One Happy Podcast

Hello everyone!  We are in for a fresh and informative episode of One Happy Podcast as Beth Johnston, a travel designer and Aruba first time visitor, joins us to recount her familiarization trip with the island.


Beth is the first ever travel designer that I've had the pleasure of interviewing. As a travel designer who specializes in destination weddings and honeymoons, Beth's job involves handling all the arrangements for her clients in their trips. It's a career that Beth pursued after having the time of her life in a destination wedding vacation herself.


For the first time just last month, Beth decided to head off to Aruba, as a new travel destination offering for her clients.  Well-known for being out of the hurricane belt, Aruba is the absolute perfect place to plan a destination wedding.  This was a familiarization trip which is something travel professionals do as a way to get to know more about the island.  As you can imagine, in the process of becoming more familiar, Beth fell in love with Aruba as well.


Her stay on the island was basically non-stop resort-hopping, which included visiting the Aruba Marriott, Hilton Aruba, The Ritz-Carlton, and Divi & Tamarijn, among many other beautiful Aruban resorts. She describes the Holiday Inn as being reasonably priced with great service and an ideal location. Beth really enjoyed her time at the Bucuti and Tara, where she did sunset yoga on its gorgeous beach and even had a photoshoot.


The resort that she stayed at, the Brickell Bay Beach Club, was in her words economical, nothing fancy but very comfortable.  She also adds tht the Brickell Bay has a responsive staff and a cute little restaurant.


During the trip, Beth and the group she was with went to both hotel areas of the island - the high-rises along Palm Beach and the low-rises along Eagle Beach. She recommends visiting Ocean Z, a fairly new boutique hotel up towards Malmok that is upscale and luxurious, but affordable.


She also got to experience a 3-hour tour of the island, courtesy of De Palm Tours where they visited the California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, the Natural Bridge, Casibari Rocks, and Aloe Museum. Kudos to Beth for being Brave enough to climb the Casibari Rocks despite her aversion to heights.


In Beth’s words, it was fascinating to see the two contrasting sides of the island: the beaches on the touristy side and the raw natural beauty of the backside with its caves, crashing waves, and limestone formations.


Her first time in the island was definitely a memorable one. Not only will she return to Aruba to familiarize herself more for her clients, but also because she truly felt the wonders of Aruba that makes so many people come back time and time again.



- Learn what travel designers do.

- Know what typically goes on a familiarization trip in any location for travel designers.

- Hear about the qualities that drew Beth to Aruba.

- Listen to Beth give her opinion on numerous Aruba resorts

- Learn about a boutique hotel that not many are familiar with



Brickell Bay Beach Club & Spa

Ocean Z Boutique Hotel

Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort

The Aruba Ritz-Carlton

Holiday Inn Resort Aruba - Beach Resort & Casino

Divi & Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive

Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort Aruba

Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa  

De Palm Tours Aruba



Visit Beth's website at, voted one of the Top 40 Destination Weddings websites and blogs.


You can also find Beth on:

Facebook -

Twitter - @bethsgetaways

Instagram - @bethsbeautifulgetaways

LinkedIn -

Pinterest -


Direct download: EP94_-_Travel_designer_Beth_Johnston_gets_familiar_with_Aruba.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:39pm EDT

Get your pen and paper ready because Regina Crusan and I are about to list down restaurants in Aruba that you should definitely check out! On this episode of One Happy Podcast, Regina talks about her upcoming trip to the island in a couple of weeks and we discuss the restaurants that she plans to visit as well as her all-time favorite places to get your foodie fix in Aruba.

Regina, which is a fellow Pittsburgher like myself, was a past guest in episode 76 in which she talked about her first time visiting Aruba and how she completely fell for the island. You can listen to that here:

Among her top five restaurants to eat in Aruba is Yemanja with their top tier food. She recommends everyone to get the goat cheese pastries which are to die for, as far as she's concerned.

Another one is El Gaucho. You can count on this restaurant for the best steaks in town. Regina can't praise their wedge salad enough too.

For seafood, Regina's to-go places are The Driftfood, The Old Fisherman, and Barefoot Restaurant. She enjoys the latter the most because you get to have the novel experience of dining while your feet are dipped in the water. In her words, it's a "true Aruban experience" that no one should miss out on.

She also mentioned LG Smith's Steak and Chop House, an old favorite of hers, which she always comes back to for a good meal and of course, excellent steaks.

I myself have a top five list. Included are Yemanja like Regina’s, Legends Pub in which the food is delicious and not too pricey, the Canadian-owned Alfie's with their excellent pulled pork and poutine, Barefoot where the atmosphere is great and the view from where you're dining is simply gorgeous, and last but definitely not the least, Quinta del Carmen with its beautiful courtyard and fine dining.

So now that you have more places on your list, time to check them out the next time you go down in Aruba!


- Learn Regina's full-proof method of discovering new places to eat in Aruba from the locals.

- Hear Regina talk about the benefits of an Aruba all-inclusive including how it's cost-effective, good for big groups, and a great opportunity to meet new folks

- Know which all-inclusives have exclusive restaurants and why the breakfast buffet is Regina's favorite.

- Hear about a waiter named Wilmer in Quinta del Carmen who Maggie and I are fond of.

- Wonder how come restaurants and stores close so early in downtown Aruba.

- Find out where most of the staff working in Aruba are from and hear us discuss their admirable traits.


Properties and venues mentioned this episode:


The Occidental Grand Aruba

The Renaissance Aruba Resort

Holiday Inn Resort Aruba - Beach Resort & Casino


Restaurants mentioned this episode:


Yemanja Woodfire Grill

El Gaucho Restaurant Aruba

The Old Fisherman Restaurant Aruba

Flying Fishbone Restaurant

LG Smith's Steak & Chop House

Quinta del Carmen

Legends Pub

Alfie's in Aruba

Barefoot Restaurant

Direct download: EP93_-_Talking_Aruba_Restaurants_with_Regina_Crusan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25pm EDT