It was a typical travel out day. We stayed at a park and fly near Dulles. With an early morning flight it is so much easier to stay at the hotel the night before and not have to get up at 3AM. Also we did not want to take a chance with the beltway the morning of the flight. The flight left on time and we arrived about 12:45 PM. I was at the back of the plane but was one of the first in my customs line. I noticed the masses using the escalator down to the customs area and no one on the stairs. I used the stairs and my line was wide open. So I was first to wait the eternity for the luggage. When I got to the carrousel it was not moving and workers were crawling up inside it. There were people from a previous flight still waiting for their luggage. I felt a bit of panic. What seemed like an endless wait turned out to be about 15 minutes. All my luggage made it. We went out to meet the Supercar rep who told us they would wait with a sign with our name on it just outside the luggage area. That didnít happen. There was a Depalm rep who told me the rental car people are across the street from the taxi stand. I looked that way and saw a lot of confused people waiting. I joined them. I started calling out for Supercar. Some guy on a phone made eye contact with me and told me a shuttle would be there in a few minutes, Aruba minutes. There was a lot of other people waiting for it too. The panic was starting to well up again but again after only a few minutes we were on our way. Got a brand new car quickly and we were on our way to LaCabana by 1:30. All that anxiety for nothing. We arrived at LaCabana around 1:45 to the brand new lobby. It looks nice but it had the feel of a medical office lobby. It needs some plants and pictures. Our room was available because the week 26 people did not use our room. Off to our room. Unpacked in less than 5 minutes, sent the kids to the pool and we were off to the grocery store. We stocked up on the booze and the breakfast and lunch stuff that we couldnít bring in our luggage. Back by 3 and in my swim trunks. Finally there! I brought my own Mai Tai mixture and bought some pineapple juice and Sweet and Sour mix and had a Mai Tai toast. Went down to the pool area and saw some old friends. It was a good feeling being back with the familiar faces. The bingo mafia was there. I hit the beach volleyball court and the red sox/Yankees were there. That is always interesting when they play. They taunt but in a friendly kind of way. First night dinner is always Smokey Joeís. We parked in the lot behind Texas De Brazil. There is no attendant and the lot is overfilled with the exit blocked. People were parked 3 deep. I found a spot where I could and hoped for the best. This was one of my favorite places to eat until this time. It was okay at best. It just didnít taste that good. A little disappointing but the thrill of being back trumped the mediocre meal. Got to the parking lot to leave and there was a full sized van having a lot of difficulty getting out. I helped him out and eventually after a lot of frustration and yelling among the occupants of the van, they made it out. I barely got out myself. It was a mess. I noticed some damaged cars. Note to self, donít use this lot! Day 2 I hit the gym then breakfast on the balcony. We had a date to meet with Kent on day three so we thought we would brush up on our snorkeling skills and go up past the highrises and snorkel. We were at the spot where the houses are right on the beach, where the tour boats anchor. The boats were there. I have been snorkeling Aruba for 7 years and never saw a sea turtle. We went out 3 times this particular morning and saw 3 sea turtles. We swam along with the turtles until we got tired. What an awesome experience. We were back in time for bingo and beach volleyball. My son ran into one of his favorite TV stars again. We got to know him and his family a couple years ago. Very nice people. Dinner was at Salt and Pepperís Day 3 we met Kent Gerber at Mangel Halto. We were not disappointed. I have been looking forward to this excursion since the last time Kent introduced us to this area. We were flying through an aquarium is the only way I can describe it. Change your plans and be on the island when Kent is there. Back to bingo and volleyball. Dinner that night was at Gasparitoís. It was our first time here. We got there around 6 and there was one other group there. The food was good. The owner came out and talked with us and told us the history of the building. I would recommend this place. Laid back with good food. There was a party on the beach at LaCabana around 8:00. It was geared more for adults but there were a lot of kids around. We watched the fireworks from the beach. They lasted about 10 minutes. It was nice though. Day 4 was a hang out at LaCabana day. Bingo and volleyball again. Security around the pool invoked the 2 hour limit. I think they could have use more discretion. I can see if there is nowhere else to sit then you can take the stuff after 2 hours, but there was plenty of umbrellas scattered around the pool available. The woman arrive to her table to find her stuff gone. She was unaware of the rule and she accused the people sitting there of taking her things. It got a little ugly. Iím on the fence about this one. Screaming Eagle for dinner. It was a short walk there. The food was very good. Day 5 we got some really bad directions to Alta Vista Chapel. We happened to find by chance. Very peaceful up there. We then went to B-55 for lunch. I enjoyed this place. Itís off the beaten path with a great view of the outback and cold Balashis. Back to bingo and volleyball. Dinner that night was pizza night with Kent at Club Arias. What a pleasant surprise. Arias was a great host. You must visit Club Arias in Savaneta. After dinner, Kent took me out for a night snorkel. Very creepy to be in the water at night. We saw a squid, lobster, moray eel and a lot of fish. Everywhere I pointed my light I saw the glowing red eyes of shrimp. We were out for an hour. You have to try this! Day 6 I took my 12 year old son up to the Fishermanís Huts for some windsurfing lessons. This was a first. I wish I would have done this before. It was cool watching my son fly across the water on his first attempt. The kiteboarding was very impressive. I may try that here at home before going back next year. We went to Pinchoís for dinner about 30 minutes before sunset. We were seated at a perfect spot to watch the sun go down. We had a great meal with a very nice sunset. Day 7 was another trip with Kent at Mangel Halto. It was very rough. There were white caps in the mangroves. We went out anyway and it was probably the best yet. From there we went to Arikok. It was a first. We saw both caves. Itís something you do once, like Alcatraz. The kids liked it a lot. I donít think I would do it again though. We had lunch at B-55 again. We were back at LaCabana for our last bingo and volleyball. We said all our good byes and took a lot of picture of old and new friends. Our last night dinner was at the very end of the pier at the Bugaloe, my favorite spot. We listened to the live band, ate good food and watched a great sunset. It was a great way to end our trip. Travel out day was depressing. We ate at Cilo downtown and did a little shopping. We hit the airport 3 hours before our flight. The terminal was busy but we were not stacked up out the door. I found the United line and got in the back or it. We did not move for at least 20 minutes. It took us 90 minutes to get to the check in desk. The terminal was empty except for the United line that was still very long. There were 3 girls working the desk. One girl was working only with a couple whose flight got canceled, the whole 90 minutes. She would not take any one else. One of the othere girls would take only first class if they were in line. She would not alternate. They all seemed to move in slow motion like the bartenders at Lacabana. We sucked it up and got to the gate with 30 minutes to spare. The flight home was uneventful and we pulled into the driveway at 11PM. This was one of the best trips yet. Now I am back in 100 degree heat with lots of humidity. That equates to about 120 degrees inside the power plant where I work. The guy I work with that got me addicted to Aruba is leaving for Aruba this Saturday. I think I need a support group.
i too agree with you about the 2 hr time rule at the pool.
am on the fence about it.
and then the folks that came and used the area where the other person's stuff once was!
unnecessary upset for all involved.
Great report! I canít wait to go back to LaCabana in October. HahaÖso true about the bartenders being slowÖpainfully slow at times.
Interesting about the 2 hr limit. In October, itís hard to get a table with an umbrella and year after year the same people grab a table early in the morning and tables remain empty all day long until around happy hour. It drives me crazy. One family in particular saves the same table every day and actually leave balloons on their umbrella every nightÖ.no one would dare take their table. Very nice family from what I can tell and they have many friends down there but itís still not very fair. I missed last year but it sounds like itís changed since Iíve been, which is good but not in the case you described where there were empty tables.
I canít wait to see the new lobby, Iíve heard so many mixed reviews about it. I understand the lounge upstairs is no longer? Thatís too bad.
How is the construction over-all? 2 years ago it was such a messÖit was such a hike for us to get to the pool/beach so Iím really looking forward to it being back to normal!!
Renovation should be done next month. They are on the back side of the property now, on the northern most side. You hardly even noticed it. The entrance outside the lobby looks real nice too. They put down pavers and a new pavillion. The peeling paint on the buildings is an issue. There is also leaking roof issues that have to be dealt with.
As far as the 2 hour rule goes, they should at least put up signs to warn people. But this time of year I was getting poolside tables and beach huts as late as 12:30. I think security jumped the gun on this one.