Both St Lucia and Aruba are tourist hot spots in the Caribbean but these islands are nothing alike.
In this article we will compare and contrast St Lucia and Aruba to help you make a prudent and wise decision for your upcoming vacation.
As a general rule, St Lucia is better for travelers who are interested in exploring a drive in volcano and outdoor activities such as zip lining. Alternatively, Aruba is ideal for a visitor who is looking for sunny weather, beaches and entertainment with an interest in seeing flamingos.
Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Caribbean islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean national who has visited St Lucia in excess of 20 times and Aruba five times.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Which Island Is Bigger
St Lucia is the larger of the two islands being 238 square miles while Aruba is 69.5 square miles.
Also, St Lucia is the island with the higher point of elevation with Mount Gimie being 3,120 feet.
The highest point of elevation in Aruba is Mount Jamanota which stands at only 620 feet.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Can You Island Hop To Other Islands
St Lucia has better island hopping options than Aruba.
There is a ferry service available from St Lucia with connections to the French Caribbean Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe as well as Dominica.
On the other hand, there are no ferry services from Aruba to the neighboring Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire and Curacao.
For travelers to St Lucia who are considering visiting the French Caribbean, double check whether you need a visa for these islands.
The official currency for Martinique and Guadeloupe is the Euro.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Does The Currency Differ?
The official currencies of both islands vary. For the island of St Lucia, the official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.
This currency is also shared by seven other Caribbean Islands with the central bank located on the island of St Kitts.
Alternatively, 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.
Nevertheless, the US dollar is widely accepted by supermarkets, restaurants and other businesses on both islands.
When traveling, walk with smaller US bank notes for ease of completing transactions.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Does The Language Differ?
The official languages of both islands differ with English being the official language of St Lucia and Dutch for Aruba.
Nevertheless, English is widely spoken in Aruba as it is taught in school. Spanish and Papiamentu are also spoken in Aruba due to its multicultural environment.
Though English is the official language in St Lucia, patois is the language spoken among St Lucians day to day.
Patois is a form of French creole as a result of St Lucia’s history being a French colony in the 17th century.
This language form was also spoken in other French colony islands such as Grenada in the Eastern Caribbean.
Nonetheless, this language died as patois was not passed on from generation to generation.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Entry Requirements
US citizens require passports for entry into both islands. However, where there is a difference is that there is customs and immigration located in Aruba.
US Citizens and visitors to the United States of American from Aruba can clear US customs in Aruba. This makes travel from Aruba to the United States seamless.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: How Does The Landscape Differ
The topography of the islands is dissimilar. St Lucia is extremely mountainous, green and hilly in look and feel.
On the other hand, Aruba is a coral based island and incredibly flat in topography. The island is dry and arid in appearance.
Also, Aruba is very windy due to its location near the equator which makes it an excellent spot for kite surfers.
Visitors may prefer to drive in Aruba as the topography makes it easier for a newcomer to navigate.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: How Does The Weather Differ
Aruba has a longer dry season than St Lucia 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 Eastern Caribbean Islands. Annually, the rainy season begins in October and ends in January each year
St Lucia has a dry season from December to May and a rainy season from June to November annually. The island receives much more rainfall than Aruba.
Due to the longer rainy season, there are mosquitoes in St Lucia during the wet season.
Visitors to the island are advised during the rainy season to utilize repellent as well as a mosquito net to avoid the bites.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Which Island Has Better Beaches
If clear blue waters are your preference when it comes to beaches, Aruba is the better island.
Aruba is known for its amazing beaches. There are four main beaches on the island being Baby Beach, Eagle Beach, Palm Beach and Malmok beach.
Beaches on the western coastline of the island tend to the calmer than those on the East Coast.
This makes these beaches ideal for swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding and jet skiing.
Alternatively, it is advisable that care and caution is exercised in choppy waters on the East Coast.
The island of St Lucia does have beautiful beaches with Sugar beach being one of the popular ones on the island.
Nevertheless, there are many more black sand beaches due to the volcanic nature of the island.
From Sugar beach, you can get an awesome view of the famous twin peaks, The Pitons.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Which Island Gets More Tourists
Both St Lucia and Aruba are popular spots for tourists in the Caribbean. However, Aruba receives more visitors of the two.
Based on statistics in 2019 on tourism analytics, Aruba received 1,118,944 stopover visitors and 705,549 cruise visitors.
On the other hand, St Lucia for the same period had 380,167 stopover visitors and 705,549 cruise visitors.
On a whole, visitors to Aruba should anticipate greater crowds at tourist venues and attractions.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: How Does The Cuisine Differ
St Lucia has the typical West Indian cuisine with a wide range of local restaurants serving Indian, Mexican and Chinese cuisine.
Contrastingly, Aruba has several fine dining restaurants and has strong Dutch influence in its meals.
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. If you travel to St Lucia, fresh tropical fruit juice which is usually whatever fruits are in season will be served.
Additionally, Aruba has more American fast food chains of the two islands with Mc Donalds, Burger King, Wendy’s and Taco Bell all having a presence on the island.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Which Island Has The Better Nightlife
Both islands have great nightlife atmospheres however Aruba has the edge 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.
Alternatively, there are a number of restaurants and bars especially in the Rodney Bay area in St Lucia.
Every Friday with the exception of during the Holy Weekend (Easter) Gros Islet comes alive with a band and seafood.
Vendors sell barbecues, seafood and a number of different local dishes. One can also purchase various hand crafted items and souvenirs at this event.
This event is an excellent way to meet and interact with locals in St Lucia.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Which Island Is More Vulnerable to Natural Disasters
St Lucia is more vulnerable of the two islands to natural disasters such as hurricanes. Aruba is located outside the hurricane belt.
As a result, a direct hit by a hurricane is highly unlikely.
Nevertheless, while a direct hit from a hurricane is rare, it is not impossible. In 2007, the island was affected by a category 2 hurricane named Felix.
The damage to the island and infrastructure was minor.
On the other hand, St Lucia lies in the hurricane belt and has experienced significant devastation to property, livestock and crops in the past.
One of the most destructive hurricanes to hit the island was hurricane Tomas in 2010 which killed 14 people and caused massive damage to roads, bridges and property.
In addition, the island has a volcano called Soufriere which as other volcanoes in the Caribbean is under surveillance for any signs of eruptions.
It may be prudent if traveling to both islands to consider travel insurance especially during the hurricane season.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: Which Island Is Better For Shopping
If luxury shopping is a priority during your Caribbean vacation, then Aruba is the better destination.
There are a number of high end stores in the capital city of Oranjestad. These high end luxury international brands typically do not have a presence in most Caribbean islands.
At The Renaissance Mall, there are shops such as Louis Vuitton and Kate Spade where you can buy luxury items.
St Lucia Vs Aruba: 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 you access to the beach twice which is the day that you check in and the day that you check out.
Explore The Butterfly Farm- if you are near the Palm Beach area, a unique attraction that you can enjoy is a visit to the butterfly farm.
Tours explain the metamorphosis of the creature from the egg stage to the butterfly. This attraction is perfect for amazing pictures and for multi-generational families.
Unique Things To Do In St Lucia
Climb The Piton Mountains- the piton is an incredible twin peaks that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage site since 2004 located at the south of the island.
The Gros Piton is 2462 feet while the Petit Piton is 2619 feet. The Gros Piton is the designated hiking trail while the Petit Piton is rarely climbed.
Visit The Drive In Volcano- The sulphur springs is one of the most visited attractions on the island located in Soufriere which is the world’s only drive in volcano.
Visitors are able to enter at certain points and give themselves a mud bath. It is widely believed that these mud baths have medical benefits.
On a whole, St Lucia is an ideal choice for a traveler who loves beautiful natural scenery with an interest in island hopping to the French Caribbean. Alternatively, Aruba is a good choice for a traveler who enjoys high end luxury shopping, unique foods, beaches and a bustling nightlife experience.
Need More Information?
Feel free to browse our website for more content on the St Lucia, Aruba and the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page.
The following are some of our articles which we believe may be suitable for you.
Living In Aruba (Pros & Cons Fully Explained)
Best Currency For Aruba (The Ultimate Guide)
Best Currency For St Lucia (The Ultimate Guide)
St Lucia Vs Anguilla (Which Island Is Better To Visit)
Anguilla Vs Aruba (Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)
St Thomas vs Aruba (Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)
St Lucia Vs Grenada (Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)
St Lucia Vs St Thomas (Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)