My off-road driviing experience - tips/directions
driving with honda CRV.
driving was not bad at all as i had originally feared. just remember that the round circle with a hypen in the middle (looks like a minus sign) means DO NOT ENTER - ONE WAY STREET. other than that you will be perfectly fine. just remember that the island is so small that 5 minutes of driving will place you a good inch or two further away on your map.
North end of the island - driving from the lighthouse to the chapel via the dirt road is very doable. you need to take the 2nd dirt road on the right (leaving the lighthouse) and follow the path. it's a fairly smooth ride to the chapel.
however, from the chapel to the gold mine is not possible in my opinion with a regular SUV. you have to take the left at the 2nd cross (leaving the chapel) and follow the dirt road. everything is pretty much smooth until you reach a narrow point where the cliff is completely separated from each other (looks like the natural bridge w/o the bridge). at this point the road turns uphill sharply - too steep of an incline for an ordinary SUV in my opinion - or it could've been erosion from the hard rain that fell 2 days before our venture. either way, we had to turn the car around (tight u-turn in the confined space) and go back to the chapel and use the paved roads to reach the gold mine (ask for directions - it's right next to the natural bridge).
from the gold mine to natural bridge - easy going. just follow the signs - it takes less than a minute.
arikok national park - follow route 4a (this is the road where you see the huge pizza hut on the main road by palm beach (1A). continue on the road for a good 10-15 minutes until you see a sign for the park. make the left turn and follow the road for another good 5-10 minutes. then you'll see the visitors center. there's really not much to do at the center save for using the restrooms. before you make your way through the park, there's two roads you can take. one leads you to the san nicholas via the caves, dos playas beach, the windmills, etc....(this is the main road for the park). the other road is behind the vistor's center (very steep uphill climb that winds its way behind the mountain). this road will lead you to the highest mountain top in the park (600 ft approx). i'm not sure if you're allowed to enter this way, but we didn't know which way to go and went up this road first before turning around and heading back the correct way. they're currently building something on the top of the peak - and this road is very much more rough terrain than the paved main roads. but you can see the entire in-land island from here and also the north side of the island cliffs and ocean - much better than the views/sights offered on the main road.
btw, all roads in the park have these HUGE rain gutters on the road. i personally thought only an SUV would be able to cross it w/o scrapping the bottom of the car, but i did see a toyota yaris do it w/o any problems.
there's really not much to see in the park except for the wild goats and donkeys here and there. you can visit the caves i guess (we didn't since we had very young toddlers with us and didn't want to bother with it) everything else is the same as the landscape you see driving on the north end.
once you leave the park and enter san nicholas, you can continue your way to the first circle turn stop and make a left. then continue following the road until you hit the large road (1A). you can make a left to continue onto baby beach or make a right to head back downtown and to the palm beach.
hope this helps for those looking to drive.