Cities Journal

Aruba’s Natural Beauty

Photo credit: Avodrocc / Flickr

According to VisitAruba, Aruba is an island located 17 miles north of Venezuela. Aruba became a separate entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1986. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is comprised of Holland, Aruba and the five islands in the Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.

Aruba, located in the southern Caribbean, is not a lush, tropical island like many of the other islands located in the Caribbean. Its climate is warm and desert-like, so rather than palm trees, one is more likely to encounter cacti.

Nature Attractions

Even though Aruba is dry and desert-like, it’s an island of great natural beauty. Kini Kini Transfers and Tours recommends arranging a personalized off road ATV tour to see the scenic vistas in the northern part of the island. VisitAruba says that depending upon what one wishes to see, tourists will either need to rent a car or a 4×4 vehicle, take a kayak tour or walk across the sand dunes. Moreover, Arikok National Park adds riding a horse to the list of transportation modes.

Arikok National Park

According to the information provided by the Arikok National Park website, the park was established in 2000, and comprises between 18 and 20% of the country’s land area. Located in the northeastern part of the island, visitors to Arikok National Park can see examples of most of the types of flora and fauna found on the island.

The park has beaches, caves containing Arawak and Caquetío Indian drawings and paintings, the highest hill on the island, a natural pool, sand dunes and volcanic lava formations.

These are descriptions of some of the sites of natural beauty within Arikok National Park.

Boca Prins

VisitAruba and Arikok National Park discuss Boca Prins, a quiet beach in the park. The beach, which actually has a strong undertow, causing swimming to be very dangerous, and not recommended, is a wonderful picnic location. Photographers will want to photograph the beach and its cliffs, the sand dunes and the rocky shoreline.

Cunucu Arikok
According to Aruba Travel Info, a path from Arikok National Park’s parking lot leads to the partially-restored Cunucu Arikok, a centuries-old farm. Visitors can see a typical adobe made of mud and grass, the fields where crops were grown and fences made of cacti and stone which kept animals away from the crops.

Fontein Cave
Fontein Cave, located near Boca Prins, is also mentioned by VisitAruba and Arikok National Park. Visitors can see a variety of paintings and drawings on the ceiling and walls of the cave. There are images by both Arawak and Caquetío Indians. (The Caquetío Indians were native to Venezuela, 17 miles south of the island.) There is also graffiti by early European settlers.

Guadirikiri Cave
According to Destination360, Guadiriki Cave is one of the top attractions in Aruba. There are two chambers in the cave, with the main one being more than 100 feet long. The cave contains drawings scratched into its rock walls by Arawak Indians before Spanish explorers settled on the island in 1499. The cave is home to small bats, which are said by Arikok National Park to be harmless.

Natural Pool (Conchi)
According to VisitAruba, a 4×4 or ATV vehicle is needed to get to this natural pool, Aruba’s most important natural site. Visitors can also ride a horse or walk. Known as Aruba’s hidden pool, this natural swimming pool was created by a rock formation protecting the water from the rough sea.

Visitors can dive off the surrounding rocks into the water, snorkel and swim. Swimmers should pay careful attention to the pool’s waves, since swimming can be dangerous when the waves are high.

These are descriptions of some of the sites of natural beauty that are not located within Arikok National Park.

Ayo Rock Formations
According to VisitAruba, the forces of nature created the massive monolithic boulders comprising the Ayo Rock Formations. The rocks are located inland from Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, in the southwestern part of the island. Visitors can walk on paved paths between the boulders and climb steps to get to the tops of some of them.

Bubali Bird Sanctuary
A travel site named Aruba recommends visiting the Bubali Bird Sanctuary, located in the Palm Beach area of the island, near the major hotels. More than 80 species of migratory birds use the lush vegetation and man-made ponds as their breeding ground.

Casibari Rock Formations
VisitAruba recommends traveling to the Casibari Rock Formations in the center of Aruba on a clear day. There is a path which leads to the top of the boulders. If visibility is clear, visitors can see the entire island from the highest point. They might possibly be able to see Venezuela, too.

Hooiberg (Haystack)
According to VisitAruba, visitors can have a fantastic view of Aruba from the top of Hooiberg, a hill in the center of the island. Hooiberg is a volcanic formation 540 feet above sea level. To reach the top of the hill, it is necessary to climb approximately 567 steps.

Anyone who appreciates the beauty of nature should visit Aruba. Although there are many islands which a traveler can visit in the Caribbean, none of those islands can be compared to Aruba when it comes to scenic vistas, cave paintings, massive rock formations, beaches, birds and centuries-old farms.

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