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Aruba, One Happy Island

La Cabana Aruba

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Aruba will always have a special place in my heart. It was here, 8 years ago, that I made the smartest decision of my life…I asked my wife Sarina to marry me. It was nice to finally be able to go back and this time, bring Nate along with us, to share our love of this beautiful island! For the accommodations, we partnered up with La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino. It’s a modern resort with some really great amenities, and right across from the famous Eagle Beach. The room we stayed in gave us an amazing view of the ocean, and even though the resort was technically across the street from the beach, it didn’t really feel like it was because it was still a super close walk to get to the beach. The room was very spacious with all the modern touches. It had a full kitchen, a bedroom with barn doors, a huge balcony with outdoor seating, a couch that opened up to a bed in the living room as well as another couch and plenty of closets. Which is also a plus for us because we definitely all pack on the heavy side LOL…especially me!

Eagle Beach is a public beach, but La Cabana guests were met at the beach by an employee and once you showed them your resort wristband they set you up with chairs & your own straw cabana. They also had a cute tiki bar right on the beach so we didn’t have to walk far for our pina coladas! The pool was really big, had a beautiful waterfall, a volleyball net and even a water slide, which we loved! One step away from the pool was the bar and literally another step away was their on site Islander Grill. Inside the hotel lobby I was pleasantly surprised to find there was an on-site Cinnabon! I couldn’t believe it. My family and I are obsessed with Cinnabon so we were kind of in heaven and actually ended up eating it every morning for breakfast LOL. There was also a gift shop/convenience store right in the lobby that had some tourist knick knacks, as well as drinks, snacks, and even some booze, which always comes in handy! There was also a jewelry store, a lotion shop, and though I’m not much of a Gambler, I know a lot of you will be happy to hear they have a casino right on-site as well!

The first day at La Cabana we did our usual and just hung around the resort. All of our vacations usually start with us waking up at 3am to get to the airport, so we’re all usually pretty wiped the first day, so we try and not go too crazy with exploring. We went straight to the ocean, grabbed a pina, got our little hut and just relaxed. It was great, because there were enough huts for everybody and also still enough empty beach that Nate and I could find room to throw the football and frisbee around without disturbing anybody, so it was perfect. Nate and I get antsy if we lay around for too long, so we like to stay active. The ocean was a beautiful turquoise…just as you would expect from the Caribbean. The one little bummer was that there was no snorkeling at the beach. That was the one disappointment I had with Aruba. Compared to other islands I’ve been to, the snorkeling just did not compare. Don’t get me wrong, the water is beautiful, but I’m kind of a snorkeling snob you might say HAHA and love when we can do it straight from the shore. After the beach we spent the rest of the day chillin’ at the pool, with happy hour & more pina coladas ๐Ÿ™‚ and then got ready for dinner at their on-site restaurant, Las Ramblas. The food there was SPECTACULAR! We all really enjoyed not only our meals, but the whole experience. All the seating was outside on a cute patio with beautiful string lights above you, and a musician playing the guitar and singing while you ate. As weird as people might think it is, escargot is one of those dishes for me that if it’s on the menu, I have to order it! So, I was pretty excited to see it on there and even more excited that it was soooooo good. Nate was dying to eat lobster. He had tried it once before and ever since has fallen in love with it LOL. Even though they didn’t have lobster tail on the menu, they made it for him! I could not believe how fast he scarfed it down. The waitress was even shocked that his little body finished the entire dish! I had a perfectly cooked T-bone steak with chimichurri sauce, and my wife had the shrimp. For dessert, we had the creme brulee…which is one of my favorite desserts to order when I’m out to dinner. There’s just something about cracking the top of that custard that just gets me every time! This place was amazing. We had such an unforgettable dinner here! It’s always a plus when your resort had an incredible restaurant right on the property!

The second day we took our time getting out of the hotel and relaxed by the pool in the morning.But later in the day, we headed off to a snorkel trip with Red Sail Sports. They took us out on a really cool catamaran, the staff was amazing and the drinks were delicious…stiff LOL. Unfortanetly again, compared to the other islands we have been to, the snorkeling was a little disappointing. There weren’t as much fish or coral as we are used to seeing on. The second stop was at a shipwreck, which might have been cool to see but Aruba is very windy (which is great for battling the sun and cooling you off) but when in the ocean, it can make it pretty choppy. Nate couldn’t even get into the water to snorkel and the waves made the water a little foggy so you couldn’t really see the ship. I was able to dive down enough to see part of it so it was still pretty amazing to see, but again, not as visible as we had hoped for. We still ended up having a great time, but would have loved seeing some more fish. Our vacations never feel complete unless we take a boat out on a tour, so I’m still happy we went. We still had a blast!

The pool at La Cabana didn’t close until 10pm, so every night we made sure we went in for a late night dip. It’s starting to become a nightly tradition on all of our family trips, so we always make sure to find out the pool hours before deciding on a hotel. Once out of the pool, Nate always asked us if we could play checkers or chess on the oversized lawn sets. He loves these giant boards! I taught Nate how to play chess and was shocked at how quickly he picked it up! A lot quicker than my wife did! LOL

The next morning we made our way to De Palm Island. Normally you get picked up from your resort and brought to the ferry, but we decided to take our rental car so we could do some sight seeing after. While waiting for the ferry the wind decided it was going to take one of my favorite hats for a little ride, so I had to jump off the pier and into the water to find it. Luckily the water was so clear it was an easy find and was actually a really nice swim! Hang on to your hats in Aruba! De Palm Island has a really fun water park on the island, which is actually where we spent most of our time. Nate was a little hesitant at first but once he got warmed up to it, we could not get him off the water slides. He LOVED it! They had something for everyone. Little slides for Nate, medium slides for wifey and big slides for daddy LOL. Even my mother-in-law went down a few. The island is all-inclusive, so you can get all the adult beverages and non-alcoholic drinks you want, as well as food from the buffet and grill. We had burgers, hotdogs, and fries for lunch, and of course some pina coladas ๐Ÿ™‚ After lunch we went to their snorkel section, which is where we saw the most fish during our trip. They had tons of blueish purple parrot fish and some of them were huge! Nate loved chasing them around. One of my favorite things on De Palm Island was the zip line. I had never tried it and had always wanted to, and it was everything I thought it would be…tons of fun! The island so fun. You could easily spend the whole day here, and I think Nate would’ve if we let him. He was obsessed with the little water park and still talks about it. It’s definitely a fun day with the kids if you head to Aruba!

After the island we did some site seeing. We stopped at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant inย Oranjestad. It was a really cool and fun spot and we loved the beachy atmosphere! Nate ordered a drink that came with a little story and a cool shark surprise. I don’t want to ruin it but if you have kids definitely stop in and order the Little Shark Attack! Even though we just stopped in for a pina colada, I couldn’t help but to order some fish tacos. The great thing about Aruba is that there is a ton to do and a lot of shops to walk around. I love checking out the watch/jewelry stores as well as the little local spots. I grabbed my Aruba dad hat and Nate grabbed his Aruba shirt, which is our new tradition whenever we visit a new destination.

On our last day of vacation, we usually always just stick around the hotel and relax. My wife Sarina and I got an amazing couples massage at the Citro Spa which is just past the pool and bar. I made sure to grab a drink on the way…hey I’m on vacation! Now I haven’t received a lot of massages in my life, so I’m no guru, but OMG this hit the spot. It was exactly what my wife and I needed to end our trip. It was so relaxing and was nice enjoying my first massage with her right next to me. We might have to make this another vacay tradition! We spent the rest of the day swimming and enjoying the water slide. We were pretty excited to have reservations at the Flying Fishbone for dinner on our last night. Even though it’s a 45 minute drive from La Cabana, it is well worth the trip! The food is out of this would and if you’re lucky enough to call in advance and get reservations, you can get a table where your feet are right in the water while you eat! That’s right, they offer beach dining at it’s best. Besides having a table right on the beach, they have a few that are right in the water. Watching the sunset and Nate feeding the fish along with some amazing food made this one of the most memorable dinners I have ever had. Back to the sunset though, it was absolutely gorgeous. I actually got engaged about 50ft from where we ate so it was a little nostalgic being back to this part of Aruba. Flying Fishbone is just incredible. You have to eat here if you visit Aruba!

It was such a great trip, and of course, as usual, went by way too fast. The staff at La Cabana were great, the location of the resort was perfect and Joe, their general manager, was the most accommodating to make sure my family and I had such memorable experiences on our short stay with them. Thank you Joe! Ahhh, as I’m writing this, I wish we were back there right now heading to the pool taking our late night family dip together. Make sure you watch our video above to check out all the fun we had. Wishing we were back there right now!

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