The Chapel at Alto Vista is one of Aruba’s most precious landmarks. The name of the chapel and the surrounding neighborhood comes from the Spanish phrase for “high view.” Originally built in 1750 by Domingo Antonio Silvestre the tiny church was used on a daily basis for more than three decades.
Around the turn of the century, the area inhabitants began to move to more fertile land farther to the north. The chapel rapidly fell into disrepair and was closed in 1816. Yet, the magnetic draw of the incredible view from the summit led many to retrace the ancient path to its doorstep to contemplate “higher teachings” and it eventually became a chosen site for religious pilgrimages.
During World War II, Aruba became a target for Nazi U-boat German torpedo fire. Due to the perseverance of catholic parishioners the church was restored to its former glory, and completed in 1952. The interior restoration includes a massive cross that is said to date back to the Spanish colonial period. The exterior stone fence and pews were added in 1964.
Today pilgrimages to this site occur several times a year, particularly during October to commemorate the wartime attacks. Located behind the chapel is the Chartres Labyrinth walk designed to enhance prayer, contemplation, meditation, and personal growth.
Visiting the chapel is a must, and while enjoying this beautiful little structure, take in the great panoramic scenic views of the island.