Ever since my first trip out west in 1997 I have loved traveling. I love to explore new places that require me to use my body to get there. It doesn’t matter if it involves mountaineering, hiking, mountain biking or trail running. Getting out into the wilderness makes me so very happy! It is so fun to see new critters, plant life, different rocks and dirt, different climates and colors! It also allows me to take a break from our fast paced and social media based world.
I have been trying to figure out what method of social media I prefer. I gave up blogging to do more Facebook and Instagram and found that Facebook is really not for me. In an effort to simplify my life I am choosing to return to blogging and to use Instagram -@dangergirldh – to share photos of my adventures.
Last week I went to Aruba with Ryan for a quick escape from the very long New Hampshire winters. This winter has been incredible since taking up skimo racing! I have been snowboarding for over 20 years and learning to ski down a hill is challenging but one day I will be good at it! Skiing up a hill though, that is totally addicting!
Have you trail run in Aruba? Have you ever wondered what the trails are like? Did you even know that trails do exist there? Well, they do and they offer everything from technical singletrack to buttery smooth jeep roads!
The wildlife on the island is pretty low key with the rattlesnake being labeled as the top of the food chain in Aruba. There were very few bugs the first week of April which was nice. We saw donkeys, goats, lizards, iguanas, rabbits and there are bats. They all seemed to leave us alone except for an Iguana at the beach checking out backpacks for food.
Arikok national forest will cost you $11 per person to visit but there are many single track and double track trails that will take you up and over the highest peaks on the island and down to the ocean. The maps are not accurate and there are many unmarked trails. Most of the trails are not signed but have 4×4 wood poles with various colored stripes to mark the trails. You will encounter cacti, divi trees and many plants with sharp prickers. The island is mostly desert so expect it to be very dry. Bring plenty of water because there is no shade and it is very hot!
Mount Jamanota, the highest point on the island is 189 meters high. It is pretty easy to navigate by sight so we were able to figure out which trails to take to the summit. Mount Hooiberg which is not in Arikok but instead sits in a neighborhood is worth checking out. It is only .2 miles from the parking lot to the summit and there are stairs that will take you to the summit which sits at 165 meters. There are about 563 stairs that will take you to the summit which offers views of most of the island. You will gain about 300 feet of elevation in .2 miles.
There were more trails by the California Lighthouse which consisted of dirt jeep roads that were quite flat and ran along the ocean but there were also many mountain bike single track trails that branched off of the jeep roads! They were technical and on very rolling terrain.
There is no camping on the island and most hotels are very large with very nice pools. There was not much of a nightlife on the island when we went. The majority of the people there were families with small children and elderly people. The restaurants were all very good and the bars were fun (there were many pool bars) but the drinks were very weak.
The beaches are all very clean and the water was a great place to cool off from the heat. It was almost 90 degrees every day. The water was very clear and the snorkeling offered some wonderful fish sightings with so many brightly colored ones swimming around! There are strong currents in Aruba so stay close to shore if you are not a strong swimmer and even being a strong swimmer I did not feel comfortable with how pushy some of the snorkeling areas were. Baby beach was our favorite place to snorkel and if you go there be sure to get a drink and bite to eat at Big Mammas! They made the best drinks on the island!
Expect to pay between $20-$40 USD for your meals. Drinks start at about $8. Most appetizers started at $12. Make reservations for any dinner you plan to have on the beach. They have some incredible beach side dining that typically starts at 6pm but you are possibly not going to get a table if you do not have a reservation.
You do not need to have a car but it really came in handy when trying to see the whole island. There are many places that a car is tough to take through so it may be worth spending the extra money on the jeep if you are not comfortable on backcountry roads in a small car. They also had many jeep and four wheeler tours which allow you to see a lot of the island. We enjoyed seeing a bit less but trekking off the beaten path and seeing about 3 people during our ten mile run.
Flying to Aruba from Boston is easy. We took direct flights on Jet Blue which allowed us to fly out early and be on the island by noon and our flight out was not until 4pm so we got to do some stuff in the morning. Most hotels will allow you to check out at noon which is plenty of time because you will need to be at the airport 3 hours prior to you departure. Traffic is crazy so plan accordingly so you can be at the airport in time. Customs is slow and takes a lot of patience to get through so eat up before you go.
I would recommend Aruba for a trail running adventure. It is very safe and not once did we feel worried about our safety. Obviously avoid shady neighborhoods at night. We found the locals to be either very friendly or very rude so just smile and be nice. There were a lot of very rude tourists so I am sure some of the locals are tired of mean people.
My La Sportiva Lycan shoes were awesome for the varied terrain in Aruba. I wore my Julbo Aerolite sunglasses with Zebra Lenses which were perfect in the bright sun. My La Sportiva clothing wicked away my sweat and helped keep me comfortable with zero chaffing!
If you have any questions about traveling to Aruba for some running feel free to reach out and I will do the best I can to help you plan your trip! firstname.lastname@example.org