Hiking is not the first thing on your mind when you vacation in Aruba, but a cooling dip in turquoise waters and drinking rum punch at the beach bar sounds more like a tropical get away, right?

Although this looks like the way to go when in Aruba, there’s much more to experience than white beach sand and colorful drinks. Because miles away from the swaying palm trees is a stark and barren country side most visitors never get to see known as, Arikok National Park.

One usually visits Arikok with jeep tours, but this time I took the road less traveled and hiked the sands!

If you already did the jeep tour through the national park or never been before, let me show you what I found on my hiking adventure.

Discover The Country Side

As the sun started rising, I stood on a hill north coast of the island, overlooking Rancho Daimari, one of the oldest and largest coconut plantations in Aruba.

Rancho Daimari was named after a nearby secluded beach named Daimari bay, located within the Arikok National Park. 

This view is just, wow!

Hiking the sandy paths and rocky trails of Daimari, I noticed phenomenal natural wonders only found off the beaten path in Aruba.

As I got closer to the coastline of Daimari, I could smell the sea salt in the air, and feel the hard blowing wind everyone comes to love once on the island.

The coastline of Aruba is beautiful.

Exploring The North side Coastlines

Alongside the windward coastlines one will encounter local flora and fauna. The North side of the island is dotted with cactus and over 50 different species of tree’s. Cacti are important to the survival of different animals, especially for birds, because the fruits they produce are a main source of food. 

Walking further down the coastline you encounter Dos Playa, one of the many different bays, locally known as boca’s.

Boca’s are small inlets connected to the ocean at the beginning of dry riverbeds.

Standing near a boca is a spectacular sight – watching waves crash against the rocky shores that have done so for hundreds of years before we were born.

Dos Playa Beach.

The trail alongside the coast line after Dos Playa leads to a large sand dune.

Sand dunes are important for several birds known to nest and is a habitat for many animals living inside of the national park. The sand dunes are protected by law, and it’s not allowed to drive on them with any motorized vehicle.

Hike the sands in Aruba

Don’t drive on Aruba’s sand dunes.

After hiking for over an hour, I made it to Moro, one of the other Boca’s, but unique because it has two inlets and there’s a giant limestone rock in the middle formed like Aruba, when you see it from above. Locals know this place as Klein Aruba, Dutch for Small Aruba.

A well needed break after hiking for about an hour.

Inside Arikok National Park

Arikok is dessert like, with high hills, big rocks and secret caves.

The national park was established in 2000 to protect and preserve almost 34 square kilometers of flora, fauna, geology, and historical remains in Aruba.

Inside Arikok one will find two of the tallest hills on the island, Arikok Hilltop and Jamanota Hill, which is 188 meters, the highest point in Aruba. Standing on this hill gives you a panoramic view of the island, you won’t find anywhere else. 

Arikok National Park has a visitor centre, housing a large variety of educational and informational programs. The visitor centre is the starting point of all guided tours and over 29 miles of hiking trails.

Entrance inside the national park from the visitors centre is $11.00

Enjoying Natural Pool

Finally, after passing Moro, I made it to Natural Pool, to cool off from the blazing heat. 

The natural pool is one of the most sought after attraction by locals and visitors who end up exploring the national park. Most people know the natural pool as Conchi, but the real secret name is, “turtle pen” , because sea turtles used to swim in the pool before it became popular.

If you’ve never been to the Arikok National park, or only experienced it in a jeep tour, I recommend you to get to know the park by hiking the sands.

Standing on top of a giant rock at the natural pool.

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The combination of strong winds and big waves, crashing against limestone rocks on the north coast formed a natural bridge in Aruba.

The Aruba natural bridge was one of the largest in the world.

Yes, I said was, because in 2005, the unthinkable “Aruba natural bridge collapse” happened.

But the remains of the natural bridge remains a scenic attraction until this day.

So why should you visit the natural bridge in Aruba, if it isn’t there any more?

You should visit, because there’s many other things to see and do.

The 4 Things I Liked About Natural Bridge in Aruba

I decided to visit the natural bridge, after almost more than year without going there.

While driving on the north coast of the island, I was reminded of how beautiful Aruba really is because of the….

1. The Beautiful Scenery

The way to the natural bridge in Aruba is a sand road that will give you one of the longest bumpiest rides (approximately 2 kilometers) you’ve ever experienced.

natural bridge in aruba

2.8 km to natural bridge in Aruba

On your way to the natural bridge, you’ll only notice 3 colors, blue, brown and green (and different shades of them). There’s nothing else but mountains, cactus, the ocean and blue skies. Occasionally you will see a few donkeys or goats roaming around.

The view here is amazing…

natural bridge in aruba

Small cove near the coastlines

A picture might show you how beautiful it is, but this is something you have to experience first hand.

natural bridge in aruba

Welcome to natural bridge Aruba.

2. Beautiful Remodeled Shop

The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the natural bridge was the bright yellow snack bar and souvenir shop.

It was the first “thirst aid stop” created by a local family more than 45 years ago – and it’s still the only refreshment shop in this area of the island.

The shop was sold to a local tour company (De Palm Tours), which renovated the entire place.

They remodeled the thirst aid shop into a beautiful typical old style home on the island, known as a cunucu house.

natural bridge in aruba

The remodeled natural bridge store

The interior has been completely renovated. Fully air conditioned, with a new bar, dining area, restrooms and a gift shop.

natural bridge in Aruba

A few of the items sold at the gift shop.

They sell different clothing brands from Aruba, slippers, hats for all ages. You can also get pica di papaya (papaya pepper) if you like the extra spice in your food.

They also sell mini alcoholic bottles, sunscreen, mosquito repellents and Aruba aloe island remedy face lotion.

3. I Like The Cool Art on the Wall

The new owners lifted the natural bridge shop by adding a very cool and interesting mural, depicting the natural bridge in its original form.

natural bridge in aruba

Isn’t this mural beautiful?

Everyone that visits natural bridge in Aruba, takes a picture and records a video that can be remembered forever!

Turn your living room into the cool mural with a beautiful natural bridge canvas wall art.


Buy it now on Amazon.

4. Baby Natural Bridge

Although the original bridge collapsed already, there’s plenty of several other natural bridges near this side of Aruba’s coastlines.

There’s a bridge right next to the remains of the natural bridge, known as the “Baby Natural Bridge in Aruba”.

natural bridge in aruba

The baby bridge in Aruba

Here’s a picture of the remains from the natural bridge.

natural bridge in aruba

Remains of the natural bridge that collapsed in 2005

The natural bridge in Aruba is a beautiful place to take pictures, because of the backdrop of the surrounding windswept rocky hills and the ocean.

You can’t visit Aruba and not go to the natural bridge – your trip to this part of the island will be well worth it. If you want to explore the island, read 9 things to do at surfside beach or have a romantic beachside dinner in Aruba.

Good To Know….

Before you visit the natural bridge in Aruba, it’s important to know that….

  • You have to pay $1.00 to use the restroom
  • Entrance to the natural bridge is free.

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One of Aruba’s landmarks, a stone tower, better known as California Lighthouse Aruba, has been completely refurbished.

The watchman for ships is standing tall and proud!

Let’s look how the renewing of the lighthouse took place and what you can expect from the grand opening…

Restoration of California Lighthouse Aruba

The restoration of the California Lighthouse started in 2015 and took one year to complete. The initial idea to restore it was, because of the 100th year anniversary since it was first constructed.

The renovation of the California Lighthouse was realized by Monumentenbureau,National Restauratiefonds Netherlands and Aruba Bank.

The California Lighthouse Aruba is now considered a preserved monument.

Grand Opening of The California Lighthouse Aruba

The California lighthouse Aruba has been closed for decades.

When the doors were closed, you could only wonder as to what inside looked like. And how the view would be from the top…

But those days, are long gone. Because on 26th of August 2016 the lighthouse has been officially opened!

The California Lighthouse doors has been re-opened for the first time by the Minister of Tourism and Aruba’s Governor.

The press (and other special guests) were there to witness the grand opening.

California Lighthouse Aruba Tour

The lighthouse is now open for tours (tickets cost 8$.)

The money goes towards maintaining the lighthouse in tip top condition.

The tour includes a historical description of the California Lighthouse. And the best part of all, a climb up the stairs to the highest lookout point of the lighthouse! 

You’ll have 360 degree views of Aruba’s north coastline and surroundings.

If you’re interested you can book a VIP tour for private viewing.

I experienced the lighthouse before and after its restoration. It’s worth it to see what’s new!

Are you going to make your first inaugural climb at the California Lighthouse?

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The California Lighthouse Aruba was made to warn ships away from Aruba’s coastlines. Now it attracts visitors like a magnet. 

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California Lighthouse Aruba History

So, what’s the tale behind this magnificent structure?

It all began over a 100 years ago. When a boat shipwrecked on the northern coastline of Aruba.

Because of this incident the lighthouse was constructed.

Isn’t it a beautiful building?

The shipwrecked boat was called California so they named the lighthouse after it.

A gentleman from Curacao, Jacob Jacobs, was the first to be responsible for the California Lighthouse. 

The last person in charge of the lighthouse was an Aruban called Federico Fingal.

Today there’s a restaurant adjacent to the lighthouse. Back then this was the home of the person in charge of the California Lighthouse.

About The California Lighthouse

The lighthouse was designed by a French architect. The construction started in 1914 and was completed in 1916.

The colossal tower, made out of stone blocks, stands on an elevated terrain, about 10 meters above sea level. 

The lighthouse is about 30 meters high.

It’s been closed for years, due to lack of maintenance.

However, good news is, it’s been refurbished since July 2016.

Read about the renovation of the lighthouse here.

California Lighthouse Aruba Surroundings

An arid landscape surrounds the lighthouse. Cool trade winds. The area is dotted with cactus, trees and sharp rocks near the edges of the hill.

You can see nearby sand dunes from the lighthouse. 

If you get hungry, you can buy something to eat at one of the local snack trucks parked in front of the lighthouse.

They sell delicious shaved ice here.

On weekends, I like to drive around the island, visit the lighthouse. Take some pictures. Buy shaved ice from one of the snack trucks and enjoy the view of Aruba from the lighthouse.

Location of The California Lighthouse

The California Lighthouse is located in the northern part of the island. This part of Aruba is better known as Hudishibana.

California Lighthouse is best reached by car (or taxi).

You can also take the bus, but it doesn’t go all the way to the lighthouse. The last bus stop is Arashi Beach.  So you’ll need to walk about a kilometer further and climb the hill!

It’s worth the walk, that’s if you like to hike.

Are you going to visit the California Lighthouse?