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Aruba vs. Tortola vs. Turks & Caicos- please help!!!!

Seattle, Washington
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Aruba vs. Tortola vs. Turks & Caicos- please help!!!!

Hello- my boyfriend and I are in our mid twenties and we're planing our first trip to the Caribbean in the beginning of July. We have about 11 days so we are open to maybe hit two islands if they are close enough to hop to. For this trip we are looking for: relaxing on white sandy beaches, snorkeling, good food, nightlife (not huge clubs but fun beach bars, dancing, etc), mid/upscale amenities, fun hotel atmosphere, and a couple of day excursions.

After doing research we are thinking of ARUBA for the beaches, nightlife, and lack of rain. I've read mixed reviews about it though and I'm not super crazy about the desert landscape.

The second option is TORTOLA/ BVI for the beaches, beautiful lush scenery, upscale amenities, and available activities. The rain worries me though as I know July is not the prime time to go, how bad is the rain and is it bad enough to make us avoid going there in July?

The third option is TURKS AND CAICOS for the lush scenery, beaches, dining, and relaxation. I've heard amazing things about this destination. I'm worried though that it may be too laid back- we are in our twenties and want a good mix of relaxation with some fun during the day and nightlife as well ( we are not on a honeymoon or anything).

If anyone has been to all 3, Please help us decide which location is best for us in July. We appreciate any and all feedback! Thank you.

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1. Re: Aruba vs. Tortola vs. Turks & Caicos- please help!!!!

I have been to all three. In my opinion, Aruba is terrible. Too Americanized, too built up, too many people and high rise buildings, etc. There isn't enough culture there for me. But if you want all the action and nightlife, than this might be for you.

Turks & Caicos is very nice, but it doesn't seem to have the vibe that the BVI's have. I would go to the BVI's and plan on making one island your base, possibly tortola and doing day trips from there to the other islands. The BVI's are laid back, but that is the charm of these islands. You are also going in the low season, so all of the islands you mention would probably be slow, with the exception of possibly Aruba.

If you are really looking for some fun and good beaches, you might consider Riviera Maya in Mexico???

I can't answer your question about weather in July. I suspect that it would still be very nice.

North Pole, New York
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2. Re: Aruba vs. Tortola vs. Turks & Caicos- please help!!!!

Hi HKA123,

We’ve visited Aruba only twice on a cruise, spending 12 hrs there once and 9 hrs the second time. We spent a week in Grace Bay, Provinciales for our 25th anniversary following a cruise with 3 other couples. And we stay on Tortola as often as possible for the beauty, beaches, fun evenings and music, and the people. You can tell where my bias is huh?

Aruba has gorgeous, powdered sugar sand along the east coast and Palm Beach is a busier fun vibe with large AI resorts and smaller properties. Also lots of shopping and some entertainment there and a fun beach bar (Bugaloes). Eagle Beach is a bit more laid back for a quieter place to stay and is still nice.

On our first visit we saw the whole island and also took a cat sail to the wreck for snorkeling and saw much of the island from the coast. Downtown has a few fun spots but most of the action is in the larger resorts.

Although Aruba has nice beaches and is known to have a drier climate we don’t care to take a land vacation there s we don't see anything to return for except the beaches. It is also somewhat Americanized or cosmopolitan like St Thomas and Cancun, and we look for more of a tropical feel when vacationing in the Carib. It would also certainly be very hot in July, but there is a constant trade wind too. But you will find tons of others who spend all of their time there so it's just a matter of what you're after.

Turks & Caicos - specifically Grace Bay Provo - is indeed a gorgeous place to stay and there are now several condo rentals there. I assume you would be looking at this specific area to have nightlife options available. Our last visit was back in 2007 and the tall condos and new shopping area were just being built up then. So we haven’t been there to see the outcome but I’m sure there are still quieter areas along Grace Bay to choose from to avoid the busier areas. There are some great restaurants there, and the beach is stunning. But there was zero nightlife when we were there. That may have since changed and I would read reviews on TA from folks who rent there to see what their current experience is like.

Tortola is my favorite destination. I enjoy the beautiful beaches like Smuggler’s Cove and Long Bay (both Tortola and Beef Island), it’s a nice island to drive, there are several evening music venues in Cane Garden Bay and other spots, many great restaurants to experience, and the people are very nice. You can take cat sails, water taxies, or ferries to all of the other BVI islands and to STT and STJ.

Virgin Gorda also offers gorgeous beaches and the Baths and you could split your time there but it doesn’t have the nightlife and restaurants of Tortola.

Jost Van Dyke is an option for a few days, White Bay is a popular bay with beach bars like the Soggy $ Bar for daytrippers, and Foxy’s in Great Harbor is a fun spot to enjoy his show and evenings.

And for the ultimate quiet beach Anegada is an option.

There are a few mid/upscale places to stay, we prefer the west/north coast of Tortola to be close to the nicest beaches and nightlife as well as good restaurant choices.

So gorgeous beaches in all of these destinations, we just prefer Tortola but T*C is also gorgeous. We also spend much of our time in Mexico, the Riviera Maya has clean, stunning beaches in the right areas, and some areas offer entertainment. AI’s are big there and we like one that is set in a jungle setting and situated on a gorgeous beach with an excellent, fun staff with fun entertainment each evening and a 5 minute drive to Playa Del Carmen and busy 5th Ave for more entertainment and fun. Just another option…

Mobile, Alabama
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3. Re: Aruba vs. Tortola vs. Turks & Caicos- please help!!!!

Great answer!! I sent you an "off topic" PM- thanks for reply!

4. Re: Aruba vs. Tortola vs. Turks & Caicos- please help!!!!

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