Food is an essential part of any culture. One rule to a fun vacation is grocery shopping: it connects you to the locals and forms part of an exciting adventure in discovering special spices and gourmet delights. And Aruba grocery stores are similar to shopping at home except for one thing:
You will find unique local products you wouldn’t otherwise find at home. For example, Aruba is a Dutch-owned island where you will find a variety of Dutch cheeses not found in America. But since you’re new in Aruba, you may not know where to shop for groceries.
To help, we’ve written an article that reviews the best grocery stores in Aruba. But before we dive in, here are a few tips for shopping in Aruba.
3 Tips for Grocery Shopping in Aruba
Shopping for groceries is the same anywhere in the world, but the experience can vary depending on your shopping habits. Here are top tips to help you make the best of your shopping experience in Aruba.
1. Carry a Grocery Bag
Aruba is big on environmental protection. And to reduce the impact of plastic bags on the environment, the government officially banned single-use plastics on January 1, 2017. Therefore, one of the most important shopping tips you’ll see anywhere is to go shopping with a grocery bag. Most shopping malls sell grocery bags, so you can still buy one if you don’t have one. But you know how badly petty purchases can eat into your budget.
2. Thursday Is the Best Day for Shopping
The majority of the goods sold in Aruba are imported. These freight ships usually arrive on Tuesdays, unload, and process through customs. It takes between Wednesday to early Thursday before the products arrive at the stores.
Thursday is the best day to shop for fresh products. Nonetheless, most store owners give incentives for shopping on Tuesdays, like discounts on items. So, shop on a Thursday if you want fresh groceries and on a Tuesday if you want cheap groceries.
3. Consider Closing Hours
Unlike in the United States, you will hardly find any 24/7 stores in Aruba. Most supermarkets open at 8 am and close by 9 pm. In addition, these stores do not open on official holidays. Therefore, you should remember to stock up on your grocery needs accordingly.
The Best Grocery Stores in Aruba
It is a well-known fact that cooking food is less expensive than eating out anywhere in the world. Besides, cooking while on vacation is an exciting way to experience the local culture of your vacation destination. That said, here are the best grocery stores to stock up on your fridge and pantry.
1. Super Food Plaza
Located in Bubali, Noord, Superfood plaza has tagged itself as the “premier food shopping destination.” This Dutch-owned store is one of the top three stores on the island, nicknamed “The Big Three.”
Super Food Plaza is precisely what you expect from any supermarket; clean and organized. It has a good selection of fresh and frozen foods and reasonably priced high-end wines, liquor, etc. Super Food Plaza is more than just a grocery store. It offers customers a complete shopping experience with a health and beauty store (Bliss), wines and liquor store (Cheers), Housewares (Casa), Jack’s Cafe, and games and toys (Intertoys).
The grocery store has well-organized sections with organic, vegetarian, gluten-free, and diabetic products. At the bakery, you will find fresh bread, croissants, and delicious rolls, with low-calorie, low-salt confectionaries. The deli section offers a wide selection of cheese, salads, and meat from the butcher shop.
Super Food Plaza has a bonus card for weekly bonus specials and deals. Please pick it up free at the customer service desk and use it to gain shopping points anytime you shop. You can resend or redeem your points at any of the stores in the plaza.
Opening hours are from 7 am to 8 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, and 9 am to 6 pm on Sundays. You can pay with major debit and credit cards and travelers’ cheques.
2. Ling and Sons Food Market
One of the “Big Three,” Ling and Sons has a range of diverse products worldwide. It is located in Schotlandstraat, Oranjestad, close to all significant hotels for easy access.
Ling and Sons Food Market has well-organized sections for fruits and vegetables, baked goods, wine and liquor, fresh meat, and even a cosmetic store. The fruits and vegetables are often large, even out of season. The deli section carries premium cheese, hams, and ready-made salads, for example, chicken salad.
There’s a walk-through food court with a breakfast and coffee corner and lunch buffets. Customers get a 20% discount on fruits and vegetables on Tuesdays and a 20% discount on meat on Thursdays. In addition, there’s a 10% discount on all products for healthcare workers except for alcohol and government-regulated products.
Opening hours are from 7:30 am to 8 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, and 9 am to 3 pm on Sundays. Ling and Sons Food Market prides itself on fast checkout lanes with multiple checkouts. The store accepts major credit and debit cards, US dollars, and traveler’s cheques.
The last of the “Big Three” is Pricesmart. It is perfect if you are looking for Costco-style shopping with low prices, free samples, cheap food, and a wide range of products.
This warehouse-style store carries office supplies, home supplies, electronics, toiletries, groceries, etc. The grocery aisle is clean and organized, with high-quality products at reduced costs. You will also find a gluten-free and organic section along with regular groceries. There are fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen prepared foods, and canned and bottled beverages.
Pricesmart has a bakery that offers fresh bread and other confectionaries. And, of course, a liquor section that carries many wines, beers, and other liquor. The membership costs $38, and since most items are in bulk sizes, it is suitable for staying longer or making multiple trips in a year. However, you can renew your membership online and use it in other countries that have Pricesmart warehouses. These countries include Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Barbados, Jamaica, and the United States Virgin Islands.
Opening hours are from 7 am to 7 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, and 9 am to 2 pm on Sundays. You can also pay with major debit and credit cards, US dollars, and traveler’s cheques.
4. Home Best Supermarket
If you are looking for a friendly mom-and-pop mini-market, you must go shopping at Home Best Supermarket. It is located at Serie Biento, Oranjestad.
Home Best Supermarket is a small Chinese store on the island that offers a unique variety of flavors and products. Despite its size, it has a stunning collection of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, and quick breakfast options. You will find the most delicious Pastechis in this store. The products are reasonably priced compared to the Big Three. And unlike other stores, Home Best Supermarket allows customers to swipe items less than 10 florins (about $5).
Opening hours are from 8 am to 9 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, and 10 am to 2 pm on Sundays. Home Best accepts major credit and debit cards, US dollars, and traveler’s cheques despite being a small mini-market.
5. Super Do It Center
Do you want an Americanized store where you can do all your shopping at once? Then Super Do It Center is your answer. It started as a general store selling bulbs, cables, outlets, and other electrical equipment before expanding into other hardware and groceries. Most North American tourists say it feels like a combination of Home Depot and Walmart.
Located at Shaba, Noord, this store has fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, and freshly baked foods. You will find popular international brands as well as local spices and condiments. The deli section offers delicious breakfast and lunch options, including desserts, cakes, cookies, and pastries from the bakery. In addition to fresh produce are frozen fruits, vegetables, dinners, meats, and seafood.
Opening hours are 8 am to 8 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, and 10 am to 2 pm on Sundays. Super Do It Center also accepts debit and credit cards, US dollars, and traveler’s cheques.
6. Cheng’s Supermarket
Cheng’s is a decent convenient store with reasonably priced goods located at Bubali, Noord. It is perfect for picking up a few items from the airport to avoid making a grocery trip on your first day.
Cheng’s is more casual than the others, but it is spacious, clean, and well-organized. A lot of locals do their shopping here. It has a great selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, household goods, and health and wellness products. The owner and workers are friendly if you want an interactive, personalized service.
In addition, the supermarket is close to the high-end hotels, and you don’t have to go too far to get your groceries. Opening hours are from 7:30 am to 9 pm on Mondays to Saturdays and 8:30 to 9 pm on Sundays. Like most stores on the island, Cheng’s Supermarket accepts major credit and debit cards, US dollars, and traveler’s cheques.
7. U Convenience
As the name suggests, U Convenience offers customers what other stores don’t; longer opening hours. The supermarket is open 24 hours a day and in a safe spot in Caya Primo, Oranjestad.
It has a wide selection of fresh and frozen produce, household items, toiletries, cosmetics, and more. The store carries sweets and snacks, such as chocolates, chips and dips, granola, candies, and energy bars. And just in case you feel a tingling of hunger late at night, the bakery carries fresh bread, pastries, cakes, and cookies.
U Convenience is a vital store, especially at night and on holidays when other stores are closed. The store accepts major credit and debit cards, US dollars, and traveler’s cheques.
8. Savemore Food Stores
The name of this store suggests low prices, and you are right. Savemore Food Stores is a discount store for budget shopping located in Bubaliweg, Noord.
Save 40% on everyday shopping for high-quality products from fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and frozen products. Savemore Food Stores are clean and tidy, with helpful and respectful staff. The first store opened in San Nicholas in 2009, and its success led to the opening of the second store in 2012.
Savemore prides itself on guarantees on all items you buy. You can return any dissatisfied product as long as you have the receipt. Part of its lowered prices includes unique buy offerings on some like of products. However, the offer on these products is limited while the stock lasts. Remember to try the delicious preseasoned chicken or the famous donuts.
The store has a recipe category for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and special occasions. Breakfast recipe includes avocado egg toast/pistolet, healthy muesli, and many more. Lunch includes shrimp taco and grilled chicken salad with garlic confit. Some dinner recipes include braised endive with ham and Gruyere. On special occasions, some recipes include authentic Aruban Ayaca or a roast pork roulade.
If you happen to visit Aruba during Thanksgiving, Savemore Food Stores carries turkey, turkey brine, and other thanksgiving necessities. Opening hours are from 7 am to 8 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, and 9 am to 5 pm on Sundays. You can pay for items purchased with a major credit or debit card, US dollars, and traveler’s cheque.
9. Kong Hing
Chinese-owned grocery stores are popular in Aruba, which is no surprise seeing how effective they are. Kong Hing is located at Paraders, Oranjestad.
Kong Hing is a grocery store downstairs and a furniture store upstairs. This convenience store mainly serves its neighborhood and carries many products. It is one of the few Asian stores you will find Asian food like bao dumplings or kimchi. You will also find some dutch products that are less available in other supermarkets nearby. Groceries are reasonably priced, and you will find the staff helpful and polite.
Opening hours are from 8 am to 9 pm, Mondays to Saturdays, and 8 am to 7 pm on Sundays. Kong Hing also accepts major credit and debit cards, US dollars, and traveler’s cheques.
10. Grand Ocean Market
Grand Ocean Market is located at Bushiri, Oranjestad West, with quick and easy service. Although small, the store carries a wide selection of fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood at reasonable prices.
Did you know that the Coca-cola in this store often gets sold out? If you are an avid drinker, visit Grand Ocean Market for the coldest coca cola. The store is clean and well organized, with sections for fruits and vegetables, seafood, meat, deli, frozen foods, and freshly baked goods.
Opening hours are from 7 am to 9 pm, Mondays to Sundays. The store will accept major debit or credit cards like American Express, US dollars, and traveler’s cheques.
Key Takeaways: Grocery Store Shopping in Aruba
Aruba is a gourmet paradise with excellent cuisine and dining options. Make your meals to save cost, especially when vacationing with the whole family.
Super Food Plaza, Ling and Sons, and Pricesmart are Aruba’s “Big Three” grocery stores.
Super Do It Center, Savemore Food Stores, Home Best, Cheng’s, and Hong Hing are some of the best grocery stores with reasonable prices.
U Convenience is always open when most supermarkets are closed and can come in handy during emergencies.