San Nicolas

During the oil refinery heyday, Aruba's oldest village was a bustling port and the island’s economic hub. As demand for the oil dwindled and tourism rose, attention shifted to Oranjestad and the island’s best beaches. The past few years, San Nicolas has had a renaissance: every Thursday night there's Caribbean Festival, a mini-carnival in the streets. There's a new ballpark, a carnival village, and a museum and workshop. A perennial draw is the legendary Charlie’s Bar & Restaurant, a family-run business that’s been around for over 70 years. It's packed with paraphernalia left behind by generations of visitors. Aruba's legal red-light district is also here; much like Amsterdam's red-light district, it's quiet, regulated, and controlled.

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