The Bahamas and Aruba are two highly desirable destinations by visitors to the Caribbean.
One significant difference between the two destinations is the official language being English for the Bahamas and Dutch for Aruba.
Nevertheless, English is widely spoken by the populace in Aruba so have no fear if you considering a visit.
In this article, we explore the similarities and the differences between these two destinations to help you decide which is better for your Caribbean vacation.
As a general rule, the Bahamas is the better destination for persons who want to hop over to Florida via ferry services as well as enjoy beautiful white and pink sand beaches. Alternatively, Aruba is perfect for individuals seeking a more tranquil destination with fewer amazing white sand beaches.
Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Caribbean Islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean national familiar with both destinations.
Bahamas Vs Aruba- Which Destination Is Bigger
The Bahamas is significantly larger than Aruba being 5, 359 square miles consisting of about 700 islands, cays and islets.
Generally, the Bahamas Islands are flat and low lying with the highest peak being Mount Alvernia at 206 feet. This mountain is also locally known as Como Hill.
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.
Also, Aruba is very windy due to its location near the equator which makes it an excellent spot for kite surfers.
Bahamas Vs Aruba- What Are The Official Currencies
Both destinations have their own official currencies which are issued and managed by their central banks.
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.
Contrastingly, the official currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar since the year 1966.
The currency is issued and managed by the Central Bank of The Bahamas and is divided into 100 cents.
Bank notes are available 50, 20,10,5 and $1 denominations. Coins are available in 25, 10 and 5 cent pieces. The symbol is B$.
Nevertheless, US dollars and coins are widely accepted by businesses both small and large on the island.
Casinos on the island only accept US dollars and the ATM machines at these locations dispense US dollars.
Bahamas Vs Aruba- Is It Easy To Visit Other Countries
The Bahamas is the only destination of the two that provides the option for a visitor to go to another country via ferry services.
Individuals can travel to and from Fort Lauderdale, Florida via the fast ferry service BaleariaCaribbean to the Bahamas.
The ferry docks in Grand Bahama Island and Bimini.
On the contrary, there are no ferry services from Aruba to the neighboring Dutch Caribbean islands.
Nevertheless, Insel Air provides direct and non-stop flights from Aruba to both Bonaire and Curacao.
Bahamas Vs Aruba-Which Destination Has Better Beaches
Both destinations have amazing white sand beaches with turquoise waters. However, Bahamas has a much bigger landmass and has over 2,000 beach options.
Therefore as a destination, the Bahamas may be better for persons who want to beach hop as there are countless options.
The Bahamas is also known for having pink sand beaches with one of the most famous one being Pink Sand Beach on Harbour Island.
This island is only 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles and is popular stop for affluent visitors.
The sand on pink sand beach has its distinct pink color due to the presence of foraminifera.
For a unique experience, Pig Beach on the island of Exuma is the perfect for those who want to swim with pigs.
Contrastingly, Aruba only has 40 beaches but nevertheless, they are extremely beautiful.
Eagle beach located in the capital city of Oranjestad is considered the best beach by both locals and visitors alike.
It is over 1000 metres long and is the widest beach in Aruba.
Eagle Beach is known for its white powdery sand and there are shaded areas with parking available. Turtles are fond of nesting on Eagle beach.
There are certain beaches on the northern side of the island that have strong undercurrents.
Usually there are sign on the beaches to indicate this and therefore it is wise to read before proceeding.
Bahamas Vs Aruba-Which Destination Has Better Nightlife
While both islands are party hotspots in the Caribbean, the Bahamas has many more options for entertainment due to its size.
Key nightlife spots are concentrated mainly in the Freeport and Nassau regions.
Bones Bar, Aura and the Atlantis are three spots to explore for nightlife while in the Bahamas.
For entertainment both day and night, Arawak Cay in Nassau is a must visit stop if you want to delve deeper into local traditional food and drink.
Likewise, 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 range of entertainment on a smaller scale.
Bahamas Vs Aruba-Which Island Has Greater Threat of Hurricanes
Bahamas is situated in the Atlantic hurricane belt and is susceptible to regular disasters due to hurricanes and storms.
Dorian was the hurricane to strike the island in 2019. Additionally, the most recent hurricane to affect the Bahamas was Hurricane Nicole in 2022.
Contrastingly, Aruba is located outside the hurricane belt and therefore the risk of a hurricane making landfall in Aruba is extremely low.
Furthermore, the island does not receive a significant amount of rainfall. Thus, there is a greater level of assurance that your days in Aruba will be filled with sunshine.
Nevertheless, if you are visiting the Caribbean during the hurricane season, it is extremely wise to consider travel insurance in the event of natural disasters which could cause travel disruptions.
Bahamas Vs Aruba-Unique Things To Do In Each Destination
Blue Lagoon Island, Bahamas- located only 5km from the capital city of Nassau, this island is accessible via a 40 minute boat ride.
This excursion is perfect for individuals of all ages. Visitors to Blue Lagoon Island can enjoy watersports and swimming in calm, crystal clear water.
This island is the home to dolphins, sea lions and stingrays.
Mount Hooiberg, Aruba- hike to the tallest peak on the island and experience amazing views of Aruba.
On a clear day, you can get a view of the neighboring island of Venezuela in the background.
In 1951, a staircase was constructed by Mr. Eduardo Tromp to the summit.
On a whole, the Bahamas is perfect for individuals seeking a bustling nightlife environment as well as amazing white sand beaches. On the other hand, Aruba is suitable for persons who prefer a smaller destination with white sand beaches with turquoise waters and a party atmosphere.
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