“One Happy Girl” on “One Happy Island”

If you are VERY adventurous rent a jeep for the day to explore the “One Happy Island, Aruba. The resort we stayed at had a on site car rental, so we decided to rent a 4×4 Jeep, bypass the usual tourist Jeep Safari Tours and explore the “One Happy Island” ourselves.  The rental guy gave us a great map, told us to down load Maps Me App for offline use and reiterated the insurance paid for renting the Jeep was not covered for off-road use.  Funny, but the map he gave us and his oral directions included mostly off-road routes.    We started off happily,  stopping too many times along the way for the California Lighthouse, Natural Bridge (which is now baby bridge (see below) so disappointingIMG_4574

Then with a few other scenic stops, which hindsight took too long so we missed the Quadirikiri Cave and a few other things

After many wrong turns on roads not properly marked, we finally found the park ranger and paid our entrance fees to get into the Arikok park.  The park ranger asked if we were walking or driving our Jeep down to the Natural Pool.  The whole reason we had rented the Jeep was to drive down to the Natural Pool, so we opted to drive.  The ranger said with a smirk, well since you are driving when the road gets rough just pop her into 4 wheel drive and follow the path.  Up the incline we went heading towards the Natural Pool, but when we looked over the other side of the hill,  I thought what road?  I was sure glad I wasn’t driving, I would have turned around and booked a tour the next day with the Safari Jeep Tour and let them do the driving.  While my significant other was an excellent driver, nothing to really worry about,  I white knuckled it all the way down the hill on the bumpy road and forgot to take pictures of the trail while going. This ride was more jarring than the worst roller coaster I’ve ever rode on.   Finally, going about 2 miles an hour, weaving in and out of rocks we made it to the bottom. Glancing back up I wondered how we were ever going to find our way back up the hill?  Now I see why the corner sticker on our rented Jeep said driving to the Natural pool was STRICTLY prohibited.  Now that we have made it to the bottom of the incline,  the next hurdle was to climb in to the Natural Pool.  The rocks were slippery covered with algae and razor-sharp.  We both cut our feet on the rocks and had a few bumps and bruises from falling before reaching the alcove.  Once dipping ourselves in to the cool beautiful water, seeing the  colorful fish, crystal blue water from the Caribbean Sea splashing over the rocks creating a waterfall effect at times made it all worth the effort!  We were lucky too to have the pool to ourselves, perfect timing, because as we were leaving several Jeep Safari’s arrived filled with tourists.  It was truly a peaceful, beautiful place I would have liked to spend more time at , but we needed to leave to at least make it to Baby Beach before sunset.  Below are some more pictures of the Natural Pool

Now you can see why in the video I say we made it to Baby Beach after the time-consuming dangerous journey to the Natural Pool.   The snorkeling at Baby Beach was awesome, except with so many people the bottom was stirred up and visibility on Go Pro was not very good.

 

It was truly one “Happy Girl” on “One Happy Island”  to make it out of the Arikok’s park Natural Pool without damaging our rental Jeep.

Would we do it again, you bet!  Here’s a few tips if you plan to go.

  1.  Renting your own Jeep be prepared to suffer the consequences if you damage the vehicle.
  2.  Download the app Maps Me (make sure you download the map while you have internet)  Even if you pay for International internet it will not work in the Arikok park
  3. Renting a Jeep pay extra for an air-conditioned, hard top one. Plus, leave your valuables in the Jeep locked while at the Natural Pool.
  4. Don’t make so many stops along the way, pace yourself, so you can see more
  5. Wear water shoes for the rocky bottom of the Natural Pool.
  6. Bring band aids for the cuts you will receive on the rocks

Be prepared to see the beautiful formation protected from the rough Sea, not created by man. In the Park’s brochure it says “The journey to the pool is also part of the experience and is only possible with the proper 4×4 vehicle”  Boy did they quote that right.  Link to visit listed below:

www.arikoknationalpark.org

**I have won quite a few Hilton Honor points and I am looking for some suggestions of places of natural beauty?  What do you suggest?  Best way to Utilize my 2 million points? Please leave some comments below of spectacular places to visit. **

 

 

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