Can’t Choose Between Turks & Caicos and Aruba? We Are Here To Help!


Cover photo credit: Steve Photography/Shutterstock.com


So, you are researching the ultimate dream destination and you’ve finally narrowed down your choices: the Turks & Caicos islands or Aruba. How can you even decide which of these breathtaking locales should be the setting of the vacation you’ve been fantasizing about?

First up, let’s look at the Turks & Caicos islands. With 40 coral islands in all, the islands are as advertised, the ultimate Caribbean getaway. In fact, the promotions you may have seen hardly do justice to the intricate beauty of this tropical archipelago. In Turks & Caicos, you’ll find loads of activities, a rich history, and simply stunning beaches. The possibilities to island-hop will seem endless, and it won’t take long for you to reset to island time and fall into the rhythm of this beautiful oasis.

Beaches Turks Caicos Beach Family
Picture: Located on the best stretch of this famous beach, all-inclusive resort Beaches Turks & Caicos is lapped by the calmest and clearest turquoise waters, perfect for every type of water sport.

Aruba is another well-known vacation destination, and also offers quite a unique experience. People from around the world trek to Aruban shores to see the one-of-a-kind attractions and immerse themselves in the culture.

If you’re torn between Turks & Caicos versus Aruba, we’re here to guide you. Use our expert knowledge of the finest sands and crystal-clear shores in the Caribbean to help you make a decision. Your dream destination awaits.

In this article on the Beaches Blog:

Are Turks & Caicos and Aruba similar?

Things to do: Turks & Caicos vs Aruba

Beaches
Snorkeling
Scuba diving
Fishing
Tours & excursions
Shopping
Entertainment & nightlife
Casinos

Architecture
Famous landmarks
Landscape & climate
Peak season

People
Culture
Language
Food
Music

Places to stay
How to get around
Economy
Currency
Safety

Conclusion


Are Turks & Caicos and Aruba similar?

The Turks & Caicos Islands and Aruba are very different places with diverse cultural offerings, cuisine, languages, people and so much more. The Turks & Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory, just southeast of The Bahamas. Aruba is located in the southern Caribbean Sea, near the islands of Bonaire and Curaçao. It is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


Things to do: Turks & Caicos vs Aruba

If you are looking for things to do in the Turks & Caicos or in Aruba, you are really limited only by your imagination. Here are some fun activities you can enjoy during your stay:

Relax on the beach

What are the beaches like in the Turks & Caicos?

Simply put ... they’re amazing! It’s incredible to vacation in a place where there are multiple islands, and even more great beaches. That’s just the experience you’ll find in Turks and Caicos, a place known for having the second-largest barrier reef system in the Western Hemisphere. The reef surrounds the Caicos Bank which supports several of the Caicos Islands, protects its beautiful beaches, and houses a thriving ecosystem of vibrant coral and marine life.

Beaches Turks Caicos Grace Bay Beach Family2
Picture: Grace Bay is 12 miles of sweeping white-sand beach on the north shore of the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos

Along the north coast of Providenciales (the most populated island of Turks & Caicos) lies Grace Bay Beach. It is famously considered one of the finest beaches in the world, no doubt due to its clear blue waters and white, sandy coastline. Grace Bay Beach is also a favorite of scuba divers, and is sometimes referred to as the “hallmark of the Turks & Caicos islands.”

Insider tip: If you’re looking for a vacation that includes lots of beachside relaxation, indulging in gourmet cuisine, and enjoying the convenience of swim-up bars, Beaches Turks & Caicos is a great choice (and includes 21 restaurants!).


What are the beaches like in Aruba?

The island of Aruba has some truly awesome beaches where your experience can fit your mood. Eagle Beach is considered by many to be the best beach in Aruba. This public beach is in a beautiful area of the island, and its wide shores are very inviting. Sunbathers love to work on their tans on the white-sand shores of Eagle Beach. You can also snorkel the coral reefs at Mangel Halto, enjoy some alone time at Baby Beach, or lounge under palm trees at Palm Beach. There are lots of great beach spots in Aruba to choose from.

Flamingo Beach Aruba

Photo credit: MasterPhoto/Shutterstock.com


Snorkeling

Snorkeling in Turks & Caicos

Snorkeling in Turks & Caicos is an experience everyone should try when visiting the island. Its unique barrier reef exposes snorkelers to the vibrant marine life that has made their home on the reef. There are plenty of snorkeling locations to choose from, such as Smith’s Reef on the north coast near Turtle Cove (very easy to access from Grace Bay).
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Mother Daughter Snorkeling Turks Caicos

Photo credit: Denis Moskvinov/Shutterstock.com


Top places to snorkel in Turks & Caicos include:

● Bight Reef
● Malcolm’s Road Beach/Reef
● Smith’s Reef
● Grace Bay Reefs

Snorkeling in Aruba

There aren’t nearly as many amazing snorkeling sites in Aruba, but there are certainly a few that are worth checking out. Mangel Halto, in Pos Chiquito along the south coast, has some lovely underwater reefs to explore. Be careful though: the strong currents make it a snorkeling site that only advanced snorkelers should attempt. The Antilla Wreck is a 400-foot-long shipwreck in Aruba’s waters, and it is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean. Snorkelers visiting Aruba can explore the wreck of the M.S. Antilla and see the tropical fish that there.

Top snorkeling spots in Aruba include:

● Mangel Halto
● Puerto Chiquito
● Arashi Beach
● Catalina Cove
● The Antilla Wreck

Scuba diving

Scuba diving in Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos is made up of 40 different islands, of which only eight are populated. The main island, Grand Turks, accounts for most of the country’s residents, as well as some of the best scuba diving spots. Scuba diving, especially near Providenciales is one of the main attractions of the tourism industry. Many are also eager to dive the sea walls of Grand Turks with depths from 700 to 2,100 feet!

Bight Reef Coral Gardens Turks Caicos Scuba Diver

Photo credit: blue-sea. cz/Shutterstock.com


Beneath the surface, you can encounter marine life including bright parrotfish, garden eels, angelfish, and lobster, as well as green and leatherback turtles and stingrays. Providenciales, the third-largest in the chain of islands, offers modern-day features, amenities, and of course, additional amazing dive sites to explore.

Insider tip: Beaches Turks & Caicos offers free scuba diving (up to 2 tanks per day) for certified divers. Adults and children aged 10 and older can become resort-certified or PADI certified while enjoying the luxury amenities of the resort!


Scuba diving in Aruba

Aruba’s scuba diving sites consist of natural and artificial reefs, such as those found at Palm Island and Renaissance Island. Many of these sites were formed as a result of sunken boats and ships that transitioned over time into thriving underwater ecosystems. Some of these include the Star Gerren Wreck near Hadicurari Beach and the Pedernales Wreck along the west coast of the island. The shipwrecks in the waters surrounding Aruba vary from 20 ft to 100 ft in depth.

Fishing

Fishing in Turks & Caicos

The Turks & Caicos Islands offer many fishing options including bonefishing, bottom fishing, and deep-sea fishing. Visitors can anticipate catches of red snapper, yellowtail, and Nassau grouper while fishing in Providenciales. Deep-sea fishing can land catches of blue marlin, billfish, mackerel, and mahi-mahi. Boat charters in the islands offer a variety of fishing tours.

Deep-Sea-Fishing-Bahamas
Picture: Enjoy some Deep-Sea Fishing at Beaches Turks & Caicos, battle stations are at the ready for the ultimate skirmish to land the catch-of-the-day, and the evening's entrée.

Fishing in Aruba

In Aruba, fishing takes place throughout the year and anglers have been known to catch mahi-mahi, blackfin tuna, wahoo, and kingfish. Though marlin is quite popular, sailfish can be caught during the peak months of September to November. Bull shark and great barracuda can be caught in February and yellow fish in March.

Tours & excursions

Popular tours in the Turks & Caicos

Discover the best of Providenciales by embarking on a trip around the island, one of the most populated in the Turks & Caicos. With the Provo Circumnavigation tour from Island Routes, you’ll start at the Blue Hills Beach with a lazy cruise along the waters there. After that, you will get the opportunity to explore sites for snorkeling, beachcombing, and bird watching at the North West Point. Next will be lunch, a refreshing swim, and a visit to the Pirates Cove where you can get a closer look at the carvings left behind by marooned soldiers.

Iguana Island Highlight and Beach Break in Provo

Little Water Cay, also known as Iguana Island, is a small island where thousands of iguanas reside. These friendly creatures are quite accustomed to visitors coming to the island to see them in their natural habitat. This tour includes snorkeling and swimming at picturesque locations picked just for you by the captain.

Iguana Island Tour Turks Caicos
Picture: These famous and rare iguanas are entertaining in their natural habitat, you'll even see how they act like "little dragons".

Turks & Caicos ATV East Coast Adventure

There is no better way to explore the rocky terrain and salt flats of eastern Providenciales than atop a rugged ATV! You’ll see the island before making a final stop at Rickie’s Flamingo Café. A tour guide will take you through the mesmerizing scenery at Lower Bight, and then to the clear calm waters of Grace Bay. One of the ‘must see’ aspects of this tour is The Hole: a natural sinkhole with a depth of 18 meters (60 feet). Though it is not advisable to climb down into the limestone sinkhole, visitors can surely appreciate the magnitude of this natural wonder before heading to Shore Club Beach in Long Bay.

Family Catamaran & Snorkeling Cruise

Get ready for one of the best experiences in the Turks & Caicos. Groove to family-friendly tunes as you cruise the azure coast aboard a massive 65-ft. “Kitty Kat” catamaran. Relax with a cool drink on a pristine cay or snorkel a vibrant reef nearby. Don’t forget to make a splash by plunging down the Kitty Kat’s 8-foot tube slide! The whole family will enjoy snorkeling and dancing aboard this catamaran.

Sunset Catamaran Cruise
Picture: A perfect end to a perfect day, as the state-of-the-art 'Kitty Katt' catamaran sails into the spectacular Caribbean sunset.

Popular tours in Aruba

Best of Aruba Exploration

Did you know that Aruba is the largest exporter of aloe vera in the world? You’ll learn that and more as you start your Best of Aruba Exploration at the Aloe Vera Factory and Museum. Then, you’ll get the chance to explore the stunning Casibari Rock Formations near Hooiberg, a great photo opportunity. You’ll make stops at the Natural Bridge, the brightly colored Alto Vista Chapel, and the California Light House in Hudishibana, named after a ship of the same name which received the distress signals from the Titanic. Once you’ve had your fill of the historical and natural sites, you’ll get the opportunity to relax swim, and snorkel on the beautiful Arashi Beach.

Aruba Champagne Breakfast and Lunch Cruise with Snorkeling

Sail across Aruban waters with champagne and a tasty meal. While aboard the catamaran for this tour, you’ll be served breakfast and lunch, and the captain will pause at various sites for you to see the marine life or laze about on the beach.

Aruba ATV Tour with Natural Pool Swim

You’ll take an ATV tour through the northern coast of Aruba and stop at some of the best beaches and sites on this side of the island. Visit the Natural Pool (a rock formation that has formed its own body of water) while there for a refreshing and memorable dip.

Arikok Natural Park Aruba

Photo credit: DiegoMariottini/Shutterstock.com


Island Ultimate Jeep Safari

On this Jeep Safari, you’ll traverse the rugged terrain of Aruba. This includes interesting places like the Arikok National Park, which covers more than 7,900 acres and makes up 20 percent of the island. At the park, you can find many unique caves, a wide range of flora and fauna, and Indian hieroglyphics.

Shopping

Shopping in The Turks & Caicos

Providenciales is considered the most tourist-centered island of the Turks & Caicos and with good reason. Everything on the island caters to tourism – from the luxury hotels and shopping centers to the tax-free items sold at many locations. The duty-free options are limitless: from watches to perfumes, liquor, and even cigars. You can get just about anything you need or want at a decent price in the Turks & Caicos Islands, especially in Grace Bay, Providenciales which has many boutiques and souvenir shops. Regent Village and Le Vele Plaza are also great places to shop in the TCI.

Turks Caicos Market Shopping

Photo credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock.com


Shopping in Aruba

In Aruba, you can find several markets devoted to jewelry, table linens, perfumes, crafts, and more. A trip to downtown Oranjestad will give you the most buying options. As the capital of Aruba, shopping in Oranjestad is quite a unique experience. You should keep in mind that many stores in Aruba close by 6 or 7 pm and are closed on Sundays.

Entertainment & Nightlife

Entertainment & nightlife in Turks & Caicos

The main attractions for entertainment and nightlife in Turks & Caicos can be found in Providenciales, the tourism hub of the island. Visitors and locals have many options to choose from such as sunset cruises along the coast, BBQs, and even bar hopping. Bonfires are popular too, and nightclubs always make for a fun night out. If you want to try something original, consider visiting the Turks Head Brewery where guests can sample their craft beer. After that, you can turn the fun up a few notches at Sandbar and Danny’s Buoy’s Pub, where the night comes alive.

Entertainment & nightlife in Aruba

Daytime in Aruba has, for the most part, a laid-back and casual atmosphere. Soon after sunset, though, the casinos and nightclubs create a more lively mood for visitors and locals. Caribbean tunes can be heard coming from the bars near the sea. You can try your luck at the Palm Beach casinos or go dancing at the island’s carnival activities which happen around January or February.

Casinos

Are there casinos in Turks & Caicos?

Yes! The Turks & Caicos Islands do have a few casinos. There may not be as many as in Las Vegas, but casinos in the TCI are certainly impressive. Casablanca in Providenciales is the country’s oldest and biggest casino, with 85 slot machines, a bar, and a lounge area. There are also several gaming tables for poker, baccarat, roulette, and blackjack.

Are there casinos in Aruba?

Aruba has its own popular casinos! Excelsior Casino, which has existed for about 30 years, has the largest poker room in Aruba, and gamblers can even engage in sports betting at the horse races. As long as you’re 18 years or older, you should give this spot a try while in Aruba.

Oranjestad Aruba Casino

Photo credit: Martin Corr/Shutterstock.com


Architecture

Architecture of Turks & Caicos

Proof of the island’s previous colonization lies in its British colonial architecture, which is still present today, though there have been modern-day renovations. Mediterranean blends are also quite popular and are marked by clay roofs, tiles, and concrete walls. Architecture in places like Cockburn Town shows the country’s rich history and the influence of the migrant Bermudan salt rakers who once inhabited it. In fact, a saline lake called Town Pond stretches across 92 acres in Caicos and many government buildings can be found in the surrounding areas.

Cockburn Town Architecture Turks Caicos

Photo credit: Ramunas Bruzas/Shutterstock.com


Architecture of Aruba

In early Aruban architecture, walls were made of stone, and coral rocks took the place of mortar by filling in the gaps of buildings. Yet, many of these buildings still stand tall, even though modern materials such as cement and concrete were not used. The roofs of some houses were intelligently designed to combat factors like high temperature; they were slanted to keep the heat away from the interior of the houses. Many houses have retained their conventional structures and added contemporary features such as patios, fancy balconies, and even roofs with colorful tiles instead of the bland colors that were once used.

Oranjestad Aruba Arquitecture Royal Plaza Mall

Photo credit: EQRoy/Shutterstock.com


Famous landmarks

Famous landmarks in Turks & Caicos

Grand Turk Lighthouse

A slew of tragic shipwrecks near northern Grand Turk caused so much concern that shipping companies partnered with the government to construct a lighthouse to guide the vessels. The Grand Turk Lighthouse, which was built in 1852, is the only one of its kind in the Turks & Caicos and is the country’s most well-known landmark. Though it is no longer used, it remains a significant part of the island’s history.

Grand Turk Light House Turks Caicos

Photo credit: Zoran Karapancev/Shutterstock.com


Cheshire Hall Plantation

This plantation was once the site of cotton production in the late 1700s. It lies atop a hill in downtown Providenciales and is one of Providenciales’ best-preserved historical attractions. The site is protected by The National Trust. The Cheshire Hill Plantation gives visitors a unique insight into the Loyalist’s influence on the TCI’s development. Some areas of the plantation are in ruins, but rooms such as the slave quarters and the great house remain. This area will intrigue any history enthusiast.

The National Museum

The only museum in Turks & Caicos is the National Museum. The museum is split between two locations: the historical city of Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, and Providenciales. In Grand Turk, the museum is housed in the Guinep House, one of Grand Turk’s oldest buildings. The other site in Providenciales is quite a bit smaller. The National Museum was established thanks to the efforts of a Norwegian citizen, Grethe Seim, who wanted to play a part in ensuring that the island’s history was preserved.

Her Majesty’s Prison

This colonial structure, found in Cockburn Town, was initially built in the 1830s and remained the only prison in Turks & Caicos with a capacity of only about two-six prisoners until 1994. Prisoners held for petty crimes were placed here, and over the years, the prison expanded to hold as many as sixty prisoners. It has become a popular tourist attraction.

The various salinas (salt farming beds)

Grand Turk, Salt Cay, and South Caicos were developed by British colonials from Bermuda to produce salt. These islands were very important components of the salt raking industry because they all had ponds (or salinas) that could be developed to produce salt, and garner revenue for their respective islands. By the early 1900s, a total of about 140 million pounds of salt had been exported from the country. Unfortunately, the small ponds in the islands could not produce enough salt to satisfy the demands of the growing industry, and eventually, production ceased. The remains of this once bustling industry and the salinas themselves are worth seeing on your next visit to the TCI.

Turks Caicos Salt Evaporation

Photo credit: Nenad Basic/Shutterstock.com


Famous landmarks in Aruba

Bushiribana Ruins

In 1872, the Aruba Island Gold Mining Company Limited built the Gold Mill of Bushirbana, to take advantage of the gold acquired from the Seroe Plat and other mining areas. Smelting gold was done at this site until 1899. Nineteenth-century Aruba enjoyed the gold rush and produced millions of pounds of gold during that period.

Bushiribana Gold Smelting Ruins Aruba

Photo credit: Allen Joseph Hoggatt/Shutterstock.com


California Lighthouse

This lighthouse stands 90 feet tall in northwestern Aruba in Hudishibana. The California Lighthouse is believed to have been built between 1914 and 1916 by a French architect, who named it after the S.S. California - a steamship that was wrecked nearby on its way from Liverpool to the Americas. This impressive landmark offers a panoramic view of the western coast, its beaches, shores, and scenery.

San Nicholas

San Nicholas is Aruba’s second-largest city and is a quaint community down the coast with its own authentic Caribbean style. There are several restaurants and shops in the area, but the most popular hangout is “Charlie’s Bar”, made famous by the memorabilia on its walls.

Grot di Lourdes

The Grot di Lourdes in Aruba is a shrine to the Virgin Mary set into a stone grotto. It is a replica that pays homage to Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes, France. This landmark was commissioned in 1958 under the guidance of a priest named Erkamp and other parishioners. Travelers wishing to see this religiously significant landmark will find it in Seroe Preto, just off the main road to San Nicolas. Annually on the 11th of February, the Feast of Lady of Lourdes, a Catholic procession and mass, is held at the site.

Alto Vista Chapel

On the northern shores of Aruba, you’ll find the Alto Vista Chapel. This Catholic chapel is historically significant because it is located on the same spot as the first Catholic Church in Aruba. It is also known as the “Pilgrims Church” and has been painted bright yellow. You’re not likely to miss it!

Alto Vista Chapel Aruba Sunset

Photo credit: Steve Photography/Shutterstock.com


Landscape & climate

Turks & Caicos’ landscape and climate

The Turks & Caicos Islands enjoy a warm, tropical climate throughout the year with superb weather that makes it an amazing vacation spot. The daily average temperate is 74.5 °F in winter and 82 °F in summer. The terrain in Turks & Caicos is relatively flat, but the dry forests, wetlands, and ecosystems are truly one of a kind. Features such as limestone rock, blue holes, and naturally-formed caves, add to the uniqueness of the islands.

The landscape and climate of Aruba

The tropical climate of Aruba means the island is hot throughout the year with average temperatures of 84°F. It can also be quite windy on this island, which makes the heat a little more bearable. As for the landscape, Aruba is generally quite flat, but a few hills can be found here. The foliage is quite diverse and ranges from tropical to desert-like.


Peak season

Turks & Caicos

The weather is generally warm and beach-friendly in the Turks & Caicos Islands year-round. If you’re thinking about the best time to visit the Turks & Caicos islands, you can consider the months of April and May when many people travel for the spring break and the Easter holidays, or September and October when there are great deals on resort accommodation and fewer crowds. The high or “peak” season in Turks & Caicos is December to mid-April.

Insider tip: Planning a Caribbean vacation with the family? The all-inclusive options at Beaches Turks & Caicos are extensive and perfect for family travelers who desire both convenience and luxury!


Aruba

From January to March, the weather in Aruba can be inviting. The prices of accommodation though, tend to be steep. The later months from April to August are a better time to vacation if you want to keep costs down. The weather also tends to be more stable around this time.


People

Turks & Caicos’ people

The Tainos were part of the tribe of Arawaks who came to the Caribbean and settled in islands like the Turks & Caicos. Over time this demographic changed, and up until the early 1990s, more than 90 percent of the residents of Turks & Caicos were of African descent. After this, more expatriates began to settle on the island, and residents who were originally from French, Haitian, British, and American territories joined the mix. This has resulted in a melting pot where various cultures have come together and significantly influenced the way of life of the people on these islands. Turks & Caicos Islanders or Belongers are names used to refer to the natives of the island, whilst the other settlers are called expatriates.

Aruba’s people

The original Arubans were also Arawaks who practiced fishing and farming as part of their livelihood. Present-day Arubans are known for their distinct physical appearance and their warm persona. Their Indian heritage shows in their physical features, but there are also resemblances to the Spanish and Dutch who once occupied the island. Aruba enjoys a blended population with residents of more than 30 nationalities, in addition to the native Arubans.


Culture

What is the culture of the Turks & Caicos like?

The Turks & Caicos Islands have many things in common with The Bahamas – they are both exemplary tourist destinations that boast spectacular beaches. In fact, the original inhabitants of Turks & Caicos included people who originated from The Bahamas. Geographically, the two countries are situated very close to each other, and, at one point in time, the Bahamian government ruled the Turks & Caicos. Recent government regimes in the country have made serious efforts to preserve the history of the islands through the formation of museums and by protecting heritage sites.

What is the culture of Aruba like?

The culture of the Aruban people has its roots in the early primitive settlers of South America, the colonizers of the Spanish and Dutch islands, and the African slaves. There are many nationalities in Aruba. In particular, traits of Caiquetio Indian heritage can be seen on many faces and, even more so, in everyday activities.


Language

The language spoken in Turks & Caicos

English is the predominant language of these islands, but similar to other Caribbean countries, the residents of the TCI also speak Creole. It is commonly called Turks & Caicos Creole and is an English-based language similar to Bahamian Creole.

The language spoken in Aruba

The Aruban people are multi-lingual, and many locals speak four or more languages. The native languages are Papiamento and Dutch, but residents also speak Spanish and English.

Food

The top foods to try while in Turks & Caicos

Seafood is included in many of the classic dishes that Turks & Caicos is known for. This is mostly because farming is not popular on this island due to the generally barren soil. Peas and rice are staples here, and cuisine from other islands, like Jamaica and The Bahamas, has been incorporated into the local dishes. Jerk chicken and deep-fried conch fritters, conch salad (conch ceviche), grilled snapper, fresh lobster, and grouper are just a couple of favorites that you will be free to indulge in on the island. There are many other popular foods that you simply must try while in Turks & Caicos.

Conch Fritters Conch Ceviche Rum Punch

Photo credit: MevZup/Shutterstock.com


When it comes to beverages:

Turk’s Head Brewery offers tasty brews of local beers. Generally, they offer four main types of beers, Amber Ale, Light, IPA, and Lager. These come in a variety of other sub flavors such as Down-Da-Road-IPA, and seasonal ales such as Summer Wheat and Stout.

The top foods to try while in Aruba

Aruban food represents the country’s mixed heritage by combining South American, Spanish, and Dutch cuisine. Some popular dishes include Keshi Yena (cheese stuffed with meat, vegetables, prunes or raisins, and then baked), Cabrito Stoba (stewed goat meat or beef, potatoes, pepper, onions, seasonings, garlic, and tomato gravy), Sopi Mondongo (soup), Bolita di Keshi (fried cheese ball snack), and Funchi, which is also called cornmeal mush (cheese and butter dish with cornmeal as the main component).

Mondongo Soup Aruba

Photo credit: etorres/Shutterstock.com


And for beverages ...

When it comes to beverages, Aruba has some locally brewed beers such as Balashi, which is refreshing and slightly bitter. Cocktail-wise, Aruba Ariba, a mixture of vodka, rum, fruit punch, and other ingredients is one of the island’s most popular drinks.


Music

Music from Turks & Caicos

During the slavery era, the slaves created their own variations of cuisine and music. Ripsaw, or “Ripping the Saw” as it is called, is a local style of music achieved by using a handsaw and a metal scraper, such as a screwdriver or a knife, to create a distinctive sound. This scraping sound is usually accompanied by other musical instruments like the drums and the guitar. While going around the Turks & Caicos, you’ll also hear international and Caribbean tunes at local restaurants and bars.

Music from Aruba

Arubans have an appreciation for all genres of music, local and international. The island frequently hosts music festivals where the locals show off their talent, and the visitors get to join in on the fun! Beach and pool parties are popular here and festivals can go on all week.

Oranjestad Aruba Carnival

Photo credit: KaIra78/Shutterstock.com


Places to stay in Turks & Caicos and Aruba

Best place to stay in Turks & Caicos

Who wants to think about the cost of their vacation while they are trying to enjoy themselves? All-inclusive vacations are popular in the Turks & Caicos Islands, as travelers don’t want to worry about additional costs like transportation and meals that can really add up. Resorts like Beaches Turks & Caicos are a perfect choice if you’re looking for beautiful accommodations with lots of inclusions. Families, friends, singles, and couples will all love the Beaches experience. Kids especially will enjoy spending their time at the Pirates Island Water Park on the property, and partaking in so many of the other kid-friendly activities!

Beaches Turks Caicos Italian Village Pool
Picture: Dive into a one-of-a-kind, unbelievably exciting Beaches all-inclusive Turks & Caicos vacation for the whole family.

Best place to stay in Aruba

Oranjestad has it all, making it a great place to stay in Aruba! Travelers interested in checking out the local nightlife options can opt for accommodations in Palm Beach. The Palm Beach area is also suitable for families. When considering a hotel, it’s best to select one that meets your budget and will allow you to be close to all the action.


How to get around in Turks & Caicos and Aruba

Getting around Turks & Caicos

Taxis or car rentals are the best ways to get around the island in Turks & Caicos. Car rental and taxi services are conveniently offered at the Providenciales International Airport, and there is always the option of chartering a ferry to take you island hopping. Bikes and scooters are also options to consider. It’s a good idea to sign up for tours to get familiar with the place before heading out on your own. Some resorts such as Beaches Turks & Caicos offer complimentary, roundtrip airport transfers, which eliminates the guesswork and additional cost of getting to your accommodation.

Getting around Aruba

It’s pretty easy to use a public bus to get around Aruba. If you prefer to minimize your commute time, pick a hotel that’s near the places you want to go. There are also lots of car rental companies and taxi services available from Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) in Oranjestad.


Economy

Turks & Caicos’ economy

Turks & Caicos’ economy is extremely dependent on the tourism industry. Most visitors to this territory are from the United States, and the island sees more than 1 million tourists every year! Travelers realize their dreams of having a stunning destination wedding or a romantic honeymoon in the Turks & Caicos. The fishing industry is another important contributor to the local economy.

Aruba’s economy

Tourism contributes to Aruba’s economy, but unlike many other destinations, it only accounts for 30 percent of national revenue in Aruba. Other industries such as offshore banking and oil refining are more significant contributors to the economy, and many residents make a living in the trade sector.


Currency

Currency used in the Turks & Caicos

The United States dollar is recognized as the main form of currency used in the Turks & Caicos Islands. Many restaurants and taxis also accept travelers’ cheques, which makes it easy for visitors to shop freely and move about in the Turks & Caicos. It is also quite easy to swipe your card since major credit cards are accepted at most establishments and ATMs.

Currency used in Aruba

Aruba has its own currency called florin! One Aruban florin is equal to 0.56 US dollars. The florin is officially recognized by the currency code AWG, but most people call it “AFL” instead. Currency exchange services are available at local banks with fluctuating rates. Both traveler’s checks and the US dollar are also widely accepted.


Safety

Are the Turks & Caicos Islands safe to visit?

The Turks & Caicos Islands enjoy a rather low rate of crime and are regarded as a very safe place to live and visit. As with any other place you may visit, you should practice standard precautionary measures to keep yourself and fellow travelers safe.

Is Aruba safe to visit?

Aruba is also a relatively safe destination where you can roam freely and partake in the best the island has to offer. As always, it is a good idea to travel with company, particularly at night, to keep yourself safe as you vacation in unfamiliar territory.


Turks & Caicos vs Aruba: The conclusion!

Before you can decide between Turks & Caicos and Aruba, you will need to have an idea of the kinds of activities, amenities, and atmosphere you want to enjoy on your family vacation in the tropics. Both destinations are amazing islands that offer a wide range of fun activities and excursions that will appeal to just about everyone.

Beaches Turks Caicos Family Walk Beach
Picture: Play on pristine, white–sand beaches caressed by crystal-clear seas. Spend your family vacation in luxurious rooms and suites.

If you seek an island paradise with warm weather year-round and a bounty of sea life that you can observe as you snorkel or dive the spectacular surrounding reefs, the Turks & Caicos Islands are where you need to be. If you love wind-dependant sports like windsurfing and sailing or if you are looking for more challenging undersea adventures in rougher waters, Aruba will not disappoint you. Both islands are culturally rich and offer unique opportunities to experience the Caribbean.

While the presence of amazing all-inclusive family resorts in Turks & Caicos gives that destination a distinct advantage, your loved ones can find the relaxation or excitement that they desperately desire while vacationing on either island. Doesn’t your family deserve the getaway of a lifetime? No matter where you choose to go for your getaway, good times and togetherness should be the ultimate goal.

Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Writing for 13-years, Kylie discovered that experiences tell the best stories. As a Caribbean mother who wrote for newspapers, magazines, and blogs, she believes inspiration is even found in our kids!