Alto Vista Chapel

Alto Vista Chapel Interior
Alto Vista Chapel Interior

Declarations of faith are supposed to be simple, truthful. And nothing embodies this philosophy like the Chapel of Alto Vista. Situated alone near Aruba's northwestern corner, the tiny church barely sticks up out of the sand and cactus and shrub, the landscape resembling the ragged emptiness of Curacao. The bright mustard pews form a semi-circle around the Alto Vista Chapel Aruba, a strange color amongst the drab surroundings, and upon first appearance the church seems like an odd choice for a tourist destination. But in comparison to the large and imposing churches in other parts of the world (such as the cathedral of St. John in Antigua), the tiny chapel of Alto Vista's prosaic and modest decoration – a few small crosses and windows devoid of stained glass – make it an even more powerful proclamation of faith.

Alto Vista Chapel in Aruba
Alto Vista Chapel in Aruba

It also has a significant place in Aruba history, as it was the first church established in the whole of the Caribbean. Also called the Pilgrim's church, it was constructed by Spanish missionaries in 1750 and to this day the Chapel of Alto Vista continues to conduct services between its pale yellow walls. The chapel is fairly easy to reach, despite it being located well off the beaten path. Dirt roads lined with vaguely unsettling messages left for future travelers lead up to the pews of Alto Vista Chapel Aruba. Interspersed you will find depictions of the station of the cross as you near one of the most significant landmarks in Aruba history. The closest attraction to the church is, coincidentally, the Alto Vista Rum Shop – so joint visitors can combine their sinning and confessing into one simple journey. The Arikok National Park and Aruba Ostrich Farm are also near the Alto Vista Chapel Aruba, and can also be seen on a day-trip, especially if you have rented a car.

This church, sitting quiet and alone upon an island known more for its partying than its religious reverence, is an uncluttered and stark reminder of a far different period of Aruba history.

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