with the Aruba public transport, you’ll be able to get around in Aruba for $2.5 to $10 per day. A monthly bus pass costs around $42, which is a better deal for anyone choosing to stay any longer than 3 days in the country.
The bus system covers most tourist hotspots, including beaches, ziplining, and diving destinations. Everything from the bus stops is within walking distance. Part of the reason cabs charge more is that only affluent retirees and honeymooners take private transport. Most tourists stick to buses.
Aruba Cost Of Leisure
You can watch a movie in Aruba, with refreshments, for $20 or less. Tickets cost just over $10, depending on the exchange rate. Sunbathing doesn’t cost much except the fare to get there. And on a bus, that’s no more than $3.
You can go diving with your own equipment for $79 and with rented equipment for $100. That’s more expensive than the average diving costs in the US. But how does the cost of diving in Aruba compare to the diving prices in other Caribbean countries?
Scuba diving costs only $1 less in the Dominican Republic, one of the cheapest countries in the Caribbean, than it does in Aruba. This goes against the conventional assumption that Aruba is uniformly expensive for leisure compared to its neighboring islands and countries.
A closer inspection of leisure niches shows that price inflation directly correlates with honeymooners’ activities.
Hotel stays, spa sessions, and other couples’ activities typically associated with romantic getaways are 20% to 35% more expensive in Aruba than in countries like the Dominican republic. But solo activities, as well as less “touristy” services, are only slightly more expensive in Aruba.
Aruba Vs. Other Caribbean Locations: A Comparison Of Tourism Costs.
As mentioned earlier, Aruba is significantly more expensive when it comes to romantic and honeymoon-adjacent tourist activities. However, leisure activities outside of those niches it has a very slight markup.
Refer to the table below to further understand the pricing and markups in the Aruba leisure landscape. It shows how Aruba compares to the Dominican Republic (cheapest) and to Bermuda, which is the most expensive Caribbean island.
|Cost in Aruba
|Cost in the Dominican Republic
|Cost in Aruba
|$0.5 – $3
|$12 – $15
|$45 – $78
|$599 – $700
|$59 – $338
|$399 – $730
|Spa (couple’s massage)
|$200 – $341
|$150 – $250
|$205 – $500
|$307 – $448
|$30 – $387
|$448 – $561
|$75 – $52
|$60 – $100
|$228 – $290
|$20 – $80
|$15 – $85
|$165 – $225
|$125 – $200
|$210 – $267
A quick look at the comparative pricing shows that the concept of the universally expensive or the unidimensionally cheap island is a myth. Activities are priced by demand, and sometimes, the cheaper islands have more expensive activities while the more expensive ones have lower-priced ones.
Museums are an example of that. Aruban museums don’t usually charge for entry because they make their money in souvenir sales. Despite being generally cheaper to live in, Dominican Republic charges money for museum visits.
The best way to pick your vacation destination is to list down the activities you want to engage in once you’re on the island. Only after you have a clear idea of this can you find the island that offers the best value and price for the things you are interested in.
That said, there are some places that are generally good for vacationing and others that are better for living. And knowing whether Aruba is in the former or latter will help you decide whether you want to live there temporarily or on a permanent basis.
Should You Vacation In Aruba?
You should vacation in Aruba if you are willing to spend 25% to 45% more on a Caribbean getaway. This is ideal for rich honeymooners and solo self-care trips. It is not ideal for a pan-Caribbean bucket list item. If your goal is just to have fun on a Caribbean island, you should choose one with the cheapest hotel and transport prices.
You should vacation in Aruba if you are:
- A honeymooner – Aruba’s honeymoon tourism has blossomed over the last decade and has shaped much of the island’s premium experiences.
- Celebrating a relationship milestone – Relationships milestones like anniversaries and even collective home ownership can be celebrated on an island that has a romantic tilt.
- Are seeking love – Many people go to Aruba to indulge themselves in romance-free self-care. It is a gesture of gifting yourself the pleasures of a honeymoon vacation. It is not uncommon for people to meet each other and develop romantic interests.
- Are a surfer with a bucket list – If you have a list of waves you want to conquer, there will be a few off of Aruba’s beaches and coves that you might want to check off.
- Are you looking to retire in Aruba – It is reasonable to vacation on an island where you want to ultimately retire. It serves as motivation because you can spend a few weeks in the paradise you’re working so hard for.
Should You Live In Aruba?
While it is reasonable to visit Aruba if you want to ultimately live there, it is not always reasonable to visit Aruba. The island suits some people more than others. Here are a few contexts where it makes sense to live in Aruba.
You should live in Aruba if:
- You want to live in Aruba and have a passive income of $2000/month – The number one reason to stay in any country is that you want to stay there. As long as you have income that is not connected to your life in Aruba and covers the cost of living in the country, you can live there.
- You like to have a year-round summer – Aruba is known for having an “always summer” kind of climate. If you like sunshine enough to want twelve months of it, then you should consider a permanent move.
- You’re Looking To Get Away From City Life Yet Be Somewhat Connected To The World – Aruba Is Much More Relaxed Than North American Countries, Yet Has Enough Of The Hustle And Bustle Alongside First-World Footfall To Keep You From Being Disconnected From The World.
Final Thoughts on Aruba Cost of Living
Aruba is a relatively expensive Caribbean location, but it is much cheaper than the US, for long-term residence. Clothing and transport are pretty expensive even for locals, but overall, Aruba can be a great place to retire in if you have passive income coming from at least one source of income off the island. You can retire in Aruba if you own two residential units in the suburban USA or a flat in a prime location like metropolitan New York.