As promised, a recap and review of Arikok National Park! This was definitely our most adventurous day on our honeymoon, but it was definitely a great time and so worth putting relaxing on hold! (But don’t worry, we got right back to it by happy hour.)
Arikok National Park was the main reason we rented a Jeep, and it’s all because of one hidden gem- but I’m getting ahead of myself!
Arikok National Park was established in 2000 and takes up approximately 18% of Aruba. It’s home to caves, cacti, WILD GOATS, beaches where sea turtles nest, 4×4 off road trails, hiking, and fish foot massages. It is also home to archeological sites and ancient cave drawings.
To begin, we had to get to the park. Aruba’s street signs are basically non-existent just like the data signals on our phone, and we had to use a real paper map. I loved it. I’m a nostalgic type of gal, and it also reinforced that we can work as a team and figure things out even when we’re lost. Aruba is an island smaller than our town, so we weren’t too worried about getting lost, and sometimes you can use tall landmarks to help spot yourself.
Eventually we made it to the park where we paid the $11 entrance fee per person (they accept American currency) and made our way straight to the natural pool.
The path to the natural pool is difficult. It’s on a pretty challenging off-road trail that is only accessible if you walk or have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Jeeps, ATVs, UTVs and safari-type vehicles are the most popular modes of transportation. But once you’re there you see why it’s worth all the trouble.
Picture this: a pool of water, containing tropical fish, surrounded by towering rocks. Beyond the towering rocks, waves roll from the endless ocean forward until they crash over those rocks, spilling the Caribbean sea into the pool. And the cycle repeats over, and over, and over again.
It’s pretty amazing.
I will say, however, that the climb to the pool can be rough! That sort of beauty doesn’t come cheap. You have to climb down a cliff-which means climbing back up-and then you have to climb on rocks to get into the pool. The cliff has “stairs” but the climb into the pool, not so much. As dorky and stupid as they are, I would recommend water shoes. They’re better for gripping the slick rocks as you climb into the pool.
After climbing back up to our car, we bought waters from the man selling them out of his truck. Then we were on our way to the caves!
This was another of my husband’s bucket list items. When we arrived on Fontein Cave we were greeted by a park guide. He spoke English, but it was difficult to understand and I’m not sure we caught the entire story, but basically, this cave is home to ancient native paintings, which is really cool to see. The cave goes back 1500m, but I was hesitant to go that far into the dark, so I didn’t.
Then you can exit the cave and get a foot massage! No, seriously.
Down a path outside of the cave, you walk down to a little pool where some fish live. If you stick your feet or hands in, they come up and nibble your skin!
It tickles like crazy but my feet did feel soft after, so there you have it.
From there we visited another cave, this one home to many bats, called Guadirikiri, where we just tried to spot bats. They were sleeping, but they were there! I like this cave more because there are openings through the Earth and light gets in, so it’s not so scary.
So there you have it! Our trip to Arikok park. If you’re in Aruba, you must go. I’d give it six out of five stars, that’s how serious I am about it. Especially the natural pool- if you don’t rent your own car, there are ATV rentals, UTV rentals and guided tours. Just make sure you get there.
Until next time, keep adventuring you lovely souls!