Both Curacao and Turks & Caicos Islands are exceptional Caribbean destinations and visitors to any of these shores will leave the region with a memorable experience.
In this article, we explore the differences between these two spots to help you decide which one is ideal for your Caribbean vacation.
As a general rule, Curacao is ideal for a visitor who is looking for a destination with interest in beaches, diving, snorkeling and hiking. Alternatively, Turks & Caicos is perfect for a visitor who wants to explore several small islands with turquoise beaches and enjoy water sports activities.
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.
Curacao 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 other hand, Curacao is 171 square miles. Mount Christoffel is the highest point and stands at an elevation of 1,220 feet.
Curacao Vs Turks & Caicos: Does The Language Differ
The official language of both islands differs. As an overseas British territory, the language spoken in Turks & Caicos is English.
Alternatively, the official language of Curacao is Dutch.
Nevertheless, English is widely spoken on the island and it is also taught within the school system.
Due to the multicultural nature of the island, Spanish is also widely spoken.
Curacao Vs Turks & Caicos: Does The Currency Differ
Curacao and Turks & Caicos have different official currencies.
The official currency of Curacao is the Netherland Antillean Guilders or Florins. This currency 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, despite being a British overseas territory, the official currency of Turks & Caicos is the US dollar.
Curacao Vs Turks & Caicos: Which Island Has The Better Nightlife
If your priority is entertainment, then Curacao is the better destination.
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.
Contrastingly, Turks and Caicos is a quiet and laid back destination with nightlife comprising mainly of beach bars, restaurants and night clubs.
Additionally, every Thursday night there is a Fish Fry where individuals can buy food from 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.
Curacao Vs Turks & Caicos: Which Island Has Better Beaches
In relation to beaches, it truly depends on the purpose of your vacation.
If your priority is swimming, sunbathing and enjoying the blue turquoise waters of the Caribbean, then Turks and Caicos is the better destination.
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.
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.
Curacao Vs Turks & Caicos- Which Island Has Greater Threat of Hurricanes
Curacao is located outside the hurricane belt and has the lesser threat of the two when it comes to hurricanes.
Therefore, the likelihood of a hurricane making direct landfall in Curacao is rare.
On the other hand, Turks & Caicos Islands are at risk of a direct hit from hurricanes.
The last major hurricanes to affect the islands were hurricane Irma and hurricane Maria in September 2017.
These cause major damage to infrastructure, crops and livestock on the islands.
Curacao Vs Turks & Caicos: What Are The Unique Things To Do
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.
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.
On a whole, Curacao is an exceptional choice for a traveler whose priority is enjoying the beach and a vibrant nightlife atmosphere. On the other hand, Turks & Caicos is perfect for a visitor seeking to enjoy beautiful beaches as well as water activities such as parasailing and kite boarding.
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