Established in the 1980’s, 20 percent of Aruba’s land is protected within Arikok National Park. Views of the Caribbean Sea crashing against the rocky coastline from the rugged hills are spectacular and worth the visit. Established hiking trails cover changing terrain including plantation ruins, gold mines, and cacti covered hills, which offer spectacular views of the north coast.
We appreciate the government’s efforts to develop the area responsibly and to take initiative to educate visitors and locals alike about our island’s unique treasures. Visitors can roam the park on their own, or our concierge team can set up a hike with a ranger from the park who can inform about the history, composition, animal and plant species as well as the various people who have inhabited the area over the centuries.
The terrain includes three geological formations: the Aruba lava formation, a quartz diorite formation and a limestone formation. Worn away by groundwater, several caves have been formed, with the best known being the Fontein Cave and Quadirikiri Cave.
Indigenous species to Aruba found in the park are the Aruban rattlesnake ‘Cascabel’, Aruban whiptail lizard ‘Kododo’, Aruban burrowing owl ‘Shoko’, and Aruban parakeet ‘Prikich’. Iguanas and many species of migratory birds live in the park as well, and goats and donkeys graze on the hills.
Not to be missed are the petroglyphs within the Ayo Rock formations which are monolithic rock boulders located near Ayo village. The Arawak people were the earliest settlers on the island. They used to visit Ayo Rock Formations so they could hear incoming thunderstorms closing in on the island. They also carved paintings in the rocks while performing religious rites which can be seen there today.
Other popular sites in Arikok include: Daimari, Cunuco Arikok, Boca Prins, Dos Playa, Natural Pool, Yamanota, and Hofi Fontein — the only freshwater spring in Aruba’s north coast — and the visitor’s center.
Trail routes are clearly marked, and signs indicate the names of local plants. It is best to stop by the park office at San Fuego, on the main road between the Low-Rise area and Santa Cruz, to pick up a map. The office is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is $11 per person.