The Natural Side Of Aruba: Arikok Park
Of Aruba's many activities, a tour of Arikok Park may be the most unique. From sand dunes and cacti within the park's desert interior to the limestone cliffs and hidden coves on the Caribbean shore, Arikok Park offers as much ecological diversity as any place you'll ever visit. Unique historic sites within the park's boundaries shed light on Aruba's agricultural and mining past. Arikok Park is also home to numerous unique species, supported by the microclimates of the park's geography. Several types of snakes, lizards and birds native to the park are found nowhere else on earth. With nearly 20% of the island devoted to this one-of-a-kind preserve, nature lovers won't be disappointed by this Caribbean treasure.
Arikok Park is simple to explore as the trails are well marked and informative signs and displays are placed along many routes. For a little extra direction, the park office offers a very detailed guidebook worth your investment if you plan to spend much time here. Try to arrive early in the morning, as the birds and animals are most active just after sunrise. It is also recommended that you pack food, water, sunscreen and comfortable shoes.
Our first stop inside the park's boundaries is the farm known as Cunucu Arikok, an attraction recalling Aruba's agricultural history. Walking paths wind through natural vegetation and wildlife - land formerly used to grow beans, corn and peanuts. The adobe farmhouse has rarely-seen cactus roof beams, while cacti hedges still stand guard for the farmland. Additionally, several fine examples of Amerindian drawing exist on the rocks above the farm.
The Prins Plantation was the site of a coconut farm until the 1960s. Walking through the trails of the Prins Plantation, one will come upon a captivating ocean cove and plenty of wildlife. For a bit of history on Aruba's aloe cultivation, visit the Masiduri, a unique garden complex featuring a wealth of eucalyptus trees and informative exhibits on the aloe industry. Miralamar, an abandoned group of gold mines and trenches, is another interesting location to explore.
Nearing the coastline, the vegetation and landscape change dramatically. On the beaches of the rocky northern coast, where the sea meets imposing limestone formations, you will see crabs darting across pristine stretches of sand and giant birds floating above the water. The beach of Boca Prins is a popular site to watch the hatching of baby sea turtles, while Fuente possesses the cinematic grandeur of crashing waves. For picnics and sunbathing, Dos Playa is the best option inside Arikok Park, though swimming is usually too dangerous. Here you will also find the only eating establishment inside the park, serving excellent local cuisine and fresh seafood.
Hiding on the coast northwest of Dos Playa, the Natural Pool - known to locals as Cura di Tortuga - is sheltered from the waves of the Caribbean by rock formations. It is believed that the pool once held sea turtles waiting to be sold ('tortuga' means turtle in the indigenous Papiamento language). Today, the pool serves as an exotic swimming hole for those lucky enough to discover it.
Just a short walk from Boca Prins lays the Fontein Cave, the most visited cave of Aruba's northern coast. The walls of this cave are covered in Amerindian drawings and markings of early European colonizers. For your inner spelunker, the bizarrely-shaped stalagmites and stalactites are sure to impress. Just south of the Fontein Cave is the Hofi Fontein, or Fountain Garden, site of the only freshwater spring on Aruba's northern coast. The site also features a charming museum with plant and animal displays, always staffed by friendly park rangers.
With two large chambers opening to the Caribbean sky, the Quadirikiri Cave allows visitors to explore its cavern without flashlights. Local myth has a strange explanation for the cave's ceiling: it is said that the fiery daughter of a prominent Indian chief became trapped in the cave with her scorned suitor. In death, the spirits of the young couple burst through the top of the cave to heaven.
Also located on Aruba's northern coast, the Baranca Sunu Cave, also known as the Tunnel of Love for its heart-shaped opening, is rumored to have been popular hiding place for pirates and their treasures. Though the stories haven't been validated, the cave certainly possesses an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue. When you leave the caves and Arikok Park, consider following the coastal road to San Nicolas, a charming town with plenty of new activities for you and your family.
Related Tags: caribbean vacation, travel in aruba, aruba vacation, caribbean hospitality
This article was written by Justin. Justin writes select pieces about travel in caribbean and Mexico for Paradise by Marriott Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
Recent articles in this category:
- Top Things to do in Rabat, Malta
There are plenty of things to do in and around Rabat when you travel to Malta. 5 star luxury in your
- 4 Sightseeing Highlights of Malta
Malta is a country with many things to see and do, as you will realise when you go on your Malta 5 s
- Vacation Rentals - Something For Everyone!
There is no shortage of information on the vacation rental. I've written several articles on the top
- Vacation Rentals - a Few Facts
Most everyone has some knowledge of the vacation rental. What I'd like to do here, in the confines o
- Exotic Vacation Rentals
Travel is an adventure. In fact, that is why some us travel. Not for the relaxation, not for the cha
- Vacation Rental Vs. Hotel
And the winner is….Well, read this, then decide!First, the ubiquitous hotel. Swathed in branded name
- Tropical Vacation Homes - Investment or Destination?
Buying a vacation home for investment may be a great idea in these troubled economic times. Be certa
- How to Choose a West Rim or South Rim Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour
If you want to take a Grand Canyon helicopter tour, you must choose between the West Rim and the Sou
- Albuquerque Downtown Hotels Discounts, Deals and Reservations
Providing their guests with the best possible service available, Quality Inn & Suites in downtown Al
- Hotel Suites Albuquerque - Online Reservations and Specials
Located in the center of the beautiful and historic town of Albuquerque New Mexico, Clubhouse Inn &
Most viewed articles in this category:
- Brazil's Tourist Attractions
Despite its popularity, Brazil is largely unknown to a lot of people. Other spots around the world h
- Visit Ancient Persia, Greece, and North Cyprus with Clearchus of Soli
Tour the Hellenistic remains of Soli in North Cyprus with Clearchus, a student of Aristotle. As he
- Exotic Trips - Vacation In Venezuela
Venezuela is a favorite vacation destination. No wonder! For instance, Venezuela is home to the worl
- Some Advice When Buying A Travel Cot
A cot is a piece of furniture that is used for babies, infants, campers and travelers. Baby cots are
- Marriott Hotels Varied History and An Overview of Properties
Marriott International was established in 1993 when the Marriot Corporation split into two different
- Holiday In Cape Town
If you are interested in one of the top vacation destinations in the world, Cape Town may be right f
- Hawaii Honeymoon Vacation Packages: Why You Should Purchase One
Are you about to be married within the next year or two? If so, have you started planning your honey
- Cancun Weather
Cancun is one of the most well known tropical destinations in the world. Because Cancun is located j
- Golf Lovers: Save Money With Hawaii Vacation Golf Packages
Are you one of the millions of Americans who enjoys playing the game of golf? If so, there is a good
- Old Town San Diego
The Old Town San Diego Park serves as a way to recreate life in both the early American and early Me