When you're on luxury vacations in Aruba, you might be content laying on the beach all day, soaking up the hot Caribbean sun & indulging in a little relaxation. However, Aruba has much more to offer its visitors than its gorgeous beaches. The island is also home to colorful flora & fauna, mysterious caves, a diverse landscape & rich history. Fortunately for visitors, all of these things can be explored in Aruba's Arikok National Park.
This massive park is 21 square miles, which means it occupies about 18 percent of the island. With so much to offer people on luxury vacations, Arikok has emerged as one of the most popular tourism spots on the island, & after just one trip, you'll see why!
You can get to the national park from Highway 7A, which will bring you to the main entrance near San Fuego. After paying an entrance fee, travelers are required to stay on the park roads & only use marked parking facilities. Due to Arikok's often rough terrain, it's recommended that you drive a 4X4 when exploring all the wonders the area has to offer.
Here are a few of the many things you can find at Aruba's Arikok National Park:
Colorful flora & fauna One of the biggest draws of Arikok is its many plants & animals. While walking through the scrubland, you'll find candelabra cactuses, divi divi trees & thorny bushes dotting the landscape. In fact, for this reason, some people say it looks more like the Australian Outback than the Caribbean. Once you hit the southeastern quadrant of the park, you could run into a number of indigenous creatures, including Aruban rattlesnakes, parakeets, whiptail lizards, iguanas, goats, donkeys & migratory birds.
Mysterious caves The national park has countless caves, many of which travelers are free to explore. One of the most popular caves is the Tunnel of Love, which earned its affectionate nickname because of its heart-shaped entrance. Inside the Tunnel of Love, you'll find rock formations that some travelers claim resemble Abraham Lincoln & Madonna. While these caves can be truly fascinating, keep in mind that many of them house bats. Don't worry, though – they won't bother you!
Diverse landscape The landscape in Arikok National Park is breathtaking, so you won't want to forget your camera! Here, you can find sand dunes, limestone cliffs & two of the tallest hills in Aruba – Jamanota hill & Arikok hill. Along the jagged coast of the park, you'll find several bays, some containing small stretches of soft white sand, including Dos Playas. The waves are strong here, so this isn't an ideal beach for swimming, but Dos Playas is a great place for tourists & travelers looking for a sandy spot for a picnic or an uncrowded place to surf.
Rich history Arikok National Park is not just well known for its natural beauty, as the area also protects important parts of Aruba's history. Here, you'll find the Canucu Arikok & Fontein Cave, where the Caquetio Indians created several rock paintings that can still be seen today. At the same time, you can also visit Cunucus, or old plantation sites within the park. These plantations were once the homes of local families who worked on the land, often living under extremely difficult conditions. Two of their adobe houses have been restored (at Canucu Arikok & Plantation Prins), so you can get a better sense of what life was like for these Arubans.