So here's the story peeps.... We were looking to return to Destin (FL) this summer and await another international excursion next year, but then BP had to go and dump all that oil into the Gulf. SO, needing a white sand beach fix, we decided to go for Aruba.
Staying at MVC Eagle Beach on a very good rate plan w/breakfast; sounds like the right type of place for us (cheap, on the beach-ish, away from crowds). Likely to buy some minor groceries, etc., for in-room/on-beach consumption, eat a few meals at the Tulip (@ the hotel), maybe Texas de Brazil, etc., and some small places here and there. From the advice and prices we've seen online, we figure about $20-25 per day for lunch (we might eat all our lunches @ Tulip?) and, on average, $40-70 (for 2) at dinner, depending on the venue and so forth. If we average $100 per day or less for meals, we're doing okay -- and don't think it will be a huge problem for two long-time cheapos like ourselves. We have eaten like royalty in Tokyo and Rome, for example, for less than $50 a day (combined) in the past... it's usually just a matter of knowing where to go, and when.
We are VERY experienced "budget travelers" who have successfully scrimped on costs (but never on fun!) in several countries. We'll also be on the beach virtually all day, mostly in the water -- and are bringing gallons of sunscreen to facilitate our sun addictions. :)
If anyone would like to suggest their Aruba "discount dining tips", we'd be quite appreciative. And yes, we'll be looking for discount coupons as soon as we land @ AUA. :) Thanks!