The most well known caves of Aruba are the caves found in Arikok National Park. The top 3 being the Guadirikiri Cave, the Fontein Cave and the Huliba Cave. The reason these caves are such landmarks is because they hold so much human history. You can’t explore the history of the caves without learning about the people who inhabited Aruba around 1000 A.D. The reason these caves attract lots of visitors is because the early inhabitants of Aruba marked the cave with decorative drawings.
While inside the protection of the cave, the drawings can be seen in redish and purplish hues. The color leads historians and geologists to believe that they used the nearby stalagmites to draw with. Stalagmites are the tall slender rock formations that develop from minerals dripping from cave ceilings. They believe the color was attributed by the nearby coral limestone deposit. Geologists have discovered that the combination of the coral limestone with the acidic groundwater is the reason these caves developed.
Around the time of 1000 A.D. the Arawak Indians lived on Aruba. The Arawak Indians were also known as the Caquetio. It is thought that the Caquetio used the caves for rituals and for protection. The Caquetio were originally the native inhabitants of Northwestern Venezuela. However, they were forced to relocate during the Spanish conquest to avoid enslavement. Most moved inland and some traveled to Aruba. When the Dutch arrived in 1636 they sent the Spanish packing but assigned the Caquetio to the duty of breeding the horses and cattle. This ties into our earlier blog post about the Blue Horses of Aruba.
If you are looking to see these caves for yourself you will have to visit Arikok Park. The park is located on the Southeastern side of Aruba and takes up roughly 18% of the island. It is home to several indigenous reptiles and birds. The park hosts the perfect climate for cactus and aloe plants and the caves are the homes to local bats. You may also finda a few remaining traditional Aruban houses.
There are many reasons to visit Aruba’s Arikok National Park. Visit Arubanationalpark.org or Aruba.com to learn more. You can also visit our concierge desk on property to learn how to visit the park and what to expect.