OverviewHooiberg (also known as Haystack Mountain) is considered to be one of three mountains on Aruba, the others being Mount Jamanota (also known as Seroe Jamanota or Cerro Jamanota) and Arikok. In many other parts of the world, none of these would be considered to be mountains, but here in mostly flat Aruba they are always referred to as such. Hooiberg is actually the third highest point on the island, but many erroneously believe it to be the highest on the island.
Hooiberg is probably the most interesting peak in Aruba to climb. Despite its low elevation, it is a rugged and steep sided peak that stands alone. The peak looks like a volcanic cone from a distance, but is actually made of granite. A steep staircase reaches the summit from the north. On clear days you can see all the way to South America. There are also some radio towers on the summit.
Also nearby and covered on this page are the nearby Casibari Rock Formations, an area that resembles Joshua Tree National Park in California. Interesting trails and routes weave through the rocks. The rocks would have the best bouldering in Aruba, and the Caribbean, if you can find a crash pad. The area is interesting since granite is very rare on oceanic islands (the Seychelles being one notable exception).
Both places make a good getaway if you ever tire of the beach.
Getting ThereGetting to the mountain is easy if you are willing to take a few wrong turns along the way. While the main road of Morgenster passes to the south of the peak, the trailhead is actually on the north side of the peak and in the neighborhoods south of Paradera. From the capitol of Oranjestad, take the road towards Santa Cruz (Route 4A) and then make your way through the neighborhoods to the trailhead on the north side of Hooiberg, which luckily is very visible. You may take a wrong turn or two.
You can take the bus or a taxi from Oranjestad. We took a taxi to the Casibari Rocks and after visiting the rocks made our way on foot to Hooiberg.
To get to Hooiberg you can also park at the water park on the Morgenster (Route 7A) and walk through the park and around the peak to the trailhead.
The nearby Casibari Rocks are reached from Paradera and not far north of the main road to Santa Cruz. You must enter the area around the rocks from the north.
RouteThe only practical route up the peak is from the stone staircase on the north side of the mountain. Because of cacti and other thorny vegetation, all other routes will be very unpleasant. There are said to be 563 steps to the top of the peak, but counts vary.
Red TapeThere is no red tape, so make sure to take care of the place.
When to ClimbAruba is a dry island, especially for the Caribbean. The driest months are February through June and the wettest months are October through December.
The time of year doesn't matter too much though and a little rain can be refreshing. Since there is a staircase to the top, rain really doesn't affect the hike much. The wetter months are still a good time to climb the mountain and the wettest months on these islands are drier than some of the drier months in much of the other areas of the Caribbean.
CampingCamping is not allowed on the island. There are a lot of hotels, resorts, and guesthouses all over the island.
Mountain ConditionsWeather averages for Oranjestad, Aruba are below. The mountain may be a degree or two cooler, but there won't be a noticeable difference.
CLICK FOR ORANGESTAD WEATHER FORECAST
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