Embark on a journey to one of the most famous landmarks in Aruba, the California Lighthouse. The newly
renovated lighthouse has been restored to its original glory. You will experience unmatched 360 degree
panoramic views of the island. Each step and every window offers a unique view of Aruba's scenic coastline.
With it's unparalleled vistas, The California Lighthouse will definitely offer you an incredible backdrop ideal
for taking pictures and creating new and lasting memories.
Built during the years 1914 - 1916, the California Lighthouse is located on the northernmost point of the island of Aruba.
The tower of this magnificent master piece is made of stone blocks that were hewn on-site and is 100 feet high.
The metal top of the lighthouse, containing the light that sets a romantic setting, is 25 feet in diameter.
Although standing on a hill called Hudishibana, the lighthouse is called California Lighthouse.
The point of land called California is named after a vessel that shipwrecked at the coast near Aruba's
northernmost point. The ship "California" was traveling from Liverpool to Central America with passengers,
merchandise, provisions, clothing and furniture.
Ironically, when the ship hit the coast, at midnight sharp on September 23, 1891, the passengers were partying on
board. It was not until daybreak that the inhabitants of Aruba saw and understood what happened.
The crew of the California had thrown much of their cargo overboard when the boat hit the coast. This meant
that everybody was able to salvage the merchandise out of the water and take it to Oranjestad to sell.
The nearby restaurant building was once the dwelling of the lighthouse keepers.
The population of Aruba is predominantly Catholic, a fact that can be seen by observing the
number of Catholic churches located in all districts of the island. On a drive to the northeastern
coast from San Nicolas, you'll drive by a unique Roman Catholic shrine built into the rocks.
The Lourdes Grotto was created under the guidance of a priest named "Erkamp" and parishioners in the
year 1958. The grotto is located in Seroe Pretoe (black hill). The year 1958 was an important year as
it was 150 years before that the Holy Virgin appeared in front of Bernadette, as legend has it in Aruba.
Bishop Holterman blessed the statue of the Holy Virgin and Bernadette. The statue weighed 700 kilos
and one Mrs. Maria Geerman played an important role in the development of the grotto. Eight people
were needed to hoist the statue and place it in the grotto.
Mrs. Geerman's wish was to be buried in the same box that carried the Holy Virgin and this wish was granted.
Every year, on February 11th (feast of Lady of Lourdes) a procession leaves from the St. Theresita
church in San Nicolas to the grotto, where a mass is performed.
Established way back in 1941, Charlie's ranks among the most legendary watering holes anywhere in
the world, its fame carried across the seas over the years by the many oil men and sailors who've been
stationed in Aruba at one point or another.
The bar is located in San Nicholas, a town so tied to the oil business that it's safe to say that
it wouldn't exist if not for the large, decaying refinery that dominates the area. In the boom times,
the town was alive with bars, banks, brothels and other businesses catering to the
steady stream of refinery workers. Today, San Nicholas is as sleepy as its refinery.
Charlie's is the town's central attraction; a warm and welcoming
place to stop in for a few drinks and make new friends. When you first walk in, prepare to be
overwhelmed by the massive and infinitely eclectic collection of artifacts displayed all over
the bar. Virtually every man or woman that ever set
foot in the place left something behind. An expired West Virginia driver's license, old baseballs,
classic cameras, cell phones, trumpets, cowboy hats, stuffed animals; the list goes
on and on. There's even a portrait photo of the Old West outlaw Jesse James donated, alledgedly by the
descendants of one of the guys who caught him.
Whether you're looking for a good time, or a little bit more, no visit to San Nicholas would be complete
without a stop at Charlie's...