Aruba, the tropical darling of the Dutch Caribbean, perhaps one of the most visited islands in the Caribbean, is the tourism done right. The island has a complete mix of draws with regards to their culture, and a slogan of “One Happy Island”, being happy is the most certain thing you’ll be here. And if you haven’t heard of Cancun, you may have been living under a rock, for everything fun, thrilling, and excitement is synonymous with the Mexican seaside tourist mecca.
The Netherlands is proud to call Aruba an essential component of their Kingdom. It is their home away from home, and what a home it is at that. You should make it your special place too!
Aruba geography is filled with seeming contrasts — typical island beaches where the moist sea breeze blows into what are sometimes dry and arid landscapes.
Visualize tropical beaches with the signature alabaster sands dotted with fofoti trees that are free for all to enjoy. And then there’s a sudden switch into the sun glistening on sand dunes being sculpted by gusts of wind. It feels like a transfiguration of sorts.
Besides all of nature’s magnificence, Aruba caters to any traveler quite well. Lavish resorts and low-rise hotels, tons of activities on and off the water, gastronomic delicacies, music, dancing, partying, and their very own Carnival … there is simply so much to experience.
What Makes Aruba Unique?
Consistent sunny days and a cool breeze are all but guaranteed in Aruba. As if that wasn’t good enough, the chance of running into a hurricane on your visit is statistically unlikely, which makes it one less thing to worry about.
“You pulling my leg?” is probably your knee-jerk response.
The reality is that the trio in the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) pretty much lie on the periphery of the Hurricane Belt. This makes Aruba a safe bet for year-round clear and sunny skies, which makes for some wonderful weather for nonstop outdoor activities.
Beautiful Unspoiled Beaches
All of Aruba’s beaches boast accessibility for everyone and are very much suitable for world-class watersports. Although some beaches take some effort to get to because of their secluded nature, they are worth the sweat.
Some beaches have amenities and services while others are just raw and unadulterated nature. There is truly a piece of every kind of paradise you would desire in Aruba.
Touted as the widest beach in the country of Aruba, Eagle Beach has garnered much acclaim. It has continuously ranked in the top 10 beaches of numerous travel awards.
This beach is a complete package of low-rise accommodations with their offering of cozy cabanas to entice passersby to stay awhile. Nevertheless, public beach huts are available for those who prefer a picture-perfect spot and want to stage their activities from there.
The locals simply adore this beach to the point that it’s one of the beloved beaches of Arubans. And, knowing them, they probably have a robust recognition of the twists, traits, caveats, and what can be considered a beach worth traveling to.
Rest under the shade of the palapas strewn across the white-sand shore to revel in the beauty that is the clear turquoise water that expands a respectable distance from your vantage point. And after priming your mind and body, dip your toes into the water, streaming with a calm current, and move towards the snorkeling spot that hangs with the best of them.
Perfect Watersports Conditions
Consistent trade winds make Aruba’s water sports scene a stable source of fun under the sun. Blowing from east to west, these easterlies make wind-propelled surfing, paragliding, and sailing catamarans, among others, have practically no downtime.
“But what about the other water sports that don’t care for wind?”
Well, Aruba’s got beaches that range from beastly surf that caters to surf aficionados, to tender waves for perhaps the inexperienced bodyboarders. All levels of all water sports can be availed in this luxury destination.
Rich and Infused Cuisine
Countries that are considered cultural melting pots are more or less certain to have an extensively varied bill of fare fit for even the most discerning palate. European, African, Caribbean, and Latin flavors, you name it, they got it.
And like every other island nation, partaking in seafood is a no-brainer. Red snapper, mahi-mahi, and — wait for it — barracuda! Take that fare of fish and watch the local cook rub it with some spicy seasoning ready for some charcoal grilling.
Of course, there’s more than that.
There’s the traditional rice and meat steaming stews whose wonderful Latin and African aromas waft out from kitchen doors, tugging at your nostrils to come see.
And after you’ve had your sip of soup and a helping of meat or fish, wash it all down with a bottle of Aruba’s very own Balashi beer made in their own in-country brewery, Brouwerij Nacional Balashi. It’s the country’s liquid sunshine that’s nice and smooth, some hop spiciness to it, with a crisp finish … simply tropical, simply refreshing!
The magnetic Mexican tourist attraction, Cancun, will keep on wresting the top tourist spot from all of the rest. Sounds like an overblown statement, doesn’t it? However, if a destination offers you all slices of life and has proposals for every type of personality, how can it not be in the top 10 in the world?
Cancun could very well be the jack-of-all-trades of tourism with its presentations of natural splendor, “primitive” civilizations, and present-day partying like there’s no tomorrow. There seems to be no better way to start a Mexican vacation than here!
What Makes Cancun Unique?
The Biggest Nightlife Scene in the Caribbean
Cancun has a composition that caters to all crowds who crave parties and nightlife. When the sun goes down, the Downtown district and Hotel Zone undergo a metamorphosis from a laid-back or beach atmosphere to decadent dance and drinks.
Virtually everywhere in Cancun’s famed zones are filled with sounds of lively partying. By simply being out in the streets you will be able to feel the electricity flowing through the night air that you mustn’t miss in these top spots:
“Mandala Beach Club, Dady O, The City, Palazzo, Coco Bongo, and Cuncrawl”
Ancient Mayan Adventures
There is more to the historical Yucatan peninsula than Chichen Itza. There is the less straightforward road to the Coba ruins, but by no means is it of less grandeur. It represents the complexity of civilizations culminating in the crystallization of the vast vision of their great city planners.
Upon your approach to the ruins, see with your mind’s eye how the flow of goods had flourished in times past. That’s not so hard to imagine with the web of white-stone causeways to and from temples, plazas, clusters of structures, and outside regions.
How glorious the site must have been in its heyday — limestone-coated sacbes reflecting the light of the sun to show the path of the traveler or merchant. And the great thing about all this is that you yourself can walk the same road and appreciate what you have in common.
Inland Aquatic Delights
Many destinations in the world vaunt their treasured colored-sand beaches, bountiful reefs, and incredible islands, yet Cancun can give you that and then some. This Mexican tourism muscle flexes its cenotes like a peacock flashes its stuff. And like the peacock’s tail feathers, Cancun has got a lot of them.
There are quite a lot of cenote configurations to choose from — open, semi-open, and underground water-filled cavities — there’s one for every level of daredevil. All of them are no greater than three hours away and an average of a one- to two-hour drive — perfect for a quick refreshing break.
“Cenote Ik Kil, Cenote Suytun, Cenote Cristalino, Cenote Tajma Ha, Cenote Sac Actun, Cenote Dos Ojos, Casa Cenote, Cenote Jardin Del Eden”
Planning your travel arrangements can be tough if accommodations are limited, but if you have a menu of over a hundred spots, that makes the destination all the more appealing.
Enter the Hotel Zone — 13 miles (22 km) of superb hotels and resorts, replete with shops, restaurants, and social establishments … the whole shebang. This zone is superimposed with the Party Zone so your whole day will be filled to the brim with things to do — beach all day, party all night!
Don’t be dismayed if the length of Hotel Zone is fully booked or if you’re there for a more culture-centric Mexican vacation. There’s El Centro, after all. That’s the section of the city where you can feel real Mexican living, and they have relatively cheaper lodging too!
Is Aruba Better Than Cancun?
With stunning views and picturesque settings, anywhere you’ll go around the Caribbean is bound to possess a certain beauty and charm. Everywhere you choose to go you’ll surely be met with luxury to budget resorts, near-perfect conditions for an enjoyable vacation, and the refreshing embrace of the famed turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean. However, the challenge rests on whether you will opt for the tourist mecca of tourist mecca that is Cancun, or the happy, quirky, and rich island of Aruba.
Both possessing numerous draws (and only a few drawbacks), and outlandish beauty, Aruba and Cancun are both perfect in their own grand ways, yet their differences are what ultimately decide which is better suited for every unique individual traveler.
For one, Aruba is ideal for those looking to have that storybook tropical paradise vacation, with its numerous beaches characterized by distinct flavors and beauties. The island is perfect if you want to have a feel of a true Caribbean Island with a touch of European charm. Just make sure to prepare a larger budget as the island is notoriously pricey, especially during the peak season.
Cancun, on the other hand, is more budget-friendly compared to Aruba, even when it’s undoubtedly the more famous one. The Mexican tourism hotbed is popular for its vibrant nightlife, and a city pulsating with energy. Probably the most animated destination in all of the Caribbean. Cancun is best for those looking to have the beach, the booze, and ancient history.
Aruba Beaches vs. Cancun Beaches
One thing common about the Caribbean is that each destination around the region always has its fair share of stunning beaches, each offering different charms, catering to almost any type of traveler. Aruba and Cancun, best of all, are no strangers to having beautiful beaches each brushed by the waters of the Caribbean.
Cancun’s 14-mile (22 kilometers) stretch is further divided into 11 public beaches that are well-developed and equipped, almost to a point of losing its tropical charms due to the high-rise hotels as the distinguishing backdrop, rather than characteristic palm trees. However, this long stretch has fine white-sand shores kissed by alluring blue waters, readily available for anyone looking to chill on the beach or try out every bit of aquatic activity there is.
Aruba on the other hand has beaches that can be rocky, rugged, to fine, smooth sand, some even display an almost pink shade. Aruba’s 40 beaches clearly overshadow Cancun, with varying flavors, some crowded, loaded with restaurants and bars, some secluded, seemingly private, and some are best for water sports. Aruba’s beaches offer more flavors, and more excitement, no matter what side you’re on.
How Far Is Cancun From Aruba?
Both straddling the Caribbean, Cancun is approximately 2,027 km or 1,260 miles from Aruba, directly. You have to cross the vast Caribbean Sea to get in between them which may mean longer travel hours. Cancun sits at the westernmost edges of the Caribbean, while Aruba rests at the southeast, the best and most cost-efficient way to get between them is by flying.
You can fly to Cancun from Aruba via Frontier Airlines, American Airlines, and Copa Airlines. However, other airlines will offer more flights depending on the season. It takes approximately seven hours to get from Aruba to Cancun, including transfers and other factors.