Aruba Stories and Tips

Casibari Rock Formations & Natural Pool

Casibari Rock Formations Photo, Aruba, Caribbean

Casibari Rock Formations - This is ranked the second most popular tourist spot, after the Natural Bridge. Take Tanki Highway 4A to Ayo via Route 6A; watch for the turnoff signs near the center of the island on the way to the windward side (just north of Hooiberg). This area is filled with huge boulders, some of which weigh several tons and feature peculiar forms created by the eternal trade winds. Some people say that the boulders look like animals—that, I didn’t see. Geologists are uncertain about their origins, but they think that a collision of the tectonic plates forced the massive slabs to the surface. The limestone steps surrounding them are signs of the changing water levels of the Caribbean through the ages.

In more recent years, the Government of Aruba created walking trails and steps through the boulders so that visitors could climb to the top and enjoy the view of the island, as well as the cruise ships when in port in Oranjestad. While climbing up, the main path to Casibari has steps and handrails, and you must move through tunnels and along narrow steps and ledges to reach the top. I will say that in some areas, these railings are a blessing, as part of the hike up is steep. It’s the kind of situation where only one person can pass at a time, so periodically you will see groups of people waiting for the "line" of people to pass. Once at the top, it’s interesting but far from spectacular. At the end of the day, you are in a desert, and although the area is surrounded by tropical plants and trees, most of it is dirt and rocks (see picture below). I don’t want to downplay this sight to the point where someone would not go, as it is interesting. I just think that some people build these attractions up and then are disappointed when they get there.

There is a souvenir and drink stand at Casibari, as well. If you are short on time and it’s a matter of going to see this or relaxing on the beach, relaxing on the beach gets my vote. There’s no charge for "admission", and there are no hours of operation. It’s not ideal for people with small children or the elderly who need help walking. Somewhat Recommended.

Natural Pool – Also known as "Cura di Tortuga," this spot is a "secret" secluded pool on the windward coast of the island. The pool is filled by waves that crash into the rocky cliffs. The look and feel is like a Jacuzzi, since the water tends to be warmer than that of the ocean.

Getting there is a little tough, seeing as there are no street signs to direct you, and the published maps are unreliable. Find "Parke National Arikok" on a map or via a sign. The road to the Natural Pool is on a secondary road that is close to the park’s main access road. This secondary road is not well-marked, although there are some handmade signs along the way. Once the road turns and you pass a house, there will be another sign that reads, "Trail to Natural Pool 20 minutes on 4x4 or 40 minutes on foot." That’s the way to go, and at that point, you know you are headed the right direction (whereas most of the hike, you have no idea). This all seems silly, and you might say to yourself, "We’ll just follow other people…" It’s not that easy, though, since this tourist spot is not as highly visited as the Natural Bridge, let’s say. Therefore, it is possible for you to be hiking and not see anyone else until you get to the actual pool. The only way to reach the initial trail is by four-wheel drive or horseback—that in itself cuts the amount of visitors down significantly. Locals say the best way to get here, though, is via an ATV due to the two- to three-mile drive over extremely rough terrain (basically all rocks).

Surrounded by rocks, this is a perfect area for relaxation. Getting in and out of the pool can be slippery, so bring supportive sneakers or water shoes. The area is very remote, obviously, so go prepared with food, drinks, and film, as this is a great spot for some dramatic shots. Another must is to bring snorkel equipment to experience the true beauty of the natural pool's variety of beautiful tropical fish (fins not needed). Obviously, there’s no charge to visit and no set visiting hours. To be honest, it’s a lot of work for nothing spectacular, other than the views. Many people who make the hike out here do so only for the views and never bother going into the actual pool. This is another place I would pass up if I was short on time. This is not for people who have trouble walking or for families, as there is no place to put strollers, and it’s almost impossible to carry them (plus, there are too many rocks, so you’d end up holding the child the entire time). Somewhat Recommended.

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