Most people associate the Caribbean dream come true with the small southern Caribbean island of Aruba: palm trees, crystal clear turquoise blue water and white dream beaches wherever the eye can see. And that’s also true, because Aruba has the most beautiful beach in the entire Caribbean , thanks to the breathtaking underwater world every dive here becomes an adventure and you can even swim with flamingos .
If that’s not enough, it should be said: Aruba can do even more! What many do not know: Aruba’s north side offers the most stark contrast to the dream beaches on the south side that you can imagine. The absolute highlight on Aruba’s north coast is without a doubt the Natural Pool, a round rock formation directly on the sea, into which the waves slosh into it again and again, creating a natural pool. What at first sounds quite unspectacular is one of the main attractions of Aruba, for which many day tourists (e.g. who come to Aruba on the cruise ships) often skip the wonderful beaches. The tours to the Natural Pool are often fully booked days in advance, so a little planning doesn’t hurt.
In this article we will show you what you can expect from your Natural Pool adventure on Aruba, what you should pay attention to and – most importantly – how you can explore the Natural Pool completely free of charge.
Off Road in Aruba: The Arikok National Park
The Natural Pool (also called ‘Conchi’ by the locals) is located in the middle of the Arikok National Park, a very barren nature reserve that takes up almost 20% of the area of Aruba . We have already hinted at it: Who so far has only taken pictures of Aruba’s beautiful sandy beach eshas seen, who can hardly imagine that the island is otherwise characterized by barren, dusty dry landscape, in which little more than grows than man-high cacti and aloe plants (the symbol of Aruba, next to the Divi-Divi trees, of course). This is due to the simple fact that Aruba has no inland water and in the southern Caribbean, as one of the islands ‘under the wind’, hardly ever gets rain, you won’t find a hurricane season in Aruba. It is warm and sunny all year round, so the flora and fauna look accordingly. At this point just a few pictures:
The further you go to the north side, the more bizarre and rocky the landscape becomes (and the more dangerous the native animal species become, for example you come across more and more wild, very (!!) dangerous donkeys, as can be seen in the picture). In the area of the Arikok National Park at the latest, paved roads are becoming increasingly rare: You are on the road off-road, Google Maps can often no longer help and some of the routes cannot be covered with a normal rental car.
Natural Pool Aruba: The Best Aruba Adventure
The way to the Natural Pool is not that simple, especially if you want to go out on your own: Since the Natural Pool cannot be reached via a paved road, Google Maps will unfortunately lead you astray. It took us two attempts to find the Natural Pool. On the first day we turned around again because, thanks to the lack of a GPS signal in the Arikok National Park, we weren’t sure whether we were on the right path and were afraid of getting lost (we had already been on the road for over half an hour with far too little water and slowly lost orientation in the barren landscape). It is therefore all the more important to start the Natural Pool adventure halfway prepared – because the journey is part of the goal!
This is how you get to the Natural Pool
You can basically reach the Natural Pool in Aruba in 3 ways: By guided tour, with your own 4×4 or off-road with a rental car and a short hike.
By guided tour to the Natural Pool
This is the tourist variant 😉 For those of you who have little time in Aruba, a guided tour to the Natural Pool is ideal. You will be brought as close as possible to the Natural Pool in an off-road vehicle, the last section (possibly 200m) you have to cover on foot.
The cost of a natural pool tour is around $ 90 per person , the tours last about 4 hours and you will be accompanied by local guides who also take good care of their sheep at the natural pool.
Here you can book various Natural Pool tours (remember to book in good time, as the tours are often booked out a few days in advance. Only a limited number of people can be brought to the Natural Pool):
On your own to the Natural Pool
If you don’t want to pay $ 90 and are not afraid to pave your way through the Arikok National Park with a real off-road vehicle, then this is your alternative. Rent a jeep in Aruba – and by that we mean a jeep, a real off-road vehicle, not an SUV, not a fake off-road vehicle, but a real off-road vehicle. Everything else will not work. You have to drive over large stones, rocks, deep holes and unpaved, sandy soil. The way to the Natural Pool through the Arikok National Park cannot be covered with a normal vehicle. So don’t even try, off-road driving is usually excluded in rental vehicle contracts in Aruba, so that tourists don’t make nonsense with their Fiat Puntos.
And no, there is no other way than off road through Arikok National Park. There is just one way.
Tip: Since Google Maps won’t show you the way on site, get directions beforehand. You can find very good and precise directions here: Directions to the Natural Pool . It’s best to print them out! Without these clues you will not find the way.
Off road walk to the natural pool
If you don’t want to rent an off-road vehicle or if you don’t feel comfortable driving it, there is a third way to get to the Natural Pool, which, however, requires a little stamina. You drive with your normal rental car into the Arikok National Park, the roads on this way are just so that you can drive them carefully (!).
Enter Rancho Daimari as your destination on Google Maps . Please not Natural Pool Aruba , this is the wrong way! (namely the one that can only be driven on by off-road vehicle!). There is a small parking lot above the Rancho Daimari, here you park your car, pack your belongings and off you go.
You have to first go down and past the ranch, then always follow the trampled path (by the way, we didn’t have to pay an entrance fee for the national park anywhere. We wouldn’t have known where … to give the donkeys? Put a note between the cacti? It was far and wide not a soul to be seen).
Go towards the coast and keep to the right. It is best to just follow the coastline to the east, then nothing can go wrong. Along the way you will come across a few smaller beaches in addition to the bizarre landscape – we strongly recommend that you do NOT go swimming here ! The current on this side of Aruba is extremely dangerous, but you can see that from the waves with a little common sense.
After a 1.5 to 2 km walk (approx. 45 minutes ) you will reach the Natural Pool. It took us two attempts to find this way to the Natural Pool. The first time we stopped because we weren’t sure whether we were right at all, as Google is more likely to cause confusion here, as I said, and GPS does not work. After checking again at home, when we were sure that we had actually already been on the right track and that we only had to go a little further, we tried again the next day and this time found the Natural Pool.
In the Natural Pool itself, the current should not be underestimated. The right side is more or less open, the current sometimes pulls you properly towards the open sea. Sometimes such violent waves slosh into the pool from the left side that you get pretty doused and lose your grip. But don’t worry – at the Natural Pool there is always at least one ranger on site (plus the guides for the guided tours) who takes care and can help immediately if problems arise.
Incidentally, there is another smaller pool above the main pool, which can be reached with a little climbing. The water here is warmer and calmer.
Natural Pool Aruba: This is what you need for your adventure
What you should definitely take with you are a pair of sturdy bathing shoes . The rocks in the Natural Pool are quite slippery and sharp-edged, you won’t get far with flip flops (not least because the current will tear them off your feet and then you can only wave wistfully afterwards). The Natural Pool is no fun even barefoot, Christian can tell you a thing or two about it …
What you don’t expect at all in the Natural Pool (and even many locals don’t know that): fish! Colorful, funny fish! Take your snorkeling equipment with you, it’s worth it!
If you want to experience the natural pool on a hike like us, then think of sturdy shoes . The 2km walk is not a flip flop walk. Extra trekking shoes are not necessary, but sneakers or other sturdy footwear should be. I went on the adventure -as usual- semi well prepared in my Birkenstock and in my summer dress. Already went. With the Birkenstock you can also go into the water wonderfully (= sturdy bathing shoes), they have patiently endured all kinds of tortures for several years.
Otherwise: towel, enough to drink, sunscreen, something to eat (you will be on the road for around 3-4 hours in total, regardless of whether you book a guided tour or explore the natural pool on your own). And please no Mimimi, because it wobbles in the jeep or you have to walk over stupid stones (we say that because we have had a few critical words on site from American tourists who have already been driven as close as possible in the jeep. of the ‘comfort’ of the excursion): The way to the natural pool is part of the experience and the natural pool is also not a whirlpool in which we can all sit nicely together.