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Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

New York
Level Contributor
23 posts
Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

Not sure if this is the place to post this. And I apologize if this is a long post. My husband and I are planning our vacation for next May and are trying to decide on a location. Through reading all of the wonderful posts on this site we've narrowed it down to Turks & Caicos and Aruba. We were wondering if we could get advice from those of you who have been to both as to which island in your opinion would be better to visit. We are in our early 30's and our only musts are staying on the beach and golf for my husband. My husband really wanted a casino, but we know there isn't one in Providenciales. Also, we both do not like fish or seafood so please take that into consideration. We've never been to the caribbean and will probably never be able to go again so we'd really like to go some place nice. We really want a relaxing quiet vacation. We don't want a party place we aren't into to that. The resorts we are considering are The sands and The Palms (the Palms is at the very top of our budget) in Providenciales; In Aruba we are leaning towards the Radisson or the Marriott Ocean Suites. If anyone can suggest and other moderately price nice hotels on the beach with a pool and papalas for shade we'd really appreciate it. I'm sure i'll have more questions! ANY help we can get would be so greatly appreciated. We don't get to go on vacation without the kids very often so this will be a special vacation for us.

Level Contributor
184 posts
19 reviews
1. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

I am also considering The Palms, Turks and Caicos. Although I have never been to T&C, I have been to Aruba each of the past 3 years. If I were you, I would pick Aruba since you have never been to the Carribean, and you can't go wrong with Aruba! We have yet to see a single day of rain out of three trips! I would also recommend the Radisson because Palm Beach is our favorite spot! I know the Radisson is really nice and it's great to be able to walk up and down the boardwalk at night and visit other hotels. Aruba also has fabulous restaurants and the island is very safe. We always rent a car for the day and go off exploring. I would say definitley go to Aruba if you haven't been before! You will love it!

Raleigh, NC
Level Contributor
146 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

My wife is an airline employee which has enabled us to travel pretty extensively in the Caribbean. We visited Aruba about 10 yrs ago and we were not impressed. Palm Beach was really crowded and it just didn't appeal to us. Conversely, we've been to Provo about 10 times and own a timeshare there. Grace Bay is a post card and the water is beautiful (much better than Aruba). Our time share is at the Alexandra which is next door to the Palms. Personally, I wouldn't spend the money on the Palms. The Sands is an older property and its just a couple of hundred yards dwon the beach from the Palms but will probably be about half the price. You might also check out the Turks and Caicos Club which is on a little more secluded section of the beach by Coral Gardens. There are a lot of restaurants on Provo to choose from and a large IGA. Be advised that there is a lot of construction going on in the Grace bay area but it shouldn't deter you from going. And there is a nice golf course.

One other island I would recommend strongly is Virgin Gorda in the British Virgins. The beaches there are unlike anything anywhere else in the Caribbean. There is no golf course and only a few restaurants. it is very laid back and has the Caribbean feel to it that neither Aruba or Provo do in my opinion. It is off the beaten path and difficult to get to but it's worth the trip.

Herndon, VA
Level Contributor
731 posts
15 reviews
3. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

We have been to Aruba (Hyatt & Marriott) 4 times and twice to T&C (Sibonne). Aruba is much more crowded and has more night life. The beach and water in T&C is easily the better. The beach in front of the Aruba Marriott complex is very crowded. Aruba has casinos; T&C doesn't. If this is going to be a relaxing and re-connecting vacation, T&C is the better choice.

Either place, bring and use lots of sunscreen.


new york
Level Contributor
1,872 posts
31 reviews
4. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

I beileve Provo would meet your requirements. The water couldn't be more beautiful and the beaches match it in beauty. I would suggest looking at the Royal West Indies to help along with your budget. It would give you some left over to enjoy some of the great excursions. You can get good deals on VRBO.com. You should be able to get some good deals in May keep looking and check this board for feedback if you come up with a bargin.

Level Contributor
83 posts
5. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

This is a very generalized statement, but if you can get to Miami, then you've been to Aruba (as far as crowds, and big hotels, beaches etc). T&C is know for being windy (never been) but I've only heared good things. And remember that your experience will be Dutch/Caribbean-and this is your "one and only Caribbean trip".

If you're open to other places I would suggest Barbados (although I personally didn't like it much, I feel it's suitable for others and would still recommend it). There is a good mix of nightlife, food, beaches etc. Here your experience will be Caribbean/British.

But hands down, the island you should strongly consider is Antigua. Jolly Harbor has an 18 hole golf course, and there are casinos throughout the island. The beaches are soft, and pristine, and perfect. It was even voted "Most romantic, or Best Honeymoon spot in the Caribbean". I think you would have the best Caribbean/Caribbean experience there. Please research, and consider Antigua.


washington DC
Level Contributor
420 posts
6. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

My wife and I leave for Aruba tomorrow and are looking foward to it. From what I understand the low rise hotels have less crowded beaches (Eagle Beach area) than the high rise beaches (Palm beach). We are in the Eagle Beach area and have found several nice restaurants we'll try out. The gold course in Aruba is a Trent Jones course and I'm looking foward to playing it, although I understand the breeezes are 15-20 mph there. We're also looking at snorkeling, hiking and horse back riding as activities. It looks like there is very little shore break so we'll try and find some inflatable rafts and float around. we're looking at T&C for our next summer trip.

New York
Level Contributor
23 posts
7. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

Thanks to everyone who have posted so far. We've got quite a decision to make. I am leaning towards T&C (just want to relax in a beautiful quiet place *I hate crowds) and My husband wants Aruba (casinos, more night life).

We know people who have visited islands in the caribbean and they all have loved Aruba (only complaint they had was it was very windy). My sister has been to Antigua and she didn't care for it, but she loved Aruba and St. Lucia and St. Thomas.

Timjc: Would you let us know how the course was in Aruba? Golf is a big part of our decision.

Level Contributor
219 posts
6 reviews
8. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

Having been to both islands, I think you can't go wrong. I think whichever you decide you will enjoy. But they are different.

That being said, I think Aruba is a more "fun" island. There are more things to do then in T&C. I enjoy snorkeling off the beach and it was very nice here if you rent a car. We did a FABULOUS sailing trip to snorkel in the Spanish Langoon (at least I think that was what it was called), and the restuarants overall, in my opinion had more pizzaz then T&C. Yes it is windy, but after the first day it wasn't noticable. We rented a car and went all over the island feeling very safe even a couple of times at night when we were completely lost. We found the locals to be super friendly and just great people. As far as crowded beaches, we stayed at a resort that had a private island so that wasn't an issue. I know that resort has been sold and I can't remember what it is called now but you might check into it. Also, if you rent a car, you can find a nice quiet beach.

On the flip side, T&C has the most beautiful water and the best snorkeling out on the boat trips. I was amazed at how empty the beach was almost all the time. We went in April during Spring Break and it still didn't seem busy. We rented a car and explored and it is a nice island. There are many boat trip options - we did wo seperate trips with Caicos Dream Tours and loved them. We felt safe everywhere we went. I see T&C being the perfect vacation to just chill, swim, snorkel, eat, read - nothing too strenous. But if you want to be entertained, it might not be for you. If you really just want to relax then I would go with T&C.

Happy planning!!

Level Contributor
108 posts
1 review
9. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

I agree with 1944RCR.....you can't go wrong with either place....

Our first trip to the Caribbean was to Aruba (3 years ago), and we stayed at the Marriott there (next door to the Marriott Ocean Club Suites), and we loved it. September, in the middle of hurricane season, and the only rain we saw during the whole ten-day trip was for five minutes one day. We had a wonderful time, snorkeling, horseback riding, kayaking....

BUT....went to Provo this past May to scout it as a potential location for our wedding, and we LOVED it. Like you, we don't like crowds, and in Aruba, we spent more time by the pool than on the beach, but in Provo, we spent every day on the beach, never even went to the pool (which was never crowded either!).

(By the way, we are also in our early thirties.)

Given the choice between the two islands....even though we had a good time in Aruba.... I would choose to go back to Provo in a heartbeat because I loved the peace and quiet and the gorgeous beaches....my fiance liked the variety of activities available in Aruba a little better....but admits that the beaches were better in Provo.

Also food-wise, you will find plenty of non-seafood dishes in Provo, and all very delicious....There were nights when we got tired of eating fish, so we definitely had some very good steak and chicken while we were there....

Whatever you decide, enjoy your trip!!!

Washington DC...
Destination Expert
for Turks and Caicos
Level Contributor
16,082 posts
25 reviews
10. Re: Turks and Caicos or Aruba?

I've been to all the aboved mentioned islands, for your criteria, I would choose turks and Caicos.

I don't eat seafood or fish (okay, the secret is out!) and find that the restaurants in Turks are some of the best in Caribbean.

Turks beaches are some of the best in the world. the turqouise clear water is the best in the world. You won't believe how that beautiful beach is not crowded.

Aruba is fun, lots to do. But, you can do that anywhere. Yes they have casinos, but they also have chain restaurants and cruise ships.

Turks is a relaxing, de-stress kind of place. It's not impossible to find some nightlife if you have too. You can by night passes to Club Med. You can hit different happy hours. You can hang out in funky beach bars. It's a more laid back kind of fun, but still fun.

Of the other recommendations, I would choose Virgin Gorda for what you're looking for. It's gorgeous. Maybe even has less to do though than Turks.

Of all the above mentioned, Barbados has the nicest golf course, followed by Turks. Barbados is big and busy though.

I'm glad I've been to Antigua, but I don't have to go back.

For everything you've stated you wanted, hands down Turks and Caicos.