Aruba and Cancun are two popular vacation destinations that are perfect for a tropical getaway. 

In a nutshell, Aruba is an ideal destination for those looking to relax on the beach, savor Caribbean cuisine, interact with wildlife, and explore the island’s vast nature attractions. 

Cancun, on the other hand, is best suited for party-goers looking to lounge on the beach, enjoy authentic Mexican food, visit ancient Mayan ruins, and participate in their festive nightlife scene. 

But, which is the better spot for a vacation? And which is safer?

Keep on reading to learn the key differences between Aruba and Cancun! We’ll cover the differences in safety, climate, cost, cuisine, tourist attractions, nightlife, and much more. 

Aruba vs Cancun: A Brief Overview

Aruba vs Cancun




Average temperatures range between 86°F to 91°F

Average temperatures range between  75°F to 85°F


A week for two costs $4,548 on average

A week for two costs $2,024 on average


Caribbean and seafood dishes (conch fritters, johnnycakes, guava duff)

Seafood and authentic Mexican food (tamales, tacos al pastor, shrimp ceviche)


Arikok National Park, Conchi Natural Pool, California Lighthouse

Chickén Itzá ruins, El Rey ruins, Xcaret Park, La Isla Paradise Experience



Very lively and festive


Very safe in most areas

Safe in most areas

Aruba At A Glance

Known for its warm hospitality and stunning white-sand beaches, Aruba is a popular vacation island in the Caribbean sea.

Aruba has a rugged desert landscape with white-sandy beaches surrounded by rocky bays and hills. 

palm beach
Palm Beach, Aruba (Photo by: Lex Melony)

The white-sandy beaches in Aruba are perfect for swimming and there are restaurants, bars, lighthouses, and plenty of water activities alongside the beaches.

If you’re looking to snorkel, kite surf, parasailing, or go jet-skiing, Aruba’s the place for you.

The island is also home to several natural attractions such as the Arikok National Park, where you can hike through hills filled with cacti or swim in a unique natural pool surrounded by rocks.

horses in arikok national park
Horses in Arikok National Park (Photo by: Alin Meceanu on Unsplash)

The local cuisine in Aruba features fresh seafood, meat, and stews, along with local favorites such as pastechi (fried half-moon pastry) and keshi yena (stuffed cheese).

If you’re a foodie, the national dish of Aruba, stuffed cheese, is a must-try! 

If you’re looking to party, Aruba has a vibrant nightlife as well. There are plenty of beachfront lounges and lively clubs, particularly on the strip of Palm Beach.

Aruba has a year-round tropical climate with an average temperature ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit.

All in all, Aruba has lovely beaches, a warm hospitable environment, and tons of natural attractions and beachside activities you can enjoy.

Whether it’s lounging at a beachside bar on Palm Beach, taking an ATV tour to a secret beach, or hiking through Arikok national park, you won’t be bored in Aruba. 

Top Tourist Attractions In Aruba

If you’re seeking an adventure, Aruba offers a variety of unique natural attractions. Here are some of the most noteworthy places to visit in Aruba.

  • Arikok National park
  • Alto Vista Chapel
  • Butterfly farm
  • De Palm Island
  • California Lighthouse
  • Aruba aloe factory museum
Alto Vista Chapel
Alto Vista Chapel, Aruba (Photo by: Benjamin R)


Aruba has a year-round warm tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from around 86 F to 91 F. Similar to Cancun, Aruba has a relatively dry climate but is cooled down by the wind. 


The primary language of Aruba is Papiamento, however the majority of people speak English fluently. Some other languages spoken frequently in Aruba are Dutch and Spanish. 

What currency is used in Aruba?

The majority of vendors in Aruba accept US dollars and major credit cards. But, you may want to have some of their currency on hand for tips and emergency situations.

The currency in Aruba is the Aruban florin, which is 1.79 florin per 1 US dollar. 

Aruba Cuisine

If you love seafood, Aruba is the place for you. Aruba is known for having an abundance of fresh seafood, including freshly-caught lobster, snapper, shrimp, oysters, mahi-mahi, and conch. 

The cuisine of Aruba involves lots of fresh seafood, and traditional Dutch foods.

Aruba’s Nightlife

If you’re looking to party, Aruba’s nightlife is vibrant and abundant.

Walk along the Palm Beach strip and you’ll find a plethora of nightclubs, beachfront lounges, casinos, bars, and even comedy clubs.

Is Aruba safe to visit?

Aruba is a very safe place to visit in the Caribbean, having one of the lowest crime rates out of all the islands in the Caribbean.

The people in Aruba are kind and hospitable, so it is relatively easy to navigate around.

Like any other vacation spot, you should still take precautions to protect your belongings, and avoid walking alone at night in certain areas.

Cancun At A Glance

Cancun, Mexico is a city located on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. 

Cancun is known for its white-sand beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, large barrier reef, and vibrant nightlife.

Hotel Zone, Cancun
Hotel Zone, Cancun (Image by: Carlos Huchim)

One of the most popular beaches in Cancun is Playa Delfines or “Dolphin Beach” where you’ll get the best chance of spotting dolphins.

It has crystal-clear turquoise waters and a laid-back vibe so it’s a great beach for relaxing.

If you’re seeking an adventure, you can explore the lush jungles and visit ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza or the El Rey archaeological zone.

mayan ruins cancun
Photo by: Christina Abken

Additionally, you can take a 30-minute ferry to visit Isla Mujeres, a small island located about 13km from the coast of Cancun.

In Isla Mujeres, you’ll get the chance to snorkel, scuba dive, or swim with whale sharks!  

If you have kids, Cancun has plenty of kid-friendly amusement parks, art museums, aquariums, and water parks. 

For those that love traditional Mexican food, Cancun is for you. You’ll be able to try some of the best authentic shrimp ceviche, tacos al pastor, and tamales you’ve ever had. 

The nightlife in Cancun is extremely lively and exciting. The Coco Bongo Nightclub is a famous venue that features acrobats, live performances, confetti, and DJs for an all-around incredible party experience. 

Overall, Cancun has beautiful beaches, luxurious resorts, endless tourist attractions, and one of the best nightlife in the world. 

If you are looking to party, Cancun is the clear winner over Aruba. 

Top Tourist Attractions In Cancun

These are some of the most notable tourist attractions and activities in Cancun.

  • Playa Delphines (Dolphin Beach)
  • Boat Tours To Isla Mujeres
  • Excursions to Mayan ruins and cenotes
  • Coco Bongo Nightclub
  • Xcaret Amusement Park
  • El Rey Archaeological Zone


Like Aruba, Cancun has a slightly humid, tropical climate with warm temperatures all year-round.

The average temperature ranges between 75°F to 85°F.

There’s a wet season from June to October, with more frequent rainfall and the possibility of hurricanes. The dry season runs from November to April


The primary language spoken in Cancun is Spanish, but around 90% of the population speaks English fluently as well. 


The official currency in Cancun is the Mexican Peso.

Although US Dollars are widely accepted around Cancun, make sure to convert to dollars to pesos for taxis, tips, and emergency situations. 

Cancun’s Cuisine

If you’re a fan of Mexican food, Cancun is the place for you. Cancun has tons of authentic Mexican restaurants, as well as fine-dining seafood restaurants located near the beach.

Ceviche, sopa de lima, tacos al pastor, and tamales are all must-try authentic Mexican foods if you plan on visiting Cancun.

For dessert, make sure to try out an authentic vanilla concha or churro!

Cancun’s Nightlife

If you’re looking to party on vacation, Cancun is the clear winner over Aruba.

Located along Kukulcan Boulevard, you’ll find some of the hottest nightclubs including spots like Coco Bongo and The City.

The nightlife in Cancun typically starts at around 11 PM, and the bars are open til 2-4 AM, depending on the place.

The Coco Bongo Nightclub’s fiesta starts at 10:30 PM and features acrobats, live performances, and DJ’s up to 2:30 AM.  

Is Cancun safe to visit?

Cancun is one of the most popular tourist spots in Mexico and it’s very safe for travellers. Like any other vacation spot, you should still take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. 

FAQs: Aruba vs Cancun

How do you get around Aruba and Cancun?

Aruba is relatively small, so it makes it relatively easy to explore the entire island. You can rent a car, use taxis, or take advantage affordable public bus system in Aruba called the Arubus.

Additionally, the island’s main attractions are closely situated, so you won’t spend much time traveling from one place to another. 

Cancun, on the other hand, is a bit more spread out. It is divided into two main areas, the Hotel Zone, and downtown Cancun.

The Hotel Zone is a long, beachfront strip of hotels, restaurants, and shops. You’ll find the majority of tourist activities here.

But if you’re looking to try out some authentic Mexican food, you’re going to want to head to the downtown area. 

Public transportation in Cancun is efficient and inexpensive so you can travel via bus or taxi.

However, if you plan to explore outside Cancun, such as the Mayan ruins in Tulum or the island of Cozumel, you might find it more convenient to rent a car.

Is Aruba or Cancun better for a couples getaway?

Both Aruba and Cancun have all-inclusive resorts, and romantic dining options that make them a great spot for a romantic vacation.

Aruba is better for couples looking for a laid-back vacation since Aruba is easy to navigate around and has tons of natural attractions. Read our article on romantic things to do in Aruba for a list of the best activities Aruba has for couples!

Cancun is better for couples looking to party since it’s known for its lively and exciting nightlife. 

people kayaking
Photo by: Jorge Fernandez

When’s the best time to visit each place?

The best time to visit Aruba is between April through December when the weather is warmest and the prices for hotels are the lowest.

The best time to visit Cancun is from December to April when the weather is dry and mild. But this is when Cancun is the busiest so you can expect larger crowds and higher prices. 

Is Aruba or Cancun cheaper for a vacation?

Cancun is much cheaper than Aruba. Yet there are still plenty of luxurious resorts and fine-dining experiences in Cancun.

A week’s trip for two people in Aruba costs on average $4,548 whereas a week’s trip for two in Cancun costs an average of $2,024

Keep in mind that the prices will vary widely depending on the hotels and restaurants you choose to stay at.

Traveling to Aruba in the off-season (April to December), and choosing a budget hotel will cut your costs significantly. 

Is Aruba or Cancun better for families?

Cancun is very family-friendly, with numerous attractions including waterparks, interactive aquariums, amusement parks, pirate shows, and much more.

Aruba also has plenty of kid-friendly tourist attractions including off-road safaris, butterfly farms, ostrich farms, donkey sanctuaries, and more. 

Conclusion: Which destination is better?

Aruba and Cancun are both excellent destinations to travel to for a vacation. 

Aruba is the ideal spot for seafood lovers, watersports enthusiasts, and adventurers that are looking to explore natural attractions and interact with wildlife.

Cancun is the best destination for those looking to relax on the beach, enjoy delicious Mexican cuisine, visit ancient ruins, and participate in their exciting, festive nightlife. 

However, both places are safe and offer plenty of tourist attractions, luxurious resorts, and fine-dining experiences. 

Regardless of which place you choose to vacation to, you’ll be left with incredible memories.

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