Arikok National Park

Nearly 20% of Aruba has been designated part of Arikok National Park, which sprawls across the eastern interior and the northeast coast. The new, eco-friendly visitor center is built entirely of sustainable South American hardwood, uses solar panels for clean energy, and cools the building with an underground water basin. The park is the keystone of the government's long-term ecotourism plan to preserve Aruba's resources and showcases the island's flora and fauna. Other highlights include ancient Arawak petroglyphs, ruins of a gold-mining operation at Miralmar, and remnants of Dutch peasant settlements in Masiduri. Within the confines of the park are Mt. Arikok and the 620-foot Mt. Yamanota, Aruba's highest peak. The natural pool (conchi) is a popular snorkeling destination and a beautiful natural phenomenon.

Anyone looking for geological exotica should head for the park's caves, found on the northeastern coast. Baranca Sunu, the so-called Tunnel of Love, has a heart-shape entrance and naturally sculpted rocks farther inside that look like the Madonna, Abraham Lincoln, and even a jaguar. Fontein Cave, which was used by indigenous peoples centuries ago, is marked with ancient drawings (rangers are on hand to offer explanations). Bats are known to make appearances—don't worry, they won't bother you. Although you don't need a flashlight because the paths are well lighted, it's best to wear sneakers.

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