Whenever I have an opportunity to try something new, I do it. Life is beautiful and full of adventures around every corner so you have to put yourself out there and give everything a go at least once. Something I haven’t done yet was drive an ATV. I know my way around an SUV, a dune buggy, or even a snowmobile (I’m Canadian remember), but surprisingly enough, I’ve never driven an ATV… until yesterday. We explored Aruba’s north coast open air and I learned that I have a new “drive” and it’s called off-road ATVing. I like getting dirty and playing with toys. Give me a field of dirt and a way to truly explore it over make-up and fancy clothes any day. I may not be a “lady” but I know how to have fun.
I didn’t sleep the night before we went on our off-road, ATV adventure. I was too excited. Not only was a going to play with a new toy, but we were going on the rugged back roads, through rocky, gorgeous, seaside cliffs and wave-tossed beaches on the country side of Aruba. Does it get any better than that?
We were given a quick run-down on how to drive the ATVs, and then we followed our guide out of the building. Our convoy of ATVs rode down the road and traffic accepted us as if we were just another vehicle; a typical day in Aruba.
The first part of the experience was mostly paved road driving. It was fast for a newbie, but not enough to be intimidating. It was just enough to get the wind really flowing through my hair and start my adrenaline for the real adventure ahead.
We hit the dirt and it was still wide, flat roads with intermittent traffic. That’s when I started to get a feel for what the ATV could handle. At times, I sped up, I slowed down, I turned the wheels quickly, and I even kicked up a little dirt when testing how fast I could take off. I was building up my confidence and feeling more comfortable in the driver’s seat… just in time too.
Winding up an imposing hill, on the edge at times, I was grateful for the 20 minutes of experience beforehand. When we reached the top, it was difficult to pay attention to my driving while surrounded by immense beauty in all directions, but the rugged terrain reminded me that I was still driving a powerful, and heavy, machine. I paid attention to the path and let my video camera do most of the sight-seeing.
“Welcome to Natural Pool” greeted us at the top of the hill and I saw other ATVs parked near the sign. I knew what was about to happen; we were adding water to our journey. I don’t know if you know me very well, but any water activities are always highly desirable. This tour was shaping up to be the ultimate adventure.
After a short hike down the hillside, we were at the ocean. In a unique formation of rock, volcanic stone circles a small depression, creating a tranquil pool known as “Cura di Tortuga”, or more familiarly by visitors as the Natural Pool.
I slid into the pool and watched as massive waves smashed against the rocks. A light spray entered the pool and that was it; we were safely protected in the Natural Pool. The water was refreshing but not cold. I could have stayed there all day and I would have been happy. I’m quickly learning why they call it the One Happy Island. Every experience is equally as amazing as the last.
We toured two caves and had lunch at Boca Prins before our return journey began. The winding roads meandered along the ocean creating the most surreal experience. I was crossing two items off my bucket list simultaneously by riding an ATV and touring Aruba and I was experiencing the most picturesque views at the same time. If I could have included a skydiving or aerial dynamic to the day, it would have been my version of heaven.