We went on the half day private Arikok National Park tour and can’t recommend it enough for anyone looking to explore the other side of the island!
Jorge, the owner of the tour company, met us at our hotel to drive us to the Nature info center. He was immediately warm, friendly and chatty about everything Aruba!
We met our hike guide Marcella at the info center, where she showed us pictures of some of the animals and plants we would see on the hike.
Marcella started the hike by saying “ask me anything” and we proceeded to talk the entire 4-hour hike! She was easy to talk to, shared funny stories, educated us about Aruba and it’s bountiful nature and we bonded over our love for Sex & the City and yoga (she’s an instructor).
At a breathtaking moment during the hike when the waves were crashing up against the rocks and the wind was blowing she asked us to ground ourselves, take a deep breath, close our eyes and to remember this moment when we are stressed back at home. It was something that I will never forget and will use! Marcella has inspired us to look for hiking trails in our hometown, to notice and appreciate the natural beauty around us. She also graciously stopped to take our picture or take a water break as we needed.
Along the hike we saw a turquoise spotted lizard, lots of round cacti with little pink flowers, (luckily she found one that bore a small fruit that looked like a pepper but was tart and delicious) Aruban eagles and trees that leaned sideways from the wind.
Unfortunately, the natural pool was closed due to high winds, making it unsafe to swim. But we were able to dip our feet in another beach that was a little further along the hike. And Marcella treated us to homemade mocha coffee and a biscuit treat when we stopped at the natural pool.
As the hike was about 4 hours, be sure you are prepared with proper sneakers so you have a good grip on the rocks. There were a few steep hills but nothing that was unmanageable, if you use your strength and will. Be sure to apply lotion sunscreen (not spray!) before your hike and reapply often as you will sweat it off and not feel your skin burning
due to the winds. Also, pack 4 bottles of water to keep you hydrated. With these tips you are sure to enjoy the raw and rugged side of Aruba.