Aruba and Turks and Caicos are amazing Caribbean destinations that are well loved by visitors to the region.

In this article, we provide a detail breakdown of the differences between these islands to help you plan and prepare for your Caribbean vacation.

As a general rule, Aruba is ideal for a visitor who is looking for sunny weather, beaches, entertainment with an interest in seeing flamingos. Alternatively, Turks & Caicos is perfect for a visitor who wants to explore several small islands in a safe, quiet and peaceful environment.

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.

Aruba Vs Turks & Caicos- Which Island is Bigger

Turks and Caicos is the larger of the two islands. 

A British Overseas Territory, Turks & Caicos is a group that consists of 40 different islands and cays. The island group is 366 square miles but only 8 of these islands are inhabited. 

On the contrary, 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 Turks & Caicos- Does The Currency Differ?

The currency used in both countries varies. 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.

Despite being an overseas British territory, the official currency of Turks and Caicos is the US dollars.

Aruba Vs Turks & Caicos- Does The Weather Differ?

Aruba has a longer dry season than the Turks & Caicos 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.

On the flip side, due to the location of Turks & Caicos, there is a threat of hurricanes even though it is low.

One of the greatest risks for the island is that of flooding due to the island being flat with no high elevation.

Turks and Caicos Islands have experienced devastating hurricanes in the past with the last catastrophic storm being hurricane Irma and hurricane Maria in 2017.

The island has since recovered from the effects of these two hurricanes.

Aruba Vs Turks & Caicos- Which Has The Better Cuisine

Both islands have excellent cuisine but Aruba has the edge in this category when it comes to unique food.

One factor that may have contributed to Aruba’s exquisite cuisine is the dependency on the tourism sector.

As a result, restaurants ensure that their culinary experience is world class. Sea food plays a major role in the dishes served in Aruba.

There are many high end restaurants on the islands as well as affordable ones.

Some of the well-loved places to eat by the locals on the island include O’Neil Caribbean Kitchen, Zeerovers, Peanuts restaurant and Red Fish restaurant.

Additionally, Dutch snacks such as Frikandel and Bitterballen are unique to the Dutch Caribbean and you should try them if you visit Aruba.

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.

In Aruba the main and popular fruit drink is Awa di lamunchi. This is a local Antillean drink made with lime that is also served in Bonaire and Curacao. This drink is not served in Dutch St Maarten.

By the same token, the cuisine in Turks & Caicos is also top notch and is all about conch (pronounced as konk).

The national dish is cracked conch. Conch is also served stewed, as fritters and in chowders.

The island is also known for its fine dining internationally.

Every November, the Turks & Caicos hosts a food and wine festival where top chefs and wine connoisseurs come together to showcase many culinary creations.

Aruba Vs Turks & Caicos- Which Island Has Better Beaches

Both islands have gorgeous beaches. However, Turks & Caicos has the slight edge in this category.

Located on the island of Providenciales, Grace Bay Beach is the pride of Turks and Caicos and it has won many awards both regionally and internationally.

Grace Bay Beach is part of Princess Alexandra National Park and known for its calm and turquoise waters.

It stretches three miles long and there is a barrier reef located about one mile off shore to keep the beach still and safe.

Grace Bay Beach shares its shoreline with many high rise and luxurious hotels on the island.

Correspondingly, 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.

Aruba Vs Turks & Caicos- Which Island Has The Better Nightlife

Aruba is the clear winner in this category. 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, Turks & Caicos is a much more quiet and laid back destination with nightlife comprising primarily of beach bars and nightclubs. A weekly event that attractions numerous patrons is the Fish Fry.

Food is available from various local vendors. Souvenirs and various forms of crafts are also on sale. Turks and Caicos also stands out in the Caribbean as an island for fine dining. 

Aruba Vs Turks & Caicos- 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 Turks & Caicos

Kite Boarding– the beach waters and wind conditions makes the island an ideal spot for kite boarding. Long Bay Beach is one of the popular spots on the island for this activity.

There is a kite boarding school on the island where tutors will provide you with a lessons as well as equipment rental.

Private Island Beach Hopping– Only 8 of the 40 islands and cays of Turks and Caicos are inhabited.

The others are private cays where you can go and enjoy a private beach day on your own island.

This makes the destination unique and one of the many reasons why the islands are favored by celebrities.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, Aruba is an ideal choice for a traveler who enjoys unique cuisine, beaches and a bustling nightlife experience.  On the other hand, Turks & Caicos is perfect for a visitor who wants to enjoy white sand beaches and turquoise waters as well as parasailing and kiteboarding.

Need More Information?

Feel free to browse our website for more content on the Aruba, Turks & Caicos and the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page.

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