Aruba and the hitchhiking snakes of the Caribbean

Repeating Islands


For a long time no-one could understand how Aruba’s boa constrictors spread across the island so quickly. Then they realized – the snakes could easily travel miles by hiding under car bonnets and hitching a lift.

This might be the Caribbean of tourist dreams, but from where I’m standing, there’s not a rum punch or sun lounger in sight. Cacti, dense, sable brown scrub, immense boulders and the odd skittish goat surround me, in this arid landscape that looks like something more akin to Australia’s Northern Territory.

The fact that snakes – boa constrictors to be precise – are, according to my guide Robert, absolutely everywhere here in the Arikok National Park in Aruba, only compounds the sense that this is no relaxing beach break in paradise. In fact I’m on a wild island, with an invasive species far more deadly than the slew of cruise ship passengers meandering around…

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