Downtown Aruba Vibes: San Nicolas

Let’s head to San Nicolas or as some locals like to call it, Sunrise city! As the sun rises, so does the vibrant atmosphere and culture of this beautiful city in Aruba!

This city is filled with happy people, beautiful art & culture, and a laid back atmosphere… just take a look for yourself!

Why you must add San Nicolas to your list:

Culture and history

Visit the Museum of Industry, situated in the water tower, to learn about Aruba’s historical rise with regards to the island’s industrial development. San Nicolas is also home to the refinery, which up until the 70’s was the largest in the world. Employing about 7000 people from 56 different countries. Since then, the refinery is not in use anymore but the effects are still felt in San Nicolas, Aruba’s cultural hub.

Another big part of our island’s culture and DNA is Aruba’s Carnaval! The majority of parades and celebrations take place in downtown Oranjestad and downtown San Nicolas. Every year people flock to downtown San Nicolas to experience Aruba’s most celebrated time of the year, including the highly anticipated event, or should we say party, Jouve (Jouvert) Morning! Sadly for this year (2021) Aruba’s Carnival celebrations have been canceled. We cannot wait for the day it is able to return!

Vibrant Art

As you enter downtown San Nicolas, you are welcomed with colorful vibrant art murals decorating the streets, thanks to the efforts of various art organizations, such as Art rules Aruba, Aruba Art Fair and the vision of Tito Bolivar, the founder of Artisa. Make your way to Cosecha Aruba where you will discover beautiful art, handmade by local artisans and creatives – you can even try making some arts and crafts yourself in one of their workshops!

Yummy Food

One of our favorite places to stop and get a bite is Kulture Kafe, in the Nicolaas Store building, serving delicious healthy dishes and Caribbean vibes.

O’Neil Caribbean Kitchen and Kamini’s Kitchen offer mouth-watering Caribbean dishes bursting with great flavor and taste. Especially known for their oxtail, a true local specialty!

One of the most popular spots on the island, Charlie’s Bar has been serving cold beer, smiles and long-time stories of the island since 1941. This truly is a unique and fun “hole in the wall” worth visiting.

One thing you MUST try when in Sunrise City, is a traditional Saco di Felipe – a bag filled with fried goodness including our favorite, Jhonnycake!! If you haven’t tried a johnnycake yet, you simply aren’t living. Perfect for those late-night cravings, trust us!

Nearby Attractions

Not only is downtown San Nicolas filled with good vibes but there are a handful of breathtaking nearby attractions that are totally worth visiting! Such as Baby Beach, Rodger’s Beach, Big Red Anchor, and Boca Grandi (known for Kite Surfing).

As you can well see, San Nicolas is truly its own little melting pot of Aruba…..filled with history, diversity, and a pleasant laid-back atmosphere. So, what are you waiting for? Consider this your personal invite to come witness the Art Capital of the Caribbean for yourself!

Discover more things to do and places to visit in Aruba.