When I first booked the trip to Aruba I had vague information about rock climbing in Aruba. Assuming the best I didn’t realize that finding the climbing areas would be as difficult as it was. After researching a little more as my departure date got closer I realized the rock climbing in Aruba may not be as much of a possibility as I thought.
However, I did find on a website with a description of where exactly these places are located. As someone who puts her destination point in Google Maps, this is challenging. Neither of the climbing areas is shown on the map, and most people have no idea what you are talking about when you ask where the rock climbing is. However, one of the tour guides I struck up a conversation with knew exactly what I was talking about when I described the coconut arch. From there is he was able to give me detailed directions.
There are two distinct places to climb on the island.
Bouldering at Coconut Arch
No ropes needed here. Coconut arch is the ultimate boulderer’s dream. All of the routes are rated from a V2-3. Thankfully, Coconut Arch has shade coverage to keep you cool. At only 19ft tall the arch is not a dangerous fall. Even with this in mind, I recommend removing all the rocks from the sand before you start.
Feel free to bring chalk, I didn’t need any because the rock has a layer of dirt that is easy to grip. The rock reminds me of coral, and there are a lot of finger holes and sharp edges to grab onto.
Morgan Murray bouldering at Coconut Arch
The best way to get to Coconut Arch is to first check out the Bushiribana Ruins. The ruins are a tourist destination and can be easily found on your map. Once you make it to the ruins keep driving on the dirt road to the left, away from the natural baby bridge. Driving on this dirt road for a few minutes, until you reach Wariruri Bay on the right. There will be a sign that says Wariruri Bay. Upon reaching Wariruri Bay the Coconut Arch is an easy find.
Grape Fields Top Roping/Bouldering Climbing Area
Grape Field is the only official climbing area in Aruba. Though I never found the sign labeled Grape Field Climbing I am certain I found the right place. The routes are painted white all across the wall. There are more routes at Grape Field than at the Coconut arch. These routes are made for top-roping, but I only bouldered (didn’t go higher than like 15 feet).
Since the rock is volcanic there are tons of finger holes, crimps, slopers, and pinches. On the left side of the rock formation, there are some easier routes, and as you go more towards the right the routes seem to get more difficult as there is more of an overhang.
On the other side on the left, there are some easier routes. As you move further to the right there is more of an overhang.
Getting Climbing Gear
There is no place to rent or buy climbing gear in Aruba. Unfortunately, the Islanders aren’t big into climbing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be. It means if you want to boulder you have to bring your crash pad. Thankfully, the sand is soft when I bouldered I relied heavily on an easy landing. If I were to go again I would probably try to figure out a way to bring my own, but since I am traveling on a budget with only one other person it didn’t seem possible for this trip.
Even if you have your rope, (quickdraws, etc), I wouldn’t suggest top-roping at Grape Field. Before I left I posted about wanting to go climbing Aruba, and I got several messages from other climbers about how dangerous Grape Field is because the bolts are not maintained. One girl had a bolt break on her, and once I got to Grape Field I saw that the bolts didn’t look safe. If you climb in Aruba I only recommend bouldering. I don’t own my rope, so I didn’t have much choice in the matter. There are some mixed reviews about the security of the bolts. If you do decide to top rope just be aware of the risk.
As a novice climber, I wasn’t sure I rock climbing in a foreign country was a possibility for me. I am beyond happy with my experience rock climbing in Aruba
Hopefully, your climbing trips go just as smoothly, or should I say just as rocky.
Other articles you may like: