Seven Perfect Days in Aruba

Aruba … If this word makes you think of Paradise, of pristine beaches and a vibrant nightlife, of beautiful sites and perfect weather, you won’t be disappointed.

Aruba is a charming contradiction, an island of “two faces”. Its milky beaches and transparent blue waters will make you feel like you’re the first person to walk on the sand and soak your feet. But its Vegas-style casinos, parties and shows reveal the other, wilder side. Aruba is the perfect marriage of entertainment and leisure, an island where there really is something for everyone.

All Inclusive resorts and Aruba are practically synonymous. Engulfed in its ambience and relaxed atmosphere, the last thing you want to do is search for your wallet, worry about paying for daily meals and constantly watch the family vacation budget. With the affordability and convenience of all-inclusive resorts, Aruba visitors can forget all about that and let Aruba’s charm and spirit sweep them off their feet.

Aruba’s all inclusive resorts are some of the best in the world. There are over twenty-five resorts on the island, but the best, highest-rated ones are:

o Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort

o Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

o Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

o Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort

o Radisson Aruba Resort & Casino

o Aruba Grand Beach Resort & Casino

o Allegro Aruba by Occidental

Aruba’s calling card is its year-round perfect weather. Aruba is located well below the hurricane belt. It’s one of the three islands, along with Bonaire and Curacao, located outside the hurricane belt. The average annual temperature is 83 degrees Fahrenheit, and rainfall amounts to just 17 inches a year, most of which occurs during the months of October, and November. It’s rare and warm, lasting no more than 15 minutes. If you’re planning a vacation of fun in the sun, picking Aruba is almost a guarantee you won’t be stuck in your hotel room, watching gray clouds pass over the roof.

If the blue clear waters call your name, and in Aruba – they certainly will, you’ll find the island full of options. Snorkeling, windsurfing, deep sea fishing, paragliding, jetskiing – Aruba is happy to oblige. If you can scuba, or want to learn, Aruba is world-famous for its coral reefs and friendly waters. At your all-inclusive resort, many water activities are free. Others, like scuba, can be conveniently arranged by the concierge.

Exploring Aruba is easy with an island tour. Better yet, consider a Jeep tour. Driving is fun and the sites are incredible. Aruba’s most photographed spot is its natural bridge, a coral formation rising 25 feet above the sea. Kids love guessing what the cactuses, which dot the island outside the resorts, look like.

Popular sites include:

o Oranjestad city tour

o Wilhelmina Park

o Fort Zoutman

o Aruba Historical Museum

o Willem III Tower

o Archaeological Museum Aruba

o Numismatic Museum

o Natural bridge

o Hooiberg Mountain

o Fontein, Guadirikiri and Huliba caves

o California Dunes

o California Lighthouse

o Chapel of Alto Vista

o Church of Santa Anna in Noord

o Arikok National Park

o De Olde Molen, an old Dutch windmill from Holland

o Balashi and Bushiribana gold mill ruins

o Boca Prins Cove

o San Nicolas

If you love gourmet food, Aruba doesn’t disappoint on this front either. Every resort has its own buffet, featuring local and American cuisine, and plenty of seafood. One or two sit-down restaurants inside of each resort serve dinner, exquisitely delicious and fresh.

After a long, relaxing day of being pampered and soaking up the sun at your all inclusive resort, enjoy one of Aruba’s Vegas-style shows. The Broadway and Latin shows are long-time staples, along with the hilarious Don’t Tell Mama show. You can also try your hand at poker or blackjack inside one of Aruba’s dozen casinos. Back at your all-inclusive resort, drinks are, of course, included. Order your favorite and don’t worry about the wallet – at an all-inclusive Aruba resort, you don’t need it.

It’s true what they say in Aruba – it is One Happy Island.

Looking for more detailed information about over 400 all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico? Find it at sunvacations.org and iberostar.info

The SunVacations.org directory features 36 destinations, with an extensive list of all-inclusive resorts for each. Finally, all-inclusive resorts information is conveniently available from one source, saving online vacation seekers hours of research time. Whether you’re a search guru or a new Internet user, SunVacations.org will help you find a resort of your dreams quicker and easier. Browse resorts, look at pictures, read reviews. Sunvacations.org directory is truly a one-stop information source for Caribbean and Mexican all inclusive vacations.

SunVacations.org offers discount travel packages for most all inclusive resorts.

If you believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, Iberostar.info is your vacation search destination. Iberostar.info is the world’s most comprehensive Mexican and Caribbean resorts photos source on the web, containing over 1,000 images. This unique Iberostar photo collection features 11 resorts.

Traveling – Speaking the Local Language

Traveling in another country is so much more fun if you
can speak the national language – even just a little bit.
If you can’t speak it, learning the language can become a
wonderful part of the journey. Here’s a suggestion for
your next foreign traveling event: begin your trip by
attending a language school in your destination country.

Years ago, my first trip outside the U.S. was to
Guatemala. I decided to begin by attending a language
school and then tour the country with a friend. I enrolled
with a Spanish language institute in the city of
Quezaltenango (nicknamed Xela) on a colleague’s
recommendation. This particular school boarded its
students with Guatemalan families, which appealed to me
because of the total immersion in the language and culture.

The adventure of traveling abroad was new to me then, and
I was happy that the institute had sent an enrollment
packet with very clear instructions. They assumed that I
spoke no Spanish, (a good assumption in my case, since two
semesters of college Spanish hadn’t quite made a
conversational expert out of me!). Arriving at the
Guatemala City airport armed with passport and the school’s
instructions, I made it through customs and out to the
street for a taxi. The driver read my note in Spanish and
drove me to one of the three hotels the school had
suggested. At the hotel, the desk personnel spoke English,
and I was soon settled for the night.

Next morning, I took the bus to Xela, and after the
several hours journey, watching the countryside change as
we rolled by, I arrived at the school ready to meet my
tutor, my host family, and start exploring the city before
beginning classes next day. It was exciting to be in
another country, all on my own and yet to have people
prepared to guide and assist me. It’s far superior to
using a Fodor Guide, and yet a bit more adventurous than
traveling with a tour group.

Each student had a personal Spanish tutor. We met for a
sit-down session every day, playing language games to build
vocabulary and having conversations for practice. For
lunch, all the students and tutors gathered to converse in
larger groups. Since we were there from around the world,
everyone used the one language in common: Spanish. Some of
the students were there only briefly, for a brush up before
continuing their journey. The tutoring cycles were one
week long.

Students like me who were continuing at the institute for
another week or more made weekend plans, with assistance
from the school if needed. One time, some of us rented
mountain bikes and traveled to a hot springs resort.
Another time, we took the bus to a beach on the Pacific and
stayed a couple nights. The language school ended up being
a sort of frame for exploring Guatemala. One of the best
parts of my trip was living with my Guatemalan host family.
By sharing meals and being involved with them in other day
to day activities, I had a sense of the culture that is not
possible to have from staying at a hotel.

At the end of three weeks, I said good-bye to my
Guatemalan family and my Spanish tutors, and connected with
my friend to travel together to the Mayan ruins of Tikal. I
was comfortable enough with the language by now that I
could get around, although I really wasn’t fluent.

We traveled in Tikal and Antigua and to Atitlan. These
are heavily touristed areas, and we would not have had to
speak Spanish. The people who worked with tourists
generally spoke far better English than I spoke Spanish at
the time. But it was more fun to speak the language of the
place, and it was the start of becoming fluent. Most of
all, my weeks at the school and with the host family were a
highlight of my travels in Guatemala, not a precursor nor
separate from the journey, and the experience enriched my
life, which is what travel is meant to do.

Desert Inn Makes Room For “Encore at Wynn Las Vegas”

Nostalgically described as “another chapter in Las Vegas’ history that is being closed beneath a cloud of dust” by Las Vegas Review Journal, the name of Desert Inn stands now by the side of other famous & former Las Vegas resorts like The Dunes, Hacienda or Sands.

Entitled “Encore at Wynn Las Vegas”, the new 61 story hotel tower will feature at least 1,500 suites and full-resort amenities such as a casino area, restaurants, a spa, swimming pools, retail and conventional space.

“Encore at Wynn Las Vegas” is expected to open in 2007.

Steady plans for the Wynn Las Vegas grand opening

By that time, there are other major events to tick off on Steve Wynn’s agenda (the man behind the whole project). The original plans for the 28th April 2005-grand opening of “Wynn Las Vegas” remain unchanged.

The date is a double anniversary for Steve Wynn – the launch of a mega-resort wearing his name and his wife’s birthday. Within a few days of approximation, by the same time back in 1950, Desert Inn itself was opening its doors.

“Wynn Las Vegas” is the classic idea of a modern resort & casino, only bigger, more luxurious and certainly, more expensive.

Steve Wynn’s portfolio as a Las Vegas hotelier includes impressive names like Bellagio, Mirage, MGM Grand and Treasure Island. Wynn’s management is famous for generating high cash-flows in the first years of activity of his previously developed projects in Las Vegas.

Initially, the investment at Wynn Las Vegas was announced to rise up to $2,6 billion. With the new tower expansion, the sum changed to $3,5 billion; by either estimation, the most expensive Strip resort, up to the moment.

Inside look at Wynn Las Vegas
Apart from the “Encore” tower, “Wynn Las Vegas” will feature:

Approximately 2,700 rooms
111,000 square-foot casino space
18 restaurants
Ferrari & Maserati full-service & dealership
An art gallery (Sure to display – among others – “In the Roses”? by Renoir and a self-portrait from Cezanne, both achieved by Steve Wynn during an art auction, at a total price of $40 million.)
An 8-story (150 foot high) man-made mountain with a 5-story waterfall cascading into a lake.
A globular show-room with 2,000 seats and a center stage that immerses through the audience. The theater will be domed & quite aquarian, with water flowing below, above and around the audience – and destined to host a new Franco Dragone spectacular show, produced especially for the Wynn resort. Franco Dragone also produced Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and “Mystere”, and is presently engaged in Celine Dion’s new show at Caesars Palace.