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If you are choosing between Costa Rica vs. Aruba for vacation — you are choosing between two fantastic destinations. Both destinations offer just the right amount of exotic adventure — although chances are, if you’re looking for thrilling outdoor excursions, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture — you’ll likely think that Costa Rica is the better vacation destination.
We might have our opinion — but don’t let us decide for you. Instead, compare visiting Aruba and Costa Rica below to determine which spot is ideal for your next vacation!
Location & Weather
Aruba is an island in the Caribbean Sea that is part of the “ABC Islands” — Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Known as the Dutch Caribbean Islands, these islands lie off the coast of Venezuela.
Aruba has consistent weather year-round, with average temperatures in the mid-80s. Higher temperatures are recorded during the summer months (between May and October), and lower temperatures are more common during the winter months (between December and March — this is also the peak season). Unlike the sticky humidity on most Caribbean Islands, there are a lot of trade winds on Aruba. Plus, the island lies outside the hurricane belt and is not affected by hurricane season, so there isn’t a bad time to visit Aruba (unlike many other Caribbean Islands).
Costa Rica is located in Central America, with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Costa Rica has two coasts — a Pacific Coast and a Caribbean Coast. Each coast offers unique climates, landscapes, and attractions, making Costa Rica more diverse than Aruba.
Those who have visited Costa Rica know that the country experiences a dry season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November. Costa Rica gets most of its rainfall in September and October. If you are okay with a few afternoon showers, visiting during the green season (especially in May, June, and July) is a great way to find budget-friendly options for flights, hotels, and rental cars in Costa Rica.
There are fewer beaches in Aruba than there are in Costa Rica, but the beaches that are on this island are beautiful.
Eagle Beach offers white sand and turquoise waters, as well as beach chairs and umbrellas to rent. It’s also a gorgeous place to watch the sunset. Palm Beach is another popular beach in Aruba but is more commercialized, with tons of luxury resorts, restaurants, bars, and shopping nearby. This beach is a popular spot for swimming and water sports.
While both Costa Rica and Aruba are known for award-winning beaches, the sheer quantity and diversity of beaches in Costa Rica — 300+ on the Pacific and Caribbean Coasts — outweigh the 40 beaches in Aruba.
Some beaches in Costa Rica, like Playa Flamingo and Manuel Antonio Beach, have white sands and calm, clear waters, while other beaches, like Playa Tamarindo and Santa Teresa Beach, have choppier waters that are fabulous for surfing and water sports. Playa Conchal is a unique beach in Costa Rica where the white sand is made from crushed seashells!
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Aside from beautiful beaches, Aruba does not have nearly as many natural attractions as Costa Rica. However, the island’s sole national park — Arikok National Park — is a must-visit spot on Aruba. This national park occupies nearly 20% of the island and has plenty to see and do to fill an entire day, including unique caves and land formations, desert landscapes, a natural pool perfect for cliff jumping, and more.
Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful tropical countries in the world and is filled with diverse landscapes — from beautiful volcanoes and magnificent beaches to lush rainforests and relaxing hot springs. In fact, nearly 30% of Costa Rica’s rainforests and landscapes are protected in national parks, reserves, and wildlife refuges to maintain the country’s natural beauty.
Some of the national parks to visit in Costa Rica include Tortuguero National Park during sea turtle nesting season, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve to venture across the hanging bridges, and Corcovado National Park to go on wildlife tours to see monkeys, sloths, jaguars, and more.
Most of the activities to enjoy in Aruba center around the island’s beautiful beaches. You can go snorkeling to see the tropical fish off the coast, scuba diving to see the SS Antilla Shipwreck, or sailing to soak up the gorgeous sunsets on Aruba.
If you are looking for an active vacation filled with adventure — Costa Rica is a great vacation destination. There are tons of outdoor excursions to enjoy in Costa Rica for both adults and kids, including epic water sports like scuba diving, snorkeling, and white-water rafting and memorable inland excursions like zip-lining, hiking, and horseback riding.
Costa Rica vs. Aruba: Which Destination Is Right for Your Next Getaway?
While only you can decide if Costa Rica or Aruba is the better vacation destination, we hope you’ll seriously consider planning your next vacation to Costa Rica and staying in one of our beachfront homes, quaint condos, or luxury mansions from Special Places of Costa Rica.
Our rental properties are located on the beaches of the North Pacific Coast in Guanacaste — one of the top places to visit in Costa Rica. Browse our rentals to find the perfect one for your upcoming stay!