Last updated on January 28th, 2024 at 03:16 am
Comparison Aruba vs Curacao – Both Dutch islands in the Caribbean, Aruba and Curacao share a lot of similarities with their beautiful blue waters. While both are Caribbean paradises, known as parts of the ABC islands, Aruba and Curacao have their distinctions.
For a more American-style beach getaway, you’ll likely prefer Aruba, while Curacao is more laidback and European. Let’s compare the two destinations and help pick the best trip for you. Read here Aruba vs Cancun and Curacao itinerary
Comparing Aruba vs Curacao
While Aruba is your average American resort-style beach trip, Curacao has cove-like beaches and offers a more laid-back trip. Comparing Aruba and Curacao, Aruba gives you blue waters and long sandy white beaches with a hotel vibe while Curacao is a quieter beach trip but a more active vacation.
A family trip is easier in Aruba because of the resorts and beaches, while Curacao is more of a romantic couple getaway. Curacao has the advantage of having a beautiful underwater scene, so for snorkeling and scuba Curacao wins over Aruba. You can’t go wrong with either as they will both give you an exquisite vacation, however, Curacao is the winner for us.
Read here for more Curacao guides: Best eSIM for Tourists in Curacao, How to Go from Curacao Airport to Willemstad – All Ways, Best Food in Curacao to Try
Read more for Aruba Guides: Best eSIMS for Aruba
Where To Stay in Curacao and Aruba
You can access a dorm that can go up to €18-30. And while a hotel that is a double room in a budget can go up to €90.
Book Your Travel Insurance – Curacao vs Aruba
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Things to do in Aruba – Curacao vs Aruba
Things to do in Aruba
Aruba is a 21-mile-long country that sits in the Southern Caribbean, very close to South America. When visiting Aruba, you’ll most likely be flying into the country via its only international airport, Queen Beatrix International Airport, in Oranjestad.
You can easily expect some of the world’s best beaches in Aruba, just as in the rest of the Caribbean. Aruba is outside the typhoon belt, and with its arid climate, generally, any time of the year is a good time to visit the country.
Let’s look at Aruba’s best things to do in this Caribbean series.
One of the most popular beaches in Aruba, the Eagle Beach. A lot of resorts are here, but it’s definitely the place to be and see in Aruba. It’s one of the best beaches in the world, and you can’t deny it, once you see it. Make sure to not miss it.
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Divi Divi Trees
The Divi Divi tree (or Watapana Tree) is the most unique thing in Aruba and is known as Aruba’s compass. Once you find the Divi Divi tree, you’ll know that it’s always pointing in the Southwestern direction. It’s one of the most unique things in Aruba, and definitely something to see!
Another beach in Aruba to see is Baby Beach or Klein Lagoon. It is a shallow, sheltered man-altered lagoon located in the Mangle Cora locality near the village of Seroe Colorado, on the southwest side of the southeast end of the island of Aruba. It is frequented by locals and tourists.
Hiking in the Arikok National Park
The beautiful Arikok National Park in Aruba comprises almost 20% of the island. Enjoy gorgeous vistas of Aruba’s rugged terrain, desert-like hills filled with tall cacti, and a breathtaking coastline, and protect native flora and fauna.
The National Park takes you on a memorable journey of the island’s past offering unique geological, cultural and historical sites. These can all be enjoyed and explored either on your own or during guided tours. A wide variety of educational and informative programs and fun activities are available.
Conchi Natural Pools
Experience true adventure at Aruba’s most remote, yet also most popular natural attraction, the famous Natural Pool.
In a unique rock formation, volcanic stone circles a small depression, creating a tranquil pool: Aruba’s Natural Pool.
On a deserted stretch of coastline, dramatic shows of water spraying over the rock occur on a regular basis as the tide rushes to shore. The unique natural pool is also known as ‘Conchi’ (bowl) or ‘Cura di Tortuga’ (Turtles Cove) and is located inside Aruba’s national park Arikok.
The location of the Pool is surrounded by some of Aruba’s most rugged terrain, so a visitor truly gets the feeling of having “discovered” something when they reach the site, by either foot, horseback or 4×4 vehicle. Because of the nature of the environment in this secluded area, the site is inaccessible by a regular car. Inexperienced drivers are encouraged to visit the pool on a Jeep Safari.
During the day small snacks and drinks are sold at the top of the stairs that lead to the Natural Pool.
The Quadiriki Caves are located in Arikok National Park on the island of Aruba. There are three caves, which tourists commonly explore. The caves are located at the base of a limestone cliff. They contain Amerindian petroglyphs. The name of the caves is of Arawak origin
Scuba Diving in Punta Basora
One of the top areas for scuba diving in Aruba is Punta Basora. Punta Basora is the easternmost point of Aruba, from which a narrow reef stretches far out into the sea. On calm days, divers will see tuna, ballyhoo, eagle rays, stingrays, barracudas, dorados, hammerhead sharks, and hawksbill and loggerhead turtles pass by on their way around this point of the island.
Snorkeling in Tres Papi
Tres Trapi (meaning “three steps”) is a tiny sandy cove nestled in the rocky northwestern shore of Aruba. The 10-meter long beach is accessible by three rustic steps carved into the rock, after which the site has been named. Tres Trapi has white sand, a grey cliff, and pristine placid waters, where hundreds of red cushion starfish lay on the seafloor, making it one of the favorites and most photogenic snorkeling spots of the island
Palm Beach is a resort area on the northern coast of Aruba, a Dutch Caribbean island. It’s known for its calm waters and long sandy strip lined with bars and restaurants. To its south, the lush Bubali Bird Sanctuary has an observation tower and is home to herons and other migratory birds. Nearby is the Old Dutch Windmill, imported in the 1960s, and the Butterfly Farm, with free-flying butterflies in a jungle enclosure.
Flamingos in Renaissance island / Renaissance Island / Flamingo Beach
Leave the cares of the world behind as you venture over to a private island complimentary to Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino guests. Renaissance Island features Aruba’s only private beaches and is just an 8-minute water taxi ride away. Here lies a true oasis with family-friendly beaches or beaches just for adults.
Pamper yourself at the private Spa Cove, play a game of beach tennis, sit down to the delicious lunch specials at Papagayo Bar & Grill or have a drink at our newly added Mangrove Beach Bar, or just lie back and let the sun caress you. A day on Renaissance Island is a day well spent.
Kitesurfing is a popular activity at this windy beach with waves, turquoise water & a serene vibe. Boca Grandi is a very popular location for this.
This small, secluded bay with a sandy white beach offers swimming & snorkeling
The California Lighthouse is a lighthouse located at Hudishibana near Arashi Beach and the Sasariwichi dunes on the northwest tip of Aruba. This lighthouse was named for the steamship California, which was wrecked nearby on September 23, 1891.
Wariruri Beach is located at Wariruri Bay, a sandy cove surrounded by a rocky coastline consisting of limestone, worn out by the sea.
Other gorgeous natural bridges can be found in the southern part of the island near Black Stone Beach where you’ll find a unique tripod bridge.
Hiking in Aruba
Now, one of the most unique things in Aruba is that not only does it have amazing blue waters, it also has good hiking trails. Below are 3 of Aruba’s most popular hiking trails.
- Hooiberg Hiking Trail
- Arikok Mountain
- Alto Vista Trail
Dos Playa (two beaches) is a pair of bordering coves carved out of the island’s limestone. One cove is a go-to for island surfers, with a broad white-sand beach for sunbathing or relaxing under the shade of the sea-grape trees.
Manchebo Beach is a wide stretch of beach on the most western point of the island (just after Eagle Beach), located in the low-rise hotel area in front of the Manchebo Beach Resort. The beach area offers a combination of exciting waves, due to converging currents, and calm waters.
No-frills bay beach enclosed by coral cliffs, with powerful currents for bodyboarders
Mangel Halto is a small beach located in Pos Chiquito, which you will find on your way to San Nicolas. The beach is surrounded by mangroves and is a favorite among locals for a relaxing day on the beach. Mangel Halto is also known as a perfect snorkeling and shore-diving spot due to the calm and shallow waters.
San Nicolaas is 19 kilometers southeast of Oranjestad and is Aruba’s second-largest city. As of 2010, it has a population of 15,283, most of whom originate from the British Caribbean and the rest of the Caribbean
Fishing in Aruba
If we missed any more water activities, fishing is also possible in these local or tourist boats in Aruba! If it’s a big hobby of yours, don’t miss doing it in Aruba’s incredibly blue waters.
Tell us which Caribbean island you chose, and if you have more tips, let us know in the comments.
Things to do in Curacao
West Coast Curacao
The west coast of Curacao is known for its beautiful beaches, fringed with palm forests and coral reefs. While in the West Coast, you can spend a day beach hopping and visiting popular beaches such as Piskado Beach, Kenepa Beach, and Porto Marie Beach. You can also stop to admire the natural wonders of the Shete Boka National Park, visit the Flamingo Sanctuary at St. Willibrodus, and dive in to swim and snorkel.
What you can do on the West Coast of Curacao:
Shete Boka National Park
Shete Boka National Park is Curacao’s National Park, Shete Boka meaning 7 caves. You can visit here to watch how the waves clash with the rocky North Coast or visit some of the caves.
Cas Abao Beach
Cas Abao Beach is Curacao’s top and most popular beach not only in the Caribbean but in the whole world. Cas Abao beach is good for swimming and snorkeling. Just like what you’d expect in the Caribbean, Cas Abao has incredibly blue beaches and crystal clear waters, and sandy white sand.
Playa Kenepa is Curacao’s electric blue beach, and arguably, one of the best beaches in Curacao, also in the whole Caribbean. Yes, the colors that you see are quite real.
Flamingo Sanctuary Sint Willibrordus
Passing by the Salt lake at St. Willibrodus, you see beautiful pink flamingos in their natural habitat – always an experience to not miss.
Playa Piskado or Playa Grandi
Playa Piskado is the perfect stop in West Curacao for snorkeling with sea turtles where you get to see them in their natural habitat.
Daaibooi Beach is surrounded by cliffs and incredibly blue waters. If you’re looking for loggerhead sea turtles, they are known to be seen here so make time to snorkel or swim on this beach.
Another of Curacao’s top beaches, Mambo Beach is known for water sports and other activities, with plenty of space to lounge around. There are also restaurants in this area.
Playa Lagun is quite popular in Curacao for divers, scuba and snorkelers, and there are beautiful rocky cliffs that surround it and make it even more picturesque. If you see on the clifftop, you’ll see a restaurant and apartment there, the only one with a very beautiful view. See the picture below.
Playa Porto Mari
Playa Porto Mari is another exquisite blue beach and the most popular starting point for a lot of scuba and snorkeling experiences in Curacao, West Area.
Director’s Bay Curacao
Off the beaten and secluded is not impossible in Curacao, and for this one, you can go and swim at the Director’s Bay.
Eastern Side of Curacao
Historic Sights to See and Things to Do in Curacao
Discover the best that the Caribbean island of Curaçao has to offer aboard this full-day sightseeing tour. Walk around the historic areas of Willemstad and Scharloo, see where the original blue Curaçao liqueur is made, drive along the east side of the island, and much more.
Willemstad and Scharloo include the historic sights to see in Curacao. Curacao is a constituent of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and you can see some architectural buildings with this.
Authentic local food at the Old Market in downtown Willemstad
Visit Willemstad, check the historical sites, go and walk around and taste local and Western food. You can go and taste Curacao Liqueur as well. Don’t miss these!
Queen Emma Bridge
Stop at the Rif Fort to take pictures of the Queen Emma bridge or the floating Bridge.
Final Thoughts – Which is Better, Aruba vs Curacao?
If you reached this part of the article, you will already know which one wins for us. For an active and varied Caribbean trip with pristine blue beaches, historical sites, and beautiful snorkeling and scuba, Curacao is the winner for us.
For family vacations or American-vibe beach holidays with hotels and tequila and more nightlife options, you have to go for Aruba. Either way, you’ll have a fantastic vacation in the Caribbean. Hope you’ll enjoy and let us know if you have more advice to add, or if you have questions.
About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.