One of the must-see side trips when you vacation on the Caribbean island of Aruba is to visit at least one of the caves of the island, which are true natural wonders that are awe-inspiring to say the least. There are many such caves, but the most well-known and the ones most visited by tourists are the Guadirikiri Cave, the Fontein Cave and the Huliba Cave. Group tours of the caves can be booked through the hotel or resort at which you are staying.
This cave is located within the confines of the Arikok National Wildlife Park. It consists of two large chambers, of which the main chamber is about 100 meters in width. Vents in the top allow snatches of sunlight to pour through, thus giving you some lighting, but at the same time creating an eerie feeling of being truly under the ground. It is one of the best sites in the Caribbean for viewing the petroglyphs drawn on the walls of the cave by the native Arawak Indians. This provides an insight into the way of life of these people.
The air is stagnant inside this cave and you may occasionally hear the fluttering of wings. This is because there are many fruit bats living in this cave. They are harmless, but if you are not prepared for this, you could be frightened. There are also cockroaches in the cave, which is why it is important not to wear sandals or footwear with open toes when you visit.
According to the legends of Aruba, there is pirate treasure hidden in the cave as this was once the favorite haunt of pirates who based their activities in the Caribbean in parts of the island.
The Fontein Cave is another premier site where you can see the drawings of the Arawak people on the cave walls. It is also the only one on the island where the drawings are also visible on the ceiling showing the artistic talent of these ancient people. There are no bats in this cave, which is certainly a plus for anyone who has a fear of these creatures. It is also more open so that you do not need a flashlight to provide you with light when you are inside.
The Huliba Cave has been nicknamed the “Tunnel of Love”. This cave has been embellished for tourism with the addition of a staircase that leads down into the cave. You do need to bring a flashlight, though, because the staircase does not have any lighting. You can also visit this cave on your own eliminating the need for booking a tour, although it is included in the group tours of the Aruban caves. You can rent a helmet and a flashlight at the entrance of the cave and you are not permitted inside without both of these.
The cave itself is a vast underground room. The vents allow daylight to shine through, which means you can turn off your flashlight once inside. The corridor leading from this large chamber takes you deeper underground to a smaller one that is about 35 meters below.
Cave visiting may not be one of the things on your itinerary for your vacation in Aruba, but it is one of the things that no visitor should leave without seeing.