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Puerto Rico and Aruba are both awesome islands to consider for a Caribbean vacation and a visitor will have an unforgettable experience at either one of these destinations.

Nevertheless, these islands are polar opposites in terms of culture, influence and landscape.

In this article, we dive deeper into the differences between these two islands to help you determine which is better for your Caribbean vacation.

As a general rule, Puerto Rico is suitable for visitors who love Spanish culture, history and a vibrant nightlife atmosphere. Alternatively, Aruba is ideal for persons looking to relax on white sand beaches with turquoise waters, entertainment and hiking in a desert-like environment.

Read on for more information on how Puerto Rico and Aruba compares. This article was written by a Caribbean national.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- Which Island Is Bigger

Known for having the longest Christmas season in the world, Puerto Rico is the larger of the two destinations.

It is 3,515 square miles with the highest point of elevation being Cerro de Punta at 4,390 feet.

Additionally, the island is an overseas department of the United States of America.

Contrastingly, Aruba is significantly smaller with a landmass of 69.5 square miles.

The highest point of elevation in Aruba is Mount Jamanota which stands at 620 feet.

Another remarkable difference between both destinations is that Puerto Rico is an archipelago that consists of 143 islands, cays and islets.

On the other hand, Aruba is one single landmass.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- Does The Landscape Differ?

The look and feel of both islands is unalike. Aruba is flat, desert-like and arid in terms of appearance.

Approximately 20% of Aruba is designated as national park which features its rocky and desert-like terrain.

The Arikok National Park is a must visit venue during your stay on the island.

Alternatively, the landscape of Puerto Rico is much more diverse.

The island is extremely mountainous and features both tropical forests and deserts.

The Guanica Biosphere Reserve and State Forest is the desert-like area on the island due to the minimal rainfall levels.

The presence of the Cordillera Central Mountain creates a rain shadow and as a result restricts rain in this region.

The El Yunque National Forest is the tropical forest on the island which measures 28,434 acres.

It is truly a hiking paradise which features multiple species of flora, fauna and wildlife.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- What Are The Official Currencies

The currency used in day to day transactions on both islands differs.

The official currency of Puerto Rico is the US dollars as it is an overseas department of the United States of America (USA).

On the contrary, 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.

Nevertheless, the US dollar is accepted throughout the island.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- Which Has The Greater Threat of Natural Disasters

Annually, the Caribbean braces itself for the hurricane season from June 1 to November 30.

The month of September is usually the peak of the hurricane season.

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.

On the other hand, Puerto Rico is the island with the greater risk of experiencing a hurricane.

The last major hurricane to affect the island was hurricane Maria in 2017 which caused massive damage to buildings and infrastructure.

Nevertheless, if you are traveling to the Caribbean during the hurricane season, it may be prudent to consider travel insurance in the event of travel delays and interruptions.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- Entry Requirements

As an overseas territory of the United States of America, no passport is required for US citizens to enter Puerto Rico.

On the other hand, US citizens need to have a passport to travel to Aruba.

A key advantage that Aruba has is the presence of US customs and immigration in Aruba.

This means that upon arrival into the USA, passengers only need to collect their bags before exiting the airport.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- Which Island Has Better Nightlife

Both islands are known for having a vibrant nightlife atmosphere with restaurants, bars and night clubs with live bands being the predominant forms of entertainment.

La Placita de Santurce is a popular nightlife spot to meet locals on the island to eat relax and salsa dance in Puerto Rico

Furthermore, the Condado region is also a place with several bars, restaurants and lounges.

Patrick’s Irish Bar and Eternal Lobby Lounge are venues to visit if you are in this part of the city.

There are a number of options that visitors can enjoy in Aruba. 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.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- Which Island Has Unique Cuisine

Both islands are excellent locations for cuisine which is largely influenced by their respective cultures and history.

For a blend of Spanish and African cuisine, Puerto Rico is an excellent Caribbean island to visit.

Puerto Rican foods that you must try when you visit include Mofongo, Arroz Con Pollo and Pastelon.

On the other hand, the Dutch is well known for having finger foods.

Dutch snacks such as Frikandel and Bitterballen are unique to the Dutch Caribbean which you must try if you visit.

Cheese fanatics will fall in love with the local dish on the island called Keshi Yena. To prepare, cheese is added to leftovers to create a casserole which is baked.

In terms of drink, Awa di lamunchi is what is consumed on a day to day basis.

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.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- Does The Language Differ?

The official language of both islands differs.

The official language of Puerto Rico is Spanish due to the fact that the island was previously an overseas province of Spain.

As a result of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the USA.

On the other hand, the language spoken day to day in Aruba is Dutch. The local also speak a dialect called Papiamentu.

Nevertheless, English is widely spoken on both islands, therefore if you are from the USA or another English speaking country you will communicate with ease.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba: Does The Islands Have Uber Service?

There is uber in Puerto Rico. However, service is limited to the area of San Juan.

On the other hand, there is no Uber in Aruba and taxi service is regulated by the Government.

Other ridesharing apps such as Lyft does not operate in Puerto Rico and Aruba.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- Which Island Has Better Beaches

If enjoying white sand beaches and turquoise waters are your main reasons for traveling, Aruba is the better destination to consider.

Eagle Beach which is situated in the capital city is one of the most popular and widest beaches on the island.

Flamingo Beach is the beach most seen on social media with visitors interacting with pink flamingos.

This beach is located on Renaissance Island which is owned and managed by the Renaissance Hotel.

Likewise, Puerto Rico also has amazing beaches with Flamenco Beach being one of the most famous on the island.

This award winning beach is a favorite of both locals and visitors alike.

Its calm waters make it ideal for children and activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling.

Puerto Rico Vs Aruba- Activities & Things To Do On The Islands

Coamo Thermal Hot Springs, Puerto Rico– snuggled on the southwestern part of the island, the hotsprings were discovered in 1847 and is a wonderful place to bathe, relax and unwind in the countryside.

There are restaurants such as La Ceiba and La Guitarra located in the vicinity.

Cabo Rojo Lighthouse, Puerto Rico– enjoy panoramic views of the Caribbean from this historic landmark.

This Spanish style lighthouse is located on a high cliff so be sure to wear appropriate shoes.

Ayo & Casibari Rock Formation, Aruba– this one of a kind rock formation is truly a magnificent site to behold.

From there, one can enjoy a wonderful view of the island. The location is equipped with free wifi access and a bar.

De Palm Island, Aruba– enjoy a day trip to a small private island 5 minutes boat ride from the mainland.

Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, swimming and interacting with flamingos. Additionally, there is a waterpark with slides and other fun rides for kids.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, Puerto Rico is the perfect destination for travelers who love history, hiking in a tropical rainforest and a bustling nightlife atmosphere. On the other hand, Aruba is ideal for visitors who want to relax on white sand beaches with turquoise waters, entertainment and Dutch cuisine.

Need More Information?

We are aware that careful thought and planning goes into deciding where to go on vacation. Thus, we hope that the information provided above was extremely valuable.

Feel free to check out other articles on Puerto Rico, Aruba and the rest of the Caribbean using the search bar located at the top of this page.

We believe that the following articles linked below may also be suitable for you.

Puerto Rico Vs St Thomas (Which Vacation Is Better)

Puerto Rico Vs Jamaica ( Which Vacation Is Better)


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