Aruba vs. Curacao

Two of the most stunning islands in the South Caribbean are Aruba and Curacao. While both of these destinations have their own unique charm, they’re equally wonderful. 

When it comes to choosing between the two of them for a vacation, it can be quite tough. If you’re torn between Aruba vs. Curacao, read on to help you find out which destination is the perfect pick for you.

Punda boardwalk in Curacao's capital of Willemstad

Aruba vs. Curacao: Overview

When you look at a map, you’ll see that Aruba and Curacao are located close to one another. They’re actually two of the “ABC islands,” a collection of Netherlands territories located in the southern Caribbean that is composed of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

These islands are situated just outside of the hurricane zone, making them excellent Caribbean vacation spots at any time of year. Boasting bright white sands and crystal clear waters, Aruba and Curacao are both perfect for soaking up the sun or partaking in watersports.

As both of these Islands are Dutch territories, they have very similar cultures and histories, they feature the same style of colorful architecture, and the locals are all very friendly and welcoming.

While these two island territories are extremely similar, there are still a number of differences between the two that can help travelers decide which is the perfect destination for them.

Aruba and Curacao both offer warm weather all year round, but while Curacao enjoys light breezes, Aruba experiences stronger winds. You’ll also be happy to know that both islands have relatively low crime rates, and people are generally friendly and welcoming.

While Aruba is smaller than Curacao, it actually gets almost twice as many visitors, meaning more tourism and larger crowds. This has led to it having a more Americanized vibe, whereas Curacao feels more Dutch.

Aruba also has a more flat, desert-like landscape, with plenty of cacti and rocks, whereas Curacao is more mountainous and green. When it comes to their beaches, both are beautiful, but the ones in Aruba are generally a little nicer.

Aruba vs. Curacao: Beaches

While both islands boast soft white sands and bright blue waters, it’s generally said that Aruba’s beaches are the best of the two. However, this doesn’t mean that those in Curacao are anything short of spectacular.

The beaches in Aruba are typically long stretches of sand which are open to the public and easy to access. In contrast, many of the beaches in Curacao are smaller, private, and are found in coves rather than along a picturesque stretch.

Beautiful Divi Divi tree on an empty beach in Aruba

Some of the best beaches in Aruba are:

  • Arashi Beach
  • Mango Halto Beach
  • Hadicurari Beach
  • Rodger’s Beach
  • Surfside Beach
  • Eagle Beach
  • Malmok Beach
  • Boca Catalina
  • Baby Beach
  • Druif Beach
  • Palm Beach

Some of the best beaches in Curacao are:

  • Playa Lagun
  • Cas Abao
  • Playa Grandi
  • Grote Knip Beach
  • Blue Bay
  • Mambo Beach
  • Playa Jeremi

If you are into scuba diving and snorkeling, you will probably prefer Curacao due to its numerous dive opportunities. There are not only wrecks to explore but also a variety of vibrant coral reefs. Aruba does offer a range of good dive sites, though, such as the wrecks of the SS Antilla and the Jane Sea, plus a few airplanes. 

If you’re interested in watersports such as surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and parasailing, then Aruba is the best choice as it is more windy and has rougher waters.

Malmok beach in Aruba full of kite surfers
Malmok beach in Aruba full of kite surfers

Aruba vs. Curacao: Dining

One great aspect of a vacation is always the amazing foods you’re able to discover, so you’ll be pleased to know that both Aruba and Curacao boast a variety of delicious dishes. Curacao’s food takes a little more influence from Dutch cuisine, but you can find Dutch dishes on both islands. Both islands are popular for their fresh seafood. 

Both islands offer a range of casual eateries as well as gourmet restaurants. Despite its small size, however, Aruba actually has more than 250 restaurants, which offer a huge range of cuisines. 

If you’re visiting Curacao, be sure to try the blue Curacao liqueur, which is made from a fruit that only grows on this island.

Aruba vs. Curacao: Nightlife

If you’re looking for a fun-filled party getaway, then choose Aruba, where there’s a party vibe every night. With numerous nightclubs, music venues, bars, and cocktail lounges, you can dance the night away. There’s even a Kukoo Kunuku party bus!

If you’re looking for a more laid-back vacation, both islands offer beach bars where you can relax and watch the sunset. You can find casinos on both Aruba and Curacao, as well.

View of the impressive pool of Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Spa

Aruba vs. Curacao: Accommodations

As Aruba is more developed than Curacao and welcomes many more tourists, you’ll be able to find a huge variety of high-rise resorts dotted along the beaches of this island plus plenty of all-inclusive resorts and luxury hotels.

Curacao has a smaller selection of places to stay, but this doesn’t make the accommodations any less impressive. In addition to boutique hotels and low-rise resorts, it also has adults-only and family all-inclusive resorts.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Aruba, here are some options:

For a Curacao getaway, check out these choices:

Aruba vs. Curacao: Cost

One factor that must be considered when planning any trip is the cost. If you’re traveling on a budget then Curacao is likely to be the best choice for you. 

Aruba is actually considered to be one of the most expensive islands to visit in the Caribbean. Vacations here can come with quite a high price tag, with taxis and transport, accommodations, activities, shopping, and eating out all at a higher price point than the equivalent in Curacao.

In contrast, Curacao is a relatively cheaper destination and is a good choice for travelers on any budget. Accommodations range from beachside bungalows to luxurious resorts, so you can get the most for your money here.

Aruba vs. Curacao: Safety

If you’re concerned about your safety in Aruba or Curacao, you’ll be pleased to know that both of these destinations have relatively low crime rates.

That said, here are some important safety tips to keep in mind when traveling:

  • Keep your belongings locked away securely.
  • When leaving your resort, travel in pairs or groups, and only take organized tours with trusted operators.
  • Do not walk around alone at night.
  • Do not accept drinks from strangers and keep your eyes on your drink at all times when in bars or nightclubs.
  • Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and don’t carry a lot of cash when out and about. 

Aruba vs. Curacao: Final Verdict

Overall, both Aruba and Curacao have plenty on offer for tourists to enjoy, be it delicious food, beautiful beaches, nice weather year-round, and a variety of luxurious boutique hotels and resorts, as well as plenty to see and do. There is a lot to enjoy in both of these destinations.

When choosing which is the best option for you, there’s really no clear winner, as it comes down to your specific holiday type and budget, who you’re traveling with, and what activities you’re hoping to enjoy.

For more help deciding which destination is best for you, or with planning your dream Caribbean getaway, head on over to our Contact Us page to get in touch with one of our trusted travel advisors.

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