Can you bring your own food to Aruba?

Mar 3rd, 2007, 08:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Can you bring your own food to Aruba?

We recently had friends return from Aruba and they said it was soooooooooooooooo expensive. They said that everyone brought their own ice chests with food. Can anyone respond and give us helpful and cost saving tips? We will be there 7 days. Much appreciatied!
Mare525 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 09:25 AM
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What do you consider expensive? All resort destinations in the Caribbean are pricey for food and drinks because everything is imported. Aruba has many grocery stores that you can buy items to keep in your hotel room fridge.If you have a condo, you can buy lots of items.
I found breakfast buffets to be around 25-30per person at the hotels. BUT, there are bagel places and dunkin donuts nearby.
There are many fast food options on the island as well for quick and cheap lunches.
Part of our vacation is enjoying the good food. The restaurants in Aruba are excellent and I did not find them to be too pricey. I think they are on par with any nice resort area in the US. Our favorite dinner was El Gauchos steakhouse downtown.
We also had the breakfast buffet every day at the Marriott. At the time, it served the buffet until 11:30am. We ate breakfast around 11am and enjoyed the large brunch. We always took a yogurt for the next morning. (We had a fridge). The yogurt would tide us over until 11. Then we had dinners around 6pm.
My husband had the cab stop at the grocery store on the way from the airport and he picked up some sodas and some beer and vodka.
I personally enjoy the frozen drinks that are super expensive, but only a couple a day
girlonthego is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 11:00 AM
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hi marilyn, we normally rent villas or condos and always take a cooler - checked luggage, everything frozen solid so you don't take up space with those blue things. be sure to use a cooler with wheels. and don't forget the same 50lb weight restriction apply. take duct tape to the airport. they will wave a wand with explosive detector around the inside rim, then THEY will tape it shut for you. it is helpful if you have a typed list of contents and some islands require it.
we normally pack steaks, burger, lunch meats, chicken (premarinated strips in a vac sealed or ziploc is a time saver on island) cans of frozen juice, butter, and premade apps to have with cocktails. oh and since i live in maine some lobster meat. we take these things in particular because they are more expensive on island. you will still need to go to the grocery though for all fruit, vegeys, milk, bread, cheese, ice cream? etc.
in your suitcase you can take crackers, tuna, cereal, goldfish, pb&j, any seasonings (premeasured for recipe) you might need - any sort of dry item.
sometimes we have left our cooler for the next guest at the villa or housekeepers, sometimes it gets packed with trinkets and comes home.
virginia is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 11:34 AM
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We had 5 good dinners in Aruba, and thought the prices were comparable to US restaurants.

We shopped for a few things for a few breakfasts and lunches in the supermarket, and didn't think it was overly expensive.

Each to his/her own, but making dinner would lessen the enjoyment of our vacation, which we take to relax.

We stayed at the Marriott, and the breakfast buffets were $16 or $20, depending on the choices.
Jed is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Your question is the main reason we chose all-inclusive resorts. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Sunspree and got the AI option for $420 for both my husband and I. We ate at the breakfast buffet every morning, the evening buffet twice and the grill by the beach twice. We drank lots of pina colodas and beer.

I researched for months dining options in Aruba. There are several resturants that I agree are quite expensive, but there are also some very affordable options also. We ate at Texas de Brazil. We signed up on their web-site for their 2 for 1 coupon. We ate at Iguana Joes downtown while shopping. Their portions were quite big, so we shared it. We also ate at Le Petite Cafe. Their steak and lobster dinner was $29 p/p. Can't beat that price anywhere and the stone cooking was really neat. If you choose a hotel on Palm Beach there is a shopping/resturant row within walking distance.

We are big on excursions while on vacation, so we like to make sure the activities we do include a meal. We did a dinner cruise, went to the Havana Tropical Show, the Kukunkoo Bus, snorkel trip, Island Tour, DePalm Island and Beach Express tour all included meals.

I refuse to go "on vacation" to stay in a conda or villa with a kitchen, go to the grocery store and cook my own meals. I can do that at home. We dragged a cooler and snacks to Turks & Caicos and I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever do that again. I want to be pampered on vacation and stay in nice hotel with good amenities and eat/drink to my heart's content.

Check out

They have great info and a dining/review section.
KVR is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 12:15 PM
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"All resort destinations in the Caribbean are pricey for food and drinks because everything is imported. "

Not Jamaica. I suspect its not the only larger Caribbean island that grows and raises food and has lots of inexpensive options for dining out.
liza is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 01:44 PM
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indeed - to each their own. i can not imagine staying at an all-inclusive. too many people for my taste. i don't like buffet lines. i love to cook and do not consider it an inconvience. nothing can compare to freshly made lobster salad sandwich on the beach in front of our villa and i can do a complete grilled filet mignon dinner for what girlonthego or jed are paying for breakfast. we do go out for some meals too! also, i find the interaction of staying in a home and going to the grocery and various stores a wonderful experience. ya know someplace where the locals are not just "serving tourists".
virginia is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 01:50 PM
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There's inexpensive dining options everywhere you just have to search them out.

Try King Ribs in Aruba, off the main highway. Great meal grilled right out back.

Also, at the hotel, opt for the "off the menu breakfast." Most times that's cheaper than the buffet.

I'm with KVR. Lifes too short to do the cooking on vacation!!!

greenie is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 03:37 PM
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The idea of cooking on vacation makes me want to stay home! I don't love cooking so going out is the way to go for me.
Jed, i didn't remember the price of the Marriott's buffet, but for us it was perfect.
I have not done all inclusive, but have done meal plans. It is easier to not think about where you are eating and also know what your paying ahead of time.
Go and enjoy. Don't lug a cooler. That sounds like such a pain especially since there are grocery stores there that have just about everything.
girlonthego is online now  
Mar 4th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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My wife and I don't enjoy big breakfasts, so we did not have the buffet breakfasts at the Marriott. We got Starbucks from the lobby, and with juice and yogurt from the supermarket, that was enough for us, especially with a beautiful view from our balcony, joined by a few bird friends. Just a lovely, serene way to eat.

A small sandwich and soda on the balcony for lunch was quite satisfying. We saved our appetite for excellent dinners.

But, each to his/her own.
Jed is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 06:54 AM
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We actually found Aruba to be less expensive than any other island that we have been to. Dinner at Carlos and Charlie's was no more than we would have paid to go to the Chili's chain here. IMHO> If you look at the restaurant menus carefully, I think you could easily find something within your budget. I would stay away from the restaurants in the big hotels, as they are high. Restaurants down there do post their menus outside so that you can look before you go in. Also, cab drivers will be happy to take you to an affordable place. If you are staying at a condo or house, you can visit the local grocery store (accessible by bus or rental car) for very reasonable food purchases. We went to the store for drinks and snacks and found the prices to be good. I would travel with the least amount of things to worry about as possible.
iw is offline  
May 29th, 2013, 03:01 PM
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We go to Aruba for 2 weeks every June. We take our own lunchmeat, cheese, bacon, etc. and snacks. We also take a case of beer (to get started) and our own tequila and margarita mix. We think the grocery stores are very expensive. We DO eat dinner out every night. Aruba has some fantastic restaurants!
carib1029 is offline  
May 30th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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Wow this is an oldie (from 2007). If I had to take my own food, I'd find another island to visit instead. Jamaica is a good suggestion.
suze is offline  
May 31st, 2013, 02:11 PM
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We bring dry goods such as granola bars, instant oatmeal packets, crackers, etc. We do a lot of snacking. It saves quite a bit because we rely less on dining out.

Otherwise, we didn't find Aruba expensive compared to anywhere else.
promisem is offline  
Jun 24th, 2015, 05:41 AM
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Has anyone brought frozen food into aruba recently? My neighbor packs a chef grade insulated bag with steaks, lobster, etc.. to another Dutch island. My thoughts were to bring burger patties, steaks, and some other food to subside the cost of staying there for a month.
kimthepayne is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 04:59 AM
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I've never quite understood the whole "lugging of food" to a vacation spot.

Yes, prices are higher on islands. But in the end, a trip to the grocery store in the islands (might) cost an additional $100-150 bucks then what you'd pay in the states for the same weeks worth of food.

To me, that extra $150 bucks is well worth not having any extra hassles of lugging coolers around airports.

But whatever works for ya..... ;-)
Bassguy66 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2015, 02:50 PM
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So is that a yes you can bring food to aruba?
kimthepayne is offline  
Jun 28th, 2015, 08:07 AM
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Does taking your own food help the local economy or people? Vacations are about giving and taking - travel responsibility.
thetonytraveller is offline  
Jun 29th, 2015, 08:03 AM
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Yes you "can" bring it......the real question is whether it's really worth the hassle....
Bassguy66 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2015, 06:30 AM
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By the time you pay the luggage fees for your cooler you could have bought a week's worth of groceries on the island.
schmerl is offline  

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