Wandering around darkened caves may not be the first thing you associate with a Caribbean vacation; nonetheless, the caves in Guadirikiri are one of the top attractions in Aruba. Located inside the Arikok National Wildlife Park, the main cave chamber stretches well over a hundred feet and has vents that allow meager sunlight to spread across cave walls. The stagnant air and fluttering of wings greet you, offering a wide array of ancient cave drawings, believed to have been scratched into the walls by the Arawak people long before Spanish settlers arrived in 1499. The combination of ancient history with the natural wonder of these Aruba caves make Guadirikiri an impressive stop on any tour of the Caribbean.
The Guadirikiri caves are not for the easily startled, however. Hundreds of fruit bats call this area home. Though essentially harmless, they dart haphazardly through the dark recesses of the cave and often frighten the unprepared. These caves are likely one of the only attractions in Aruba to be compleetly overrun with cockroaches. So for those squeamish about such things, make sure to wear closed-toe shoes. You will not be sorry.
For years, these Aruba caves were favorite hiding spots for Caribbean pirates. Legend has it that there are untold fortunes sequestered away in Guadirikiri. Another legend involves the "Tunnel of Love," where an ancient tribal leader confined his daughter and lover, of whom he did not approve. When they died, there souls cracked through the rock ceiling, showing the hateful chief that even death would not keep the apart. Though they try to sell the caves as one of many romantic tourist attractions in Aruba, don"t be fooled. Nothing is less romantic than having cockroaches scuttling across your feet every time you hold still.
There are plenty of tour companies that offer transportation to these Aruba caves, and group tours are also available from many hotels and operators around the country, primarily the cities on the southern and eastern coasts. Guadirikiri can also be visited as part of a tour of the entire Arikok National Wildlife Park.