We typically spend a minimum of several weeks when visiting a place for the first time. This practice was solidified when we spent almost 15 months in Grenada during the height of the Covid pandemic. Only time and experiences can truly give you a sense of a new island’s or country’s culture, cuisine, people, and marvels. We have also adopted the practice of renting a car for a portion of the time we spend in a new destination.
The Southern-Most End of Aruba
Aruba is the smallest of the ABC islands. Despite its size, the island has much to enjoy beyond the areas most frequently visited by cruisers and other tourists. The southern most end of Aruba needs to be included in your visit to the island.
San Nicolas is the second largest city in Aruba. It initially grew in size and population following the opening of an oil refinery there in 1924. The oil refinery changed hands several times, and ultimately closed in 2009. Vestiges of the refinery still stand just beside Rogers Beach. The closure of this refinery, as well as, refinery closures on Bonaire and Curaçao, were due to environmental concerns which cannot be resolved without costly modernization of the old refineries.
In more recent years, the stark utilitarian architecture of many of San Nicolas’s Buildings have been transformed by beautiful murals depicting life and culture of Aruba, and the artistry of its people. San Nicolas is a treasure not to be missed.
After touring the town and marveling at the murals we proceeded to exploring the southern beaches. I’ve already mentioned Roger’s Beach beside the remnants of the old oil refinery and will add it is a clean, uncrowded, sandy beach with crystal clear water. We enjoyed a good soak there without concern about Duhkxy joining us. The next beach traveling south is Baby Beach. Baby Beach is replete with refreshments, as well as chairs, lounges and shady open tents to rent. Baby Beach was clearly the favorite that day, but far from crowded.
Last but not least was a vast expanse of dunes and waterfront beach that serves and a pet cemetery. Hundreds, upon hundreds of graves with simple to elaborate headstones memorialized beloved pets, primarily dogs. We have found dogs to be considerably more well treated and loved in Aruba than on some islands where they are primarily kept as guard dogs, more than pets.
We ended our day’s visit to Aruba’s southern end with a delicious, traditional dinner at O’Niel’s Caribbean Kitchen.