Turks and Caicos Vs. Aruba

Aruba and Turks and Caicos are two of the top bucket list destinations for those dreaming of an idyllic beach getaway to the Caribbean. But both places have warm weather, white sand beaches, and turquoise waters, which can make deciding between them a difficult choice. 

turks and caicos vs aruba 1

Turks and Caicos is one of my personal favorite islands in the Caribbean. Turks and Caicos is incredibly safe, and even though it’s one of the most expensive islands in the Caribbean, the beaches are some of the best I’ve seen.

Which is Better? Aruba or Turks and Caicos?

Aruba and Turks and Caicos are both relaxing beach destinations, but Aruba has more to offer in terms of activities, and it’s cheaper. Turks and Caicos is better for a luxurious vacation visiting some of the best beaches in the entire world.

If you’re not sure between Turk and Caicos or Aruba, then don’t fret! That’s precisely why we put together this comparison guide. I’ll break down the differences in terms of weather, beaches, activities, and dining to give you a clearer idea of what to expect on each island. 

Here’s a chart comparing Turks and Caicos and Aruba based on the information provided in the article:

Turks and CaicosAruba
LocationMiddle of the Caribbean, south of the Bahamas, northeast of CubaSouthern Caribbean Sea, not far from Venezuela
WeatherTropical marine climate, average temperatures in the mid-70s to high 80sLess humid, more desert-like, temperatures in the 80s
BeachesBreathtakingly spectacular, some of the most beautiful beaches in the worldLong, wide, soft white sand beaches
Activities and AttractionsExcellent for water sports, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, paddleboarding, hiking, horseback ridingWider range of activities including hiking, snorkeling, visiting rock formations, trolley tours, water parks
Accommodation Primarily high-end accommodations, beachfront villas, all-inclusive resorts, 5-star hotelsUpscale resorts, luxury accommodations, affordable hotels, vacation rentals, hostels
DiningDiverse culinary scene, heavy Caribbean, African, and European influences, seafood prominentInternational and diverse cuisine, Dutch, Caribbean, and Latin American influences, abundance of fresh seafood
NightlifeRefined and laid-back, few wild parties or nightclubsVibrant nightlife scene, beach bars, nightclubs, casinos, live music venues
Travel CostsGenerally more expensive, accommodation, food, and excursions tend to be expensiveCan be expensive, but considered more budget-friendly with more options for hotels, restaurants, and activities

Location and Weather

Turks and Caicos has a prime location in the middle of the Caribbean (south of the Bahamas and northeast of Cuba). This British Overseas Territory consists of 40 different islands and cays, although only Providenciales and Grand Turk are two of the most visited destinations. 

The weather is a tropical marine climate, with the average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the high 80s (although 90-degree days in summer are common too). But keep in mind that Turks and Caicos does go through hurricane season from June to November, where there’s an increased chance of rain, wind, and heavy storms. Plan the timing of your trip to Turks and Caicos carefully!

Aruba is also located in the Caribbean, although it’s in the southern Caribbean Sea, not far from Venezuela. This country is just one island, although it makes up the Dutch-governed ABC islands (Leeward Antilles) with Bonaire and Curaçao.

Compared to Turks and Caicos, the weather in Aruba is less humid and more desert-like, with temperatures consistently hovering in the 80s. There is also very little rainfall, which makes it an excellent destination for those seeking sun and warmth year-round. 

turks and caicos vs aruba 3


If you’re like me, the quality of beaches is a huge factor in deciding where to go on vacation. Thankfully, both Aruba and Turks and Caicos are blessed with miles of pristine shoreline where you can swim, snorkel, or sunbathe. 

Aruba’s beaches are long, wide, and comprised of soft white sand. Most tourists flock to the shores of Palm Beach, which is a lively resort area lined with sunloungers, restaurants, and resorts. If you’re looking for someplace a bit quieter, then I would head to Eagle Beach, Arashi Beach, or Boco Keto instead.

The beaches on the Turks and Caicos islands are breathtakingly spectacular. In fact, I’d say they are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! While Grace Bay Beach is a great choice, you can also find more secluded beaches on some of the other islands as well. 

One of the best things about these white sand beaches is that they’re rarely crowded. That means you can have calm turquoise waters for snorkeling or swimming practically all to yourself!

turks and caicos vs aruba 2

Activities and Attractions

When it comes to fun activities, you can’t go wrong with either of these Caribbean destinations. Turks and Caicos is ideal for water sports, especially if you love scuba diving and snorkeling (the Turks and Caicos Barrier Reef is the third largest barrier reef system in the world). But besides exploring the reef, you can participate in many other activities like:

Aruba is more developed for tourists, so it has a wider range of things to do besides water sports. With charming towns and exhilarating land-based activities, it’s an action-packed destination for travelers seeking an adventure-filled vacation. For example, you can spend your days:

  • Hiking through Arikok National Park
  • Snorkeling over the Antilla Shipwreck
  • Flamingo feeding at Renaissance Island
  • Visiting Oranjestad on a trolley tour
  • Seeing the Ayo and Casibari Rock Formations
  • Exploring the Quadirikiri Cave
  • ATV-ing to the Natural Cave Pool
  • Playing in the waterpark at De Palm Island

Check out our guide to other Unique Things To Do In Aruba!

turks and caicos vs aruba 4


Accommodation is a significant factor when deciding where to visit. If you’re looking for upscale resorts or luxury accommodations, then you’ll have plenty of options in Turks and Caicos and Aruba. However, Aruba also has affordable hotels, vacation rentals, and hostels (something that is, unfortunately, missing on the islands of Turks and Caicos), making it a better option for those on a tight budget.

Most of the beach resorts in Aruba are located in Palm Beach or Eagle Beach. But if you want to stay in the center of all the action, finding a hotel, apartment, or boutique resort in Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, can also be a fun experience. There are also a few all-inclusive resorts in Aruba, too.

On the other hand, Turks and Caicos is primarily known for its high-end accommodations. There are beachfront villas, all-inclusive resorts, 5-star hotels, and even private islands that you can rent! Many of these options also have top-notch amenities, like gourmet restaurants, sparkling pools, and world-class spas on-site.

turks and caicos vs aruba 1 1


No matter which island you choose to visit, you can rest assured knowing that both places have fantastic food. The culinary scene in Turks and Caicos is extremely diverse, with numerous fine-dining establishments, seafood joints, and casual restaurants to choose from.

The local cuisine is a mix of flavors with heavy Caribbean, African, and European influences. However, the seafood here is arguably the most common, and you’ll find lobster, fish, conch, and crab dishes on almost every menu.

The food in Aruba is also international and diverse, as it has been shaped by Dutch, Caribbean, and Latin American cuisines. In addition to the abundance of fresh seafood, Aruban cuisine also consists of meat stews, sweet pancakes, and, thanks to the Dutch, lots of cheese. Make sure to try Bolita di Keshi (fried cheese balls) or the national dish of Keshi Yena (meat-stuffed cheese).

turks and caicos vs aruba 5


One of the biggest differences between Turks and Caicos and Aruba is the nightlife. 

turks and caicos vs aruba 6

Aruba has a vibrant nightlife scene, with many beach bars, nightclubs, casinos, and live music venues scattered around the island. If you want to be close to all the action, I recommend staying in Palm Beach. You can enjoy the beautiful beaches during the day and party late into the evening when the sun goes down. Oranjestad also has quite a few bars and nightclubs, although it has much more of a city vibe than a beach resort atmosphere.

On the other hand, the nightlife scene is almost non-existent in Turks and Caicos. While there are beach bars and upscale cocktail lounges, you won’t find many wild parties or nightclubs. Things here are much more refined and laid-back, which can be a huge plus if you are hoping to spend your vacation relaxing. 

Travel Costs

Generally speaking, a vacation in Turks and Caicos will cost more than a vacation to Aruba. This is not a budget-friendly vacation destination, and accommodation, food, and excursions tend to be quite expensive.

Aruba can also be expensive, but it is generally considered more budget-friendly as there are more options for hotels, restaurants, and activities. So if you’re making a decision purely based on costs, then Aruba wins.

On average, you can expect to pay the following during your trip:

ExpenseTurks and CaicosAruba
Mid-range hotel$200 – $300 a night$150 – $300 a night
Luxury hotel or all-inclusive resort$500+ a night$400+ a night
Meal at a local restaurant$15 – $20$10 – $20
High-end meal$25 – $35$20 – $30
Cocktail$10 – $15$8 – $15
Local beer$7$3 – $6
Snorkel tour$120 – $140 per person$40 – $80 per person
Parasailing tour$60 – $80 per person$50 to $100 per person
ATV tour$110 – $130 per person$100 – $120 per person
Entrance to De Palm IslandN/A$119 per person
Sunset Cruise$30 to $100 per person$60 per person

The battle between Turks and Caicos and Aruba ultimately ends in a draw, as both places are equally as charming, beautiful, and worthy of your vacation. In the end, you should make your choice depending on your travel preferences. But don’t stress about it too much. After all, the Caribbean is all about relaxing – so take a deep breath and enjoy your vacation to the tropics!