We are passing by cactuses, rocks and other desert scenery with serious speed. There is nothing but lizards around us. I am jumping up and down at the back of an open safari jeep, trying to take pictures and stay alive at the same time and then he makes a sharp turn and shouts…”Aruba!” and we reply “ARIBA!” in perfect unison. He said he only had one beer this morning, he is joking (I think). I feel perfectly safe though and I am trembling with excitement, wondering where he is taking us next as we explore the north coast of Aruba on a jeep safari!
George Tequila is the kind of character you meet in a new place that gives you a real flavour of the locals’ charm. His name gives it all away. You can expect nothing but adventure from a guy whose last name is Tequila. Born in Columbia, but Aruban since the age of 4, he is one of the many islanders working with tourists, as part of ABC Tours Aruba to show them the beauty of this happy place. He is driving us today deeper in the island to explore a bit of the island’s north coast and he looks just as excited as we are even though he has probably done this Aruba jeep safari hundreds of times.
Aruba North Coast Jeep Safari
“If you are fun, I will give you the “local” experience” he says. We obey. We drive through some hotel-free streets, where you can see some authentic houses, occupied by locals and I start to feel like I am somewhere in Latin America, but we are actually just 18 miles away from the coast of Venezuela in the Dutch Caribbean.
A few very bumpy moments later, we get to a picture-perfect spot, where we ask Tequila to stop because we have to take a picture. As much as I would like to have the cool image of a professional traveller, I still act like a typical tourist sometimes, but I am relieved I am not alone as the other members of the press group join. Worth stopping for this view, right?
Not long after this, we get to the spot where the famous Natural bridge stood once, bud sadly nature took it away from Aruba in 2005 when it collapsed.
The rocks still form a smaller natural bridge with an amazing view of the Caribbean sea and right next to it, I see a black beach. Black, because of the lava rocks that cover the shore. Quite different from the other white sandy beaches of Aruba in the south, but still beautiful in its own way. The north definitely feels rougher, wilder and more dramatic compared to the south.
Back in the jeep, Tequila begins another enchanting story about the island and somewhere along the way he says something that instantly became my favourite saying about Aruba: “What happens in Aruba…never happened!” We all thought this sentence would end differently, but not when you are talking to Tequila. :)
Boca Mahos Natural Pool
We are now headed to a spot that hides a natural pool, but not the famous one in Arikok national park apparently. At one point Tequila stops and reverses the jeep and we get closer and closer to the edge of a cliff, I try to remain calm, but I panic for a moment and make a squeaky sound. We stop and I am relieved! “Here is where we have to take our clothes off” he says. I look around, but I don’t see a natural pool, just the vast Caribbean sea and we are on the edge of a cliff!
He then points to ladder that goes down the cliff. I have mixed feelings about this as I don’t enjoy heights much, but I will do anything to get to the water as this is my element. One by one we go down (it wasn’t that scary) we continue further down the rocks and there it is, the hidden natural pool of Aruba. Quiet, untouched, with crystal clear waters that lead to a cave.
“Aruba” – “Ariba” one by one we jump from the edge for the prefect dip. I thought it would be cold as the pool is in the shade of the rocks, but as soon as I take the jump and submerge in the water, I feel its Caribbean warmth. You can see the actual natural pool in the video below.
Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins
I climb back in the jeep, wondering where we go next. Turns out, our next stop is just 1 minute away. We get to some ruins surrounded by other tourist groups like us. It looks like a popular spot, but I still don’t know what it is.
Tequila gathers us around and starts telling us about Bushiribana Gold Mill ruins. Apparently someone found gold here long time ago, but then it was soon discovered that the gold is very little and it’s not worth the mining efforts. It’s now preserved as a historical site that offers some stunning views of Aruba’s desert scenery, as well as some interesting stories from its past, which Tequila will tell you all about.
Snorkelling at Tres Trapi beach
This Aruba jeep safari doesn’t end here, we are back on the road and we reach our next and final destination and this time we arrive at a beach. The perfect postcard beach. I try to find out our exact location from Tequila, but all I get is that it’s a beach next to “Tres Trapi” (Three steps) somewhere close to Malmok beach. I guess the best places don’t have a pin in google maps.
He says this is one of his favourite snorkelling spots. I need to confirm this so I quickly take my mask and snorkel and rush to the water. Go Pro ready, here is what I find underwater. The friendliest and most curious fish. They allow me to get so close to them and they are so many, I don’t know where to look. See more underwater moments in the video below.
After a very social swim, we are back in the jeep and I know it’s time to say goodbye to our adventure expert. He says “Make sure to mention me on tripadvisor!” with the biggest smile on his face. Well George, I told everyone about you here, so I hope you are happy!
Definitely ask about Tequila if you are doing a jeep safari with Abc Tours Aruba, he gave us a short and memorable experience, just like a shot of Tequila, but without the hangover! :)
Here is the video with some of my other fun moments from this trip, as well as this adventurous Aruba jeep safari. Looking for other adventurous things to do in Aruba? Check out my other post about the top 8 things to do in Aruba. Want to explore the food scene in Aruba? Have a look at my culinary guide to Aruba + restaurant recommendations.
This post was created in collaboration with the Aruba Tourism Authority, aruba.com. All opinions are my own.