Comparison Barbados vs Aruba – Both with impecabble blue beaches, Barbados has a more tropical feel than Aruba’s arid and dessert like beaches. Barbados can give you an activity-packed Caribbean trip, while Aruba is more the laid back, lounging beach vacation. Read here Aruba vs Curacao
Comparing Barbados vs Aruba
Hard to pick between Barbados vs Aruba, as these two Caribbean destinations have gorgeous blue beaches, and you can’t go wrong picking either one. Biggest difference lies with Aruba’s more Americanized feel with, while Barbados’ British influence in the island is very noticeable. Both have beautiful blue seascapes perfect for a beach vacation, with Aruba having a more laidback beach trip while Barbados giving you more options on surfind and scuba diving.
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Things to Do in Barbados
Barbados is a Caribbean island, and part of the British Commonwealth. The whole island is about 21 miles long, and it can take you about 3 hours to tour the whole island. It has amazing beaches, with the Wet of Barbados popular for the capital Bridgetwon, and with the luxury resorts, and the east of Barbados popular for rugged beaches and stronger water, good for surfing.
Visiting West Barbados vs East Barbados
Let’s comparing the Barbados West Coast and the Barbados East Coast. In the West is Barbados capital, and beaches popular for the beautiful and warm blue waters with the Caribbean coast line and upscale hotels and neighborhood.
While in the East coast of Barbados, you have the strong and rugged waters, due to the Atlantic ocean, but still gorgeous blue and offers beauful sands as well, as well as swimmable water, albeit a little less calmer than the west coast.
Let’s look at some of the top beaches in Barbados.
Beaches in Barbados – Barbados vs Aruba
Crane Beach – One of the best beaches in Barbados, and easily the world. Waves are a little strong which can be good for boogie boarding. Sand is so beautiful it sometimes looks pink with the sun, and with rugged cliffs surrounding it.
Crane beach is at the South East coast of Barbados. It is a public beach in Barbados that is good for swimming, and you it has a glass-front beach elevator and a staircase to go down to tbe beach for a swimming. Crane beach is protected by natural coral reef.
Another beach that is good for swimming and is of course blue and gorgeous is the Rockley beach, in Bridgetown Barbados. This area has a coastline of resorts and places to eat.
Paynes Bay Beach
The Platinum Coast or the Paynes Bay Beach is one of Barbado’s top beaches, this one in the west coast. If you’re looking for more of a calm beach for swimming in Barbados, this is a great option. The Platinum Coast (Paynes Bay Beach) is also known for it’s beautiful colorful neighborhood.
A beautiful bay surrounded by palm trees and cliffs, Bottom Bay is located in the southeast part of Barbados, where you have the Palmetto Bay, Cave Bay, Crane Beach and Lord’s Castle.
The Carlisle Bay is located in Barbados west coast, with the Carlisle Bay’s Marine park a perfect place for scuba diving. This is where Bridgetown, Barbados capital is located.
Other Top Sights to See in Barbados – Barbados vs Aruba
Bathsheba has Barbados’ Rocky Beach known for its surfing activities. Main destinatination in the east coast of Barbados
Holetown is where the first place the British settled in the Barbados, and now known for it’s watersports and nightlife.
Saint Lawrence Gap
Where the top restaurants and luxurious hotels in Barbados are, in South Coast of Barbados. Dover Beach is a beautiful beach to visit here.
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.
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, 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.
If you’re in time, watch Aruba’s Aruba Hi-Winds 2022 Open Caribbean Championships
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.
BEST TIME TO VISIT – Aruba vs Barbados
Best Time to Visit Aruba
In Aruba their summer (December to April), there are fewer showers of rain than normal. In their winter (May to November), the rains are almost non-stop. For most tourists best time to visit Aruba is from December to April because of easier transport.
Best Time to Visit Barbados
In Barbados their summer (December to April), there are fewer rains than normal. In their winter (May to November), rains are almost non-stop. For most tourists best time to visit Barbados is from December to April because of easier transport.
CASH AND ATMS IN BARBADOS
The currency of Barbados is the Barbadian or Bajan Dollar $1 USD=$2 BBD. If you are bringing USD you can use them while traveling around Barbados no need to exchange them in the islands.
Bank or debit cards in an ATM are the recommended way to access your funds while traveling in Barbados. Know real-time currency exchange here!
Final Thoughts – Which Caribbean Vacation is Better, Barbados or Aruba?
While you can’t have a bad vacation in any of these two, the winner for us is Barbados. We love the option of having an activity packed beach vacation if we like it, and of course, if we only want to lounge around, as well. Barbados gives you the luxury of both. Barbados also has better greenery because of its climate, while Aruba is more arid, albeit this gives Aruba a good chance of longer summers. All in all, we’d love to go to both!
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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.