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La Cabana All-Suite Beach Resort & Casino
Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at the La Cabana Resort in Aruba during November, 2000.
Check our our tips section for additional links that may be helpful for planning your aruba vacation.
The air conditioning worked very well and there was a ceiling fan in the living area. Each unit also has a balcony with a couple chairs and a table. Even though our unit was "garden view," because of the way the resort is situated, we had a nice view of the very blue ocean. We were very pleased with the unit, as it served our needs perfectly. There are also one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites available, and nearly any combination can be configured through adjoining doors to accommodate up to 10 people.
La Cabana had pretty much everything. The pool area was just across the road from the beach. It was quite expansive, very nice, and clean. There were many tables with umbrellas avaliable for those who want to stay out of the sun. People tend to go out early and "reserve" their chaise lounges with beach towels (fresh towels are provided daily by the resort), but we soon discovered that if there were no available lounges, all we had to do was ask at the towel hut for a couple more (they had stacks of the lounges behind the towel hut). During the daytime, there are activities available for the children, as well as pool-side activities for the adults (bingo, trivia, aquatic exercise, etc.).
For those who gamble, there is a casino with complimentary shuttle service (one could walk there, but we don't recommend it during the middle of the day, as it gets quite hot).
There is a shopping arcade which contains a convenience store which has a wide selection of food and drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) that we visited several times. You can pre-order and have food/beverages waiting for you in your room when you arrive, or you can also order when you arrive and the items will be delivered during the day (we did this and it was nice to return from an afternoon spent pool-side to find our kitchen stocked and beer chilling in the refrigerator). There is a car rental desk at the resort, as well as a watersports desk (where we reserved a couple cruises). We stayed away from it (not having kids), but there is also a video arcade/game room for kids.
The resort has basically everything you could want and does a great job of appealing to guests of all ages. This is truly a resort in every definition of the word. We have visited some places that bill themselves as resorts, but La Cabana truly lives up to what we would expect from a true resort (and met and exceeded our expectations as well). We highly recommend La Cabana for both couples and families.
The Captain's Table - The first night we arrived, we felt like simply relaxing at the resort, so we had dinner at The Captain's Table, located in the shopping arcade of the resort. We had a nice quiet banquet table. The lights are turned down low and there are aquariums with fish, an atmosphere that was soothing and relaxing. Lori ordered a crab cake appetizer and shrimp scampi. Both were tasty, and there was plenty of garlic on the scampi. Keith sampled the salad bar and had chicken piccata. We split a piece of peanut butter pie for dessert. It wasn't the best meal we had on the island, but it was good. The service was excellent; several staff members were constantly on the lookout to see that we didn't want for anything, and were continually topping off our wine and water glasses.
Islander Grill - This is next to the pool area and we ate several meals here. It is a popular spot during the daytime, and gets fairly busy. We had several satisfying breakfasts and lunches. It is a nice spot to fuel up and get some time out of the sun.
There are a couple other restaurants we did not sample. One is O Sushi Mi sushi bar, located in the lobby. There were also salads and bakery items available for take-out. There is another restaurant outside (adjacent to the Captian's Table) called E Piscado, which we did not visit. The restaurant bills itself as Caribbean Seafood (which is why we probably skipped that one, as Keith is not big on seafood).
The Pata Pata Bar - This is a covered bar located next to the beach-side pool that serves up nearly any libation imaginable, with friendly service. There was a happy hour each day from 4-6 p.m. (consult the front desk, as this may change), when drinks were 2 for the price of 1. There was often live music available beginning in the late afternoon. It is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Galley Bar - This bar (open 4 p.m. - midnight) is located on the upper level of the main lobby. There is a nice bar with ample seating that overlooks the main entrance and big-screen tv. Lori was in heaven, as there was karaoke in the Galley Bar 3 nights a week.
There is a swim-up bar over in the other pool area by the villas (open 11 a.m. To 7 p.m.), which we did not visit. The Oasis Beach Bar (open 10:30 a.m. to sunset) is located directly on the beach.
This was Lori's 3rd visit to Aruba, but Keith's first. Lori remembered the people as being extremely friendly, but 9 years had elapsed between visits. That has not changed. Everyone on the island was extremely helpful and friendly. The resort was no exception. The people were all friendly, helpful, and accommodating. There is a taxi stand in front of the resort, and we actually enjoyed seeing how the purser would order up a taxi for us. Sometimes it was a clap, sometimes a whistle, and sometimes a combination of the two, but it was always served up with a smile as he would open the taxi door for us. We soon decided taxis were so reasonable and plentiful that we weren't going to rent a car. In addition, there are scheduled fares to and from destinations, and all taxis are licensed, so taking a taxi is easy, safe, and affordable. Many of the taxis had coated their seats with plastic to accommodate those who were wearing wet suits. Since La Cabana was located in the low-rise district (half-way between the high-rise hotels and downtown Orangestad), we could hop a taxi to nearly anywhere we wanted to go for $5-$10, plus tip.
Aruba's airport in Orangestad is very modern and clean. We found ourselves in front of the baggage carousel within 10 minutes of landing. They know their #1 industry is tourism, and they treat tourists like they want them to keep returning. If you are going to the US from Aruba, you will go through US Customs in Aruba.
Aruba is a desert island, not as lush and tropical as many Caribbean islands. The resort areas are lushly landscaped and well-tended and sprinklered, but the rest of the island resembles the southwest. The chief sightseeing consists of a natural bridge on the other, more barren side of the island. Since Lori had seen it before, and we didn't rent a car, we decided to forego the natural bridge on this trip. There is also a lighthouse on the northern end of the island. Horse riding is available on the island, as well as golf, jeep tours, and skydiving. Aruba has some of the cleanest and nicest beaches in the Caribbean. The most popular activities are centered around water, including diving, snorkeling, and many other such activities.
We opted for a snorkeling trip hosted by Pelican Advantures (who had a desk at the resort). We boarded a huge, sparkling clean catamaran that provided great music, beverages, and snacks. Keith hadn't been snorkeling for several years, but happily enjoyed himself on the first stop of the cruise. Lori has bad eyesight and wears hard contact lenses and is always nervous about losing her lenses by snorkeling, so she strapped on her buoyancy compensator and happily paddled about in the warm turquoise water while the others were snorkeling. The second stop was further out and the water was a little rougher, by a World War II wreck. A lot was visible from the boat, and we opted to stay topside for that portion. Pelican's employees are friendly, professional, and seem to love their jobs (why not?). We returned to Pelican's dock a couple days later for a sunset cruise. This time we were in shorts, not bathing suits, but we came armed with our disposable cameras. We met a lot of happy, friendly people on the cruise, and enjoyed our rum punch while we watched a glorious sunset. Again, Pelican's employees were great and we highly recommend them.
El Gaucho - phone: 823677
El Gaucho has been awarded a "best of ..." www.weloveourlife.com award.
Don Carlo - phone: 883624
Waterfront Crab House - phone: 835858
Villa Germania - phone: 836161
Palms Bar - phone: 861234
The Old Mill (The Olde Molen)
Iguana Joe's - phone: 839373
There are a lot of great restaurants on Aruba, and we plan to hit some others the next time we visit (although El Gaucho will remain a must for us).
Please understand that we are old (well, sometimes it seems that way, as a day full of sun, surf, and fine food and drink seems to knock us out earlier and earlier). Actually, we did make it out a few nights while we were in Aruba. On the first night, we simply hung out at the Pata Pata Bar by the pool and listened to some live music. And of course Lori dragged Keith to karaoke a couple nights in the Galley Bar. OK, so maybe we create our own nightlife. It sure was nice at the end of the day to head back to our room and relax in the whirlpool. We did end up at Iguana Joe's late one night and we each had one of their special drink concoctions. Be forewarned, they are very strong and will make you very happy. There are also nightclubs in Aruba where you can dance the night away, if that is your desire.
Aruba is only 15 miles north of Venezuela. The sun is extremely hot, and be sure to take plenty of sun protection. Lori - who usually uses minimal sun protection - actually used SPF 8. Be sure to have sunglasses and head coverings at hand (Keith needed do rags/kerchiefs for the boat trips). Aruba is out of the hurricane zone, so it is safe to travel there even in high hurricane season. November is the rainiest month in Aruba, but it wasn't exactly rainy. We saw about 15 minutes of light rain all week, and the sun came out immediately afterwards. Most didn't even leave the pool (there wasn't any thunder). Basically, expect highs to be from 85-95 (depending on the time of year) and lows to be from 70-80. It is one of the sunniest Caribbean islands.
Many restaurants add a service charge (15-18%), so check the bill before leaving a tip amount. If service was exemplary and a service charge has already been added, it is fair to leave extra. The service was so great all week, we happily tipped extra.
Lori didn't remember bugs from her previous visit, but the island is a little more built-up now, and there were definitely some sort of biting insects that fed a little on our legs at night, so we would recommend taking some bug spray.
Aruba accepts American dollars and everyone understands English.
We were cautioned to get to the airport several hours before our flight. Well, we did, and we couldn't even have our bags checked, so we had to wait over an hour for the airline's front desk to open up. While we wouldn't recommend running to your gate just before the plane takes off, the airport is extremely well-organized, and arriving there 2 hours before your flight should be more than sufficient.