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Two of the most popular islands that countless visitors choose for a Caribbean getaway are Antigua and Aruba.

In this article, we explore the differences between Antigua and Aruba to help you decide which island is ideal for a Caribbean vacation.

As a general rule, Antigua is the destination of choice for visitors interested in white sand beaches, exploring Caribbean history and swimming with stingrays. Alternatively, Aruba is ideal for a visitor who is looking for sunny weather and entertainment with an interest in seeing flamingos.

Read on for further details and explanations on how these two magnificent Caribbean islands compare. This article was written by a Caribbean national familiar with both islands.

Antigua Vs Aruba – Which Island Is Bigger

Antigua is the larger of the two islands being 169.9 square miles with the highest point of elevation in Antigua is Boggy Peak which stands at an elevation of 1,319 feet.

Also, the official language of Antigua is English.

On the other hand, Aruba is a much smaller island with a landmass of 69.5 square miles with the highest point of elevation being Mount Jamanota which stands at 620 feet.

Additionally, the official language of Aruba is Dutch.

Antigua Vs Aruba – How Does The Landscape Differ?

The landscape of the Antigua and Aruba is extremely dissimilar. Antigua is more mountainous and green in appearance.

On the other hand, Aruba is a coral based island and incredibly flat in topography.  The island is dry and arid in appearance.

Additionally, Aruba is very windy due to its location near the equator which makes it an excellent spot for kite surfers.

Antigua Vs Aruba – Does The Currency Differ?

The currency of both nations 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.

Contrastingly, the official currency of Antigua is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.

This currency is also shared by seven other Caribbean Islands with the central bank located on the island of St Kitts.

Antigua Vs Aruba – Which Island Has Better Nightlife

Aruba is the clear winner when it comes to nightlife. There are a number of options that visitors can enjoy.

Party lovers will enjoy the bars and clubs located along South Beach Aruba.

There are casinos, bowling alleys, cinemas and golf courses so visitors can enjoy a myriad of entertainment.

On the other hand, when it comes to nightlife, Antigua is a quiet and laid back island.

Shirley’s Heights Lookout is a well- known spot in Antigua on Sunday evenings for entertainment.

There is usually a live band with drinks and food available for purchase.

Some of the other popular nightlife spots on the island are The Lime and Tryst Nightclub, Bar and Restaurant

Antigua Vs Aruba – Which Island Has Better Beaches

Both islands are known for having beautiful, turquoise and white sand beaches.

Nevertheless, the major differences lie in the number of beaches and the experience that you may enjoy at the locations.

Antigua is the Caribbean island known for having 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. On the other hand, Aruba only has 40 beaches.

Due to the large number of beaches in Antigua, the locations tend to be less crowded and unspoiled.

Contrastingly, the major beaches in Aruba share its shoreline with luxury and high rise hotels which makes the beach experience there different.

To help visitors choose among its many beaches, the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority launched a beach personality quiz.

Feel free to visit the page to find the perfect beach for you.

Antigua Vs Aruba- Which Island Has Greater Threat of Hurricanes

Aruba has a longer dry season than the Antigua and hence sunshine is almost always guaranteed during a visitor’s stay in Aruba.

On a whole, the rainy season in Aruba is much shorter than other Caribbean Islands.

Annually, the rainy season begins in October and ends in January each year. Aruba also has the advantage in that it is located outside of the hurricane belt.

In relation to Antigua, the risk of a direct hit by a hurricane is low when compared to other Caribbean islands. 

The last hurricane to make landfall in Antigua was hurricane Irma in 2017.

The eye of the hurricane passed over the smaller island of Barbuda causing severe damage to buildings and crops. In that same year, hurricane Maria also affected the island.

Antigua Vs Aruba – What Are The Unique Things To Do

Unique Things To Do In Antigua

Visit Laviscount Island- enjoy a getaway to a private island which is home to Giant Aldabra Tortoises. Animal lovers will truly enjoy feeding and interacting with the tortoises on this island.

Swim With Stingrays– enjoy swimming and snorkeling in beautiful waters of Antigua with friendly stingrays. There are also amazing coral reefs and several species of fishes that you can enjoy at the pool.

Visit Nelson’s Dockyard- delve into the history of the island by visiting Nelson’s Dockyard where there are modern conveniences such as shops and marina businesses.

This dockyard allows visitors to enjoy the park’s beauty.  There is also the dockyard museum which provides deep insight into the dockyard’s history and current research on the 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, Antigua is an exceptional choice for individuals who love exploring the island’s many beaches and hopping to neighboring Montserrat. Alternatively, Aruba is an ideal choice for a traveler who enjoys warm sunny weather and a vibrant nightlife environment.

Need More Information?

Feel free to browse our website for more content on the Antigua, 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.

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Antigua Vs St Kitts (Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)

Antigua Vs Jamaica (Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)

Antigua Vs Turks & Caicos (Which Vacation Is Better)

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

Antigua Vs Curacao (Which Island Is Better For a Vacation)





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