Aruba and Curacao are two Dutch Caribbean island that shares similar cuisine and official languages. Nevertheless, there are differences between them.
In this article, we explore the differences between these two islands to help you decide which destination is better for your Caribbean vacation.
As a general rule, Aruba is ideal for a visitor who is seeking white sand beaches and entertainment with an interest in seeing flamingos. Alternatively, Curacao is ideal for a visitor who is looking for a destination with interest in beaches, diving, snorkeling and hiking.
Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Dutch Caribbean Islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean National familiar with both destinations.
Aruba Vs Curacao- Which Island Is Bigger
Curacao is the larger of the two islands being 171 square miles. Mount Christoffel is the highest point and stands at an elevation of 1,220 feet.
Alternatively, 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.
Aruba Vs Curacao- Does The Currency Differ
The official currency of both islands varies. The official currency of Curacao is the Netherland Antillean Guilders or Florins.
The Netherland Antillean Guilder is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of USD $1 to $1.79 ANG.
This currency is also used by St Maarten and there is a Central bank for Curacao and St Maarten responsible for managing the stability of the currency.
The local currency is available in bank notes and coins. Bank notes are available in $10, $25, $50, $100 Guilders. Coins are available $1 Guilder, $5 Guilders, 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents pieces.
Contrastingly, 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.
Aruba Vs Curacao- Which Island Has The Better Beaches
If white sand beaches and turquoise waters are your priority, then Aruba is the better destination for you.
Aruba has white sand beaches with Eagle beach being the leader.
It is located in Oranjestad, the island’s capital city and is over 1000 metres long. Additionally, Eagle Beach is the widest beach in Aruba.
It is known for its white powdery sand and there are shaded areas with parking available. Turtles are fond of nesting on Eagle beach.
Contrastingly, if your priority is shore diving then Curacao is the better destination.
Some of the popular beaches on the island include playa piskado which translates to fisherman’s beach where you get to swim with sea turtles in Curacao.
In addition, you can swim with dolphins at Jan Thiel beach.
Aruba Vs Curacao- Which Island Has Better Nightlife
When it comes to nightlife, Aruba is the better destination.
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, there are also fantastic entertainment options available in Curacao.
There are many restaurants and casinos that visitors and locals on the island enjoy such as Mambo Beach Boulevard for restaurants and beach clubs.
Another favorite of visitors and locals alike is St Tropez.
Aruba Vs Curacao- What Are The Unique Things To Do
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.
Unique Things To Do In Curacao
Visit Christoffel National Park– if you love nature, then this park is a must visit on the island. There are several species of flora and fauna at the park as well as birds.
There are eight hiking trails which you can explore as well as the Savonet Museum is located at park where you can learn more about the history of Curacao.
Explore Klein Curacao- this is a small island 15 miles from the mainland where you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling in some of the clearest waters on the island.
While over in Klein Curacao, do not forget to visit the pink lighthouse and dive into the history of the island.
On a whole, Aruba is an ideal choice for a traveler who enjoys white sand beaches and a vibrant nightlife environment. Alternatively, Curacao is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is enjoying diving and hiking.
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