Aruba vs. Hawaii

Aruba and Hawaii are some of the world's most tempting slices of tropical paradise. Both focus on preserving and protecting their environment, so you're bound to reap the benefits. These two tourist hotspots have natural wonders, rich cultures, and everything else a tourist would want.
Aruba vs. Hawaii

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While pristine beaches are their main draw, Aruba and Hawaii are distinct in many ways.

Their geography, to start with, dictates the thrilling excursions you can experience there. Hawaii’s generous waves are perfect for surfing, while Aruba’s trade winds are famous for windsports.

Hawaii has a vast array of wildlife to see, but the star is the Humpback whales that migrate there. But you’ll never see the pink flamingoes there unlike in Aruba, where you can even sunbathe with them.

There are a plethora of other reasons why each destination stands out. And for you to tick one off your travel bucket list, here are what makes each of them a unique visit.


Called “One Happy Island”, Aruba has a cheery vibe that never fails to leave tourists with a smile. With world-famous beaches, natural wonders, and a vibrant culture to top it off, there are tons to see and do. Whether you want to seek an adrenaline rush or relax peacefully, Aruba has got you.

What Makes Aruba Unique?

Gorgeous Unspoiled Beaches

The star attraction of Aruba is its countless white-sand beaches. Aruban beaches are some of the most stunning ones in the world. But what truly sets them apart is the combination of their sand, sea, and climate.

The pure white sand along the coastline is unique, as it’s composed of fine crushed corals and shells. This not only makes the sand powdery and soft but also keeps them cool even after being under the scorching heat of the sun for hours.

With this, Aruba’s beaches are barefoot friendly. And because most beaches are public, you won’t have to worry about running into private ones. This allows you to take long, scenic walks along the shore without interruptions.

If you want to take a swim, Aruba’s turquoise waters are some of the cleanest in the Caribbean. The color of the water is true to what you see in the pictures, they don’t disappoint!

And you can relish its beauty under the perpetual beach weather in Aruba! Although the sun is strong in Aruba, the constant cooling winds hide this fact. You’ll enjoy a blissful beach day without sweating too much.

With plenty of beaches in Aruba, you’re bound to find one that’ll fit your vacation needs. Below are some popular beaches that may fit your bill.

Palm Beach

This is the beach to be if you want to be in the heart of Aruba’s action. You’ll find restaurants and souvenir stalls within your reach here. And there’s also a plethora of watersports that you can do here, from banana boat rides to flyboarding.

In the backdrop of Palm Beach are high-rise hotels, yet you’ll never feel like you’re in a concrete jungle. This may be good for some, as many tourist attractions are within walking distance from the beach.

Savaneta Beach

If you want to escape the crowds, head over to the truly secluded Savaneta Beach. This serene haven has sea grapes and fofoti trees sprinkled all over its stretch of white sands. Only a few tourists venture off to this hidden gem, so you’ll have the beach all to yourself!

Baby Beach

Baby Beach is a crescent-shaped beach that hugs a gorgeous turquoise lagoon. Baby Beach is a great option for families with small kids, as it has calm and shallow waters. You can go snorkeling here, too, and swim with the fish alongside your kids!

Watersports and Windsports Year-Round

There are plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy Aruba’s turquoise waters. Its windswept coasts are one of the world’s best spots for watersports and windsports thanks to constant trade winds.

Windsurfing and kitesurfing are the star activities above Aruba’s blue waters. You can also go sailing, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, parasailing, and more!

But there’s as much fun under Aruba’s waters too, such as snorkeling and scuba diving.

Take a shot at swimming with fish, viewing coral reefs, and more in the clear waters. Some prime locations for this are Commandeur Baai, Spanish Lagoon, and Malmok.

Even more special is Aruba’s shipwreck diving, as it’s home to several sunken ships and planes. SS Antilla, a German World War II cargo ship, is the main attraction for this.

All these thrilling activities are within your reach, as Aruba has a myriad of watersports operators. You’ll have plenty of boards and equipment to rent. And they have many guides around to offer you trips and lessons.

Endless Excursions for Everyone

For a small island, Aruba packs a ton of adventure for its visitors. So no matter who you’re with, or if you’re a solo backpacker, you always have something to see and do in Aruba.

Couples seeking a romantic getaway can soak in the scenic beauty of Aruba. You can enjoy an intimate dinner in a lush garden at the Papiamento Restaurant. Or you can get a breathtaking view of the student at the Flying Fishbone in the quaint town of Savaneta.

Families also have tons to do in sunny Aruba.

Tour around Butterfly Farm or feed flightless birds at the Aruba Ostrich farm if you want to stay inland. You can also enjoy the waters in Splash Park, Atlantis Submarine, or SeaWorld Explorer Semi-Submarine. These are great places for small children or those who cannot swim.

These aren’t the only exciting excursions you can do in the lovely islands of Aruba. The main attractions to put on your Aruban bucket are on the list below.

Sunbathe With the Flamingos

Some of the most picturesque spots in Aruba are on Renaissance Island. It’s home to the famous Flamingo Beach, where you can find these stunning birds relaxing in turquoise waters.

Renaissance Island is a private establishment though. Only hotel guests can have guaranteed access to seeing the Flamingos eye to eye.

If you’re not a hotel guest, you can buy a day pass that also grants you access to luxury cabanas. But it does come with a high price, and the resort only has a limited capacity for this.

If you’re lucky enough, you can get gorgeous photo ops with the Flamingos. They don’t seem to fear people, and they will happily eat out of your hands.

Venture off Into the Wilderness

Arikok National Park comprises nearly 20 percent of the country’s landmass. This sprawling park has a diverse landscape, teeming with wildlife. And some of them are animals you can’t find elsewhere in the world!

You can find a natural ocean pool that’s shaped by volcanic stones, view turtle nesting sites, and more! Arikok is also home to some caves, with paintings from the island’s earliest inhabitants, the Caquetio. The caves now are home to rare lizards, Burrowing owls, and endemic birds and snakes.

You can traverse the park through hiking and bike trails, but a bumpy ride on a jeep is also a fun option. If you’re planning to stay longer, the park is the best place on the island to stargaze.

Get a Glimpse of Venezuela

In the heart of Aruba lies the Casibari Rock Formations. This giant group of diorite boulders gives you a panoramic view of Aruba’s landscape. But on a clear day, you can also see Venezuela’s coastline from the highest point.

Surrounding the rocks is lush vegetation, including cacti. You can also see burrowing owls, iguanas, and lizards here if you’re lucky.

An Eco-Friendly Island

Aruba is one of the top eco-friendly islands in the world. The government and the locals strive to protect and preserve the country’s natural beauty. Certain measures are in place for this, such as banning single-use plastics and going for 100 percent renewable energy.

With this, Aruba is a paradise for the eco-conscious traveler. And visitors have seen the wonders of all these efforts!

Aruba even has plenty of sustainable accommodations. Most of these are on Palm Beach and Eagle Beach, two of the country’s most popular beaches. Boardwalk Boutique Hotel and Divi Tamarijn are some of the top places for this.

Even if you don’t stay at these accommodations, you can support Aruba’s ecotourism efforts. Some of them are on the list below.

Annual Aruba Reef Care Project

This is Aruba’s largest environmental initiative, occurring every July. You can snorkel, scuba dive, and walk the white-sand beaches while picking up trash and debris.


This is a monthly drive held by the Eagle Beach Area Coalition. Visitors can “adopt” a mile of a stretch of white sand that they’re responsible for keeping clean during their trip. Several beaches take part in this, such as Amsterdam Manor, Aruba Marriott, and more.

Vibrant Aruban Culture

Aruba’s capital city, Oranjestad, is already a colorful and picture-worthy place. This is thanks to its plenty of Dutch-influenced colonial buildings in various pastel colors. But the capital’s streets become even more vibrant during the carnival season!

The biggest carnival in Aruba, the Grand Carnival Parade, takes place in Oranjestad. The streets get filled with throbbing music, dazzling costumes, intricate floats, and more.

Even if you miss this grand festival, there are plenty of opportunities for you to see an Aruban Carnival. The Carnival Season starts in November, but most events occur in January and February. Some must-see events are the Torch Light Parades, Jouvert Morning Pajama Parade, and the Children’s Parades.

If you can’t catch these, you can always take a trip to the island’s cultural capital, San Nicholas. Music, galleries, and dance are all important aspects of Aruba’s culture. San Nicholas has them all, including pop-up art fairs and mini carnivals.

Some cultural spots in San Nicholas include ArtisA and Cosecha Store & Creative Center. Even if you tour around the area, you’ll find eye-catching street art from both local and international artists.

World-Class Casinos

Away from Aruba’s gorgeous coasts, you’ll also find an exciting atmosphere inland. Gambling is legal on the tiny island of Aruba, and anyone over 18 years of age can place their bets! This is such a popular pastime that major resorts have their in-house casinos.

But you’ll also find some standalone casinos sprawled across the country. Play a game of poker, roulette, or blackjack, or place a bet on your favorite sports team. For something more local, try your luck with Caribbean stud poker!

Some casinos open at noon and keep the fun going until the wee hours of the morning. While others operate 24 hours a day!

Some popular spots are the Glitz Casino, Alhambra Casino, and The Casino at Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino.

But two of the most popular casinos are The Crystal Casino and Stellaris Casino. Both are sprawling establishments that are open 24/7 for an exciting time.


Flying off to Hawaii is the daydream that almost everyone wishes to fulfill. It’s easy to see why, as it’s home to idyllic beaches, unbelievable forests, roaring volcanoes, and more. With its diverse landscape, you’ll never get bored in this network of gorgeous islands.

What Makes Hawaii Unique?

Brightly Hued Beaches

White-sand beaches and turquoise waters are a staple in any tropical getaway. And since Hawaii has hundreds of public beaches, there’s always a world-class beach right on your doorstep.

But only seeing this color palette during your trip can get monotonous though. Even if you go beach-hopping, you sometimes feel like you’re on the same beach.

Thankfully, Hawaii is home to odd-colored beaches that set each other apart. You have black-, red-, orange-, and green-sand beaches to choose from, making you feel like you’re in a whole different country.

If you’re seeking some unusual beach views, here are Hawaii’s hidden gems below.

Black-Sand Beaches

Hawaii’s landscape is dense with volcanoes, forming its stunning black-sand beaches. They are a result of basaltic lava flowing into the ocean, and as it erodes, it releases basalt. The high concentration of basalt is what gives these beaches an eerie yet striking scene.

You have the option of traveling to Punaluu Beach, Waianapanapa Beach, and Awahua Beach.

Punaluu Beach reigns supreme as Hawaii’s most popular black-sand beach. This is likely due to its easy accessibility. It sits near Hawaii National Volcanoes Park, so you can visit both on the same day!

Waianapanapa Beach is also quite accessible, nestled within the Waianapanapa State Park. This uncrowded, pebbly beach has tons of opportunities for adventure, such as hiking and caving. You can also stay overnight at the park, either by renting a cabin or going camping.

Awahua Beach is not as easy to get to compared to the other two, as it’s truly secluded. Only a hike or a mule ride can take you to this hidden gem. In the background of this haunting beach sits the world’s tallest sea cliffs as well.

Green-Sand Beach

Papakolea Beach is a once-in-a-lifetime visit, as it is one of the world’s only four green-sand beaches. Its mossy hue is due to the dense olivine deposits on the coast that come from the cinder cone embracing the beach.

To get to this rare geologic oddity though, you’d need to hike three miles (4.8 kilometers) through lava fields. There are also no lifeguards, food stalls, or other amenities there. But you’ll have this stunning beach all to yourself.

Red-Sand Beach

There are only a handful of red-sand beaches in the world, and one of them is Hawaii’s Kaihalulu Beach. The hills around the beach are high in iron, and when it rusts, it gives the sand a striking red color.

This natural marvel sits hidden away in Maui’s Hana Highway. You’ll have to hike to get there, but because it’s secluded, you can enjoy the beach without competition.

Orange-Sand Beach

Papokahu Beach’s orange coastline may not be as exotic as the others. Under the glaring sun, its sands give off a golden hue that’s truly majestic. It’s a three-mile (4.8 kilometers) stretch of pristine beach that doesn’t get crowded.

World-Famous Surfing Scene

Surfing is arguably synonymous with Hawaii. Its generous waves and exciting surfing scene attract the most passionate surfers around the world. Whether you’re honing your skills or trying surfing for the first time, Hawaii has your back.

While you can surf almost anywhere in Hawaii, Oahu is the top surfing destination. On the north shore of Oahu is the world-famous Seven Mile Miracle. This seven-mile (11.27 kilometers) shore of sand is home to towering waves.

This surfing mecca starts from Sunset Beach in the north to Haleiwa Beach in the south. Between them are some popular beaches, such as the world-celebrated Banzai Pipeline. If it gets too crowded there, you can also flock to Waimea Bay, Pupukea, and Rocky Point.

If you’re going to Hawaii mainly to catch some waves, you must visit during the Winter Surf Season, between late October to March. Low-pressure areas send dramatic waves to shore during this season.

On average, large waves in Hawaii can be as tall as 6 to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.7 meters). But the waves during Winter Surfing Season can be a steep 30 to 50 feet (9.1 to 15.2 meters).

As you can expect, only highly experienced surfers can ride these waves. But if you’re a beginner, surfing during the Summer Surf Season is better. The waves are smaller and more manageable. And you’ll always have a myriad of local surfing experts to teach you.

Thrilling Volcano Tours

Volcanic activity hotspots on the ocean floor gave rise to every Hawaiian island. Plenty of volcanoes pepper the diverse landscape of Hawaii. You can visit active ones, the closest you can get to an erupting volcano!

You can scale the summit of Mt. Haleakala in Maui to get a breathtaking view of the sunrise among a sea of clouds. After that, you can take a scenic bike ride down a long winding road!

If you’re into hiking, you can hike up Diamond Head for a stunning panoramic view of Oahu. But if you don’t want to hike, you can always take a helicopter ride and hover over the emerald Mt. Waialeale, one of the wettest places on earth!

None of these are as exciting as taking a trip to the Hawaii National Volcanoes Park though. It national park is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa.

Kilauea is the youngest and most popular volcano in Hawaii. Meanwhile, Mauna Loa is the world’s largest active volcano in surface area and volume.

Get up close and personal with an active volcano, something only a few people can do. You can walk around the crater and peek inside it. Watch its constantly flowing viscous lava, too, while you’re at it. There are several types of lava here, some splash, splutter, or shoot out of the volcanoes.

Take a hike through solidified lava lakes, see petroglyphs, and walk through the Thurston Lava Tube. These are only some of the many things you can do in the national park.

A Marine Wonderland

The best views of Hawaii are underwater, they say. This is all thanks to the state’s thriving and colorful marine life! Get a glimpse of giant sea turtles, reef fish, sting rays, and more in one go.

You have a variety of wildlife to spot in Hawaii, and you also have plenty of choices to see them.

Go on a zodiac raft tour, sunset cruise, or dinner cruise, for example. Some dolphins love to come up to boats, so you may be lucky to find one saying hi to you up close. Or you can trade the standard wildlife-spotting boat for a submarine!

The submarines plunge 100 feet (30.5 meters) below the surface for you to explore the marine environment. You’ll find sharks, sea lions, manta rays, and Hawaiian monk seals.

If you’re not afraid of getting wet, snorkeling and scuba diving are the best ways to see the wildlife. Swim with green turtles, go through the various coral reefs, and more.

Giant humpback whales are arguably the main attraction here. And the island of Maui is one of the world’s best spots to get a glimpse of them.

Pods of whales travel down to Hawaii from Alaska from November to May, so you’ll see plenty of them. They even swim so close to the shore that you can see them while you’re sunbathing.

The Hearty Hawaiian Culture

Hawaii’s culture is deeply rooted in caring for others and the environment. This attracts tourists to their beautiful islands. And some don’t even leave Hawaii, as they have found their new home in the Aloha State.

Hawaii today is a diverse blend of cultures, with foreigners bringing their own to the islands. This is especially evident in the food scene. You’ll find traditional cuisine and even fusion foods to blend Hawaiian flavors with others.

But if you want a true taste of the local culture, head over to the less touristy areas. Hawaii gives you plenty of options to travel authentically.

There are Hawaiian-owned bed-and-breakfast spots for you to stay at. You can lend a hand to their community efforts, such as fish pond restoration. And if you build a good relationship with them, you can even get invited to their Luau!

If you’re seeking a cultural experience in Hawaii, here are some highlights.


Luaus are a festive experience for any visitor. It is a combination of good food, entertainment, cultural performances, and a lively atmosphere!

You can find some establishments that offer this across the Hawaiian Islands. This includes Luau Kalamaku in Kauai, The Feast at Mokapu Luau in Maui, and Voyagers of the Pacific in The Big Island.

Not all luaus are Hawaiian, though. So your best bet to experience an authentic one is to befriend the locals.


Hula is a way of storytelling through the art of dance. Highly trained dancers give the audience a view of the ancestral roots of Hawaii. It’s usually paired with chants or music and can be slow or upbeat, but it always conveys a message.

You can either see a hula performance or learn it yourself! You can partner with local organizations to learn this ever-evolving art.

Is Aruba or Hawaii Better?

If you want a relaxing vacation, or mainly go for beaches, Aruba is the better option. But if you’re seeking thrilling adventures across various terrains, go for Hawaii.

Because Aruba is in the Caribbean, it has far clearer waters and whiter, softer sands than Hawaii. Not only that, the waves are gentler and perfect for swimming, even if you have small children.

The downside to Aruba is that it’s quite flat, less tropical-looking, with way fewer things to do. Your vacation will revolve around the beach, whether you want to sunbathe, try watersports or windsports, and more. Away from the shore, you can go to casinos and visit natural parks, to name a few.

Hawaii has a much diverse landscape, thus, it’s an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Not only is it more scenic, but it also encompasses a wide array of adventures. Explore cascading waterfalls, hike on active volcanoes, surf towering waves, and more.

Hawaii is also home to some of the world’s gems. It has the largest active volcano, the world’s wettest place, and even one of the world’s only green-sand beaches.

And because Aruba is only one small island, you can travel to everything within a week or two. Hawaii is a network of diverse islands, and you can hop from one to the other relatively easily.


Is Aruba Cheaper Than Hawaii?

In all aspects, such as food and internal travel, Aruba is cheaper than Hawaii. Traveling to Aruba as a couple will cost around 3400 USD. Meanwhile, this will cost you around 3900 USD in Hawaii.

To give you an overview of your expected costs, here is a comparison between the two.

Two-way flights to Hawaii are anywhere between 1000 to 2500 USD. For Aruba, that’ll be around 800 to 1500 USD. Prices can soar drastically if you’re traveling during peak season.

Accommodation per night in Hawaii is around 30 to 350 USD and around 47 to 350 USD in Aruba. Daily transport in Hawaii is 50 to 200 USD and around 20 to 100 USD in Aruba.

A day of touristy activities in Hawaii is around 150 to 300 USD, and 150 to 280 USD in Aruba. This includes a day’s worth of food and going to tourist attractions.

Aruba vs. Hawaii for Family Vacation

If your main concerns are your budget, the weather, and the beaches, Aruba is the winner. But Hawaii has more activities, attractions, and sceneries to keep you and your kids entertained.

Cost is a big factor for any vacation, and Aruba is slightly cheaper across the board.

Accommodation eats your budget the most, and the best hotel in Hawaii can cost around 1000 USD. But you’ll only be spending around 600 USD in Aruba.

Aruba’s beaches, being in the Caribbean, are also prettier. They have softer white sands, clearer waters, and gentler waves. So your small kids can have fun and swim whenever they like.

Weather in Aruba is also more predictable, sitting at around 80 Fahrenheit (26.7 Celsius) throughout the year. Hawaii can get pretty cold, especially during rainy seasons. But even then, its cold temperatures are at a comfortable 70 Fahrenheit (21 Celsius).

The downside to Aruba is that you can travel the whole island within a week. Thus, you can run out of things to do fast. Your trip to Aruba will be beach-centric, as there are not a lot of family-friendly things to do away from the shore.

Hawaii has several diverse islands for your family to explore. You can go snorkeling, horseback riding, wildlife-watching, and more. You can visit volcanoes, and waterfalls, ride a submarine and take a helicopter ride too.

There are plenty of things to see and do in Hawaii. And if you’re planning a long trip, Hawaii is better at preventing your kids from becoming bored.

Aruba or Hawaii for Honeymoon?

Aruba is a better honeymoon destination for laid-back couples. This Caribbean island is also a cheaper vacation choice if you’re on a tight budget. But if you’re a more adventurous couple with a bigger budget, Hawaii is the better option.

Aruba is a place to be for relaxation. The beaches are calmer with softer sands for you to lie on. Spend the afternoon on the beach while reading a book and enjoying the company of your spouse.

Aruba also has better accommodations, from boutique hotels to luxury resorts. They have better amenities than those of Hawaii and are cheaper too. You can go to a spa hotel or a casino hotel, too, for complete relaxation.

The main drawback for Aruba is that it’s a relatively flat island, unlike the lush and diverse landscape of Hawaii. With this, you have more to see and do in Hawaii. And this is more enticing for adventure-loving couples!

You can go island-hopping, too, in Hawaii. Surf the tall waves of Oahu one day and then explore the volcanoes of the Big Island the next. The go-to Hawaiian island for honeymooners is the romantic Maui, though.

Is Aruba Close to Hawaii?

Aruba and Hawaii are not close to each other. The total distance between the two is 5643 miles (9081 kilometers).

How Long Is the Flight From Aruba to Hawaii?

The average flight time from Aruba to Hawaii is around 11 hours and 4 minutes. But this will depend on weather conditions, the flight path, and the congestion in the air.

Sometimes, this can be a shorter flight. But more often, the flight duration will take much longer.