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San Nicholas; the "Sunrise City"

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This quiet town, or at least what use to be a quiet fishing village began to grow in the late 18th century. San Nicholas has at times been twice the size of Orjanstad in revelation to population throughout the years. The population changes as does the workforce associated with the natural resources that are found in and around Aruba and Venezuela. Homes were built for workers for mining and for oil production, but when these companies left the area, so did the workers.

San Nicholas has many faces from those that once called it home; from the Arawak Indians to the British Caribbean. This is the largest and oldest city in Aruba and is located on the southeastern coast. It is home to many famous restaurants, clubs, and bars that were built during the various industrial booms that have occurred in San Nicholas. The most famous bar is known the world over for being the best place to party. Charlie's Bar is a wonderful piece of history and a great place for a drink and a meal. Decorated with items that visitors have left behind from shirts, flags from ships, baseball cards and other memorabilia make this bar a remarkable sight to see. The founders Charlie and Marie Brouns began this unique bar in 1941 and in 1977 Charlie was decorated by the Queen of Holland with the order of Oranje Nassau. Their address is Zepperfeldstraat 56, in San Nicholas. Their telephone number is 296-8-71517.

The Lourdes Grotto located in Seroe Pretoe or Black Hill as the local residents call it, is where many visitors flock to see the wonderful architecture, creation and inspiration of the priest "Erkamp" and his parishioners. This unique Grotto has its own legend that gives this area a special meaning to the local residents. The Grotto was built in 1958; 150 years after the Holy Virgin appeared to Bernadette. The statue of the Holy Virgin and Bernadette had to be put in place with the help of eight strong men, to hoist and place it is its resting place. Mrs. Maria Geerman had a large influence in the creation of this beautiful monument and her wish was to be buried in the box that once held the statue. She was in fact buried in the box according to her wishes. February 11th is feast of Lady of Lourdes and a parade is held on this day every year. It begins at the St. Theresita church had ends at the grotto where mass is performed.

The Aruba Golf Club is also located in San Nicholas. This is the favorite golf course for many golfers that visit Aruba. This golf course offers a 9-hole course with 20 sand traps and 5 water traps. It has ten beautiful greens that will enable an entire 18 hole game. Enjoying a tournament or two while you are in Aruba will be a great day of fun. The longest hole is 632 yards par 5 and the shortest 160 yards par 3. The clubhouse has a complete bar and workshop. For more information about reserving your tee time you can contact the Aruba Golf Club by telephone at (297) 584-2006 or by Fax at (297) 584-4473.

The Guadirikiri Cave is located in the San Nicholas area. This cave is just one cave that dots Aruba. You will enjoy seeing the cave drawings left behind by the Arawak Indians and hear the legends that have made this cave famous. The Fontein cave and the Baranca Sunu are also in this area. The Baranca Sunu Cave is better known as the "Tunnel of Love". Spend a day exploring these exquisite caves and see history unfold.

For bird watchers, the San Nicholas bay is an awesome place for viewing the various tern species that have chosen this area for nesting. The Aruban Cayenne tern is the one that most bird lovers admire the most. It's yellow bill is fascinating since most terns have a black bill. Other birds also love this area for nesting which include the threatened species of roseate tern, laughing sea gulls, and brown and black noddies. This bay area is wonderful for watching all types of bird during their daily activities. There are various species that visit this bay.

Two popular beaches are very close to San Nicholas, Rodger's Beach and Baby Beach. If you travel east of San Nicholas on Fortheuvelstraat you will come to a large cement anchor. Turn right onto the main road and follow the signs, you will reach Rodger's Beach first. The Baby Beach is just a little farther east and is a wonderful beach for families with small children. This beach is also known for the great snorkeling adventures that can be experienced.

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