Arikok National Park in Aruba became a foundation in 2013 and obtained a considerable amount of European Development Funds to rebuild the park to what it has become today. Although the Arikok Park project is still in progress, locals and visitors already have access to many facilities and adventures here.
One example is the modern visitor center, which includes an information desk, a large terrarium with local species, a media room, a snack bar, a souvenir shop and bathrooms. This is where adults pay their entrance fee, because children under 17 years can enjoy the park for free.
Warawara birds in Arikok National Park — Photo courtesy of Arikok National Park Foundation
To explore the park, guests can opt for hiking, biking or driving in 4x4 vehicles (recommended), or they book a bus or safari tour at their resort’s tour desk. Hikers can take several scenic trails with the help of the national park’s map, but they should be prepared: sunblock, hats, adequate shoes and plenty of water are crucial for a whole or a half day in Aruba’s sun.
There are also special arrangements for visitors interested in a guided tour through the park. Just call two days in advance to book a park ranger hiking trip.
Arikok’s main attractions include the Cunucu Arikok Trail with a variety of tropical cactus and local plants, indigenous birds, lizards and goats, the old cunucu house and caves with Indian drawings. See who can find the bird drawing that symbolizes Arikok Park on its logo.
The Miralamar Trail brings visitors to the top of Aruba’s highest point, Mount Jamanota, and continues to the old gold mines and other historical sites like the plantation at Masiduri. Cave hunters have two interesting sites to explore: Quadirikiri and Fontein Caves. Both preserve ancient native drawings and Aruba’s bats - an endangered species that is vital to the island’s healthy ecosystem.
Fontein Caves in Aruba — Photo courtesy of Arikok National Park Foundation
To refresh body and soul, explorers can take a swim and even snorkel in a natural pool called “Conchi." Horseback riding or jeep tours are perfect ways to enjoy spectacular island views before reaching this miracle of nature. Have a picnic under the sea grape trees at the Boca Prins sand dunes, or catch some waves at Dos Playa.
For serious refueling after an action-packed day, visit the only restaurant in the park: Boca Prins Bar and Restaurant. Frozen cocktails, ice-cold beer and hot sandwiches never tasted so good.
To exit the park, take the road to the Quadirikiri caves and Vader Piet instead of the main entrance, if driving a rented car. Drive along the coastline past Boca Grandi, where a lot of kite surfing takes place, and take a photo at the Red Anchor (Lost Seamen’s Memorial) before heading to Baby Beach or Rodgers Beach for a quick swim, or for the rest of the day.
Rooi Prins — Photo courtesy of Arikok National Park Foundation