A helicopter ride from Long Island in Los Angeles to Catalina Island should instantly be added to your bucket list! And when you get there, make sure to stay at the cosy Aurora Hotel & Spa. Here’s our Catalina Island adventure in brief.
Across the Pacific Ocean
Island Express is the go-to-company if you want to try flying in a helicopter across the Pacific Ocean from Long Beach, L.A., to Catalina Island (or Santa Catalina as it’s originally called). The island has been a haven f0r especially vacation hungering Americans since the beginning of the 1920’s. The total population of the island isn’t big (less than 5.000), nevertheless, it’s worth a visit if you need to get away from the hectic atmosphere in L.A. for a few days.
Our helicopter ride didn’t start out as smooth as we’d imagined. It was extremely foggy, for which reason we couldn’t gain permission to fly, so after 3 hours of waiting, we finally found ourselves on board. The helicopters have capacity for up to six people at a time, but luckily we were only two and could therefore truly enjoy the views. And what views it was! As many places I have experienced so far, very few things beat flying over the Pacific with dolphins and whales dancing in the blue ocean beneath. A must-try for all adventure-craving travelers out there!
Island Express has been delivering exclusive tours of Southern California and Catalina since the early 1980’s, and they offer both customized tours, sunset tours, downtown L.A. tours and coastal tours. A round trip from Long Beach to Catalina Island takes about 30 minutes in total.
For more information go to www.islandexpress.com.
Watch the video: Cruising California
A room with a view
Once on Catalina Island, it’s possible to enjoy the harbor area or to do some hiking in the nearby hills. For more extensive exploring it’s recommended to rent a golf cart (they’re everywhere on the island!). I had the views of my life (or one of them at least!) from the highest point on the island; Mount Orizaba.
The main city of the island is called Avalon - and here, guests will find several small shops, cafés and restaurants. Likewise, there’s a handful of hotels situated near the harbor. One of them is Aurora Hotel & Spa - a small charming hotel located on 137 Marilla Avenue. For a total of 2 nights we stayed in an ‘Ocean View Room’ with amazing views towards the harbor and the Pacific. I especially loved this view at night, where the moon was shining bright from a clear sky.
The third floor of Aurora Hotel & Spa houses a roof-deck oasis with splendid views and cosy lounge furniture. The spa is also a great refuge for guests in need of a little pampering, but it’s necessary to book in advance. In case the spa at Aurora Hotel is occupied, the island offers several other day spas.
The breakfast at Aurora Hotel wasn’t impressive as it consisted mostly of cornflakes, milk and tea/coffee, but - there’s a coffee machine and a fridge in the room! Other room details includes free wi-fi and tempered glass rails on the balcony.
For more information about Aurora Hotel & Spa go to www.auroracatalina.com.