Aruba is known for its beautiful beaches with soft white sand, palm trees and a smooth warm sea. A sea capturing the most exiting sea life. But what lots of people don’t know is that the east part is actually very rough. And that the best way to discover it, is by a Jeep Safari!
The strong wind always coming from the east, created a landscape where you easily could shoot a movie about the first moon landing. Time to go on a jeep safari and explore this authentic part of the island.
There are multiple guides offering you a tour in a large jeep or a UTV. You can also take your car rental, but with the rough landscape not a smart thing to do. Some places are easy accessible, even with a rental car, but to reach the most special places a 4-wheel drive is a must. Beside the guide tells you all the ins and outs of the island.
We booked a private jeep safari with the help of our concierge*. Among several options, we choose to go on a 4 hour tour, starting in the morning. So we had the afternoon for a relaxing stay at our swimming pool, because hey… we are on holiday!
In the morning we were picked-up at the villa with a brand new jeep. Our driver and guide, Eddie, made a quick introduction and explained all the sights we were going to visit:
- Bushiribana gold Mill ruins
- Natural bridge
- Ayo rock formation
- Ari Kok Natural Park
- Quadiriki cave
- Fountain cave
- Natural pool conchi
Driving to the east the landscape became rough with a lot of cacti, but so pure and beautiful! On this side of the island the waves are banging on the rocks, a complete different view than we are used to see in the touristic part on the west side of the island.
The story around the gold mill ruins is interesting, but the fact it is now a ruin probably means there is not a lot of gold left on the island … Nevertheless, it is a must see, also because of the nice views you have.
Time to hit the road to the natural bridge. In the past this was one the most touristic attractions on the island and it probably still is despite the fact it collapsed back in 2005. Next to it there is the baby natural bridge that is still one of the largest natural bridges in the world.
Our next stop was the Ayo Rock formation. A huge rock formation where in the past the natives of the island lived, the Arawak Indians. Pre-historic paintings are still preserved and it is very impressive to realize how old these paintings are. The same applies for the size of some of the rocks.
Driving all the way through the natural park (Ari Kok) we arrived at the caves, all having a different story. Stories around myths and the Arawak Indians who decorated many walls. Unfortunately lot of the original paintings are already ruined by tourists, writing their name on the walls. So please be aware of the historical meaning of these caves and their paintings and do not damage them!
Last stop was the natural pool also called in Papiamento “Conchi” or “Cura di Tortuga”. Both names mean nest or nest of the turtle. These names are coming from the locals who kept baby turtles in the pool till they were grownup. After arriving at the parking the only thing between you and a refreshing dive is a stairway. When you finished the climb down, a real adventure is meeting you! Definitely bring your snorkel gear with you. You will be surprised about the different species of fish who live in the pool.
Do not forget to bring some food and drinks, due to the heat you will need it. The company where we booked the tour provided us also with some drinks. They stored the refreshing drinks in the cool box at the back of the jeep, easy to reach during the bumpy ride!
After all those lovely places we visited, the jeep dropped us back off at Casa Galpy again. The spots we have visited with the jeep safari is a pick we made ourselves and was based on a selection we thought was interested. The companies offering tours can help you in making your personal selection. One thing for sure … as safari is not only something you can do in Africa.
* Casa Galpy works together with a concierge. Her efforts are included when renting Casa Galpy. She offers several services that makes your holiday extra relaxing. I.e. a private chef, baby sitting, jeep safari booking, car rental booking.