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Directions and Admission Information To Natural Pool

Directions to Natural Pool
Natural Pool

Updated May 2019

In the past I have written several posts on Natural Pool and hopefully this way to shed some light about this popular and beautiful creation. Additionally, this way I try to offer my contribution and also explain what to expect, perhaps un-hype it little as I feel it gets over-hyped a bit. You need to understand what the Natural Pool is and what it isn’t.

Natural Pool Is

Natural Pool is shaped out of volcanic rocks in the salty Caribbean sea. The violent waves from the open ocean pound upon the rocks creating a nice effect for the ones swimming in the pool, as seen in above image. The walls surrounding the pool will offer enough protection for the swimmers. Beware that on extremely windy days and high tide the waves are of such magnitude that it will cover the whole pool, therefore becoming treacherous. Depending on the time of day it the water could feel chilly to the touch, especially early in the morning.

Something that many people overlook is that there is another mini-pool (or hot tub) just a bit more elevated by the wall of rocks.

Lastly, a little known fact about the pool (many locals don’t even know this) is that on the right side of the pool (not pictured), the area was once filled with large rocks some decades ago. This was to break the undertow below and to increase safety. Marine life adapted to this nicely and allowed for small fish to seek refuge in the pool. When you are in the pool you should snorkel to the right side and you will notice the rocks.

Natural Pool Isn’t

As great as it the Natural Pool is, not everyone “gets” it. The ride to the pool isn’t a picnic especially if you don’t know what you are doing (more below). Often people say “I hope the ride was worth it”. Actually the ride is an integral part of the Natural Pool Experience. It goes together. You will love the pool, if you love off-road.

Once there, just before you walk into the pool, it will get slick and slippery, so beware. Also, I get a lot people say “I thought it was bigger”. It’s not that big, so try to schedule your time such a way that you can avoid traffic (more about that below).

Again, the ride is great, the pool is better. Just be sure to know about the pitfalls.

Tour Operators

The best choice to make your way to Natural Pool is signing up for a scheduled trip. Keep in mind that they know what they’re doing, they’ve done it before and if you happen to break the equipment you are not liable for any damages.

A downside for organized tours is that it could get overcrowded, especially on days with cruise ships in town.

Another option is to hire a private tour, but this could get crazy expensive.

On Your Own

You can choose to venture out on your own. The rest of this article will cover that. Some things first. Your rental vehicle or passengers won’t be insured and if you wreck something you will have to settle all bills in full before leaving the island. Most credit cards have insurance but in most cases won’t cover off-road incidents, make sure to double-check this with your company. Four wheel drive rental companies won’t actively control whether you have been to the Natural Pool, so as long as there aren’t any issues with the vehicle you are home safe.

Also make sure your four-wheel drive vehicle has all the tools present and in working order. Seriously, literally take out the lock tool to see whether it fits all nuts, including the one holding the spare tire. Speaking of spare tire, double-check the spare tire for proper inflation, don’t just hit it with your hands, as this might fool you. This is something you certainly don’t want to find out in the middle of nowhere.

Lastly be certain that the jack and tool are there. Corroborate that the jack is functioning properly as these are notoriously faulty due to our climate. Most off-road vehicles are open air and susceptible to our corrosive environment. These jacks are tossed around in the back of the vehicle and may be rusted or may have the hydraulic oil leaked out of them, rendering the jack useless.

Step by Step Directions

Street names are silly and illogical in Aruba. For this reason I will only use points of reference rather than street names. Let’s start.

  1. Assuming you’re staying at the low/high-rise area resorts the starting point would be the major traffic circle (roundabout) by the resorts. Points of reference: Pizza Hut, Cigto, Eagle Bowling Palace.
  2. On that traffic circle go east, destination St. Cruz.
  3. You reach another traffic circle, continue driving straight ahead. Points of reference: Dunkin’ Donuts.
  4. Yet again you reach another traffic circle and, yet again, continue straight. Point of reference: Stern Chevrolet dealership.
  5. And yet again another traffic circle, just keep driving straight ahead. Points of reference: Hong Kong grocery store, “Best Deal” store, Arubabank drive through.
  6. Continue driving straight ahead on the main road passing residential houses, sport fields, a bakery, bar, restaurants, grocery stores etc. Don’t pay too much attention to any of that.
  7. The next left turn is the most critical one, so here you’ll need to focus.
  8. At a certain point before you reach the main traffic circle in Santa Cruz you must turn to the leftPoint of reference: “Mundo Nobo” grocery store on the left side of the road. Note: straight ahead you will see a large McDonald’s sign. If you get to this McDonald’s means that you went to far and have to turn back.
  9. Drive straight ahead.
  10. At the next equal crossing continue to drive straight ahead. Point of reference: Another grocery store on the right.
  11. This road will turn, twist, go up and go down. Just continue driving on this paved road until you reach the end at a T-crossing.
  12. Turn to the right at this T-crossing. Points of reference: On the right a small white house, up front some rocks painted in white. Perhaps you might see some goats taking it easy around those rocks.
  13. Once you are on this road ignore the first crossing to the left. Continue driving a short piece and soon enough you’ll be at another crossing, where you turn to the left. If you DON’T turn here you’ll be on a dirt road to nowhere. Go back! Point of reference: At that crossing, there is a small tree with a sign to Natural Pool.
  14. Drive straight ahead on the paved and narrow road where it twists and turns. Point of reference: You’ll pass close to cacti fences.
  15. At certain point, where the road seems to end, turn to the left.
  16. When you follow this short road it will turn into dirt and rocks which means you found the point where you can start using your vehicle’s 4×4. Put it in four-wheel drive high gear, this will suffice throughout the whole ride. If you don’t have such a good vehicle, put in four-wheel drive low gear.
  17. Guiding you beyond this point is useless due to the lack of points of reference. The best I can do is to tell you to follow the tracks and head northeastward. Just make sure to reach the coast line. There will be a stiff hill to take along the way, both down and back up. If you don’t reach the pool within 30 minutes then you are lost my friend.

I never said it was easy. Hopefully my directions to the Natural Pool have been helpful. Good luck in finding it. Needless to say that you do this on your own risk.

Pool Tips

  1. Natural Pool is the most popular attraction in Arikok National Park, which means it can get pretty crowded. Skip the crowds by going there at specific times. From Monday to Friday the best times to go there are before 9:15 AM, from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM, from 12:45 PM to 2:00 PM and from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM. In the weekends this might calm down a bit with tourists, however, locals visit mostly in the weekends.
  2. I suggest you where either tennis shoes or water shoes to walk around the Natural Pool area. Especially near the water it’s extremely slippery to walk.
  3. Speaking of walking, above instructions are how to reach the PARKING of the Natural Pool. You still need to walk down, and up, 80+ steps to get into the pool.
  4. Don’t rock climb, unless you know specifically where you can walk.
  5. Bring a snorkel and mask. You’ll be surprised what you see there.
Have fun.

Update 1: Starting November 1, 2010 the only entry to Natural Pool is going through the main entrance of Arikok National Park. All other access to the Natural Pool will be shut down. Note: this measure was enforced starting April 2019. Nearly a decade since it was announced.

Update 2: Due to protests from tour operators, early 2011 the government reopened the entrance from “Shete”, which is explained below. This entrance is exclusively for tour operators, however many others use it. Note: see update 7.

Update 3: As per December 2014 the entrance at “Shete” is open to the general public and tickets are available from around 9 AM to around 4 PM daily. Note: there was a lot of back and forth regarding this entrance.

Update 4: If you enter the park after staff leaves around 4 PM you can enter for free. Just make sure to exit before sunset, this way you won’t risk getting stuck with car trouble after sunset. After hours towing is a pain and needlessly expensive.

Update 5: Since late 2014 the park has new management and its rumored they will take measures to avoid people entering for free after hours. Obviously they are losing revenue and the island government has already indicated that they will be halting any and all subsidies for the park. The park has to become self-sufficient and getting the two, two and a half extra hours of revenue might tip the scale.

Update 6: Admission fee as per 1 January 2015 for adults is US$ 11,00 (up from $10 in 2014). Children up to 17 are free. On public holidays typically there is minimum staff present, which can result in free admission.

Update 7: In April 2019 new park management announced the permanent closure of the entrance at “Shete”. This entrance functioned as shortcut or shorter route to Natural Pool coming from the western part of the island, where most people drive from. Now the only entrance on the western side is through the main gate at San Fuego, which is nearly a 4-mile (almost 6.4 km) longer drive or detour from previous Natural Pool-route. 

By Gabriel

Informing travelers about Aruba since 2007, and trying to provide value to Aruba visitors.

29 replies on “Directions and Admission Information To Natural Pool”

Do you know the name and address of that small restaurant on the right hand side as you leave the Natural Pool. It is about a mile from the end of the Natural Pool road.


I’m not sure which restaurant you are referring to. The ones I can think of are Boca Prins Bar and Restaurant which is located in the National Park and – most likely – Urataka Center Best Pizza. The latter is the one you are referring to, as I don’t think there is another restaurant in the general area.

Best directions ever! the only problem we ran into was passing the goats in step 12/13, its not an immediate left turn, its about a quarter mile down the road.

Great directions – thanks SO much. Easiest trip to the Natural Pool we’ve ever had! One change, though: As of 2012, there is now a control gate, right before you go off-road, run by the Arikok National Forest and you have to have paid admission to the National Forest to go to the pool. After step 12 if you keep your eye out for the signs to the National Park Welcome Center, you can make a detour to go buy your passes and then you come back and complete the rest of the steps to the entrance.

Nicely done and a huge help to those of us that will be visiting for the first time. Can you access the natural pool with ATV rentals (experienced riders)?

Excellent directions! I rented two 4-door Jeep Wranglers and took myself and 8 guys to the Natural Pool. We were starting from the downtown “Cruise Ship” area, so we just followed signs for St Cruz until we ran into one of your landmarks. It happened to be the “Mundo Nobo” grocery. After that all was well! I also looked at Google Earth and other satellite photos to get an idea of where to drive once we got off the paved road and put it in 4-wheel drive. By the way, I have some GPS references for you:

The trailhead at the park entrance where the road ends and you have to pay the “rangers” (Good to know which way to get back from the Pool):
12deg 30’39.4″N
069deg 56’55.5″W

Parking Area above Natural Pool:
12deg 31′ 25.3″ N
069deg 55′ 50.3″ W

Conchi (Natural Pool):
12deg 31′ 28.5″ North
069deg 55′ 43.3″ West

Also, for those who, like me are planning to rent vehicles (Can save you a lot of money over a paid tour) I’d like to stress that a rugged vehicle like a Wrangler is a must. Ground clearance and bigger tires are as important as 4-Wheel drive. I almost rented a couple RAV-4’s and after going there, I’m glad I got the Wranglers! Visitors, for the last mile or so, you’ll be crawling over cantaloupe and watermelon sized rocks and many of them are pretty sharp! Watch the sidewalls! Lots of holes and places to high-center your vehicle. We kept the speed to about 5mph almost the whole way. Rock crawling enthusiasts will have a blast! Soccer Moms may have a heart attack.

By the way, two other groups got down right to the pool with their vehicles rather than parking at the parking area. Not sure how they did that but obviously it’s possible.

Hi David, thank you for extensive comment, it helps a lot, it helps the others especially. I’m happy that you enjoyed driving to the natural pool and had a blast.

Indeed it is still possible to get down by the pool with your vehicle. This would require to bypass the main parking area and venture all the way down through an especially rough stretch of trail, relatively flat, short and with extremely sharp rocks along the way, which will increase the chances of cutting your tires drastically. That trail is there for park officials to use and is not intended for visitors. If people are caught there by officials you might get in trouble.

Way before park became a National Park in the 90s and the pool was merely a place frequented by locals, all vehicles parked right there by the pool, as I recall we did back in the 90s. Nowadays this would be impossible due to the traffic this attraction gets, especially from tour operators.

Again, thank you for commenting and for visiting our island.

Hi David , We are going to have a trip to Aruba in September 2016.We would like to visit Natural pool, but the tours are way to expensive for a family of 8,do you recommend to rent a Jeep like you did and how much did the rental cost? And also can you give us information about the rental. Thank You!

Your directions were spot on!!Thank you very much-first time on the island and we wanted to go to the Natural Pool and your directions made it a breeze! Had a great time and were very glad we decided to rent a jeep and do it on our own. For anyone deciding on whether or not to rent the jeep-it was about a third of the cost of a tour plus you had the thrill of off-roading. If you take it slow and watch out for sharp rocks you will be fine! Again, excellent directions and excellent advice!

When I went in 2013, I parked by the admission area and hiked the rocks for about an hour and a half to make it to the pool. Luckily we got a ride out. It was a rough day with a few waves crashing directly into the pool, taking everyone in it down. Definitely could be dangerous. However, I’m heading back again in a few months and was wondering if your directions will lead to a closer place to park? I rather be on foot than take a jeep over some of those boulders. Thanks!

Hi Liz, thank you for sharing. If you are an avid hiker, have hiking boots, plenty of water and portable first aid kit (blisters, cactus pricks, cuts etc), by all means, hike away.

Unfortunately there isn’t a closer way to park, other than the one you described in your comment.

Make sure the water is relatively calm in the pool before making your way in, because those waves can get big.

If you ask me, I truly believe a jeep is the much safer alternative getting to the pool rather than walking. That is if you know how to drive off-road.

Be safe.

Hi – I think someone mentioned it on here or another site, so I will mention again for anyone going. The walk from Daimairi beach is only 30 min to the natural pool. I am in good shape, my wife was just ok – we parked the car at the top of the hill at Daimairi (before u hit the ranch below) and walked from there – it was a little tough in some spots but in the middle it’s actually very beautiful between the 2 large cutout beaches u will see surrounding a large rock/plateau a little more than halfway – make sure to walk around certain areas so u can make it. We paid for the park entrance at the main entrance and drove to the caverns in a small Kia Sorento – those roads are ok to drive a small car, but we took everyone’s advice and drove around to Daimairi to access the natural pool. It was well worth it and the highlight of our trip. I timed the way back and it was about 35 min or so with a couple of short breaks – I wouldn’t recommend older or disabled do this trip as it could be tough for some. Thanks whoever said to park at Daimairi beach – it worked for me and we didn’t pay anything other than the entrance fee(the car rental was cheap 200 for the whole week and we saw the whole island and almost every major beach.

Directions seem vague at first, but they were spot on! We rented a jeep and were able to get to the pool with no problem at all. Thank you so much!!!

Your information is excellent! Wish I would’ve followed your directions a little closer! The Natural Pool was incredible although a little scary to me as we saw what we believe was a sea snake!!! I’m scared to death of them! One of the locals said it was an eel, but I’m sure it was a sea snake. I recommend this is not for everyone and most certainly go well prepared!! Would do it all over again!! I ❤️ Aruba!!!

Thanks Jodi. I’m happy that you had a wonderful time there. Although I’m no marine expert I believe that this part of the world is not the habitat for sea snakes. You probably saw an eel. Sea snakes tend to have a striped pattern and eels look like a slimy elongated fish with a vomit color.

Thank you again for the compliments. Hope you will return in the future.

I agree re: the sea snakes, but it had a reptile type pattern. I didn’t look at it long though!! Lol! We googled pix of sea snakes and it really looked like a snake. The local guy there said it was most likely an eel. Either way…I was done!! Haha!! Would go back in a heart beat though!!!

Sometimes these exotic species get into that pool through the opening on the side. I’m not too fond of those creatures either, I totally understand why you had to bail. And like you said, that doesn’t spoil the fun that the Natural Pool can be.

I was there 2 years ago. Went with Maddie’s tiurs. She took us to a beach that one of the folks in our group could walk into the water. had big breaking waves, but crystal clear. was that north or south of the pool? Sorry. I think it was after we stopped at the natural bridge. Do you know where this could be?

Hey Ken, thank you for your comment. You are a bit confused indeed and have me confused. Maddie does tours, but mostly gives rides to Natural Pool, and both Natural Pool and Natural Bridge have a nice beach nearby, that are crystal clear. South of Natural Bridge there the nearest beach is popular with body surfers, some kids call that beach Sharks bay because that sounds cool Iguess. North of Natural Pool you have a big rock that is called Moro, which devides the beach in two, one side is called Boca Ketu and Boca Fluit. Hopefully it’s a bit clearer. Cheers.

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