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Anguilla and Aruba are two of the finest Caribbean islands and highly desirable locations for vacations.

Nevertheless, these islands are quite different. In this article, we will provide a detailed and comprehensive review of Anguilla and Aruba to help you make an informed decision for your next Caribbean vacation.

As a general rule, Anguilla is better for travelers who are interested in turquoise beaches, island hopping to St Maarten and tranquility. Alternatively, Aruba is ideal for a visitor who is looking for sunny weather, beaches, entertainment with an interest in seeing flamingos and butterflies.

Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Caribbean islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean National who worked and lived in Anguilla for 6 months and visited Aruba in excess of five times.

Anguilla Vs Aruba: Which Island Is Bigger

Aruba is the larger and more mountainous of the two islands being 69.5 square miles. The highest point of elevation on the island is Mount Jamanota which stands at 620 feet.

Contrastingly, Anguilla is only 39.38 square miles and the highest point is Crocus Hill with an elevation of 210 feet. Anguilla is an overseas British Territory and hence not an independent island state.

Anguilla Vs Aruba: Does The Currency Differ?

The currency of the islands differs. The official currency of Aruba is the Aruban Florin. It was introduced on the island in 1986, replacing the Netherlands Antillean Guilder.

It is pegged to the United States (US) dollar at a rate of USD$1 to AFL$1.79.

The US dollar is accepted throughout the island. Prices by most businesses are quoted both in US dollars and AFL.  ATM machines in Aruba dispense US dollars.

The official currency of Anguilla is the Eastern Caribbean dollar. However the, US dollar is popularly used on the island for most transactions. The Eastern Caribbean Dollar has been pegged to the US dollar since July 7th, 1976 at a rate of USD $1 to XCD $2.70.

This currency is also shared by seven other Eastern Caribbean islands and is managed through a regional central bank which is based in St Kitts.

Anguilla Vs Aruba ( Which Island Is Better For a Vacation)

Anguilla Vs Aruba: Can You Island Hop To Other Islands

It is easier to island hop from Anguilla. There are daily ferry services from Blowing Point to both the French and Dutch side of the island nation of St Maarten/ St Martin.

From St Martin/ St Maarten, one has easy access via ferry to St Eustatius, Saba and St Barts.

There are no ferry services available from Aruba to Bonaire or Curacao which are nearby.

Nevertheless, regional carrier Insel Air provides daily and non-stop flight to the the other Dutch Territories.

Anguilla Vs Aruba: Which Island Has Better Amenities

Aruba has more advanced and better amenities than Anguilla. From health care, to public bus service to more international flights, Aruba has more conveniences for a visitor. There is no public bus service in Anguilla.

Several international airlines provide direct and non-stop service to Aruba. Some of these airlines include American Airlines, Air Century, Avianca, Air Canada, Copa Air, Delta Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

Jet Blue Airways, Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), Sunwing, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, TUI Netherlands, West Jet also provide service to the island.

There are also a large regional footprint from Aruba to other Dutch Caribbean and South American Countries via Insel Air.

On the other hand, the only international airline that currently has flights to Anguilla is American Airlines.

There are no flights from London, Toronto or other major international cities. International travelers fly to Antigua or St Maarten and transfer unto smaller airlines such as Seaborne or Winair.

Anguilla Vs Aruba: Which Island Has Better Nightlife

Hands down Aruba is the clear winner when it comes to nightlife on the island. South Beach is one of the hottest spots where you can bar hop and party. The island also has casinos, bowling alleys, cinemas and golf courses.

Alternatively, Anguilla is more suitable to a visitor who is looking for peace, quietness and to spend time at the beach. There are a fewer number of beach bars and pubs in Anguilla when compared to Aruba. Some of the popular entertainment spots in Anguilla include The Lounge Bar, Sky Lounge and The Pumphouse.

Although the island is not a hot spot when it comes to night life, Anguilla is located very near to St Maarten which is accessible via a short ferry ride from Blowing Point. 

St Maarten is one of the Caribbean islands with a bubbling night life environment. Travelers who want a great blend of tranquility, entertainment and duty free shopping may prefer Anguilla for this reason.

Anguilla Vs Aruba: Does The Official Language Differ

The official language of Anguilla is English and the official language of Aruba is Dutch. Papiamentu is commonly spoken by Arubans.

English is widely spoken on Aruba and locals learn the language in school. Spanish is also spoken on the island due to the multi-cultural nature of Aruba.

Anguilla Vs Aruba: Which Island Has Better Cuisine

Both islands have exceptional cuisine as they cater in the case of Aruba for a large number of tourists and Anguilla for high end and premium visitors.  I have never had a sub- standard meal in a restaurant in any of the two islands.

Where the cuisine differs is in terms of their offerings. Aruba is famous for its Dutch snacks such as Frikandels and Bitterballen. These are delicious and are not available in Anguilla and the Eastern Caribbean Islands.

If you love cheese, then the national dish, Keshi Yena which is a traditional meal made by Arubans is one that you will enjoy. Cheese is added to leftovers to create a casserole which is baked.

Awa di lamunchi is a well-loved local beverage made with lime in Aruba. You should also try the variety of Dutch cheeses available such as Edam, Maasdam and Nagelkaas. Super Food Plaza is an excellent location to visit for a selection of cheeses in Aruba.

For budget friendly travelers and fast food lovers, a number of American fast food chains have a presence in Aruba such as Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Domino’s Pizza. In Anguilla, fast food options are limited to local businesses.

Anguilla Vs Aruba: Which Island Has Better Beaches

Aruba having a bigger landmass has 40 beaches. Nevertheless, Anguilla has almost as many with 33 beaches.

Both islands are well known for their beaches with Baby Beach, Eagle Beach and Palm Beach being some of the favorites in Aruba. On the other hand, Rendezvous Bay Beach, Shoal Bay East and Sandy Ground Beach are well loved in Anguilla.

However, if you are seeking clear and turquoise waters, then Anguilla is the winner. Flamingo Beach in Aruba is a unique and popular spot for visitors located on Renaissance Island where you can get personal with flamingos.

Anguilla Vs Aruba ( Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)

Anguilla Vs Aruba: What are The Unique Things To Do

Unique Things To Do In Anguilla

Visit The Fountain Cavern National Park– this park is located in Shoal Bay East and covers an area of 14.5 acres and is the most iconic attraction on the island.

There is an Amerindian Interpretation Centre (AAIC) built with thatch roof reflecting the typical dwelling of the Taino Amerindians in Malliouhana.

The cave which is limestone was used by the Taino Indians who left stone carvings and petroglyphs. This area has two freshwater swimming pools which are used by locals.

Explore Dive Sites– Anguilla is a paradise for divers due to the presence of wrecks and artificial reefs. There are several exciting parks which include Prickly Pear, Dog Island and Sandy Island.

Unique Things To Do In Aruba

Arikok National Park- this stunning area occupies about 20% of the island and is home to natural pools and caves.

The appearance of the park is desert like and visitors can enjoy the park either by hiking or by driving. The cost of the visit is $11.00 per person at the time of writing.

Visit Renaissance Island– this is a private island that is owned and operated by the Renaissance hotel where you can get a direct and personal experience with flamingos.

Access to Flamingo beach as it is fondly called must be via the Renaissance hotel which provides boat transfer to the island. Visitors at the hotel can access the beach during their stay.

If you are staying at another location, you will need to purchase a day pass. Some travelers opt to book a room for one day which gives access to the beach for two days which is the day that you check in and the day that you check out.

Explore The Butterfly Farm- if you are near the Palm Beach area, a unique attraction that you can enjoy is a visit to the butterfly farm.

Tours explain the metamorphosis of the creature from the egg stage to the butterfly. This attraction is perfect for amazing pictures and for multi-generational families.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, Aruba is an ideal choice for a traveler who enjoys high end luxury shopping, unique cuisine, beaches and a bustling nightlife experience. Alternatively, Anguilla is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is enjoying the clear and turquoise beaches, island hopping and diving.

If you are contemplating traveling to Anguilla, Aruba or the rest of the Caribbean, cruising is an affordable option to consider. I have recently completed an informative course by cruise specialist, Emma Cruises which you should check out titled How To Cruise For Less.

This course provides detail tips and techniques on how to save money while cruising onboard, onshore as well as the importance of insurance. So if you if you are considering a cruise for your next Caribbean vacation, check out How To Cruise For Less.

Need More Information?

Feel free to browse our website for more content on the Anguilla, Aruba and the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page. The following are some of our articles which we believe may be suitable for you.

Living In Aruba (Pros & Cons Fully Explained)

Best Currency For Aruba (The Ultimate Guide)

What Are The Pros & Cons of Living In Anguilla

St Lucia Vs Anguilla (Which Island Is Better To Visit)

St Thomas Vs Aruba (Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)


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