In our next featured article, we are jumping over to the Southern Caribbean now, to a very popular island called Aruba. There are so many things to do and places to see in Aruba, and most of them are very well documented. So basically I didn’t want to write the same things that have been written hundreds of times before. My article instead features six activities that are a little off the beaten path, activities that many of the casual tourists who visit the island probably don’t know about. (yet!) I hope you enjoy!
I like to classify this one as my hidden gem. Mangel Halto is situated about 30 minutes away from the high-rise section of Aruba. It’s located in the sleepy Pos Chiquito village which is located in the larger territory of Savaneta. If you drive too fast you might pass it. This beach is not your traditional beach. It’s uniqueness comes from the network of mangroves surrounding the immediate area. These mangroves protect the calm, shallow waters which are rich in sea life. There are also tiki-huts for shade and picnic tables as well. But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Mangel Halto is the many shades of blue found in the water. My words don’t do it justice, so just take a look at the pictures below!
Who loves jumping into crystal clear water? We certainly do! The reef at Malmok gives you the perfect opportunity to capture that awesome jumping-into-the-water GoPro video! Not to mention the reef around here boasts some of the best snorkeling in ALL of Aruba! In fact, the majority of snorkel excursions and snorkel boats come to this very spot. With that being said, your best bet is to get here early in the morning, (before 10:30AM) otherwise you’re going to be bumping into dozens of people trying to do the same exact thing as you.
Arashi Beach / California Lighthouse
Less than a mile away from Malmok, you will come across Arashi Beach. While Malmok can be described as a tiny, rocky cove that you might miss if you blink, Arashi is more of your traditional lounging beach with about 1000 feet of pearly white sand and palm trees. You’ll also find about a dozen tiki-huts scattered throughout the beach which are free to use. (if you get there early enough to secure one!) The water here is some of the clearest on the entire island, and behind you in the distance, you’ll notice the towering California Lighthouse overlooking Arashi. We loved the fact that no matter where you looked, you were greeted with an awesome sight. Overall, Arashi is our favorite beach in Aruba. (and we don’t throw those terms around lightly!)
Off-Roading in Arikok National Park
Aruba is one of the only islands I know that looks completely different depending on what side of the island you’re on. Case in point, Arikok National Park. This park is located on the Eastern side of Aruba, and actually takes up a large chunk of the island. If you ever get tired of all the palm trees and tropical beaches found on the west side of Aruba, take an ATV ride over to the east side. Here you won’t find palm trees or white sand beaches or coconuts. Instead you’ll find cactuses (or cacti), large open stretches of desert, and rocky coastlines. It’s such a treat to drive your jeep or ATV around the bumpy off-roads of Arikok while taking in the sights. You’ll also come across a couple of pretty cool caves filled with bats and ancient drawings. Pretty rad, dude!
Swim in the Natural Pool
A visit to Arikok National Park is not complete without taking a swim in the Natural Pool. Also known as “conchi” or “Cura di Tortuga”, the Natural Pool is a formation of rocks and volcanic stones that form a circle, creating a tranquil pool of calm water. However, not all is calm here, as the rough tide surrounding the pool create dramatic shows of water spraying over the rocks on a regular basis. So be prepared to get soaked every 30 seconds or so! The Natural Pool is surrounded by some of Aruba’s most rugged terrain, so you’ll truly get the feeling of having “discovered” something when you reach it.
De Palm Island
Just a few minute ferry ride away is De Palm Island, which is a small island off the coast of Aruba that is packed with things to do! Between zip-lining, snorkeling, SeaTrek, sunbathing, banana-boating, and much much more….there’s something for everyone here! Personally I recommend the SeaTrek because out of all the islands I’ve been to, this is one of my favorites. (trust me, you have to do SeaTrek at least once in your life, no matter what island you’re on) There are also restaurants and facilities on the island, so your every need is covered.