One Happy Podcast (general)

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

On today's episode of One Happy Podcast, we are tackling an issue that is near and dear to many of our hearts.  What do you do in Aruba after the sun goes down?  

Aruba is absolutely incredible during the daytime and even in the early evening.  Also, the culinary offerings available on the island are some of the best in the Caribbean.  However, it's been said that after dinner Aruba lags behind some of the other islands in the Caribbean.  

Now if you have been visiting for a while you are probably on your way to developing a network amongst locals.  But if you are relatively new to the island or if you are someone that likes to stay close to the resort your view of Aruba nightlife may be very different.  This episode of the show takes a look at some of the nightlife options available to tourists on the island of Aruba.

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

On This Episode of One Happy Podcast You Will Learn:

  • Where the best karaoke is on the island.
  • What fun in a bottle means.
  • The only place to find world class comedy on the island.
  • How to get a taste of Carnival year round.

 

Resorts, Restaurants, and resources mentioned on this episode of the show:

 

The comedic lineup for Aruba Ray’s Comedy

RAY ELLIN - - JUNE 12th to JULY 21st

AIDA RODRIGUEZ - - JUNE 12th to JUNE 14th

JOEY KOLA - - JUNE 12th to JUNE 14th

SEAN DONNELLY - - JUNE 12th to JUNE 14th

TONY WOODS - - JUNE 15th to JUNE 22nd

YANNIS PAPPAS - - JUNE 15th to JUNE 17th

ANDREW SCHULZ  - - JUNE 17th to JUNE 20th

JOEY VEGA - - JUNE 19th to JUNE 26th

GARY VIDER - - JUNE 23rd to JUNE 26th

LEONARD OUZTS - - JUNE 23rd to JUNE 26th

ROBERT KELLY - - JULY 1st to JULY 8th

KEITH ALBERSTADT - - JULY 1st to JULY 8th

PETE LEE - - JULY 9th to JULY 12th

CHUCK NICE - - JULY 8th to JULY 12th

DAN NATURMAN - - JULY 10th to JULY 17th

BRIAN McFADDEN - - JULY 14th to JULY 21st

MIKE VECCHIONE - - JULY 18th to JULY 21st

Direct download: EP50_-_Things_to_do_in_Aruba_after.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Joining me on this 49th episode of One Happy Podcast is friend of the show, Cheryl Talcof.  Now as many of you probably remember, Cheryl was a guest on a previous episode, just about one year ago.  Actually I recorded her first appearance on May 19th of last year.  Well she is back once again to talk about some things happening on the island.  

 

We start off talking about a new gourmet grocery store that is coming to the island. I’m sure this will be a welcome addition to not only residents but those of us who don’t mind cooking while on vacation.  Cheryl also breaks the news about a very popular pizza parlor that is making a major location change.  Rounding out our food talk is her endorsement on a restaurant that I missed the last time I was down in Aruba. Its called La Terrazza Italiana and I was bummed that it was closed our last night in paradise.

 

Cheryl and I also spend a bit of time talking about the Aruba Animal Relief Foundation, including a new(ish) event they have going on.  You may have seen postings or advertisements about something called Yappy hour.  Well, Aruba Yappy Hour is actually Cheryl’s baby and whatever you read about it, doesn’t do it justice the way hearing it straight from one of the organizer’s will.  

 

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

  • A new gourmet market opening up in Paradera
  • Which popular Pizza place is picking up and moving and why
  • An incredible Italian restaurant that you may not have tried
  • How you can support the Aruba Animal Relief Foundation
  • What a Yappy hour is and why this event is so popular in Aruba

 

Properties and Restaurants mentioned on this episode of the show:


Direct download: EP49_-_Cheryl_Talcof_and_Yappy_Hour.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Joining me today on One Happy Podcast is a relative newbie to Aruba, David Cohen.  However despite having only been to the island a handful of times David is so far ahead of most visitors in one aspect.  They not only decided that Aruba was the place they would like to eventually retire to, David and Brenda actually purchased a home there.  

After having first visited the island on their engagement cruise, David and Brenda would return to the island to be married (which is a story in itself).  The next time, Aruba whispered in their ear to buy a timeshare, and they did, at the Playa Linda. Shortly thereafter Aruba made another suggestion, why don’t you buy a home here, and they did.  I guess it’s one of those things where when it feels right there is no use deliberating, you just make it happen, which is exactly what they did.

On this episode of the show we start out hearing about the process of getting married on the island.  Also David fills me in on how someone manages to go from first time visitor to purchasing a home in Aruba in three short years.  David tells the story of how they knew which of the nine houses they viewed was the right one.   He also gives a little advice that may be helpful to anyone who is thinking about purchasing real estate on the island.  We also talk about the activities David and Brenda enjoy while on island and it wouldn’t be a show without discussing which restaurants make the list.  

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

  • A long time goal of David’s that led to them owning a home in Aruba
  • How Brenda left absolutely no doubt in the minds of David and the agents when she found the house she wanted
  • The right way to choose a wedding planner
  • A fantastic reason to choose the Divi and not the Riu for your wedding venue
  • Great examples of when you become friends with an Arubian you are friends for life
  • A secret spot that you may want to seek out on your next visit to Aruba

Properties and Restaurants mentioned on this episode of the show:

Links and Other Resources mentioned this episode

 

Direct download: EP48_-_Volcano_David_and_Brenda_Cohen_Buy_Their_Aruba_Dream_Home.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT