Are you planning your trip to Aruba and looking for best sim card for staying connected when traveling to Aruba? This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about buying a sim card for Aruba in 2023. Don’t waste money on high roaming charges when visiting Aruba, the beautiful Dutch Antilles island.
Find out where to buy a sim card for Aruba, the best e-sim cards for Aruba, a comparison of the prepaid sim cards and the mobile internet providers, the best data network coverage, the fastest data speed, my recommendation, a vlog about my arrival at Aruba Airport, info about international sim cards for Aruba and more.
Aruba will always be one of my favorite islands in the Caribbean. In 2006 I lived for 6 months on this little paradise and I have been back visiting Aruba many times over the last years.
As Traveltomtom is on a journey to travel to every country in the world I constantly get to new countries and places. Getting connected is the most important thing to arrange when arriving somewhere new. It makes traveling much easier and more fun.
Since I am a full time nomadic travel blogger for more than 10 years now I always have to find ways to get connected. In the past that always meant buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival, nowadays though e-sim cards are a great solution.
That is how on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from around the world: Curacao, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, USA, Miami, Newark, New York, Panama City, Colombia, Bogota, Brazil, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Peru, Lima, Europe, Netherlands, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Germany, London Gatwick and many more.
Traveltomtom recommends a Digicel sim card for Aruba. They are a little more expensive than Setar, but Digicel offers faster data speed and much better 4G coverage around Aruba. Also Digicel now also offers e-sim cards for tourists as of October 2023, available at Aruba International Airport.
When you just need a little bit of data to check your email, stay connected on WhatsApp or get directions from Google Maps then an e-sim card is the cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Aruba. For $9.5 USD you get 1 GB data, see below for more info about the best e-sim cards for Aruba.
There are also international sim cards with data for traveling abroad. These sim cards are valid in multiple countries around the world. Check out my comparison for the best sim cards for traveling around the world in 2023 and find the one for your upcoming trip.
Be aware that international sim cards, local prepaid sim cards and e-sim cards for Aruba only work in unlocked phones. If your phone is locked these sim cards are useless. If you are unsure if your phone is unlocked ask your mobile internet provider in your home country. Your mobile internet provider might charge you a fee for unlocking your phone.
Best e-sim cards for Aruba
The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Aruba is an e-sim card. No more visiting a store or swapping physical sim cards. Arrange everything online within just a couple minutes. You order an e-sim card on the internet, instantly receive a QR code, scan the code, follow the steps and you are connected in just a couple clicks.
You can buy an e-sim card for Aruba on the internet from the following e-sim card providers or buy an e-sim card from the Digicel store at Aruba Airport on arrival.
Check out the following e-sim card for Aruba:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.5 USD
Click here to directly order an e-sim card for Aruba.
The above data-only e-sim card from Noord Communications is only valid in Aruba. They use the 4G/LTE mobile network of Digicel. This Aruba e-sim card is data-only and incoming and outgoing calls are not supported. An ID or passport verification is not required.
There are also international e-sim cards for traveling to Aruba. These e-sim cards are more expensive but are valid all over the Caribbean in almost 30 islands/countries around the Caribbean.
- 1 GB data for 30 days = $29.90 USD
Why buying a sim card for Aruba
Almost every hotel has WiFi, so why do you need a sim card for Aruba? Although every hotel offers free WiFi for its guests, don’t expect it to work like at home. Video calls, streaming services and heavy data using apps like Instagram and YouTube will most probably not run as smooth as you might had hoped.
As soon as you leave your hotel you will be disconnected. That means you can’t stay in touch anymore, no more using Google Maps for directions and finding nearby bars, restaurants or even friends that are on holiday in Aruba as well. Keep in mind that there is NO WIFI at the beach, the WiFi signal is very weak at the beautiful beach in Aruba.
Or what about emergencies, using banking apps, ordering a taxi, etc. Staying connected makes traveling to Aruba so much more convenient and fun.
I stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and in the room I had good WiFi but on the beach and at the pool it was very slow so I used my 4G sim card most of the times.
Especially while chilling on the beach or pool it would be nice to scroll through social media apps, right?
We also rented a car to tour around the island, one of my favorite things to do in Aruba. Without being having data on my phone things would have been much more challenging. Another amazing place to visit in Aruba is Renaissance Island to see the flamingos. Without my Aruba sim card I would have been disconnected all day.
Anyway, also a very important reminder that being connected to public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network, the use of a VPN in these cases is recommended to protect your data.
Mobile internet providers in Aruba
There are two mobile internet providers in Aruba: Digicel and Setar. Both operators offer prepaid sim cards for tourists. Unlike many other countries you do NOT need a passport for buying a prepaid sim card in Aruba.
You will either get a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card that comes with a phone number from Aruba that starts with +297.
A prepaid sim card in local language in Aruba is called a ‘chippie’. The official first languages in Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento. However, everyone in Aruba also speaks fluent English as well as Spanish.
Where to buy a sim card for Aruba
Queen Beatrix International Airport - Aruba Airport AUA
The most convenient place to buy a sim card in Aruba is obviously at the airport on arrival. Luckily at Aruba Airport it is very easy for tourists to buy a prepaid sim card.
Both, Digicel and Setar have a sim card shop at Aruba Airport that can’t be missed. After you picked up your baggage from the luggage belt you will be guided through a customs security check, where they pick out random people for a bag check.
Then when you walk through the sliding doors you will find yourself in a small arrival hall. There are only 3 shops in the arrival hall: Cinnabon, Setar and Digicel. The Digicel shop is on your right hand side and the Setar and the Cinnabon are on your left.
The Setar and Digicel sim card stores at Queen Beatrix Airport have limited opening times:
- Digicel: 9.00 am to 8.00 pm every day - credit card only, no cash!
- Setar: 9.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm every day - credit card as well as USD and local currency.
Digicel offers e-sim cards for tourists, Setar only offers physical prepaid sim cards for tourists.
Oranjestad city center and supermarkets
There is also a Digicel and Setar store walkable distance from the city center of Oranjestad and there are Digicel kiosks in some of the bigger supermarkets like Superfoods.
For my research finding the best sim card for tourists in Aruba I also visited the phone stores in Oranjestad, so I could compare the prices.
First of all be prepared that things are not going that fast and waiting times in the official Setar and Digicel stores can be long. Although Aruba looks a bit like Vegas on the Beach, don’t forget you are in the Caribbean.
The prepaid sim card plans they sell at the stores away from the airport are much cheaper. The easiest place to buy a sim card for Aruba is at the airport, but you also pay a tourist price. More about the prices for prepaid sim cards later.
The advantage about buying a sim card at the airport is that at Digicel you can also choose to get an e-sim card instead of a physical prepaid sim card. Unfortunately at the Digicel sim card kiosk in the Superfood they only have physical prepaid sim cards available.
If buying a sim card on arrival in Aruba sounds like too much hassle than order a sim card for Aruba on the internet. For pretty much every country in the world there are international prepaid sim cards that you can order online before your trip but not for Aruba. However, I already mentioned that you can order an e-sim card for Aruba online and you arrive prepared. As soon as the plane lands in Aruba you are connected to the internet.
Prices prepaid sim cards in Aruba
Prices below are in USD, in Aruba they officially use the Aruban Florin but all prices are stated in USD. All info and prices below are updated in October 2023.
As I mentioned before Digicel and Setar sell tourist prepaid sim cards at Aruba airport at different prices than in stores anywhere else on the island. Let’s first have a look at the prices for Aruba sim cards at the airport.
At Aruba Airport Digicel sells 2 different prepaid sim card plans for tourists:
- 35 GB data + 30 minutes anywhere for 7 days = $30 USD
- Unlimited data + 60 minutes international calls for 14 days = $50 USD
In the Digicel sim card shop at Aruba Airport they offer e-sim cards as well as physical sim cards, you can choose.
In the Digicel store in Oranjestad and at the Digicel kiosks at the bigger supermarkets you can also get also get the following prepaid sim card plans:
- Unlimited data for 3 days = $16 USD
- Unlimited data for 7 days = $25 USD
In the Setar shop at Aruba Airport they offer the following prepaid sim card plans for tourists:
- Unlimited data for 3 days = $24 USD
- 5 GB data for 7 days = $27 USD
- Unlimited data for 7 days = $33 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $50 USD
The above Setar prepaid sim card plans are all data-only, if you want to make local phone calls in Aruba you will have to add a couple dollar for calling credit, but it is cheap.
In Setar stores around the island they sell a prepaid sim card plans that are a little more affordable. But it is much more of a hassle, so not sure if it is worth saving a couple dollars.
- Unlimited data for 3 days = $15 USD
- Unlimited data for 10 days = $28 USD
Setar does NOT offer e-sim cards, they only sell physical prepaid sim cards for Aruba. Setar allows you to use a hotspot on their unlimited data sim cards for Aruba.
Best 4G/5G network in Aruba
After comparing the prices for prepaid sim cards in Aruba lets also compare the mobile network coverage in Aruba and see which provider has the best 4G/5G network on the island.
The network coverage is probably even more important than the prices when traveling around the island. A prepaid sim card that has no network connection is useless. That said, both, Setar and Digicel have excellent 4G coverage in the hotel zones.
Is there 5G in Aruba?
No, as of October 2023 there is no 5G in Aruba yet. Depending on where on the island you are, a 4G/LTE connection is the fastest data speed you can find.
Digicel 4G/5G network coverage map
Setar 4G/5G network coverage map
It is a simple conclusion that when comparing the mobile data coverage maps of Setar and Digicel that Digicel has the best mobile network and the strongest 4G signal in Aruba in 2023.
It also shows that the 4G/LTE network of Digicel is much more advanced as it comes up as 4G+ which means a much faster data speed than Setar.
Mobile data speed in Aruba
In the more remote parts of the island the data speed obviously significantly drops. But in and around Oranjestad as well as in the hotel zones in Palm Beach, Eagle Beach and Noord you will find a 4G signal.
However, one of the reasons I would recommend a Digicel sim card over a Setar sim card is the data speed. Digicel has a much more stable and faster data network and is simply more reliable. I ended up with a Setar sim card (see below) and was often disappointed with the data speed.
Don’t let the above data speed test on my Setar sim card fool you. What seems too good to be true, is often like it. And yes, the data speed came nowhere near what was shown in my data speed test.
Best sim card for Aruba in 2023
Unfortunately the e-sim cards for Aruba are pretty expensive with $9.5 USD per Gigabyte. Therefore it is an easy conclusion that it is better to buy a sim card on arrival in Aruba.
The easiest place to buy a sim card in Aruba is at Aruba International Airport, but you are charged a tourist price. The cheapest prepaid sim cards in Aruba you buy at a Digicel or Setar kiosk at one of the bigger supermarkets or in their busy retail stores in and around Oranjestad.
Based on my comparison of the prepaid sim cards in Aruba Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that Digicel is the best prepaid sim card for Aruba in 2023.
Digicel has a much more advanced mobile data network and they also have much faster data speed than Setar. Prices for prepaid sim card plans are pretty similar.
My experiences buying a sim card for Aruba
Upon arrival at Queen Beatrix Airport in Aruba I wasn’t able to buy a prepaid sim card because I got there too early and the sim card stores were still closed. Luckily I had to arrange my rental car and as I could only pick up my car later I had to wait anyway.
At first I quickly wanted to buy an e-sim card for Aruba to make sure I was connected but there is free WiFi at Aruba Airport and it works very good. As soon as the sim card shops opened I went to buy my Aruba sim card.
I was only staying in Aruba for 3 days this time and since the Setar shop opened a little earlier and they also have a sim card for Aruba with unlimited data including hotspot I decided to share 1 sim card with my girlfriend.
For what I needed the Setar sim card did the job ok, but I was a little disappointed with the Setar data speed. I expected faster mobile data to be honest.
After comparing the 4G/5G coverage maps of Aruba I understood why it would have been a better choice to buy a Digicel sim card for Aruba. Anyway now I know for next time I am visiting Aruba again.
See more of my experiences arriving at Aruba Airport and buying a sim card in my vlog about buying a sim card for Aruba below.
How to get from Aruba Airport to your hotel
No need to haggle in Aruba as there are flat taxi fares from the airport to the hotels. Depending on where your hotel is located you pay between $21 - $31 USD per ride.
You can also easily rent a car at Aruba Airport. The car rental companies are located opposite the arrival terminal.
Here is a little video about my experiences renting a car with Avis in Aruba.
@traveltomtom Watch till the end! ❌ Does #Avis #Aruba even clean their cars for the next costumers? 😱 Needed to swipe out a little bit of sand with my hands. My review of renting a car in #Aruba🇦🇼 from Avis, I was pretty disappointed! ❌ not recommended! #traveltips #arubaonehappyisland ♬ original sound - Traveltomtom
I am sure some of the above tips for staying connected when traveling to Aruba were helpful. If there is anything you would like to know about traveling to Aruba then please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on social media.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of October 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go, but no rush!
Enjoy your trip to Aruba!
Some links in this article about the best sim cards for Aruba are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you.