Black Owned Aruba: A Day in San Nicolas

Iman Childs

There’s more to Aruba than beautiful beaches and palm trees. Head south of Oranjestad, the island's capital, to San Nicolas, Aruba’s second-largest city. Home to many of the island’s black residents and black-owned businesses, here’s how to spend a day in the Sunrise City.

Kulture Cafe, San Nicolas Community Museum, Museum of Industry, O'Niel Caribbean Kitchen, Aruba Mural Tours, Baby Beach

  • Kulture Cafe, Aruba

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      This cozy cafe is black-owned, run by a young couple, Nicholas and Kedesha. In addition to snacks you can eat on the go, Kulture has an affordable menu of breakfast and lunch staples, as well as ice cream. A small exhibit along the walls showcases historic photos of San Nicolas and details efforts to combat gentrification today.

  • San Nicolas Community Museum, Aruba

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      Opened in 2013, the San Nicolas Community Museum is housed in the same historic building as Kulture Cafe, in the heart of downtown. This small museum consists of two rooms filled with artifacts and memorabilia donated by local residents. They tell the story of the neighborhood’s development and provide insight into how residents lived.

  • Museum of Industry, Aruba

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      Completed in 1939, this water tower helped supply water to much of the island for a number of years. It was renovated and converted into the Museum of Industry in 2016. This museum showcases the many industries that flourished on the island in the past and present: gold, aloe, phosphate, and tourism.

  • O'Niel Caribbean Kitchen, Aruba

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      A meal at O’Niel Carribean Kitchen is an absolute must. This black-owned restaurant is often filled with locals, so you know the food is good. Run by Oneil Williams, a Jamaican chef who has been living in Aruba for 20 years, the menu features Jamaica staples like ackee and saltfish, along with local dishes. The saltfish fritters and Aruban fried fish balls were my favorites.

  • Aruba Mural Tours, Aruba

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      San Nicolas’ main attraction is its street art. These pieces are a result of the Aruba Art Fair, which invites international artists to the island to create new works. Some of my favorite pieces include: One Happy Art Island, rainbow-colored cat/owl, sea turtle trio and the flamingos. If you’d like to learn more about the artists and inspiration behind each piece, consider joining one of Aruba Mural Tours daily offerings.

  • Baby Beach, Aruba

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      End your day at one of Aruba’s most popular beaches: Baby Beach. This calm lagoon is popular with families thanks to its shallow, clear blue waters. Another spot that's popular with Aruba residents, it's the perfect place to people watch and take in a stunning Aruban sunset.