Aruba Trip Reports

La Cabana

October 2011 by Corrine

Aruba Forum Profile: Corrine

LaCabana 10/27/11
We left early morning by cab to JFK for our JetBlue flight. The terminal was mobbed! Where was everyone going on a Thursday morning? We got to the gate just as boarding was called. We had a super smooth flight, watched "Horrible Bosses" (talk about horrible!) and arrived in sunny Aruba. I couldn’t find the Payless rep to save my life. Finally, a kind Aruban told me he was probably outside, which he was. Got to Payless and in our car within 10 minutes. I was very disappointed that our Yaris was really an old piece of crap. Optima always had newer cars in better condition. But that said, I have to admit the little car did fine during our stay.


Our room at LaCabana wasn’t ready so I changed in the ladies room and met our friends on the beach. I couldn’t resist, it has been such a stressful year, I just dove right in and spent the afternoon is the warm water. Then our room was ready, so Steve went to the food store (Super Foods) and met the Discount Cell representative while I unpacked. This was a huge mistake! Give a man a shopping list and I’ll be darned if he doesn’t think of anything else! No wine, no snacks ,no goodies which I forgot to put on the list. And he came back with no clear instructions how the Blackberry worked! Having an IPhone, this became a big issue, by the time I figured out the thing, it was time to leave.

Anyway, early evening we stopped by the AM Manager’s cocktail party. It was crowded and everyone was having a ball. I introduced myself to Janine, she said "Hi Amy" and later Klang came up and introduced himself. What a nice guy! He left early, as he had plans with his wife. Meanwhile, Janine had everyone on their feet dancing! Dinner was at Mango with friends. This is becoming one of my favorite restaurants. The creamy lime grouper was one of the best meals I had! Great service, atmosphere, everything.


Friday, we spent the morning at the beach and then showered, dressed went downtown as Queen Beatrix was coming to visit the new park they are building. Popped into the Renaissance Mall, how depressing, it was dead! The Hacienda Pasceo has really taken its toll! Then we went to visit the man in the ice truck near the airport that SanNic had mentioned. Wow! Incredible ices, we sat on the bench with two locals, Alberto and his son Liam, watching the planes land. We then headed to the new park. There are new multi-colored buildings that served food from Portugal, Columbia, Aruba. Stages were set up with dancers from Venezuela, Columbia, Dominican Republic and Aruba. Local boy scouts, baseball players from the Caribbean League, members of the Aruban Tourist Board and officials from Aruba were all there. As the Queen visited each stage, members of the Tourist board linked arms to guide her. She is a lovely woman, with a lovely smile. I found out later from a local that Aruba is her favorite island and she insisted on mingling with the people. She is going to step down and let the Prince, her son take over. Princess Maxima was GORGEOUS, my pictures don’t do her justice. While they were in the area by the water, we waited back up near the street. We were treated to a carnival-like parade just for her. So colorful and fun! We met young Samuel and his Dad. He is the cutest baby I have ever seen, except for my grandson, of course! The Queen, Prince and Princess came back up the aisle dancing into their waiting DePalm Bus. This royal family seemed to be truly beloved by the Aruban people.


We were pooped from the sun at this point, and we couldn’t get out right away, everything was barricaded. So we walked right to Barefoot. Unfortunately, it was closed due to security. However, Nikky Beach next door decided to open. What a fun place! You can sit on the patio facing the water or on the beach itself. The manager, Marietta (?) treats you like family. She got Steve some bug spray without asking and even found my favorite kind of Dutch spice cookie for me! Great food, drinks, atmosphere! Steve went to Alahambra for awhile, I went back to our room work on the darn Blackberry and pass out!

Saturday we went to the beach. The weather started to act up, turning into rain so I went back to the room and took a well-needed nap. We had dinner at the Taste of Belgium, the nicer one in South Beach Plaza. Another favorite new restaurant!! The Belgian Beef Stew and Chicken-in a-Pastry Puff were incredible as well as my "Greentini". The shopping mall was filled with Trick or Treaters – so cute. I visited Pandora to pick up a couple of special charms and checked out Lazy Lizard. I got a nice shirt but "The Vault", which I forgot to buy at home, was $50, sheesh!

Sunday we decided to stay at the pool. (Oh these decisions!) We went to Tulip for breakfast and I was so disappointed they only had their continental buffet. That was short-lived, as we tasted the watermelon, Dutch yogurt, raisin bread and coffee…… yummy! We had lunch at the Islander Grill at LaCabana, it was tasty but greasy. Later we went to Bugaloe for burgers and Amstel Brights and some music. Steve went to the Radisson where our friends were playing in the casino. I of course went shopping – it turns out the Radisson gift store is really, really nice! I got some presents for people at home.


Monday, we started out early at Linda’s Pancakes. So sad about Linda, but her 23 year old son took over and is doing a great job! Steve had apple, raisin and sausage pancake and I had banana pancakes. Then on to Philip’s Animal Garden. What a treat this was! Our excellent tour guide was Julius. We saw donkeys, a mule, ponies, macaws, turtles, baby goats, a bull/cow/calf family (momma was not happy with us petting baby!) and my favorite Jackie the Kangeroo. A worth-while cause! Some of these animals are so stressed, from misuse.

It was our last night and a group of friends wanted to go the Hard Rock Café since we were baby-sitting a couple of kids whose parents went out for their anniversary. I was not happy, but went along as a good sport. At the last minute, they decided on Da Vinci. Excellent choice! The best Italian food on the Island! Manager, Everest made us the cheese wheel for appetizer - sauce with cheese, brandy and who knows what else, that he lit on fire. It is then served with spaghetti. He treated us all to a scoop of mushroom risotto. The Chianti was excellent. Our group had orders ranging from chicken parmesan to grouper to scallops to shrimp and pasta. Everyone raved – and this was a group of New York City Italian-Americans! I cannot recommend this restaurant enough!


Major snafu the next day going home. American Airlines has apparently cancelled their morning flights on Tuesday and Wednesday and Hotwire did not relay this information. After getting up at 5am, we had to schlep back to LaCabana (AA did let us check in first), where reception graciously gave us our room back! Slept for a couple of hours and walked to Tulip for lunch. It was not our day! Tulip was closed. Hot and hungry, I told Steve let’s try Carambola at Paradise Beach Villas. Amy – excellent suggestion! The chicken curry salad was fabulous as well the service. We split the best brownie with vanilla ice cream I ever had. They serve a nice big breakfast for $9.99 too, our waitress told us. Back to the airport, everything was a snap, no lines. I got on the plane and started up my Kindle. I looked up and saw four pairs of eyes looking at me, including the male flight attendant. He came up to me and said "I don’t know how you got on the plane with that". I got nervous, thinking "Are Kindles not allowed now??" I said "My Kindle?" and he said no my NY Yankees shirt! He noticed it when I boarded and apparently told a bunch of Red Sox fans. He said they wanted to know who the Yankee fan was on this plane. I said "Me, and proud of it!" That made them all turn back around. The flight attendant was laughing, he said he was a HUGE Red Sox fan from Boston but he had to show me his license. His name was "Alex Rodriguez". I busted out laughing!
We had a super smooth transfer at Miami to JFK. AA no longer seems to have "hydraulic" or "electrical" issues. JetBlue has given them a run for their money!

Another fabulous, and much needed trip to Aruba. Everything, from the weather, the service, the room, the food and of course the people! I was sorry I didn’t get to Bingo.
The only bad part was leaving!