Hidden away on the northern coast of the island is a deserted stretch of coastline, enclosed in the Arikok National Park, that contains an amazing naturally-formed attraction: the Conchi or “Natural Pool” of Aruba.
Along the remote coastline, which is only accessible by horseback or 4×4, the rocky terrain of the coast forms a circular shape, creating a protected pool in the midst of an otherwise fierce and unswimmable sea.
Often overlooked by cruisers and other tourists, the Natural Pool is an incredible sight that will delight and amaze any traveller.
Despite the beauty of this natural wonder, there are few official resources to guide visitors on how best to enjoy it. That’s why we compiled this complete guide for prospective Conchi visitors.
Read on to start planning your visit!
#1 Don’t Go Alone
Due to the remote location of the Natural Pool and the rough, rugged terrain you must cross to get there, all tourists should be accompanied by a guide. Navigating a 4×4 through the precarious path to the pool is a truly daunting task, one that should only be executed by an experienced guide who knows the terrain. Even when venturing to the pool by guided tour, the ride isn’t for the faint of heart!
Plus, most 4×4 rental businesses on the island require a signed waiver stating that renters will not attempt to drive themselves to the Natural Pool. Trust the locals and leave the driving up to the pros.
#2 Finding a Guide
Since the Conchi is a lesser-known hidden gem of the island, finding a guide to lead your way isn’t as simple as going to Google or opening up the phone book. Many guides operate on a rather informal basis, and word-of-mouth is often how the best are found.
You can find the perfect guide by working with Prestige Realty’s concierge services or browsing sites like TripAdvisor.
#3 What to Expect and What to Bring
First and foremost, you can expect to see and experience some beautiful scenery at Aruba’s Natural Pool. However, there are a few other things you should know to help plan for your trip:
Be aware of the weather and season before scheduling your tour – Because of the Natural Pool’s geography and location, its conditions are affected greatly by the season and daily conditions. A small change in tide or wind speed could mean the difference between safe swimming and being relegated to snapping photos from the shore (not to say that you won’t still enjoy yourself viewing the Natural Pool without jumping in). Furthermore, it’s important to take the time to check the weather, consider the season, and call your guide ahead of time to make sure that the pool’s conditions will suit your expectations.
Bring plenty of water – The journey to the Natural Pool and back is a long and hot one. Regardless of whether or not your guide supplies water and ice, it’s crucial that you bring plenty of your own water to make the trip. It’s not a bad idea to bring along some snacks and a change of clothes as well.
Wear durable, waterproof footwear – There is little sand at the Natural Pool. In fact, most of the area surrounding the pool is made up of rough, slippery rock. In order to avoid falling or hurting your feet, wearing tough, waterproof footwear is a must.
Although taking a guided tour of the Arikok National Park and visiting the Conchi is a relatively safe excursion, there are still a few important notes on safety to keep in mind. As is true of any outdoor adventure, a few rules and a little common sense can go a long way:
Always obey your guide – No matter how smart you think yourself to be, you should always follow the instructions of your guide. Swimming in the pool is done at your own risk, however most guides will tell you when conditions are safe and when they aren’t. If your guide instructs you to stay out of the water, disobeying them could be the last bad decision you make.
Stay within your comfort zone – Even if the waters of the Natural Pool are deemed safe by your guide, it’s important to know and respect your own limitations. If you feel uncomfortable taking the plunge or swimming to deeper waters, listen to your instincts and stay where you feel the safest.
Never venture outside the pool – The Conchi is enclosed by natural walls of rocky coastline. These outcroppings are what allow the inside of the pool to be calm and swimmable. The waters that lie outside of them are rough, powerful, and filled with strong currents. If you are lucky enough to visit the Conchi on a day when swimming is safe, it’s imperative that you stay within the walls of the pool at all times.
#5 Have Fun!
After you’ve prepped for your visit and reviewed the necessary information, let loose and have fun. Visiting the Natural Pool is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Enjoy it to the fullest!