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Aruba vs. Turks and Caicos

Aruba and Turks & Caicos are two stunning Caribbean destinations that are perfect for honeymoons and couples’ vacations. If you’re trying to choose between these two for your romantic trip, you may be wondering, is Aruba or Turks and Caicos better? The answer to this question depends on the type of experience you’re looking for.

In this article we will compare Turks and Caicos vs. Aruba in a range of categories so you can decide for yourself if Aruba or Turks and Caicos is better for your tropical honeymoon or couples’ escape.

Aruba vs. Turks & Caicos: Overview

Aruba is a beautiful Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela that lies outside the hurricane zone and offers great weather most of the time, so it’s a wonderful year-round destination for honeymoons or romantic trips. It offers beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters with a flat and desert-like interior; some coastlines have rocky cliffs. This popular island is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so you’ll find Dutch influences here in the culture, food, and architecture.

Aruba honeymoon resort

Turks and Caicos is a group of small islands just 90 minutes away from Florida which has some of the most spectacular beaches and corals in the world. A territory of the United Kingdom, Turks & Caicos is home to the world’s third-largest coral reef system, and incredibly clear water makes it a prime destination for divers and snorkelers. Many visitors to Turks & Caicos come to Providenciales, which is the most populated of the islands.

What is the difference between Aruba and Turks and Caicos?

While both of these are gorgeous Caribbean islands, there are definite differences between Aruba and Turks and Caicos. Aruba offers more of a party atmosphere and has a vibrant nightlife scene; Turks and Caicos is more laidback and is better suited for tranquil beach vacations.

Aruba has a well-developed tourism industry; about 2 million tourists come here each year, 80% of them from the United States. This island can feel somewhat “Americanized” since it gets so many visitors from North America. Turks & Caicos gets fewer visitors than Aruba and is less developed and “touristy.” It feels more Caribbean.

Aruba harbor

Since Aruba is located off the coast of Venezuela, it’s a longer trip from the U.S., but only by about an hour. (Turks and Caicos is located just southeast of The Bahamas.)

Turks and Caicos is better for snorkelers and scuba divers, as it has the Western Hemisphere’s second largest barrier reef system plus crystal clear water. The Turks & Caicos beaches are said to have brighter white sand than those in Aruba; Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales, which is protected by an offshore coral reef, is considered one of the best beaches in the world.

Turks & Caicos is more expensive than Aruba.

When to visit Aruba vs. Turks & Caicos

Aruba has warm and dry weather all year and sits outside the hurricane belt, making it an excellent year-round destination. The high season in Aruba is January to March, so visit here between April and August for lower prices and fewer crowds.

Temperatures are consistently warm in the Turks and Caicos as well, ranging from 75-95 ºF. High season here is December to March. Hurricane season—and rainy season—is June to November, so that’s when prices are the lowest, but you run the risk of storms ruining your trip. The best time to visit Turks & Caicos is April and May, with less crowds, lower prices, and fabulous weather.

Aruba vs. Turks and Caicos: Safety

Both Aruba and Turks and Caicos have low crime rates and are very safe to visit.

Turks & Caicos vs. Aruba: Getting There

Since Turks & Caicos is so close to Florida, it doesn’t take long to get here from the U.S. You can get direct flights to Turks and Caicos from major cities like New York, Miami, and Atlanta, although you won’t have a ton of options. Flights from Miami to Providenciales take just 2 hours, while flights from New York take just 3 ½ hours.

It takes a little bit longer to reach Aruba, but it is easier to get here from the United States, since there are more daily flights offered. There are direct flights to Aruba from Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Washington DC, New York, and more. Flights from Miami to Aruba take about 3 hours, while flights from New York take about 4 ½ hours.

A bonus to Aruba: its airport has a separate area for return flights to the United States that allows you to go through customs there, rather than having to do it once you land in the U.S.

Aruba vs. Turks and Caicos: Getting Around

Aruba is easy to get around. It’s small and easy to find your way around if you rent a car (although you will need 4-wheel drive in some areas). Taxis are expensive here, but the public bus system is pretty good.

The bus system in Turks & Caicos is not as good as that of Aruba. Taxis are also expensive here. You can easily rent a car but remember that they drive on the left in Turks & Caicos!

Turks & Caicos vs. Aruba: Beaches

Aruba’s beaches are beautiful long stretches of soft white sand. Some of the best beaches in Aruba are Baby Beach, Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, Arashi Beach, Druif Beach, Rodger’s Beach, Surfside Beach, Boca Catalina, Mango Halto Beach, Hadicurari Beach, and Malmok Beach. However, Aruba can be windy at times.

The beaches in Turks & Caicos are said to be a bit better than those in Aruba. Turks & Caicos is famous for their pristine white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters. Some of the most popular ones are Grace Bay Beach (named best beach multiple times), Parrot Cay, Gibbs Cay, and Taylor Bay Beach in Providenciales, or Governor’s Beach and Pillory Beach in Grand Turk. If you’re a beach lover, you can’t miss Chalk Sound, a beautiful national park with turquoise waters and hundreds of small islands on the southwest of Providenciales.

Turks and Caicos vs. Aruba: Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, and Watersports

Both Aruba and Turks and Caicos have a full array of watersports to enjoy, including snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more. You can also go fishing in both Turks and Caicos and Aruba.

Is Aruba or Turks and Caicos better for snorkeling and scuba diving? The consensus is that Turks & Caicos is better for couples who want to dive and snorkel, for several reasons.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are home to the third largest coral system in the world and the Western Hemisphere’s second largest barrier reef system, making it a perfect destination for scuba divers and snorkelers. There are corals all around the islands; the most popular areas are Smith’s Reef and Bight Reef in Providenciales, where you can snorkel off the shore, Black Forest in Grand Turk with its unique black corals, and Malcolm’s Road Beach and Reef.

Aruba does offer some great dive sites, though, like the wrecks of the SS Antilla and the Jane Sea as well as some airplanes. Because Aruba is windier, it often has rougher water that can negatively affect snorkelers, but popular snorkeling spots include the Antilla wreck as well as Mangel Halto, Arashi Beach, Catalina Cove, Puerto Chiquito. However, those winds make it a great spot for kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing, and parasailing.

Aruba vs. Turks & Caicos: Activities

Aruba has plenty to offer in terms of things to do. The charming capital city, Oranjestad, has a touristy feel and can be full of cruise ship passengers, but it features Dutch colonial architecture, historical sites, great shopping, and restaurants. Oranjestad also features the Historical Museum of Aruba, housed in a fort that was built in 1798. A free tram circles the city and provides a breezy way to get around.

A unique thing to do in Aruba is to take a submarine tour of the waters around the island. Aruba also offers a donkey sanctuary and a butterfly farm.

Gambling is legal in both Aruba and Turks & Caicos, but Aruba has many casinos while Turks & Caicos has just one.

There are hiking trails in both Aruba and Turks & Caicos. Aruba has a large park, Arikok National Park, which covers almost 20 percent of the island. It has a wide variety of landscapes, including desert, rocks, and caves, and features an incredible Natural Pool by the sea that you can swim and snorkel in.

Aruba has a private island you can visit, but you have to pay a fee to visit if you’re not staying there. However, this island has Flamingo Beach, where you can feed and take selfies with flamingos!

You can go island hopping in Turks & Caicos. There are 40 islands total in the nation, and only 8 of them are inhabited, so you can find plenty of secluded beaches to hang out.

You can go whale watching in Turks and Caicos from January to March.

A very popular activity in Turks & Caicos is horseback riding on the beach. Some companies, like Provo Ponies, even take you and your horse through crystal clear waters just off the beach.

Turks and Caicos Honeymoon

You can visit Little Water Cave Nature Reserve (also known as the Iguana Island) where you can see endemic Turks and Caicos iguanas, or the unique Conch Farm or the Conch Bar Caves National Park, one of the largest cave systems in the Caribbean.

You can go fishing in both countries.

Turks and Caicos vs. Aruba: Dining

The food in Turks and Caicos is Caribbean and focused on seafood, especially conch, grouper, and lobster. There are fewer restaurant choices here than in Aruba, but you can find great casual local cafés, fun beachfront spots, and fine dining restaurants—many offering romantic al fresco dining by the ocean.

The food in Aruba is excellent and diverse, featuring Dutch, Latin American, and Caribbean influences. Despite being a small island, Aruba has more than 250 restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines, including great fresh seafood, with plenty of fine dining options. There are fast food and chain restaurants here as well that will be familiar to visitors from the U.S.

Aruba vs. Turks & Caicos: Nightlife

There’s definitely more “life” in the nightlife in Aruba than in Turks & Caicos. Aruba has a party vibe; if you like to go out at night, Aruba is the best choice for you. Aruba has lots of nightclubs, music venues, and cocktail lounges. Nightlife options in Aruba also include going to casinos or taking a tour on the Kukoo Kunuku party bus.

There is one casino in Turks & Caicos: the Casablanca in Grace Bay. You can also find bars, nightclubs, live music, and local events like beach bonfires and a weekly fish fry in Providenciales. Some of the all-inclusive resorts in Turks & Caicos have entertainment and dancing.

If you like to watch the sunset from a beach bar, you can do that in both places.

Aruba vs. Turks and Caicos: Accommodations

You’ll find a lot of resorts to choose from in Aruba, including a long line of high-rise resorts along the beach as well as plenty of all-inclusive resorts.

©2013 Red Square, Inc.

Some of the best all-inclusive resorts in Aruba are the Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, Holiday Inn Aruba Beach Resort and Casino, Hotel Riu Palace Aruba, Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort, Tamarijn Aruba All-Inclusive Resort, Aruba Ocean Villas, and the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino.

Other top places to stay in Aruba include the Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, the adults-only Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, and the Ritz-Carlton.

©2013 Red Square, Inc.

The Turks and Caicos Islands may have fewer resorts but they are still spectacular choices for romantic trips or honeymoons. Most are located around the Grace Bay area on Providenciales, but there are also options in smaller islands like Grand Turk and South Caicos.

There are actually not many resorts that are all-inclusive in Turks and Caicos, and only one adults-only all-inclusive in Turks and Caicos (Club Med Turkoise). However, many resorts offer complimentary breakfast, watersports, and amenities, and some offer all-inclusive packages.

One of the best all-inclusive Turks and Caicos resorts is Ambergris Cay Resort, set on a thousand-acre private island surrounded by shallow turquoise water and coral reefs. Other top Turks & Caicos all-inclusive resorts are East Bay Resort, Beaches Turks & Caicos, and Club Med Turkoise.

Located in Grace Bay and only 5 minutes from the airport, Wymara Resort & Villas in Turks + Caicos is a 5-star resort is an ideal choice for honeymooners. Or check out Windsong on the Reef, located directly on a snorkeling reef in Grace Bay. 

turks and caicos ocean view for honeymooners

Other Turks & Caicos resorts include The Oasis in Grace Bay and Osprey Beach Hotel in Grand Turk. In South Caicos, Sailrock Resort offers standalone beachfront villas.

Now that you’ve read our comparison of Aruba vs. Turks and Caicos, what do you think? Is Aruba or Turks and Caicos better for your Caribbean honeymoon or romantic retreat? Let us know in the comments!