cave 2


During our drive around Aruba, we visited the caves in Arikok National Park.  We had been there before, but this time when we went with our friends, the park service guys were there to give us a tour.   Valentino, our guide was very friendly and outgoing.  He  did a really great job showing off the cave, making sure we saw the cave drawings,  left by the Caquetio Indians.  At one point he had us all crawling, nearly on our bellies, to a cavern deeper in the cave.  There Valentino pointed out some seldom seen hand prints left by the Indians.  That was really amazing.  The Caquetio Indians came to Aruba over 4000 years ago, making their way from Venezuela, and eking out a small existence of fishing and farming on this “desert” island.  That all ended when the Spanish, led by Alonso de Ojeda arrived on Aruba in 1499.  He was looking for gold, and declared the island useless when he couldn’t find any.  He did find strong able Indians whom he captured and made slaves, sending them off to other Spanish colonies to work.  In what became an all too familiar story, another indigenous tribe was wiped out.  It was very humbling, crouched in that small space, seeing those handprints, thinking about who might have sat in this same spot, rubbing red paint into their hand, then placing it on the wall, leaving a print that thousands of years later, we would find. 


cave 4


cave 3


cave 4


cd 1


cd 2


cbat 1  Of course, what is a cave without a bat, or several bats!