Hiking in Aruba



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Despite Aruba's arid landscape, hiking the rugged countryside will give you the best opportunities to see the island's wildlife and flora. Arikok National Wildlife Park is an excellent place to glimpse the real Aruba, free of the trappings of tourism. The heat can be oppressive, so be sure to take it easy, wear a hat, and have a bottle of water handy.

Arikok National Park. There are more than 34 km (20 mi) of trails concentrated in the island's eastern interior and along its northeastern coast. Arikok Park is crowned by Aruba's second-highest mountain, the 577-foot Mt. Arikok, so you can also go climbing here.

Hiking in the park, whether alone or in a group led by guides, is generally not too strenuous. Look for different colors to determine the degree of difficulty of each trail. You'll need sturdy shoes to grip the granular surfaces and climb the occasionally steep terrain. You should also exercise caution with the strong sun—bring along plenty of water and wear sunscreen and a hat. On the rare occasion that it rains, the park should be avoided completely, as mud makes both driving and hiking treacherous. At the park's main entrance, the Arikok Center houses offices, restrooms, and food facilities. All visitors must stop here upon entering, so that officials can manage the traffic flow and distribute information on park rules and features. 297/582–8001. www.arubanationalpark.org.

Nature Sensitive Tours. Eddy Croes, a former park ranger whose passion for the area is seemingly unbounded, runs this outfitter with care. Groups are never larger than eight people, so you'll see as much detail as you can handle. Expect frequent stops, when Eddy asks for silence so that you can hear the sounds of the park. The hikes are done at an easy pace and are suitable for basically anyone. A moonlight walk is available for those looking to avoid the heat. Pos Chiquito 13E, Savaneta. 297/585–1594. www.naturesensitivetours.com.


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