As much as I have been blessed to have been able to travel, I have never visited Aruba before. Aruba is one of those places you hear about people going to as a major upscale destination. Now was going to be my chance and turn.
Video by Haley Takes On the World
Day One Travel and Arrival to
La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino
It all starts today with a series of flights to get to Aruba from my home in Virginia. I was shocked by how quickly you can get to Aruba. Located in the Southern Caribbean mentally, I just felt like it was farther away. Yet even with a layover, you can get there in a little over 7 hours.
Most of my trips to the Caribbean have been on various cruise ships. This was one of only a handful of times that I would be flying in to stay. I have done that a few times for trips to Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, but never before for Aruba.
The flight was OK, just a little bumpy once I got on the connecting flight and on a smaller plane. If you look around on line, you will find most resorts in Aruba are $400 a day or more for your stay. Thanks to TZort that was not my rate on this trip for certain.
The airport is only about 16 minutes from the resort, so getting a taxi and a ride is cheap and easy to do. Given that this is an island resort, I chose against renting a car and went with local transportation instead. Local driving, I imagine, is not difficult since in Aruba, they do drive on the right side of the road like the USA, so there is not that mental switch that one has to make when driving.
Arrival at this resort feels a bit like heaven than I have imagined. It is very lovely and laid out like a resort for kings. One of my favorite movies is an old one called “Defending Your Life” an Albert Brooks comedy. This is about a man that goes to a stage of the afterlife called judgment city. I chuckled to myself when I first saw the resort because it struck me that this was like one of the amazing resorts that the best people would go to for their stay. If they have lived a life of purpose and done amazing things, they got to stay here. If they had some issues to work on still, they would stay at something like a Motel 6.
It is a funny movie if you get a chance to watch it and want a good chuckle or belly laugh someday. After getting my laugh out of my system, I checked in and they made it seamless and easy. My flight had me in the area before check-in time, but they made sure I was comfortable in the bar and took my bags for me, so I could relax until my room was ready.
Here the 1-bed villa or studios are the same size at 505 sq ft. The 1-bedroom villa just offers a bedroom that is laid out separate from the living room, which is nice if more than one person is traveling together.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
- In-Room Safe
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Activities Center/Desk
- BBQ Grills
- Business Center/Fax
- Grocery/Convenience Store
- Fitness Room
- Concierge Services
- Hot Tub
- Outdoor Pool
- Internet Access
- Kid’s Activities
- Live Entertainment
- On-Site Security
- Gift Shop
- Computer With Internet (Shared)
- Pool Bar
- Game Room
- Tiki Bar
For me, I was happy either way. With TZort they always set me up with the best available, so I ended up with a 1 bedroom that was very nice. The view from my balcony here was impeccable. The tropical waters and beach were in view, and as the sun went down, the sunset was impressive.
The resort has impressive pools, bars, and areas all around to relax. Then there is the casino as well. Tonight, I would have a few drinks, then the casino for a little light blackjack or something fun. The casino here is small but offers many games of chance, including most favorites and more than a few one-arm bandits as well.
This resort is built for fun but the location is so nice. I wish I had more advance notice of the opportunity to invite a friend to come with me. The setting would certainly lend itself to romance.
Day Two Island Fun
When you have an amazing resort and casino, it may feel hard to leave the resort, and you may not want to. But never having been to Aruba before, I wanted to see the island and learn more about its history.
The branding for the government travel site is Aruba the happy place, and it seems the perfect tagline.
I started my day with a Trike Tour of the island. With the trike, you get a great feel for the area because they are open like motorcycles, just as much more stable and safer for infrequent riders like me.
In about 3 hours, you can see a great deal of the islands as you make several key stops on the tour. You are picked up at your resort around 8:30 AM and on the road by 9 AM, returning to your resort after 12 PM. It is a well-spent morning tour that is about $200 for a trike which can cover the cost of two people. When going solo you do not get a discount, so bring a friend.
Weather permitting, they do 3 tours a day through this group. 1 of the 3 is geared more toward cruise passengers with an earlier departure time. Then there is an afternoon ride as well.
For lunch, I went to Mathew’s Beachside Restaurant. I would say location, location, but this is also about great food too. The lunch menu offers many soups, salads, and sandwiches to choose from.
They also offer a lasagna here that is flat-out amazing. The mind does not think that Italian food would be at its best at an island resort, but it would be wrong. It was perfect.
They also offer a specialty nighttime Italian menu, and a dessert menu too. If this place had rooms, I might have moved in. Wow.
All toured out and now full, (that happy kind of full one gets) it was time to return to the resort and see if I could win the cost of my trip gambling a little. I set myself a limit and promised I would stick to it. No lines of credit and no getting caught up in the moment. If I won the price of my trip, I would stop, I promised myself.
Many hours later, I was almost hooked. I got lost some money but just before hitting my limit the dealer and my luck changed. I felt like I could read her hand on the dealer’s face. She appeared to have several tells. In just a few hours, I was back ahead of the game again and up a few thousand. Maybe I was doing better here since the drinks were not free like they were in Vegas or Atlantic City. It helped me keep my head. I had a few, but I feel like it kept me more in control.
More than a few hours passed, and I decided to step away while the getting was good, and headed to bed so I could get up at a decent hour for my 3rd day at the resort.
Day Three at the Resort
I had seen a good deal of the island with the Trike Tour, so today I felt like I would be happy just enjoying the beaches and the pools here at the resort. There were some beautiful people at the resort, both other customers and staff. Eye candy was all around. I am not one to just sit and look on, but wow, these folks had been hitting gyms a ton and taking care of themselves.
Maybe they were better looking just because of the socio-economic underpinnings of a trip to Aruba. While not an expensive vacation compared to many, it was still more expensive than a cruise or a trip to Vegas. Perhaps some of the guests had more free time in their lives to make time for appearance and working out than others.
Whatever it was, the people here were fit and happy looking. Note to self, hit the gym again when you get home. At least I could lose a few pounds and feel better, then maybe tighten up my abs.
It is hard to beat drinking a tropical drink, looking at amazing water views, and gals in bikinis. There were also guys in too-little bathing suits that the ladies might enjoy, but I just scanned on to the next lovely view instead. Then, as I went back to the bar area, I found a few single ladies to at least hold a conversation with. We mentioned the attractiveness of others because it was so obvious here that it was a natural topic of discussion. Think South Beach Miami and you get the idea. Some folks here just looked like models.
I discovered keeping my natural hormones in control was all about a balance of alcohol and sun. Both needed to be in the right amounts here. Too much of either and you were likely to end up speaking to someone lovely just to see if you had a chance in the world of getting to know them.
Instead, I got to know some of the staff, and a few other guests that were all happy to be in this island paradise, just like me. Looking back now in my 20s I wished that I had worked at a neat beach club like this at a resort. It would have been an amazing job for a year or two.
I could stay here with the beautiful people and just laugh, drink, and look at the ocean, but tomorrow reality would come back into play as I needed to make my flight at 11 AM and head back to Virginia. Next time if I get to come back to Aruba, I will arrange to stay for a week or more. On this 3rd day I really just relaxed and bought into the resort and pace of the island.
If you want a legendary vacation like this on an easier budget, book through TZort and save a fortune on this amazing trip.