Sunny weather, sand in your toes, and a toasty breeze caressing your skin. That’s the dream vacation that is possible in very few places on Earth. Aruba and St. Lucia are two such places that can be seen as competing for tourists who share this dream. You probably want to know which one is better.
The main difference between Aruba and St. Lucia: St. Lucia has more natural attractions, greenery, and beach-front beauty, while Aruba has better public transport, more things to do, and a larger tourist base. Both islands have a temperate climate with plenty of sun and sand for summer-starved tourists.
|Cost of Stay: Weekly (USD)||$2,000 (solo)|
|Transportation||$2 to $4 (bus)|
|$2.5 to $8 (bus)|
|Notable Attractions||Oranjestad ports and architecture|
The Butterfly Farm
Aruba Aloe Factory and Museum Tour
|Anse Chastanet Marine National Park|
Tet Paul Nature Trail
|Weather||Two to three degrees warmer than St. Lucia, Aruba is a more sunny spot. This makes its beaches attractive to tourists from colder parts of the western hemisphere.||Tree cover contributes to a breezy and cool evening climate. Daytime is sunny, and nights can be humid.|
|Food and Drink||Seafood-centric cuisine free from other culinary influences, Aruba’s popular dishes include shrimp, lobster, oysters, mahi-mahi, and snapper, served grilled, boiled, or fried.||European and British influences are evident in some dining spots. The Island maintains its individual culinary identity in seafood fritters, boiled fish and grits, and lobster dishes.|
|Honeymoon Recommendations||Stay at the Renaissance Wind Creek Aruba Resort|
Visit the flamingo island
Take a dip in the Aruba Natural Pool
Shop self-care items at the Aruba Aloe Factory Museum and Store
|Enjoy your stay at Hotel Chocolat and visit nearby beaches|
Stay at the Jade Mountain Resort’s honeymoon suite
Go snorkeling at Anse Chastanet Marine National Park
|Activities for Kids||Visit the Butterfly Farm|
Indulge in an Atlantic submarine experience
Visit Philip’s Animal Garden and feed the wildlife
|Visit the Treetop Adventure Park|
Take a stroll in the Diamond Botanical Gardens
Have a family adventure at the Splash Island Water Park
|Nature Attractions||Nature attractions in Aruba are mostly waterfront ports and beaches. The Aruba tree cover isn’t as lush green as St. Lucia, leaving behind less to do in the outdoors.||There are plenty of nature trails like the Tet Paul Nature Trail and Gros Piton Nature Trail. You can also visit beaches like Marigot Bay and Sugar Beach.|
Aruba is a south American beachside tourist destination that boasts beautiful marine views and well-designed hotels that host honeymooners, families, and solo tourists. Aruba has a heavy American tourist influx every year, which is why it has specialized and commodified its tourist experiences. You can get a great cookie-cutter beach vacation experience when you visit this island country.
St. Lucia is a small island in the Caribbean with tree cover, peaks, hiking trails, and multiple beaches. It is a romantic destination for couples and an adventure site for solo travelers. It offers a variety of nature-adjacent experiences like scenic hikes, a drive-through volcano visit, and a nature reserve alongside the classic beachside stay.
St. Lucia is a great destination for a relaxing vacation amidst nature. It is also one of the cheapest places to visit during summer and has pretty reasonable stay costs throughout the year. Even when nearby islands have peak rates, St. Lucia’s hotel rates stay competitive.
Cost of Stay
Perhaps it is Aruba’s proximity to America or its year-round visitor influx that drives up its accommodation prices, but Aruba is slightly more expensive than St. Lucia. Its solo stay cost is $2,000 per week, which is slightly higher than St. Lucia’s $1,871. The difference in stay prices is slightly more emphasized in couple stays. With a weekly spend of $3,360 per couple per week in St. Lucia, Aruba is more expensive as it costs $3,638 per week.
Aruba has a better public transport system than St. Lucia, with higher affordability. Its buses run every 15 minutes with a $2 to $4 ticket for 2-way trips with one to two stops. In contrast, St. Lucia has a $2.5 to $8 transport cost with fewer stops and longer waiting periods. Private Taxis in Aruba cost $45 per hour, while St. Lucia’s taxi costs an average of $18.5. So Aruba beats St. Lucia in public transport cost and availability while St. Lucia beats Aruba in private transport affordability.
Aruba has more distinct things to do compared to St. Lucia. Most activities in St. Lucia entail trekking or hanging out at the beach. In contrast, Aruba has an Aloe Factory, a lighthouse, a portside city, which is also its capital, and even a private island with a flamingo beach. In terms of the diversity of things to do, Aruba is ahead of St. Lucia. However, St. Lucia is more serene and less artificial though both locations are close to nature.
St. Lucia has better weather than Aruba. Aruba can be unbearably hot during the summer. The country leans towards an arid climate. On the other hand, St. Lucia’s tree cover, Caribbean location, and land-to-water ratio keep its overall weather temperate. During winter, both destinations have great weather with plenty of warmth and sunshine throughout the daytime. You can enjoy the sunshine from the peaks in St. Lucia as well as on its beaches. In Aruba, you can soak the sun on your balcony or at a beach.
St. Lucia has more tourist-friendly food than Aruba, which is very distinct in its Caribbean cuisine. If you like to explore new culinary experiences, then you will find novel dishes in Aruba more easily. St. Lucia also has its native cuisine, but the Indian, British, and American influences are quite evident there. Since both Aruba and St. Lucia are popular tourist destinations, they also offer classic American food like burgers and fries.
St. Lucia is a better honeymoon destination than Aruba because of the social atmosphere, relaxed pace of life, and better opportunities to enjoy each other’s company. However, couples that like to enjoy novel experiences might prefer Aruba, which has an ostrich farm, a lighthouse, and multiple scenic beaches.
St. Lucia hotels, as well as the hotels in Aruba, offer honeymoon stay packages, and the cost of the stay for couples isn’t that different. The ultimate choice between Aruba and St. Lucia is based on the convenience of traveling to either destination and the activities you can engage in once there.
Aruba has fewer nature attractions than St. Lucia despite having more opportunities for activities. Aruba is slightly more urbanized than St. Lucia, and that comes with its own pros and cons. It is an advantage that you can get better public transport and more tourist services in Aruba. But the drawback is that all that’s left to enjoy in terms of nature is a set of commercialized beaches and ports.
St. Lucia has managed to keep its greenery and make it its main selling point. Its hiking trails, as well as beaches, are not as commercialized. Some of the beaches are tucked away, and most tourists don’t even know about them. If the locals trust you enough to tell you about them, you might have the same experience as having a private beach.
St. Lucia vs. Aruba: Which One Should You Choose in 2023?
Now that you know how the two destinations compare in their respective costs, activity opportunities, and honeymoon readiness, among other things, let’s look at which one would be ideal for your individual context.
Choose Aruba if you want to stay longer
While St. Lucia is heavenly, it gets old pretty quickly. It is close to nature, but nature can get boring, especially if you’re swapping beaches all day. If you plan to stay longer than a week, you’ll get the most out of staying in Aruba. Not only does it have different things to do, but it also has enough area to keep you interested for a longer period.
Choose St. Lucia To Unwind
Aruba’s beaches might be shown on TV more often, but it is St. Lucia that has the calmness you need to unwind from the stresses of a tough job or a big event like a wedding. St. Lucia is popular among people who like to relax in the sun without being bothered by crowds of tourists.
Choose Aruba If You Are Used To City Life
If you’re traveling from New York, your mood might not survive the culture shock of being on a Caribbean island with no city planning. Aruba is a nature-adjacent spot but is a well-designed and semi-urbanized destination. It has good public transport and specialized tourist spots with great service.
Choose St. Lucia If You Are Proactive
While Aruba will tell you what to do to have fun, St. Lucia will let you decide how to have fun. Its street parties are as spontaneous as the people you meet at popular tourist restaurants.
You can make the most of your stay in St. Lucia by taking charge. If you aren’t comfortable making room for your own fun and activities or connecting with others, then Aruba might be better for you. As long as you pay for activities and tours, you will be guided through them without having to take charge.