Sunset Wari Walk
Text & Images by Debbie Kunder
Many people come to Aruba and never venture to the North Coast, missing out on the rugged beauty of the cactus-strewn terrain and the crashing waves. Those who do venture to this side of the island are oftentimes driving through in an all-terrain vehicle, only getting out to take a photo here and there. Very rarely do I see visitors to the island taking the time to explore the North Coast on foot, and yet, it’s such a worthwhile experience.
One of my favorite North Shore walks is what I like to call the Wari walk. Wari is short for Wariruri, the name of the beach nearby. It’s a surfer’s beach and also the site of one of the island’s handful of natural bridges. The easiest way to find Wariruri is to continue north past the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins until you find the beach with the natural bridge. Find a spot to park (not in the dunes!) and put on your walking shoes.
A few years ago when my husband and I got our dogs, we would bring them to Wariruri as a treat—a nice alternative to our usual neighborhood walk. Once, we happened upon a dirt trail that starts just north of Wariruri Beach and leads up into the hills. Here is where you’re going to start your sunset walk.
Once you find the (unmarked) dirt trail, start following it up into the hills. Off to the left, nature’s own jungle gym of climbable rocks beckons both little kids and big kids alike. The top of the hill affords a lovely view of Wariruri Beach and the rest of the coastline.
The trail will take you around the other side of the hill you just climbed. A valley off to the left and more hills beyond create a wonderfully peaceful and secluded feeling—as though you have this strange little world of cacti and boulders and aloe all to yourself. And usually you do. You might encounter another walker or perhaps a biker or two (part of the trail does serve as a mountain bike trail). You might even run into the occasional errant wild donkey (which I did once). But for the most part, this little slice of the Aruban countryside is all yours.
When you reach the fork in the trail, go to the right, in the direction of the sea. If you’ve timed the walk right, you’ll be basking in the gorgeous lighting of sunset. At this stretch of the trail, you might cross paths with a very friendly local fisherman returning home from the sea—I’ve encountered him many a time. Despite his missing teeth and ragged clothing, I always admire his seemingly simple yet contented life.
As the trail takes you out of the hills and back down to the shoreline, the turbulent waves provide endless entertainment. When you reach the bottom of the hill, spend some time picking among the rocks at the water’s edge looking for driftwood, or just pop a squat on a big rock and lose yourself in the sound of the crashing and retreating waves.
Since the trail deposits you about a quarter mile north of where you parked, you can take the dirt coastal road back to your car, completing the loop. On the way, perhaps check out the natural bridge or watch the local surfers and body boarders make something out of the waves at Wari.
I hope you check it out!