Punta Cana VS Aruba – What is the Best Place to Spend Caribbean Vacation in 2023
Looking at the photos of the Caribbean islands, we do not doubt that you have often come across comparisons of the beaches of Punta Cana or Aruba. And this is not surprising, because both countries as a whole amaze with the beauty of their nature. Since many are interested in which country has what advantages, we decided to write this article. We will try to highlight the main points that are important for any traveler.
General information about Punta Cana and Aruba
If you were wondering “where better to go so that you can enjoy your vacation on the beach not only in summer?”, we have a good answer. Well, it is warm in both directions all year round, so the perfect time to travel is when you can get there. That is why tourists love and choose these countries.
The Dominican Republic is one of the biggest countries in the Caribbean, with a total area of 48,671 km2 (18,792 sq mi). In the place where the Caribbean Sea merges with the Atlantic Ocean, the most popular and visited Dominican resort of Punta Cana is located. It originated on a deserted coastline in the early 1980s.
Punta Cana is a town occupying the easternmost part of the Dominican Republic. It is the perfect place to get a dose of relaxation from all your worries and problems. Punta Cana is 200 km from the capital of the DR – Santo Domingo. It also has its own international airport, so you can easily reach your accommodation or hotel in a short time. Also, the Dominican peso is the official currency of the Dominican Republic.
Aruba is a small island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island is only 15 miles off of the coast of Venezuela. Its area is 180 km2 (69 sq mi). But even though the island did not get a lot of territory, it definitely got stunning beauty.
Aruba is located much more South than many other Caribbean destinations. The island has a population of about 110,000, while about 1 million tourists arrive annually. The local currency is called the Aruban Florin. However, dollars and euros are also accepted here almost everywhere.
We should note that Aruba is a much more expensive island compared to Punta Cana. This is a typical situation for many Caribbean islands, where a lot of the food and other goods are imported from other countries.
Activities in Punta Cana vs Aruba
Without a doubt, these two Caribbean islands offer a variety of activities. And each of them is special in its own way. Despite this, there are more places to explore in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic in general, unlike Aruba. And the reason for this is that Aruba is a small island. That is why, let’s take a look at the most popular places to visit in both destinations.
Punta Cana tours
- Santo Domingo City Tour Program. Punta Cana is just 200 km from the capital. Santo Domingo is the city where you will have the best opportunity to see the flavor and life of the Dominicans, not tourists. Taking this excursion, you will also have an opportunity to visit Los Tres Ojos Cave. It is a natural park with three water caves and rocks. Also, the interesting fact is that in one of those caves, Jurassic Park scenes were shot.
- Redonda Mountain (Montaña Redonda). This mountain is surrounded by the nature of the countryside. If you like hiking or being active during your vacation, then this is an opportunity to leave the beach for a while and book this excursion. Also, with this excursion, you will visit Macao Beach, which is one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic.
- Higüey Safari Tour. If you are tired of enjoying fabulous beaches, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and get to know more about the life of the Dominican Republic. You can see many plantations and authentic places.
- Diving. Aruba is one of the best options for diving in the Caribbean. And the best thing here is that going deep you can find a piece of history. More specifically, WWII shipwrecks such as SS Antilla and SS Pedernales. The underwater world is also beautiful and has a lot to explore.
- Aruba’s Natural Pool. In a rock formation, volcanic stone circles a depression, creating a tranquil pool. This natural pool is also called “Conchi” which means “bowl”. It is a calm swimming hole formed by a cluster of rocks. These rocks protect the pool from the rough surf on Northeast facing cost. Also, we recommend you wearing water shoes because the rocks can be slippery.
- Arikok National Park. It is perfect for you if you like hiking. This park lies on Aruba’s east coast. This stunning park in Aruba comprises almost 20% of the island. Walking here, you can see a lot of cacti and other plants. This is the best place to experience the nature of this island.
Weather in Punta Cana compared to Aruba
- Well, the warmest months in Punta Cana are from July to September. The temperature does not drop below 25 °C (77 °F) at night. And 31 °C (87.8 °F) at daytime. The warmest months in Aruba are from May to October. With a temperature of 26 °C (78.8 °F) at night and the average temperature is 31 °C (87.8 °F) at daytime.
- And the coldest months in Punta Cana are: January, February, and March. The average temperature is about 26-27 °C (78.8-80.6 °F). The coldest months in Aruba are January and February, with an average temperature of 26.5 °C (79 °F).
- The rainy season in Punta Cana is from August to October. There is not a lot of precipitation in Aruba. But the rainy period is from October to December, it only receives less than 20 inches of rain per year. In addition, the north-east trade winds can cause rain showers also in January and February.
- The windy season in Punta Cana is from December to March. And in Aruba, it is from December to August.
- The average temperature of the water in Punta Cana is about 27.7 °C (81.9 °F). And the average temperature of the water in Aruba is 27 °C (80.6 °F).
The hospitality and local cuisine
Punta Cana always has a relaxed and family atmosphere. It is the place where you do not even want to leave its fabulous beaches. The white, warm sand and turquoise, calm water feel like a paradise. In addition, the Dominicans are very hospitable and will always welcome you with a smile. But besides, there is a large number of young people, mainly from the USA and Canada, who come in large groups of friends to have a vacation here. For such companies, there is a large number of hotels where only adults can check-in.
The Aruban cuisine is a blend of Caribbean, Latin American, and Dutch-influenced meals. For gourmets and lovers of delicious food, this is a great place. There are also a big amount of good restaurants in Aruba. Lots of fresh fish and seafood, light fish soups, and other delicious dishes to try. But we should mention that they can be pricey, since Aruba is an expensive island, and the prices here are several times higher than in the Dominican Republic. If you want to try local cuisine, we recommend you order Keshi Yena, which is a popular dish on the island. Keshi Yena is a national dish, it is a big round ball of cheese, stuffed with spicy meat (usually chicken). Tourists and locals say that it is a must-try!
The safety in Aruba and Punta Cana
- Aruba is often considered one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. Cases of crime are rare here, and that is why tourists can feel comfortable traveling further than their resort. Moreover, the island is small, so it is best to try to explore most of it. Nevertheless, we recommend not to leave your belongings unattended and not to walk alone in unknown places at night.
- Even though the Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean and one of the safest, do not forget about caution. The tourist area of Punta Cana is well guarded and safe there. But, if you want to travel outside, you need to be careful and do not leave your belongings unattended, and do not walk alone in non-guarded places.
Beaches comparison in Punta Cana vs Aruba
The best Punta Cana beaches
Well, Punta Cana is best known for its stunning white sand beaches with turquoise water. All the beaches have their unique tropical vibe. There are more than 100 all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana. In addition, there is a large number of apartments and villas with an oceanfront location or in a closed golf course community. Therefore, do not even doubt that you will find something that will suit your taste. Usually, the water is calm, so it is safe to swim there with your kids.
- Bavaro Beach (Playa Bavaro). This is probably the main beach in Punta Cana, it takes part of Coco coast. It extends along 40 kilometers of white sand. You can also do many activities there.
- Playa Los Corales. Actually, it is part of Bavaro Beach, and it is accessible by foot, car, or bike. If you rent a property there, you will have all the amenities on the beach. But you also can visit the beach as a guest and enjoy the amenities at one of the four restaurants at Los Corales.
- Juanillo Beach. This beach has public access. Moreover, tourists often rank it as one of the best beaches in the Dominican Republic.
- Macao Beach (Playa Macao). It has a lot of shade and lounge chairs. In addition, there are many new bars and restaurants now. So, sitting in one of the restaurants on the beach, you can eat seafood overlooking the ocean.
The best Aruba beaches
Probably, if you know about the Caribbean islands, you are used to what people say about the tropics there. Even though Aruba is also in the Caribbean, it is less tropical and more of a desert. Aruba is a small island, but it amazes how different beach landscapes can be there. There is calm water in some areas, and there are rough waves in other areas. So, it also makes Aruba a perfect option for water sports. Moreover, it is a perfect place for windsurfers. Aruba holds the world amateur wind-surfing championship every year. But for those who are not wind lovers, this option will not work, because it is often windy on the island. So, now let’s take a look at the most popular beaches in Aruba.
- Eagle Beach. Without a doubt, it is the most popular beach on the island. Moreover, some ratings define this beach as one that is included in the top of the best beaches in the world. You can do water sports such as jet-skiing and paddleboarding. There are also some vendors, but they are not that intrusive.
- Arashi Beach. This beach is popular with local families. Also, it is a good spot for snorkeling and other water sports. There can be some waves, but they are not big so you can swim safely. Getting there is also easy. You can arrive by bus in about 15 minutes from the High-Rise district, or use the shuttle service option to Arashi Beach from Tierra del Sol Resort & Golf.
- Flamingo Beach. This beach makes you feel like in a dream. You can find beautiful pink flamingos there. We have to mention, if you do not stay in the hotel that owns the beach, you have to pay US$ 125 per person for a day pass to get to the beach. This price includes just one lunch and one cocktail. To book a room in this place will cost you more than US$ 500 per night. Unfortunately, those flamingos are listed as threatened. So, that is why they are so protected by the guard there.
- Palm Beach. It is dotted by high palm trees, hotels, restaurants, and casinos. Palm Beach has white sand, and clear blue water is usually calm. It is one of the most popular tourist-packed beaches on the island.
The languages comparison
Well, Dominicans speak Dominican Spanish, that is a Caribbean dialect of Spanish. It is the official language of the country, and about 85% population speaks it. The language is based on the Canarian Spanish and Andalusian dialects of southern Spain, and also there is influence from African languages. The main difference between the dialect is that they use old or conservative words and pronounce some sounds differently. However, tourism is such a big industry, so you will not have any comprehension problems when you speak English. Moreover, there is no always a need to use local currency because many resorts accept United States dollars and major credit cards.
There are two official languages in Aruba – Papiamento, and Dutch. We are not surprised if you do not speak any of them. But it is not a problem at all. Why? Because most Arubans speak a minimum of four languages. More often these languages are Dutch, Papiamento, English, and Spanish. No wonder that Dutch is one of the official languages of Aruba as the island is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. When you hear Papiemonto you will be able to understand individual phrases. And this is all because this Creole language evolved from Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, and some African languages.
Punta Cana vs Aruba – What choice to make?
As you can see from this article, the two directions are similar in many ways. From our comparison, we see that Punta Cana and Aruba are two paradises in the Caribbean. Despite this, some differences can significantly affect your choice. So let us conclude by briefly comparing the two countries.
- Reasonably, Punta Cana is the most visited resort town in the Caribbean. Firstly, we should note the moment with the budget. Indeed, for most, this is a decisive moment that you need to know about before traveling. In our case, Punta Cana is several times cheaper in terms of hotels, activities, restaurants than Aruba. Despite this, the level and resort standards are high in both destinations. Punta Cana is a resort-oriented town. The Atlantic Ocean meets the warmer Caribbean Sea here, so it is also a good place for watersports. In the vicinity of Punta Cana, you will find many caves and stunning unspoiled beaches. That is why, if you want to have an unforgettable vacation, and not worry about anything, we advise you to visit Punta Cana.
- Secondly, Aruba is a small dreamy island. There are also clean beaches with golden sand and clear blue water. Although the rest is much more expensive than Punta Cana, you will see the high-quality service and beauty of the island. Also, this island will appeal to shopping lovers. Since Aruba is recognized as a Duty-Free zone, you can make any purchases much cheaper. Since the island is small, there is not such a variety of excursions as in the Dominican Republic, but there are still many interesting ones to explore. In addition, most of the locals speak many foreign languages, so probably, you will not have a language barrier if you want to travel outside the resort.
You can also take a look at the small table below for the most important points to compare both directions.
Summary comparison of both destinations
|High season||From October to April||From December to April|
|Official languages||Dominican Spanish||Papiamento and Dutch|
|Activities||A lot to explore||Good, but not so many because the island is small|
|Beaches||Clean beaches with white sand||Clean beaches with white sand|
|Type of vacation||Family-oriented and relaxed||Family-oriented and relaxed|
If you want to spend an unforgettable vacation in Punta Cana, our team can help you make this a reality. We can arrange helicopter flights, personal chefs, golf lessons, the best rental accommodations, and much more. Our company only have rentals in secure locations, where you will have privacy and complete freedom. The most important thing for us is the desire of our guests. We are sure that all you need to relieve stress is a trip to the Dominican Republic. That is why do not hesitate for any second, contact us!
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