Aruba and Grand Cayman are highly favored destinations in the Caribbean though the visitor arrivals to Grand Cayman appear to the slightly higher.
In 2019, according to tourism analytics, the total amount of arrivals to the Grand Cayman was 2,333,750. On the other hand, the total arrivals to Aruba were 1,950,945.
Cruise tourism contributed the highest volume to arrivals in Grand Cayman while stop over visitors added the greater number to arrivals in Aruba.
As a general rule, Aruba is ideal for travelers looking for white sand beaches, a vibrant nightlife atmosphere and taking pictures with flamingos. Alternatively, Grand Cayman is ideal for individuals looking for a more laid back environment with an interest in visiting the Bioluminescent Bay.
Read on for further information on Aruba and Grand Cayman. This article is the perspective of a Caribbean national familiar with both islands.
Aruba Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Is Bigger
Both islands are approximately the same size. Grand Cayman is marginally larger having a landmass of 75.68 square miles.
Contrastingly, Aruba is slightly smaller at 69.5 square miles.
Despite having the smaller landmass of the two islands, the population of Aruba is higher being 107,642 while the population of Grand Cayman was 67,237 at the time of writing.
Therefore, Aruba is more densely populated.
Aruba Vs Grand Cayman- How Does The Landscape Differ?
Both islands are relatively flat in topography but Grand Cayman is the flatter of the two destinations.
The highest point of elevation in Aruba is Mount Jamanota which stands at 620 feet whereas in Grand Cayman the highest point of elevation is only 70 feet above sea level.
Furthermore, Aruba is very windy due to its location near the equator which makes it an excellent spot for kite surfers.
Visitors to both islands will find it seamless to navigate driving when compared to other Caribbean counterparts.
Aruba Vs Grand Cayman- Does The Currency Differ?
Both islands have their own currencies and central bank and US dollars are readily accepted for transactions.
The official currency of Grand Cayman is the Cayman dollar (CI$) which replaced the Jamaican dollar in 1972.
At the time of writing, one Cayman dollar is USD$1.20 and Canadian $1.60.
The Cayman dollar is managed by its central bank called Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.
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.
The currency is issued and managed by the Central Bank of Aruba which began its operations in 1986.
Aruba Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Is More At Risk For Hurricanes
Grand Cayman is the island that is at a greater risk for hurricanes than Aruba.
The last tropical storm to impact Grand Cayman was Ida in August 2021. The brunt of the damage was sustained in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
On the other hand, Aruba is located outside the hurricane belt and the chances of these affecting the island are rare.
Additionally, the level of rainfall received in Aruba is lower than that of Grand Cayman. Therefore, there is a greater possibility of sunny weather during your visit.
Therefore, if you are considering a Caribbean vacation during the hurricane season, Aruba is the better destination.
Aruba Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Is Better For Nightlife
Aruba has the better nightlife of the two islands. 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.
Grand Cayman is much quieter in terms of the nightlife atmosphere and most of the clubs, restaurants and bars are located on the Western end of the island.
Bacaro and Coccoloba Bar are two of the spots to try on the island.
Aruba Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Is Better For Beaches
Both islands have beautiful white sand beaches. However, Aruba has the slight edge in this category.
In Aruba, one of the most famous beaches on the island is Eagle Beach which is located in the capital city of Oranjestad. It is also the widest beach on the island.
Traditionally, every year during the Easter season, local families camp on Eagle Beach.
Another popular beach and perhaps seen most on social media is Flamingo beach. This location offers users an opportunity to swim and interact with pink flamingos.
Flamingo beach is located on Renaissance Island which is an artificial island accessible via small boat and owned by the Renaissance Hotel.
In relation to Grand Cayman, there are a number of fantastic beaches on the island.
Seven Mile Beach located in the capital of Georgetown is one of the most popular and well loved by locals alike.
This beach is six miles long and shares its shores with several hotels on the island. Nevertheless due to global warming the size of the shore has reduced.
Aruba Vs Grand Cayman- Exciting Things To Do On Both Islands
Bioluminescent Bay, Grand Cayman– this is the most frequented night time attraction on the island. The bay is located on the northern side of the island.
It is best to visit during full moon and the visibility of the bay is best seen wearing a mask and snorkel.
There are some tour companies that also provide wet suits and snorkel equipment as part of the package.
California Lighthouse, Aruba– located in the northwestern part of the island in Hudishibana, this is a popular landmark on the island.
This spot provides amazing views of the island and you are able to climb to the top to enjoy these views.
On a whole, Aruba is an exceptional vacation spot for individuals looking for pristine beaches, sunny weather, kite surfing and a bustling nightlife atmosphere. On the other hand, Grand Cayman is ideal for visitors seeking white sand beaches and snorkeling at nights at the Bioluminscent Bay.
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