Arikok National Park
|Arikok National Park|
Arikok National Park
|Nearest city||Noord, Santa Cruz and Oranjestad, capital of Aruba in the Kingdom of the Netherlands|
The Arikok National Park takes up approximately 18 percent of the island of Aruba and includes three primary geological formations: the Aruba lava formation, a quartz diorite formation, and a limestone formation that extends inward from the coast. These formations have directly influenced Aruba's human settlement, as well as its natural wonders.
Aruba is home to several species which only live on the island, including two unique species of snake and two bird species. Rock outcroppings also create micro-climatic conditions to support these unique plant and animal species, as well as settlements. These are located within the Arikok National Park almost exclusively. Inside the park are some of the island's oldest Arawak paintings, and has since drawn attention from the government.
Indigenous reptiles include the cascabel (Crotalus durissus unicolor), the santanero or (Aruban) Baker's cat-eyed snake (Leptodeira bakeri), and the kododo blauw or Aruban whiptail lizard (Cnemidophorus arubensis). Birds include the shoco or Aruban burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia arubensis) and the prikichi or Aruban parakeet (Aratinga pertinax arubensis).
First designated as an important national area in the 1980s, Arikok National Park is home to popular hiking trails, covering all kinds of terrain from hills to gold mines, and even plantation ruins.
In the national park some traditional Aruban houses in the cas di torto style can be visited.
Locations of interest
- Cunucu Arikok: Remains of an old farm where various plants were cultivated. There are still cactus hedges and stonewalls visible.
- Arikok Hilltop: A viewpoint from where you can see much of the island.
- Jamanota Hilltop: The highest point on the island, 188 meters, slightly higher than Arikok Hilltop.
- Fontein Cave: A limestone cave with brownish-red pictographs probably left behind by the Arawak tribe, as well as some more recent "wall art" made by early European settlers.
- Quadirikiri Cave: Another limestone cave, home to many bats. In a couple of places there are openings in the ceiling, making these caves fairly easy to explore without too much artificial lighting.
- Boca Prins: Beach where turtles nest and a small bar/cafe.
- Dos Playa: Relatively calm seas, it is possible to surf or bodyboard here.
- Natural Pool (Conchi): A calm pond, protected from the rough seas on the east coast by surrounding rocks.
- Arikok National Park - Aruba Tourism Authority