La Cabana by the Natals, October 2001
We visited Aruba from October 2 to 12, 2001. We stayed at
La Cabana All-Suite Resort. The resort has 800 fully-equipped suites. Has everything you need to enjoy your stay in Aruba.
The staff goes the extra mile to have everything in top shape and the service is great. I would recommend La Cabana to anyone traveling to Aruba. For more info, please visit their website.
I would like to comment is about the Natural Pool (Conchi). The published maps are not reliable. We finally found it after roving the countryside for two hours in a 4x4. The easiest way is to find the main entrance to the "Parke National Arikok". The road to the Natural Pool is on a secondary road that is close to the park main access road. This secondary road is not well marked. The only credible marker is a hand made sign that says "Cold coconut water. Last stop before natural pool." Follow this road. The road will turn in front of a house and then will end there. You will find another handmade sign that says "Trail to Natural Pool. 20 minutes on 4x4 or 40 minutes on foot. Only 4x4". That is the "official" trail.
Believe me, even in a 4x4 with the transfer case engaged, the road is pure rocks. You have to be careful not to tip your jeep over. Go real slow, preferable in groups of two or more jeeps, watching every turn and hill. The trail is marked. After some real bumping, you will find the parking lot. The pool is down after a long steep rocky stairway with handlebars.
The pool is real nice, please use aqua socks to save your feet from cuts. I cut one of my toes because most of the pool floor is rocky. There is no much shallow area inside the pool. Getting in and out of the water is not easy.
If you want to climb the large rocks, be real careful, the waves from the open ocean can topple you over. I cut my right index finger big time when climbing one of the rocks to dive into the pool. Luckily the lifeguard-park ranger helped me out and another park attendant at the parking lot gave me first aid.
Besides this, I liked very much the natural pool. You have to be a good swimmer to dip in. The sight is fantastic.
The "Tunnel of Love" is a cave located at the "Parke Nacional Arikok". They charge $7.00 per person to let you in. It is a "Self-Service" visit. The attendant gives you a flashlight and you are on your own. The cave is pitch-black dark, and real narrow, not "accessible". There are not many signs inside and the only markers are faint arrows painted on the walls. You get real scary after 10 minutes inside. In some places the handlebar is just a nylon rope. Not many bats or guano, but I saw a small rat inside there. The attendant tells you that the trip is about 18 minutes, but if you are really scary, you will take 10.
About renting cars, Thanks to the advice about the hard topped 4x4s. We rented one and is the best deal. You do not fry under the sun, have the A/C option and you do not end full of dust. In some soft top models, the rental agency does not allow to remove them because of the seals. Fuel is expensive, so do not leave the 4x4 engaged until is really necessary. Fuel is real expensive there. Use the A/C and 4x4 when really necessary, it makes a big difference.
Shop for your car in advance because there are in high demand because of the cruise ships and hotels. Most of the local companies have web sites.
Carry plenty of water and snacks for the outback trips. There are not many restaurants in the Aruba outback.
If you are looking for Dutch cheese and chocolates, visit the Hong King supermarket. It is the largest supermarket and close to the low rise hotels. Their price is the best and you will find everything you may need. They have a mix of Dutch and American groceries. You can get a 300-gram Baby Gouda Cheese for as low as $2.28. They accept credit cards and can also charge in dollars if the purchase is over $10.
Thanks for all the information posted on www.arubabound.com. Helped us a lot to plan our trip and the advice there really paid off in time and convenience.
Edgar & Deborah Natal