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jpniner Mar 24th, 2009 11:16 AM

Food Cost - Aruba and Barbados
I'm trying to gauge between All-Inclusive and Non on these two islands or Turks/Caicos for that matter. I think these places are one's to get out and see different areas so thinking non-all inclusive is way to go.

anyway, question is what am I looking at spending on food and drinks in Barbados and Aruba?

Good adults only resorts?

KVR Mar 24th, 2009 04:34 PM

There is only one adults only hotel on Aruba that I am aware of and it's AI; The Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa. It's located on Eagle Beach. There are only 6 hotels in Aruba that offer AI.

Aruba has many restuarants in various price ranges. For a beach dinner or nicer restuarant around $100. More causal places around $30 to $50.

We had tapas at Salt & Pepper with beer for $40. Texas de' Brazil, we went on-line and got a coupon 2 for 1 and it was $79.00. Iguana Joes for lunch with beer was $28, and a steak and lobster dinner at La Petite Cafe was $100.00 with beer.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn and did their AI plan. Non-AI, they charged $9 for 2 beers and $11 for 2 pina colados.

I would not go AI there again, and we plan on returning. We are going to Curacao in May and chose non-AI there due to our experience in Aruba.

Here's a link to a really good site for resturant info on Aruba. Includes a map of each location:

We are currently researching Barbados. I've only found 5 AI hotels there, and only the Almond Beach Club & Spa is adult's only. I've read Barbardos is also not the place to go AI, but to not go that route, I would want to be in the heart of St. Lawrence Gap in order to walk to restuarants. Not much choice in that location. We're looking for extremely budget friendly accomendations.

I wrote a very detailed trip report on the cost of restaurants when we went to Turks & Caicos. We desperatly wanted to go AI there as the food and drinks were rather expensive. They only have 3 hotels offering AI, and we didn't care for any of them so we went non-AI. We had to tone down the drinks as to not go over budget. The overall prices, availabilty and taste was better in Aruba (IMHO). We went to T & C before we went to Aruba. Aruba blew us away. Exactly what we were looking for in a vacation destination as we are very active and like to eat/drink.

Here's the link to our report if you're interested:

jpniner Mar 24th, 2009 09:21 PM

thanks, i'm looking for a honeymoon and we mainly want beach/pool, nice room and good food and drinks.

My take is places like Aruba and Barbados are not the place to do AI, more upscale and less 3rd world.

but go AI in places like Jamaica or Mexico.

I'm looking at the Bucatti resorts(Tara suites) for this, which aren't priced that bad and Trip Advisor claims its the top place to stay on island for a romantic setting. I'm guessing its not adults only though???

How hard is it go get around, time wise? Thats the thing, with it not being AI we'd need to go out each night to some part of the island to eat. Sounds like it could be a fun time though with all Aruba has to offer.

jpniner Mar 24th, 2009 09:25 PM

I did want to go to Barbados, and stay at The Crane. but can't get a direct flight on day need to travel, then I realize Crane is very far away from everything, although the restaraunts there are suppose to be good and has one of the best beaches in the world.

the corner room apts with private plunge pools(or full pull on bottom floor) look very nice as well.

Barbados is a place to go to check out some of the history of it, lots of British traditions.

xkenx Mar 25th, 2009 04:05 AM

IMO A.I. hotels on Barbados are not the way to go. You are on an island with a huge variety of sightseeing, beaches, nitelife, hotels with fine restaurants AND nitelife if you want to hang around. With A.I. you are hostage to being there too much. The A.I. hotels on B'dos are not the better ones and not on the nicer beaches, and are not better priced. To be reasonably close to things and be on a good calm water beach (for snorkeling), stay at a beach on the west coast north of Bridgetown. You can sign up for MAP, buying only lunch separately, but you may be out for lunch anyway. The class act on the island is Coral Reef Club--family owned for over 50 years, low rise plantation style, gorgeous grounds, fine food, nice beach. See

KVR Mar 25th, 2009 04:11 AM

Aruba has great transportation. Their bus system is cheap and reliable. Taxis are plentiful and not too pricey. Renting a car and driving is fine also.

Our choice for next visit would be the Amsterdam Manor. It's the first hotel on Eagle Beach, so walking distance to Palm Beach where there is a good variety of resturants. They have recently remodeled. Their beach is acorss the street, but it's not an issue for us. The rooms on that that side have ocean views. They have a beach dinner/restaurant called Passions.

We are having the same issue with air going to Barbados. Only American services that Island from our home airport. Getting a decent flight is going to be difficult. We had that same problem for the last 2 years trying to get to Curacao. We finally found a flight on Continental to Aruba and then Insel air to Curacao.

girlonthego Mar 25th, 2009 05:02 AM

Bucuti has the policy that discourages children. It is not adult only, but mostly adults.
I have heard that it is very nice and on a great beach. We stayed at the Marriott with our kids and a million other kids :)
Aruba was reasonable and has all price ranges for dining out. We took a taxi every night and it wasn't bad at all. We also stopped at the grocery store on the way to the hotel and picked up some beer, soda, juices, and a bottle of liquor for the room. Marriott had a mini fridge.
I think Aruba was great fun. I can not comment on Barbados or Turks Caicos as i have not been there yet.
Definitely do not do all inclusive in Aruba. The dining is too good around the island.

jpniner Mar 25th, 2009 06:18 AM

Do you think Bucuti(Tara beach suites) for a honeymoon is way to go in Aruba? We priced it and for 10 days with flight from CLT(direct) everything was going to be about $4400 plus food/drinks/etc. we pay for while there. So key is to gauge that cost if we do this.

I'm down to waying that option vs. 10 Days in Jamaica, 6 or 7 at Ocho or Dunns Sandals followed with 3 or 4 days at The Royal Plantation with current deals they are running. So All-Inclusive.

or an AI on Maroma Beach(secrets probably) in Riveria Maya.

want best experience for a honeymoon, Aruba has advantage of most likely being out of hurricane belt(going in mid August). However, since we will be exhausted after wedding AI has an allure to it

travelgirl72153 Mar 25th, 2009 08:25 AM

Best Aruba resort for adults only is The Bucuti on Eagle
Beach. I will be going to Aruba for the 3rd time in May and
staying at Bucuti for the 2nd time. Too many great restaurants
in Aruba to go " all inclusive ". Very easy to get around at night by bus or cab, go to the "high rise " area at night for
dinner and casinos. Dinner prices vary from low to high depending on what you are looking for.

greenie Mar 25th, 2009 03:11 PM

Love the Crane! I heard they even put in an elevator to the beach...bonus! No more rickety stairs. Between Aruba and Bds I'd choose Bds. I love the Caribbean vibe and Island flavor that Aruba just doesnt have. Dont get me wrong, I enjoyed Aruba, but I enjoyed Curacao more! and Bds is a fav that we've been to several times!

If you rent a car, the Crane is not really that far from the St Laurence Gap. It's probably 10 min from airport, and the gap is prolly about 20 min from the airport.

Peace, Greenie

eileen Mar 26th, 2009 04:15 AM

Aruba is the more reasonable destination for food and drinks and no, I wouldn't go AI there. Haven't been to Barbados in 20 years but even way back then it was very expensive for food and drinks and I keep getting scared off from going back by people who have been there recently and say the prices are really high (and we live in a metro area so we are used to $10 - 12 drinks but I keep hearing $15 - $18 down there). Turks & Caicos is not as expensive as Barbados but more expensive than Aruba -- 7 years ago we were paying $12 for pina coladas at our resort, although there are less expensive places of course, but I recall many dinners of about $150 for two. Barbados has many nice resorts that are not typical AI's like Sandals but traditionally include a meal plan (Coral Reef Club, Cobblers Cove, etc.) you might want to consider that. I remember that on my honeymoon I was so burned out from makig decisions for the wedding that I didn't want to even discuss/decide where to eat every day! One comment on the Bucuti that I may get bashed for but it's my opinion. While I have not stayed there, I have visited it twice and I think it seems very overrated based on the facilities. I would call it a hotel, not a resort. Yes it's on a great stretch of beach and it has some old-world charm but it did not seem very special and I think the outside of the Tara Suites are just plain ugly. Unfortunately Aruba is woefully short of special, unique, boutique-type properties so Bucuti does get a lot of attention. You would find it very different from Royal Plantation, for example. It's a pretty basic place. The Crane is definitely worth considering -- the location was spectacular 20 years ago and they have now developed it into a full-fledged resort with new villas, etc. Be aware that it is quite a distance from town. We have been to quite a few destinations in the Caribbean and if you really want a special honeymoon check out our two favorite resorts -- Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on Nevis (meal plan included) and Galley Bay in Antigua (all inclusive and no children allowed). And try not to worry about hurricanes, a few years ago even Aruba was hit so there is no predicting -- just purchase travel insurance and enjoy your honeymoon!

jpniner Mar 26th, 2009 06:11 AM

greenie, how much do you think I'd spend on average at The Crane for drinks and lunch/dinner over a week?

I hear the Crane allows you to rent cars for one day at a time if driving in-land.

looks like a great resort in pictures, downside to Barbados is lack of good coffee in favor of Tea from what I can tell

jpniner Mar 26th, 2009 06:29 AM

For a honeymoon, what would you guys choose? I'm looking at I think roughly same cost in the end between all of these I think:


Barbados - The Crane hopefully corner Apt. w/private pool
Aruba - Bucuti Tara Suites w/BP


Riveria Maya, probably Secrets Maroma
Jamaica: probably Sandals Dunns followed with a few days at Royal Plantation to be pampered. or Couples Swept Away in Negril

we will need alot of worry free downtime at start, so the AI way seems attractive in that sense. On other hand actually getting out a few days and seeing a decent island like Aruba or barbados has its appeal but I think we would be sacraficing some pampering in the process.

KVR Mar 26th, 2009 06:42 AM

I've been reading Trip Advisor in researching Barbados and suprised to read how many people say that the cost of food and drinks in Barbados are reasonable becasue I've looked at some restaurant web-sites and their menu prices seem rather steep. I saw one for spagehetti $24, shrimp $35, kids hot dog with fries $12. I know that only one example, but in the intital phase of research that's high. The AI hotels we've found, their package price with AI is almost double then just a room, and don't really like any of the locations so I don't think that would be worth it. I'm sure we can find a least cheaper food/drinks somewhere on the Island.

I say this because, I don't think Barbados would be a good choice for a honeymoon based on all of your other posts.

I love the recommendation of Galley Bay on Antigua. I could never afford to stay there. It's also too secluded for us, but it's really nice and gets great reviews.

jpniner Mar 26th, 2009 07:50 AM

the Rondovals at Sandals Antigua look pretty cool, but also expensive.

xkenx Mar 26th, 2009 10:40 AM

re KVRs comments above. The Barbados dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at 2:1, so any prices quoted in Bds are 1/2 that American.

jpniner Mar 26th, 2009 10:59 AM

so a $15 drink in Barbados would really be $7.50?

reasonable I guess then.

jpniner Mar 26th, 2009 11:47 AM

they have a great deal on The Crane right now at Orbitz.

you can get the Apt/suite with the Pool for $273 a night. I priced 9 nights in August and w/tax it came to $2900 bucks. Problem is I can't find any decent flights and what I can find is multiple stops and cost alot per ticket.

dang it!

KVR Mar 26th, 2009 12:33 PM

Thanks, that good to know because either way we are still planning on going next year. I still want an AI hotel, so anyone out there that can recommend one, please post.

palmtree2384 Mar 26th, 2009 01:12 PM

Hi jpniner,
My husband and I stayed at the Almond Beach Club on Barbados and it was AI, and we absolutely loved it. Wonderful beach and calm water. The people on that island were the most friendly people I have ever met in my entire life! (except for one cab driver :) ) It was so much fun, we rented a little car to cruise around the island and sightsee. We did take a taxi twice to go into the main town of Bridgetown as when you get down there they drive a little crazy :) We are going to Turks and Caicos at the end of April it will be our only other trip so far to the caribbean so because of how much fun we had in Barbados we are crossing our fingers that we will have as much fun in T&C. My husband was disappointed that we weren't going AI this time. He loved the fact that you could just go into the bar anytime and have a drink as many times as you wanted without paying anything! If you want some more info. on Barbados just let me know. Hope you have fun.

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