One Happy Podcast (general)

Liliana Gracia joins me on episode 58 of One Happy Podcast.  Many of you already know Liliana from her work at the Renaissance where she specialized in making visitors happy.  During her 23 years at the Renn, Liliana met thousands of Aruba visitors in the numerous roles she filled.  Having worked everywhere from the reservations department to the front desk to her eventual position of timeshare coordinator at the Ocean Suites, it’s safe to say Liliana is well versed at making people happy.

 

Over the course of our 40 minute conversation Liliana takes us on a journey from her beginnings at the Sonesta all the way to the present with Lock N Roll.  She also shares what its like to be partially responsible for so many visitors vacation experiences and what that meant to her.  Along this journey Liliana has met so many Aruba vacationers that she thinks of as family.  

 

So often we talk about how the people of Aruba are the real reason we continue to return year after year.  Well, this is an interview with one of those people, an interview that shows how it works both ways.  Not only are the people of Aruba incredible but those of us who have decided to call it our second home are pretty special as well.

 

On This Episode of One Happy Podcast you will:

 

  • Hear from someone who has worked in the Aruba tourism industry for 20+ years
  • Find out about a new service where vacationers can store their goods between trips
  • Learn what a patacone is and where to get one
  • Find out about Liliana’s favorite restaurant in Aruba
  • Learn about the special connection those who work in the tourism industry feel towards visitors
  • Hear about some other services Lock N Roll may be offering in the future

 

Lock N Roll Timeshare Storage

 

So if you are listening to this podcast you are likely a repeat visitor or soon to be repeat visitor to the island of Aruba.  If this is the case did you know you can leave some of your items on the island safe and secure for your next trip?  That’s where Lock N Roll Timeshare Storage comes in.  For a relatively small fee they will pick up your items, store your items and then deliver them to you upon your return.  

 

Visit their Facebook page to learn more about this service.  For an example of some of the things you can store, there are examples below:

 

Lock N Roll Do's and Don'ts

 

DO  : Clothing, Bedding, Pots & Pans, Small Appliances, Electronics, Crock Pot, Blender, Canned Goods, Laundry Detergent, Board Games, Personal Hygiene items: Razors,

Q-TIPS, Soaps, Shampoo, Sunblock, Towels,

Bathing Suits, Snorkel Gear, household decorations and Holiday items, and more

 

DON'T : No perishable food items - Canned Goods are OK. No Alcohol, Propane Tanks, Air Tanks, Firearms and or Weapons, Explosives or Combustibles No Drugs this includes prescriptions. We don’t recommend storing your personal computers, mobile devices, NO wet items.

 

Other vitals:

  • Bins are purchased from Lock N Roll
  • Standard bin sizes are 30 gallons
  • Larger items can also be stored
  • Yearly fee is 75 dollars (at time of recording 7/2016)
  • Yearly fee includes 1 drop off and pick up
  • Additional pickups can also be arranged for a small fee

 

Restaurants Mentioned this episode:

 

 

Links and Resources Mentioned:

 


Episode 57c of One Happy Podcast, the officially unofficial podcast of the island of Aruba recaps days 6,7 and 8 of our most recent trip.  This episode is a combination of audio recorded on the island and also back here in the States.  It begins with on Eagle beach recapping my first ever journey up "The Hooiberg" and concludes with us back in Delaware discussing the crying room.

 

As they say, time flies when you are having fun and this vacation to Aruba definitely proved that saying true.  You've already heard about all the fun we had the first 5 days.  Well, these last 3 days include the aforementioned trip up Mt. Hooiberg, the discovery of my new favorite rum shop on the island, another visit to Aruba Ray's Comedy, awesome restaurants and plenty of beach time.

 

While it's always a bit sad when a trip to your favorite place on earth comes to a conclusion it's a good sadness.  What I mean by that is, leaving sucks, but I have no regrets about how our time was spent.  Maggie and I tried new restaurants and activities but still found time to do the things that are staples of our visits to the island.  Things that we have come to love over our years of visiting  that truly make us happy.  I can also happily say that we have now added some new things.  

 

Places mentioned on this episode of the show:

Arubian Tastes Rum Shop

Aruba Ray's Comedy

Azzurros

Tango Argentine Grill

Texas De Brazil Aruba

 

Resources Mentioned:

One Happy Podcast - the officially unofficial podcast of the island of Aruba

The One Happy Podcast Facebook Page

 

Direct download: EP57c_-_Aruba_July_2016_Days_6_7_8.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:47am EDT

Episode 57b of One Happy Podcast is the second of our on island podcasts. This one is all about, days 3, 4 and 5 of our July 2016 trip. When we last left you we had just pulled into Baby Beach where we were set to enjoy a spectacular day. So we go through that day and all its events. Dinner that night was at Ricardo's and we had a late night snack at the El Mexicano Taco Truck.

Day 4 was all about playing chicken with the weather. We woke up to rain which changed our plans of going to the animal shelter. Instead, we got breakfast at Salt and Pepper and spent the day at Arashi. Happy Hour was at the restaurant at Tierra Del Sol for the ARF Paws for a cause fundraising event. The ARF ladies did a wonderful job putting together a phenomenal event. Dinner was at my favorite restaurant Quinta Del Carmen which has never disappointed me in either 4 or 5 visits. In fact, this last one may have been the best ever.

On Day 5 in Aruba weather would once again play a role. This time, we didn't let it affect our plans on visiting the puppies and kittens and we made it to Aruba Animal Shelter. After the Animal Shelter we picked up lunch from a place neither of us had ever visited. Then we made our way to Arashi once again since the previous day was a short one. The rain had other plans for us so we executed plan B. Dinner was at Terrazza Italiana and the night time entertainment had us visiting Bugaloe for karaoke and the El Mexicano Taco Truck.

Sponsored By:
Jays Car Rental Aruba – The place to go when you want an affordable, reliable and safe vehicle on the island of Aruba. They are committed to providing the customers with the highest standards of quality and reliability and all with a personal touch.

 

Direct download: EP_57b_-_Aruba_Curt_Days_3_4_and_5_Aruba_7-2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:11am EDT

Episode 57a of One Happy Podcast is actually going to be broken up into 3 parts. This first part is a recap of our first two days in Aruba. It begins with us waking up in Baltimore on Tuesday morning getting ready for our flight. Then it progresses through days 1 and 2 of our latest Aruba adventure.

This is not your typical episode of the show as it is being recorded in Aruba using equipment that is relatively new to me. However, I will say what it lacks in polish it more than makes up for in capturing the raw emotion and spontaneity of the trip. We recorded the recap in our car on the way down to Baby Beach. Here are just some of the things we saw while recording; the Aruba Aloe Man walking out of a supermarket, a herd of goats blocking a side street, kite surfers down by the prison and other random Aruba sightings. Not your typical podcast episode for a trip that is turning out to be something other than typical as well.

Although day one was arrival day it was actually surprisingly busy as we hit the beach right away, something new for us. It also did not involve us going to the grocery store to do a large stock up for our rental. Now I won't get too in-depth in what all went down as that's the point of the episode, but I will say we didn't stop moving from the time we arrived until pretty much me sitting here typing these show notes.

 

Direct download: Episode_57-a_Arrival_Days_1_and_2_in_Aruba_7-2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:58pm EDT

Episode 56 is the last in our series on planning our vacation to Aruba.  In this episode, Maggie and I go over what we plan on doing while in Aruba.  So if you are into restaurant talk this is the one for you.  That being said all the others are also informative and in my opinion pretty entertaining.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to listen to those yet, please make sure you do.

We start out by talking about our affinity for the Park Sleep Fly, which is our way of avoiding having to wake up at 3 in the morning to drive to Baltimore.  Instead, we drive down the evening before and park at the hotel for the duration of our trip.  This also gives us an excuse to stop for crab cakes at G&M which is close to the airport.  If you are someone who is attempting to avoid waking up at some ungodly time to drive to the airport you should definitely look into it.

Next, we go into our intended list of restaurants.  Now I say our intended list of restaurants because as you all know, on vacation planning and doing are two different things.  We have been agonizing over our list for quite a while now and it is almost complete.  However, it isn’t completely finished and also nothing is carved in stone.  Actually, we need your help in deciding on one of our last slots.  It’s too close to call on a few restaurants, so we are depending on you guys.:

We also talk about the different forms of entertainment we plan on engaging in around the island.  Aruba Ray’s Comedy, the ARF Paws for a Cause fundraiser, visiting the Aruba animal shelter and karaoke are all on our itinerary.  In total, this episode is 40 minutes of fun and informative Aruba talk about our upcoming vacation.  Whether you are someone who has never been to the island or have been to Aruba dozens of times there is something in there for you.  I hope you enjoy!

On This Episode of One Happy Podcast you will:

Find out where to go when you want basic beef cooked really well

Hear why you need a reservation if you want great Italian food with a killer view

Learn who has the best Sangria on the island

Get my opinion on the best beach bar on the planet

Be able to help us choose between



Restaurants Mentioned this episode:

   

 

  • The El Mexicano Taco Truck
  • Tia Rosa Snack Food Truck

 

Links and Resources Mentioned:

 

 


On this episode of One Happy Podcast Maggie and I continue our “Planning an Aruba Vacation” series, with the latest episode being about packing for your trip.  Although Maggie and I always travel together we have two very different packing styles.  Her’s is to meticulously plan out each and every step and then bring something for every possible contingency.  My packing style is to bring what you feel you’ll use and if it’s not enough… you make it enough.

 

While we all know the basics of packing, there are items that each of us likes to have on vacation with us. Depending on your likes and dislikes these specialty items can greatly increase what you bring along.  For us, it almost doesn’t matter since we use Southwest airlines.  Southwest allows us to check two pieces of luggage completely free.  However if you are flying on a different airline, chances are you will want to be a bit more careful.  Our specialty items list is comprised of things such as cameras, Kindles, a Bluetooth speaker and other entertainment type items.  What are yours?

 

Another wrinkle that we have to consider on our Aruba vacations is provisioning for the home we rent.  Most rentals do not stock the items you’ll need during your stay.  So for our stay, at the beginning, we always make it a point to stop at Lings for supplies.  Things like toilet paper, paper towels, and some cleaning supplies are all necessary.  We also like to pick up food items for breakfasts and some lunches.

 

On this episode of One Happy Podcast you will hear about:

 

  • Our different styles of packing for vacation
  • What we bring along that isn’t exactly standard
  • What supplies come with the home we rent
  • Things we purchase for the home upon arrival
  • What we like to bring from home as well as items we pick up upon our arrival in Aruba



Eight things you may want to seriously consider when packing for Aruba:

 

  • Aruba is a very casual island so you don’t need as many “nice” clothes as you would elsewhere.
  • Despite evening temperatures routinely being in the mid 80’s some restaurants are on the chilly side.  You may want to bring a light sweater
  • Bring sunscreen as it can be very expensive while on the island, especially if you are planning to purchase in the hotel gift shop
  • Remember to bring your bug spray.  Zika is on the island so do what you can to protect yourself
  • Does the place you are staying have laundry facilities
  • Although the sand in Aruba is talcum soft, you may still want to bring water shoes along since not all beaches are created equal.  Also, some forms of sea life may be harmful if stepped on.
  • If you plan on doing laundry while on vacation it may be easier to bring your own
  • If your checked luggage gets lost for the first day will you have what is necessary to ensure the day is not a dud

 

Products talked about on this episode:

 

Direct download: EP55_-_Packing_for_a_trip_to_Aruba.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

When we visit Aruba, renting a vehicle is not an option.  For our upcoming vacation in July, we are just now going through the process of choosing an agency for our rental.  Normally, we rent a jeep from Royal Aruba but this trip we are switching things up a bit.  This time, instead of renting a Jeep we are looking to downsize to a compact car.  The last visit our Jeep needed to be repaired and our replacement was a Kia Picanto.  Driving that little matchbox car around the island was a very different experience but not unpleasant at all.  Also a couple of months ago, on a trip, we had a Chevy Spark as a rental and drove that 5 hours from Atlanta to Pensacola, Florida.  It was actually a lot of fun.  So this trip to Aruba instead of a big old gas guzzling Jeep we are going for the go-kart.

 

This episode is me exploring our options for rental car agency.  I went to visitaruba.com to look at their list of rental car agencies.  From that list, I eliminated the large chains like Hertz and Avis.  I didn’t have a reason for eliminating those agencies I just want to go with someone local.  The requirements I had was an agency that rented to vacationers not staying at a resort because some do have that rule.  I am also looking for a good combination of customer service and price.  Sending the email gives me a chance to test the service and I am using the prices listed on their websites for an apple to apple comparison.  Please note that the price listed on the website may not be the actual cost of the rental but was the only fair way for me to compare different sites.  Also, just because I do love tooling around Aruba in a big Jeep I also looked at the prices on Jeeps… you never know.

 

On this episode of One Happy Podcast you will hear about:

  • A comparison between 10 different Aruba car rental agencies
  • How a website glitch impacts customer service
  • A rule some car rental agencies have that may keep you from being able to use them
  • How much it will cost for us to rent a vehicle for 8 days
  • A few reasons why you may want to consider renting a vehicle if you never have
  • Us struggling with the decision of renting a small car over a Jeep



Our Aruba Car Rental Comparison:

  • Amigo Car Rental
    • Nonresort rental okay
    • Email Response less than 3 hours
    • Cost of a Kia Picanto or similar vehicle 233
    • Cost of a Jeep 857
  • Jay's car rental
    • Nonresort rental okay
    • Email Response less than 3 hours
    • Cost of a Kia Picanto or similar vehicle 205
    • Cost of a Jeep 514
  • More 4 less Car Rental
    • Cost of a Kia Picanto or similar vehicle 228
    • Cost of a Jeep 600
  • Optima Car Rental Aruba
    • Nonresort rental okay with a safe driveway
    • Email Response less than 3 hours
    • Cost of a Kia Picanto or similar vehicle 224
    • Didn’t see a jeep on their website
  • Aruba Royal Car Rental
    • Nonresort rental okay
    • 204 Picante
    • 502 Jeep
  • Super car rental Aruba
    • Nonresort rental okay
    • Cost of a Kia Picanto or similar vehicle 257
    • Cost of a Jeep 565
  • Top Drive Aruba
    • Nonresort rental okay
    • Took nearly 24 hours (longest)
    • Cost of a Kia Picanto or similar vehicle 258
    • Cost of a Jeep 797
    • Special note not sure if the website has a glitch but it says renting a can-am UTV would cost me 7,260 dollars for the week.  
  • Value Aruba
    • Nonresort rental okay
    • Took nearly 24 hours
    • Cost of a Kia Picanto or similar vehicle 251
    • Cost of a Jeep 680

 

Eliminated

  • smart rent a car
    • The email got bounced back
  • Easy car rental
    • The email got bounced back

 

On the next episode of One Happy Podcast


Make sure you tune into the next episode of One Happy Podcast as we discuss packing.  Learn what we take along on our trips and what we purchase after we arrive.  If you have never had a private rental and are looking into one, you’ll want to know what necessities you’ll have to purchase upon arrival.

Direct download: EP54_-_Renting_a_car_and_exploring_Aruba.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to rent a home or condo on Aruba?  Well if you have this is the show for you.  On episode 53 of One Happy Podcast Maggie and I are going to be talking about we find and rent vacation homes in Aruba.  While this isn’t an episode that everyone will use, I believe it’s one that everyone will find interesting.  It’s chock full of information about the process of renting a vacation home in Aruba.

 

During this 40 minute episode, we go through our entire Aruba vacation rental evolution from being newbies to the seasoned vets we have become.  What I think makes this particular episode so useful is we go over not only some of the tools we use but the things we look for in a rental.  It’s actually a summarized account of what we actually did.  So if you are someone who may one day want to rent a private residence in Aruba this is a great place to start.  In the future, we will do more detailed episodes focusing on the different aspects of renting but this is a great overview.



On this episode of One Happy Podcast you will hear about:

 

  • Our first ever rental on the island of Aruba
  • Why the relationship with the person you are renting from can be one of the most important you make on the island
  • Customer service expectations
  • Why you should “interview” the owner
  • Our experiences renting at both Eagle and Palm Beach



An outline of this episode:

 

  • Our first rental at Oceania
    • The process of finding the rental
    • Investigating the owners
    • What the Oceania Condo was like
    • Why we don’t rent there anymore
  • Our Current rental in Palm Beach
    • Why we choose the Palm Beach area
    • Reasons for choosing this rental
    • Interviewing owners
    • Becoming friends with the owners
  • Possible future rental locations
    • Two possible locations
    • Advantages of Saveneta
    • Our wishlist for a future rental

 

In future episodes of this series we will be discussing:

  • Renting a vehicle in Aruba (complete with comparisons) and exploring some sites
  • Planning out our restaurant list as well as what to do for entertainment
  • Packing for Aruba and planning out what to pick up on arrival
  • Who knows what else

 

Places mentioned this episode of the show:

Direct download: EP53_-_Finding_Your_Aruba_Home_Away.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

This episode of One Happy Podcast the Officially Unofficial Podcast of the island of Aruba  is going to be a bit different from the norm.  Today Maggie and I are beginning part 1 of a multi-episode series about Planning a vacation to Aruba.  More specifically  on this introductory episode we discuss what goes into planning when to visit the island, how we book our tickets and deciding on where to stay.

It's kind of funny because when we plan the discussion goes so streamlined that you don’t realize what all goes into these decisions.  I guess once you graduate to Aruba regular status you have a pretty good routine down.  Even so I think it's interesting to hear how others arrive at their decisions.  Today we are deciding on the timing of the trip, which is probably the single most important piece of the puzzle.  We are also discussing how we decide on an airline, which is a large part of the expense.  Lastly, we discuss how we choose where to stay on a visit to Aruba.  These are all very important factors that need to be carefully considered when booking a vacation.

In future episodes of this series we will be discussing:

  • The comparison between Resort, All-inclusive and Private Rentals
  • Which area is best for your High rise, Low rise or Other
  • How we found and booked our first (and subsequent) private rental
  • What to pack for Aruba and what to pick up when you arrive
  • and whatever else we can cram in there… so stay tuned.

On this episode of One Happy Podcast you will hear about:

  • How to work and family schedules can impact when you visit Aruba
  • How even with Aruba lying below the hurricane belt a major storm can still affect your vacation
  • Why you should always have an ideal airfare price in mind
  • An overlooked reason why you might need to purchase a timeshare
  • Why early-bird dining may be something you want to look into
  • Our reasons for going with a private rental but why we may choose a resort sometime in the near future.
  • High Season or Low Season which one is for me?

An outline of this episode:

  • Deciding on timing
    • Work schedules
    • Family schedules
    • When is your Timeshare
    • High and low season for Aruba
  • How are we getting there
    • Deciding which airline
    • What time do you want to fly out
    • Which airport are you flying out of
    • Booking early vs booking late
    • Layovers and Hurricanes
  • Where are we staying
    • Timeshares
    • All-inclusive
    • Resorts

Other links and resources mentioned this episode of the podcast:

Direct download: EP52_-_Aruba_Vacation_Planning_Pt1-_Deciding_When.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Hello and welcome to this 51st episode of One Happy Podcast where I and my co-host Maggie take a look at Aruba early-bird dinner specials.  Very recently we booked another trip to the island and because we love to plan, have decided to attempt to shift our days forward.  What I mean by that is we want to get up about 2 hours earlier than normal, therefore doing everything else 2 hours earlier.  If all goes as planned our beach time, lunch time and dinner time will be something other than what we are used to doing.

On this episode of the podcast, we attempt to look at 10 different restaurants and their early-bird menus.  For those of you not familiar with early-bird specials, here is a breakdown.  Oftentimes restaurants will offer a portion of their menu as nightly specials for those who come in for dinner before a certain time. For example, a restaurant may want to increase traffic between the hours of 5pm and 7 pm, this is where an early-bird really comes in handy.  The restaurant will put together a limited menu of appetizer, entree, and dessert and sell them as a package deal, at a discount.  This  practice was called early-bird due to the same the early bird gets the worm… or in this case, the early bird gets the discount pricing.

Each of us look at 5 different Aruba restaurants that feature early birds and we describe and eventually attempt to choose which ones catch our attention.  This is an awesome 50-minute episode that will most likely open your eyes to a segment of dining in Aruba that you may have overlooked in the past.

On this episode of One Happy Podcast you will hear about:

  • 10 awesome early evening dinner deals in Aruba
  • A Palm Beach upscale restaurant making a move
  • What Maggie and I plan on doing for at least a couple of dinners this trip
  • A few dining terms you may have seen but possibly overlooked
  • Why early-bird dining may be something you want to look into
  • No less than 5 great places to eat grouper in Aruba

Aruba Early Bird Dinners mentioned on this episode:

Other links and resources mentioned this episode of the podcast:

Direct download: EP51_-_Amazing_Aruba_Early_Bird_Dinn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT