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Choosing a tropical Caribbean vacation can be difficult, especially when choosing between two amazing countries, Aruba and Barbados. However, one is a clear winner. So which one is best for vacationing?
Barbados is better for a vacation since it’s more Americanized and geared toward tourism. Also, this country is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world and offers an array of exciting animal adventures. Plus, the fresh seafood is fantastic.
In the rest of this article, I will discuss each country in great detail, what activities you can expect, the food, and the resorts. So if you want to learn more about staying in Aruba and Barbados, plus which is better, read on.
About Vacationing in Aruba
The country of Aruba is a stunning Sandy getaway. Aruba is one of four countries that makes up the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This country has a rich and culturally diverse history, and the primary languages spoken in Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento.
Aruba has beautiful white sand beaches and gorgeous turquoise water like most Caribbean islands. In addition, this stunning place is known for its exquisite seafood, beaches, and shopping.
There are plenty of activities for those wishing to vacation in Aruba, such as:
- Snorkeling around sunken ships.
- Unique geological formations to explore.
- Exploring historical sites.
- Horseback riding.
- Day cruises.
There is truly something for everyone. Aruba does a great job of being geared toward tourists, so there are some fantastic resorts and activities to choose from in this country. Additionally, Aruba has some of the most stunning beaches if you visit the right side of the island.
Not only is Aruba stunning, but there are so many exciting things to do during your visit. Aruba is a great vacation spot for those who enjoy the beach and other outdoor activities. So what exactly is there to do in Aruba?
Top things to do while in Aruba:
- Deep sea fishing
- Submarine tours
- Scuba Diving
- Arikok National Park
- Aruba Aloe Factory Tour
- Donkey Sanctuary
- Pirate ship cruise
As you can see, there are so many fun and unique things to try while visiting Aruba. One of the most notable is a pirate ship cruise. These ships are meant to mimic olden-day pirate ships, and the experience is truly one of a kind.
Additionally, Aruba is well known for its windsurfing, and it’s worth a try if you enjoy athletic activities. Windsurfing is an incredibly unique experience that will leave you feeling like you were flying across the Caribbean.
As I previously mentioned, Aruba is known for its exquisite seafood since it’s the primary food source surrounding the island. There are quite a few dining options along the more tourist-heavy side of the island. Most of these restaurants offer high-end cuisine that will leave you thinking about the food for years.
Some of the most popular restaurants include:
- Lola Taqueria. A fantastic Mexican restaurant located near De Palm Pier. The fresh fish tacos are exquisite, and the overall price is highly reasonable. Along with great food, you can also order delicious cocktails and other adult beverages.
- Giannis Restaurant Aruba. If you want to have a fine dining experience in Aruba, this Italian restaurant is one of the best. A reservation is required, but all of the food is impeccable. Their signature pasta is placed in a cheese wheel after it has been lit on fire and is complete cheesy heaven.
- Salt and Pepper Tapas Bar & Restaurant. This charming restaurant offers casual dining on delicious seafood and other dishes. They are also open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Along with these excellent restaurants, there are several others worth trying, and honestly, most of the food in Aruba is delicious, so it’s difficult to go wrong. Just make sure you go hungry, so you have room to try all the fantastic things.
The Best Accommodations
There are so many excellent resorts located in Aruba, so it can be challenging to choose just where to stay. So it’s essential to decide what matters most to you when it comes to vacationing. There are many familiar resorts in Aruba, such as the Holiday Inn and Marriott, but there are also many others.
Some of the best Aruba resorts include:
- Holiday Inn Resort Aruba-Beach Resort and Casino
- Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino
- Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
- Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino
- Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa
- Playa Linda Beach Resort
As you can see, some pretty familiar names are on this list. Most of these resorts are beachfront properties and offer many fantastic amenities. However, Aruba Ocean Villas might be more of your style if you’re looking for something more exotic during your stay.
With Aruba Ocean Villas, you get accommodations out on the water and in a more relaxing environment than larger resorts. Additionally, you can jump straight into the ocean from your pretty cool room.
About Vacationing in Barbados
Barbados is another beautiful country in the Caribbean. Also, Barbados is considered an independent British Commonwealth nation and a famous port city for cruises. As with Aruba, Barbados is home to some of the most stunning white sand beaches and dramatic island foliage.
Additionally, English is the primary language spoken in Barbados, making it easy for most tourists to visit without worry. Much of the country is geared toward tourism, especially along the coastlines.
There are plenty of amazing things to do, including:
- Nature tours
- Submarine tours
- Stunning beaches
- Feed monkeys
The possibilities are endless. If you want to visit Barbados to relax, going to the beach is a great way to spend your time. However, you should consider booking a tour if you want more adventure.
Along with Barbados’s stunning beaches, there are many amazing things to fill your time with. There is so much to do that you will be hard-pressed to fit it all in during a single trip. So whether you enjoy shopping, lounging on the beach, or exploring, Barbados is a great vacation spot.
Some of the most popular activities include:
- Feeding monkeys
- Swimming with sea turtles
- Walking food tours
- Shipwreck snorkeling
- Cave tours
- Rum-making tours
These activities are incredible ways to spend your time in Barbados. Additionally, this island has some of the most stunning snorkeling and diverse marine life. When snorkeling, you can see sea turtles and the occasional stingray.
Additionally, on some tours, you will get the chance to feed and interact with the island’s monkey population, which can be especially fun if you’ve never seen one.
As for dining, you should aim to try Barbados’ national dish, cou cou and fried flying fish. However, several excellent restaurants with unique flavors are also waiting to be explored. Like in Aruba, Barbados serves a variety of delicious fish-based dishes.
Some of the best restaurants include:
- The Tides Barbados. This dining experience is by reservation only and offers live music. Though it’s expensive, the food is definitely worth it. Here, you can expect a stunning take on traditional dishes and Barbados-styled food.
- Champers Restaurant Barbados. This restaurant is also quite fancy as you get to dine outdoors overlooking the stunning blue ocean. All ingredients used are fresh, and they serve a variety of unique dishes.
- Tapas. This restaurant serves various pasta dishes with delicious spices and an array of freshly caught seafood. They also offer some fantastic curries.
Each of these restaurants offers amazing cuisine, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Additionally, there are many other Barbados restaurants that are excellent and worth trying during your stay, as each offers terrific new foods.
The Best Accommodations
As for accommodations, finding a resort that best suits your needs and makes you feel comfortable is essential. There are many resorts on the island of Barbados, and most are pretty nice. However, there are a few that stand above the others.
The best resorts to stay in a while in Barbados:
- Sugar Bay Barbados
- Coconut Court Beach Hotel
- O2 Beach Club & Spa
- Waves Hotel & Spa by Elegant Hotels
- Fairmont Royal Pavilion
- Infinity On The Beach
There are so many housing options when visiting Barbados. First, you must decide if you value staying in a larger or smaller resort. You can also book small over-the-ocean villas and more intimate resorts for a quieter vacation.
Aruba vs. Barbados: Which Vacation Is Better?
So which one is better? Well, that entirely depends on what you value in a vacation. Aruba and Barbados are pretty similar when it comes to vacationing. However, they have different things to offer.
Bardos is great because it’s reasonably priced, has excellent food, and has some fantastic excursions. Barbados is a fantastic option if you enjoy seeing animals, experiencing new cultures, and spending time on the beach.
Meanwhile, Aruba is great because of its beautiful beaches, fun activities like pirate ship rides, and beautiful snorkeling. Also, windsurfing can be a lot of fun for those who enjoy athletic adventures while on vacation.
I think Barbados is the clear winner since it has many of the draws of Aruba and more. Additionally, it’s slightly more cost-effective, and its principal port city is more developed, making it a fun hot spot for tourists. Plus, Barbados has a relatively vibrant nightlife for locals and visitors.
Barbados is such a stunning country with so much to offer to someone who wants a relaxing tropical getaway. Additionally, it’s affordable and steeped in rich history, which you can explore through its museums and beautiful gardens. Of course, Aruba is also beautiful, and if you get the chance, you should see both. However, Barbados is the way to go if you can only choose one.