To unsuspecting motorists and commuting travelers along the Cagayan Valley Road in Nueva Vizcaya, Aritao is just another nondescript roadside town and a meal-stop station for buses to and from Manila or Baguio.
But wait until you get to explore this quiet town, and you will realize that it is among the best-kept secrets in the region because of its unique mix of nature and adventure. Here are some of the must-try activities and spots in this under-the-radar town:
Aritao ATV Adventure.
The only one of its kind in the province, this is an exciting activity that takes you driving along the banks of the Sta. Fe River. With the panorama of the Sierra Madre and Caraballo mountain ranges, the ATV ride is a visual treat that compliments the physical challenge of negotiating the bumpy ride. The one-hour adrenaline ride takes you to the rough outskirts and farmlands of Aritao and to the edges of neighboring Dupax Del Sur town.
Paradise Agri Tourism Farm.
An off-the-grid resort in the upland barangay of Yaway, this hideaway is a confluence of nature’s elements—river, spring, gardens, huge mountain boulders, farm, vegetable garden, and fruit-bearing trees. Its natural endowment, basic amenities, delectable home-cooked dishes, and warm hospitality of its owners are more than compensate for its lack of modern concrete facilities typical of urban establishments. Guests shouldn’t miss sampling its signature creation, “Pancit Paradise”, a hearty rice noodle teeming with meat, vegetable, chicharron, and other ingredients. For moments of a quiet interlude with Mother Nature, Paradise lives up to its name with its lush greeneries, crisp air, and a brook where you can dip and laze and feel rejuvenated. The well-manicured hillside farm also has 2 swimming pools framed by fruit trees and foliage, a prayer grotto beside a rock crevice and spring, a gazebo for intimate events, native huts for picnics and day excursions, and heart icons for your social media snapshot.
RVS Skyview and Nature Farms.
Perched on the slopes of a hill, this garden resort overlooks the national highway and has a breathtaking vista of the mountain ranges. The beautifully-landscaped flower gardens, which has basic lodgings, is ideal for sunset gazing because of their unobstructed view and Instagram-worthy corners. Sink your teeth on afternoon snacks of waffles and brewed coffee at Oma’s Snacks while watching the world go by and waiting for the sun to set on the horizon. It also has a Ridgeview shallow lap pool where you can soak while waiting for the kaleidoscopic dusk. With its cool breeze and soothing view, it has become one of the favorite venues for weddings, birthdays, parties, and social events.
Casa De Española.
Tucked in the interior barangay of Tucanon, this resort hotel is arguably the best of its kind in Aritao, with its simple but tasteful comforts fit for both locals and domestic visitors. It has spacious high-ceiling rooms with a scenic porch that looks out into the swimming pool below and the vast farm and chain of mountains at a distance. It also has a remarkable WiFi connection despite the distance from the town proper to keep you in touch with the outside world. With landscaped premises and a roofed open-air hall, it is an all-weather venue for special events and outings for small or mid-sized groups. Its Comedor restaurant serves breakfast, short orders, and typical Filipino dishes and can arrange delivery service with nearby dining outlets.
CCQ Bus Stop & Restaurant.
A landmark establishment along the national highway, this is an all-day dining spot being the meal stop and station of the Victory Liner, where you can conveniently catch a ride bound for your next destination. It is also a one-stop shop for locally-made pasalubong snack items, most notably buko pie and native crafts from all over Nueva Vizcaya and adjoining provinces.