You have narrowed your Caribbean vacation plans to Aruba and Turks and Caicos. Both are remarkable options that guarantee a lifetime of memories filled with sublime beaches, luxurious resorts, and wonderful activities. And both destinations offer incredible weather. However, Aruba can have far more energy, while Turks and Caicos is tranquil, relaxing, and traditionally Caribbean.
Which is the best destination for the ideal Caribbean getaway? It all depends on what you are looking for.
They both have much to offer but can be very different. The choice is yours, but how to choose?
Let’s review both destinations.
Turks and Caicos is a British territory consisting of an archipelago of 40 islands, with Providenciales being the most popular. English is spoken here.
Aruba is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Dutch is the island’s official language.
Both destinations accept the U.S. dollar without any problems.
The Best Time to Visit
Aruba is more desert-like than tropical, and the weather is great all year, and April through August has the least rainfall. The most popular and most expensive time to visit is between January and March, when it is comfortably warm for swimming but not too hot.
Turks and Caicos has temperatures in the 80s, but June and November can be rainy with hurricanes. The best time for a visit is in the spring, between April and June, when there are fewer tourists, and the prices are lower.
Both destinations have nonstop flights from the U.S.
Aruba is frequently referred to as One Happy Island. The people are friendly, and the ambiance is lively, and the island has a natural energy.
Turks and Caicos is more laid-back. People are definitely friendly, but they also allow you your privacy.
For travelers looking for a sparkling non-stop nightlife, Aruba wins the lottery with its fun-loving nightclubs, dancing, casinos, and live entertainment. Most Aruban resorts have access to a casino, nightly live entertainment, and special cocktail parties.
Aruba’s nightlife traditionally ends with a long evening over a hearty breakfast. Bar hopping is a nightly party on wheels. Several tour buses head for all the hot spots that have music and dancing. Fortunately, they will also retrieve you and bring you back to your hotel.
Turks and Caicos is renowned for its world-famous beaches, such as Grace Bay beach on Providenciales, and attracts vacations searching for ideal water sports and activities.
Most of Turks and Caicos’ nightlife is in Providenciales, with bar and lounges providing an evening out with karaoke, live music, and special cocktails. Some adults-only resorts along the beaches provide shows and dance clubs, but not close to the level of Aruba.
Turks and Caicos charming and romantic nightlife includes sunset cruise parties. The Ritz Carlton in Providenciales does have a casino. There is also Casablanca Casino by Grace Bay Beach.
When the sun sets, Aruba can turn in a mini-Las Vegas, while Turks and Caicos is more relaxed and laid back.
When it comes down to it, a Caribbean vacation is all about the beaches. And the million-dollar lottery here goes unarguably to Turks and Caicos. The 12-mile span of Grace Bay beach in Providenciales is regarded by many as the best stretch of beach in the world. The golden sand and turquoise water are like nowhere else. It is large and lined with many luxury resorts, but there still is plenty of privacy for romance and strolling. And the diving, snorkeling, sailing, paddle boarding, etc. is supreme.
Aruba, too, has marvelous beaches, with the largest resorts located by Palm Beach and Eagle Beach. Thanks to a natural breeze, Aruba’s beaches are great for windsurfing and kitesurfing, and there is excellent sailing, swimming, and snorkeling. And Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island lets visitors get close to the long-legged pink beauties. They will even allow selfies.
Flight Information – Getting There
Both Aruba and Turks and Caicos have direct flights from the U.S. leaving from major airports, so there is no difference there. However, flights to Turks and Caicos are more expensive. The flight to Aruba is approximately one hour longer than flights to Turks and Caicos.
Neither Aruba nor Turks and Caicos is cheap. The resorts are luxurious (frequently with private butlers) and have plenty of activities to offer.
Although it has less resorts than Aruba, what Turks and Caicos does have is breathtaking luxury. Most of the resorts on Turks and Caicos are by Grace Bay beach on Providenciales. One of the standouts is Club Med Turkoise, an adult-only, all-exclusive resort that offers romance and a plethora of wonderful activities. Ambergris Cay is a Turks and Caicos private island and private resort. This is a beautiful, untamed natural landscape few get to experience. With a mere 10 suites and 7 villas, this is a private piece of Eden. The villas are all-inclusive and ideal for families. When renting a villa, meals are either delivered or a private chef prepares on the spot and will accommodate guests’ tastes.
Aruba has more all-inclusive resorts from which to choose, such as the 72-room Manchebo Beach Resort and Spa with its all-inclusive option. This oceanfront resort focuses on wellness with yoga and Pilates sessions every day. Qigong is also offered once a week. Spa treatments can be enjoyed in private cabanas by the beach.
The resort focuses on health-boosting menus. Manchebo is all about rejuvenation and feeling on top of the world.
Things to Do
As might be imagined, lively Aruba, and its lovely capital of Oranjestad, offer plenty of diversions in addition to its nightlife. The capital is filled with charming Dutch architecture and historical landmarks. Aruba has plenty to offer in terms of things to do, such as a submarine tour of the island. Oranjestad has a touristy feel and can be full of cruise ship passengers, but it features an abundance of shopping, and many restaurants. The Historical Museum of Aruba is also located in Oranjestad and is the perfect place to learn more about the island’s heritage. It is easy to get around the city using the free tram.
Both Aruba and Turks and Caicos have scenic hiking trails, but Aruba has a more diverse landscape with its desert, forests, and shrubs.
Turks and Caicos is ideal for island hopping and enjoying a variety of secluded beaches. A favorite pastime is horseback riding on the beach and even in the water. Provo Ponies provides guided tours to riders aged seven and older. For adventurers, there is the Conch Bar Caves on Middle Caicos. This underground extravaganza is one of the hugest caves in the Caribbean.
Which Destination is More Expensive?
Neither Aruba nor Turks and Caicos are a bargain to visit. As a matter of fact, they both rate among the most expensive Caribbean destinations, with Turks and Caicos slightly ahead.
The average meal in Turks and Caicos costs between $15 to $55, while meals in Aruba range between $10 and $20. Local store-bought water (a necessity in both locations) and transportation are about the same.
Both destinations have costly resorts. The real difference in cost depends more on the time of travel than where. March through May is the slow season when accommodation is less costly.
Snorkeling in Turks and Caicos’ reef barrier is a magical experience, and the marine life is outstanding. The best snorkeling is by Turtle Cove, which is surrounded by restaurants and shopping.
Aruba lacks the sheer number of fabulous snorkeling opportunities that can be found on Turks and Caicos. One of the best is Mangel Halto on Aruba’s southwest side with its amazing underwater visibility and surrounding coral reef. The area can experience heavy currents and is best for experienced snorkelers.
Providenciales in Turks and Caicos is quite touristy and caters to its visitors. There are many duty-free options, especially luxury goods such as liquor, jewelry, art, and perfumes. Much of the shopping is close to Grace Bay beach, and the number of duty-free shops exceeds those that can be found on most other Caribbean islands. It’s a shopper’s paradise.
Shopping in Aruba provides the chance to browse through an array of well-known designer luxury stores. It’s a shopping spree, but without the duty-free benefits. In the capital of Oranjestad, in addition to large malls such as the Renaissance Mall downtown, visitors can find flea markets with interesting bargains and souvenirs. Note that stores in Aruba are closed on Sundays.
Turks and Caicos focuses mainly on fresh seafood such as conch and lobster. It has fewer restaurants than Aruba, but there are many opportunities for romantic dinners by the beach. Visitors should also check out the smaller mom-and-pop eateries that usually serve marvelous homemade conch stew and conch fritters.
Aruba has more diverse foods, from Caribbean to Dutch. One of the most interesting restaurants in Aruba is the Kitchen Table. It only has 16 tables, so the chef can give diners his full attention. Beginning with a cocktail, dinner turns into an eight-course event with wine pairing.
A vacation in either Turks and Caicos or Aruba can provide visitors with the bliss of a lifetime. The differences between the two destinations can help them decide which one is better suited for their purpose.