A guide to Arikok National Park
By Hannah Barnard on 12th June, 2020
Arikok National Park covers about 18% of the land area of Aruba. Located at the northeastern part of the island, it showcases most of the island’s flora and fauna against a backdrop of great geological complexity. The plants and animals here have adapted to harsh and extreme desert conditions and strong eastern trade winds laden with salt spray; the park is home to a large variety of cacti.
However, there are some hidden and protected areas that allow for the survival of ancient tree species. Animals in the park consist mostly of birds, bats, rabbits, reptiles, and numerous invertebrates including land crabs and hermit crabs; the birds, rabbits, and reptiles are most active during the early morning hours and at sunset.
Arikok’s main elements are the rough hills of the volcanic Aruba lava formation, the mysterious rocks of the batholithic quartz-diorite/tonalite formation, and the limestone rocks from fossilized coral. The two tallest hills on the island preside over the park: Jamanota at 617 feet; Arikok at 577 feet. The line of the wind-and- wave-beaten north coast is broken by several bays (bocas). Most of them are small yet impressive inlets at the mouth of dry riverbeds. Some of these bays are spectacular sights, adorned with white sandy beaches and sand dunes, as at Boca Prins and Dos Playa.
Conchi (Natural Pool) is protected from the rough sea by surrounding rocks. Geology is also linked with history to provide a cultural experience. The Caquetio Indians left rock paintings in Cunucu Arikok and Fontein cave. Old plantation sites (cunucus) reflect the island’s challenging agricultural past. Restored adobe houses that were home to the families that worked the land are found at Cunucu Arikok and near Prins Plantation.
Arikok National Park Excursions
Park rangers maintain trails and protect natural resources. They also act as guides, available to take visitors around the park for individualized hiking tours that showcase the fascinating flora and fauna and interesting historical sites. There are also a number of tour companies on the island that offer fantastic days out and excursions, here’s our round-up of the best.
Explore Aruba’s rugged landscape behind the wheel of a UTV or in the comfort of a Jeep. ABC Tours offer a selection of exhilarating off-road tours which includes visiting the Conchi Natural Pool, exploring Ayo Indian Rock Formations, and cliff jumping. Excursions are priced from $69
Around Aruba Tours
Let Around Aruba Tours turn your vacation into the most exciting and unforgettable experience. Their friendly guides will show you their beautiful island Aruba. They have a wide variety of tours ranging from educational to adventure tours. The best way to enjoy an adventurous and exhilarating ride through the island’s rugged coast is in an ATV or UTV lead by their professional tour guides. Excursions are priced from $120.
Pelican Private Jeep Tour
On a Pelican private jeep tour, you’ll get to take in Arikok National Park’s sights and must-see landmark in a 4×4 driven by a professional guide. Excursions are priced from $77.
Read more: 7 awesome things for kids to do in Aruba