One Happy Podcast

On today’s episode of One Happy Podcast I am trying something a bit different.  This episode is actually my first ever solo episode.  So what does that mean?  Well today instead of having a guest on the show it’ll just be my talking as I am recapping my September 2015 vacation to Aruba.

The trip itself was pretty uneventful as I usually have a pretty solid game plan going into vacation.  However, even though I have now gone to Aruba several times I am still learning different and better ways to enjoy vacationing there.  That learning process is a central part of this podcast as much of this trip was spent evolving as an Aruba vacationer.

So even though this podcast episode is a recap of my trip, I am not going to give you a complete play by play.  When we vacation in Aruba we are all over the place so a complete rundown of everything would be impractical.  Besides I really doubt you guys want to hear me drone on about hopping from Palm Beach to Eagle Beach to Arashi Beach every day.  So, instead what I am going to do is countdown my top 5 takeaways from this latest trip to One Happy Island.


One this Episode of One Happy Podcast You Will Hear About:


  • Re-kindling my love for Photography

Although I do have a love for picture taking, over the past few trips I’ve been neglectful when it in the department of memory preservation. This trip I made it a point to be a more active photographer and it has paid off in the form of more images for me to share.  So be certain to check out the One Happy Podcast Facebook Page to see some of the photos I snapped on this last trip to Aruba.

  • The continuation of my Aruba Food Truck infatuation

Hear me talk about some of my favorite places to eat in Aruba… the food trucks.  The rolling revolution has hit Aruba in a major way.  In my opinion some of the absolutely best places to pick up a quick and cheap meal are the Aruba food trucks.  Here I focus on 4 food trucks that impacted me on this Aruba vacation in a major way.  I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but personally I could do an entire trip and eat nowhere else.

  • The Kukoo Kunuku

Even though I am not as young as I used to be, every once in a while my brain tricks my body into believing that I am still a young man.  This particular Aruba vacation, my bravado resulted in me taking an excursion on the Kukoo Kunuku party bus.  While I will say that I did pay the price for foolishly believing I could still party like it was 1999 (literally), I wouldn’t change it for the world.  If you have never gone on the Kunuku but do like to party you should absolutely check it out, you won’t be disappointed.  Tell the Aruba Curt sent you.  It will get you absolutely nothing.  In fact, they probably won’t even know who the hell Aruba Curt is but tell them anyway.

  • Meeting new friends

As I’ve stated before I am a bit of an introvert.  On this trip I actually do let my guard down and interact with quite a few different people while in Aruba.  I’m not talking about the odd superficial bar or beach conversations.  I mean I actually go to structured events to meet and mingle.  So find out what happens when Aruba Curt stops being such a loner and let’s life happens.  Does he actually have fun?  Will he once again crawl back into his shell?  Is it possible Aruba Curt embraces his newfound status as a social butterfly?  There is only one way to find out.  Press play on Episode 29 of One Happy Podcast.

  • Visiting the Puppies and Kittens of Aruba

The more I podcast the more I get exposed to all the different aspects of Aruba.  One part that I was exposed to a few episodes ago was the plight of the stray animals in Aruba.  This trip I decided to stop in at the Aruba Animal Shelter to see things first hand.  The plan was for us to set out one morning to make a quick stop to pet some puppies and make a donation.  What ended up happening was an experience that will forever change the way I vacation in Aruba.

Direct download: EP29_-_Aruba_Curt_September_2015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:13pm EST

Today on Episode 28 of One Happy Podcast we travel to Aruba with newlyweds Craig and Dee Bell.  A few months ago I met Dee on one of the Facebook groups as she was planning a honeymoon to One Happy Island. She really stood out as someone who wanted to do more than just travel to an island and sit under a palm tree, Dee wanted to really get to know the ins and outs of where she was going.  It was apparent by the questions Dee asked that she wasn’t your average vacation… she was one of us.

Through conversations I learned that she had stumbled across my podcast and asked if she would like to be a guest upon her return.  Luckily for me (and you guys) she said yes, which brings us to now.  Now Dee is here with her brand new husband Craig to take us on a journey to their Aruba.  

On this episode we get a chance to look at Aruba through the eyes of someone who had never visited before.  It all starts with how they met and fell in love… who doesn’t enjoy a good love story.  Then we talk about how they ended up going to Aruba, an island neither of them knew about, for their honeymoon.  

Whether you’ve been visiting so long that you can’t really remember your first visit or if you are someone who has yet to step foot on Aruba, you’ll get something from this episode of One Happy Podcast.  We hear Craig and Dee describe in their own words what was like when they first exited the airport.  From their they take us on a little tour of the Riu Antillas including a description of the beach, dining areas and the oceanfront view from the 11th floor.  

While it is true that the Riu Antillas is an all-inclusive, don’t think Craig and Dee spent all of their time on property.  They also tell us about a couple of restaurants they visited off property; the super romantic Passion’s on the Beach and ever popular Linda’s Dutch Pancakes.  If that isn’t enough we also get a very detailed description of two excursions these honeymooners enjoyed while on the island.  Of course we finish it all off with a visit to the “Eye of the Hurricane”.  All together this episode is about 40 minutes of imagery and information for your listening pleasure as told by those who experienced it, Craig and Dee Bell.  

On This Episode You Will Hear About:

  • The circumstances that led to them choosing Aruba for their honeymoon
  • Their first impressions of Aruba
  • Quite possibly the best view on the island
  • What the food is like at the Riu Antillas all-inclusive
  • Two excursions they recommend for Aruba vacationers
  • What does it take to get a palapa on the beach

 Aruba Accommodations and Attractions Mentioned This Episode:

  • The Aruba Riu Palace Antillas

Aruba Restaurants Mentioned This Episode:

  • Coco’s Mojito Stand
  • Linda’s Dutch Pancakes
  • Passion’s on the Beach
  • The themed Restaurants at the Riu Antillas

Links and Resources Mentioned This Episode:

Direct download: EP28_-_Craig_and_Dee_Bell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Today’s episode of One Happy Podcast is my pre-vacation episode.  What that means is the majority of the show will be me talking about my upcoming trip to Aruba.  I am scheduled to fly out tomorrow morning at 7ish and will be on island until September 14th.  So if you want to know what I will be up to on this upcoming trip this is the episode for you.  If you couldn’t care less what I’ll be up to but want to hear a little Aruba talk this is also the episode for you. 

On this episode we start with the night before vacation and what that typically means for us.  After that I take you through my morning as well as what we plan on doing upon our landing in Aruba.  If you have ever been curious about renting a vacation home I talk a bit about some of the items you’ll want to stock up on upon arrival.  This time around it seems like I have a pretty large list of restaurants I want to visit, so I’ll be talking about that and also how I plan on spending my days and nights in Aruba.  Towards the end Maggie joins me to talk a bit about what she’s looking forward to doing on this trip to Aruba.


On This Episode You Will Hear About:

  • Why we drive further to fly out of BWI instead of PHL
  • How to arrive in Aruba refreshed even after an early flight
  • What items I consider must haves to stock up our villa
  • My restaurant list for this upcoming Aruba vacation
  • How I plan on kicking off this upcoming NFL season
  • What organized activities if any I am planning on doing this trip


Aruba Restaurants Mentioned This Episode:

  • Buster’s
  • Casa Tua
  • Local Store
  • Matthews
  • Quinta Del Carmen
  • Tango Argentine Grill
  • The Sultan
  • Urataka Center
  • Zeerover’s


Links and Resources Mentioned This Episode:

  • forums
  • One Happy Podcast on Facebook
  • Parksleepfly
Direct download: EP27_-_Aruba_Curt_and_Maggie_Aruba_September_2015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:48pm EST

This week on One Happy Podcast I am being joined by Bill Mora and Christina Canzoneri the team behind Aruba Trip Tips.  If you aren’t familiar with Aruba Trip Tips, well you should be as it’s another great information resource focused on helping visitors get the most out of their visit to the island.  Jam packed with tips and information Aruba Trip Tips was created to lessen or maybe even eliminate the learning curve it takes for visitors to get their bearings so they can start enjoying Aruba as quickly as possible.


In this episode we learn all about how the island inspired the creation of Aruba Trip Tips starting from Bill’s first visit to the island with his father up until his current visits with his wife.  We also learn how he introduced his longtime friend and business associate Christina to the island which captivated her as well.  The Trip Tips team goes through it all when they fell in love with Aruba, things they enjoy on the island and also the always popular “Eye of the Hurricane” where we pick their brains to find out how they do Aruba.


Throughout the interview you will not only learn about the current features of Aruba Trip Tips but you will also hear about what the team has in store for the future.  If that isn’t enough Bill and Christina tell you all about the sister site Aruba Festivals where you can go to find out all about the ever growing number of festivals taking place on One Happy Island.  If you are planning to visit Aruba and want to be as prepared as possible for your upcoming trip Aruba Trip Tips should be bookmarked to your browser.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this latest episode of One Happy Podcast to find out why?

On This Episode You Will Hear About:


  • The most comprehensive vegan alternative restaurant listing

  • Where you should go find the latest Aruba Festival news

  • A great horseback riding excursion you may not know about

  • Why moving to Aruba isn’t for everyone

  • How Bill and Christina would spend their last day in Aruba

Aruba Accommodations and Attractions Mentioned This Episode:


Aruba Restaurants Mentioned This Episode:

Links and Resources Mentioned This Episode:


Direct download: EP26_-_Aruba_Trip_Tips.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

On today’s episode of One Happy Podcast I am being joined by long time Aruba visitor Charlene Richardson who has been traveling to the island of Aruba since 1997.  Since then Charlene has developed a relationship with the island that has made it feel like a second home.  In fact, eventually Charlene plans on retiring in Aruba, but until then she settles for visiting 3 times per year.


In this episode Charlene shares with us how she has come to fall in love with the island as well as how her tastes in accommodations have changed over the years.  Since Charlene stays on Aruba for multiple weeks she is in the unique position to enjoy her stay at the Aruba Marriott as a timeshare owner while also staying at various other resorts around the island.

Of course as someone who has been visiting the island for 18 years she has developed a love for certain Aruba restaurants.  That isn’t to say she always dines at the same places each trip as Charlene prides herself on visiting different establishments each visit.  Now as a result of having developed a friendship with fellow New Englander turned permanent Aruba resident Cheryl Talcof (Episode 19) her exposure to the entire island has to offer has increased exponentially.

Throughout this interview you will get to know Charlene and the island of Aruba through Charlene’s experiences on the island.  If you are looking to get an idea of what activities and restaurants Aruba has to offer you really should carve out a half hour of your time to give this episode a listen.

On This Episode You Will Hear About:

  • Charlene’s white knuckle drive to the Natural Pool
  • Charlene’s NEW favorite restaurant on the Aruba
  • Why she feels perfectly fine traveling to Aruba by herself
  • How meeting a local friend can completely change your life


Aruba Attractions Mentioned This Episode:


Aruba Restaurants Mentioned This Episode:



Links and Resources Mentioned This Episode:

Direct download: EP25__-_Charlene_Richardson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Joining me today on One Happy Podcast is Diana Brown.  Diana is an Aruba-phile that was first introduced to the island many years ago as a result of her Grandmother being a long time timeshare owner.  Although her relationship with the island started off rocky, over the years it has progressed to the point where Aruba has become like a second home to her.  These days she makes the trip from California to the Caribbean more often than she does to her native New York.


Some of you may know Diana from a few of the Aruba Facebook groups where she can be seen dispensing information on a variety of topics.  Anyone who makes 3 trips each year to Aruba is bound to have picked up a load of information along the way and she is always very generous in sharing.  This interview is just one more instance of her giving back to the Aruba vacationer’s community.

Over the course of this interview Diana and I talk about everything from best practices to use when renting a villa to who has the best Sangria on the island.  Of course the highlight of the episode is the eye of the hurricane where I hit Diana with a series of questions and we find out a ton of information.  Will she be able to weather the storm?

  • In this episode of One Happy Podcast you will hear about:
  • Why someone who lives so close to Hawaii chooses to do Aruba instead
  • When to choose a villa as opposed to a timeshare
  • Questions to ask when you are looking to book a rental from someone
  • Who has the good Sangria on Aruba
  • What happens when your 70 year old mother is more of a daredevil than you are


Restaurants mentioned in this episode of the show:

  • Chalo burger
  • Wacky Wahoo
  • El Gaucho
  • Quinta Del Carmen
  • Gianni’s
  • Zeerover
  • Red Fish

Links and Resources mentioned this episode:

Direct download: EP24_-_Diana_Brown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Joining me for this week’s episode of One Happy Podcast are Marcia and Ray Frost.  Marcia and Ray have been married for 35 years and have been in love with Aruba since they got married back in 1980… but they have only been visiting Aruba for 5 years.  You may be asking, how can that be, but it really is a demonstration of the power of Aruba. 

Since celebrating their 30th anniversary in Aruba in 2010, Marcia and Ray have been back 3 more times, most recently just about 2 weeks ago.  During their 4 trips they have stayed at many different properties ranging from all-inclusive to off the beaten part bed and breakfast.  They have been all over the island and seen many places most tourists never visit.  In short Marcia and Ray have quite a story.  Luckily they were kind enough to spend an hour with me discussing their various adventures in Aruba.

If you are the sort of traveler that enjoys discovering new experiences while on vacation you will really enjoy this episode.  If you aren’t that sort of traveler the good news is Ray and Marcia have such fun loving attitudes that you will have a ball just listening to them tell their Aruba stories.

On this episode you will hear about:

A first timer’s reaction seeing a place they have been dreaming of for 30 years

Aruba’s Red Light district through tourists’ eyes

What a local taxi driver thinks about the cleanliness of food trucks

What happens when a tourist gets to drive an ABC tours Land Rover

What’s behind the secret door labeled 402C that only locals seem to know about?

Where the governor of Aruba eats when he wants to mingle with his people

Restaurants mentioned this episode:


Reflexions Beach Aruba


Sushi-Ya Sushi Bar

Waka Waka

West Deck



Links and Resources mentioned this episode:

ABC Tours

All Things Aruba! – Facebook Group

Casa Del Mar

Caribbean Palm Village Resort

Divi Dutch Village

Aruba Marina Surfside

Renaissance Island


Waunter Brooke – Taxi Driver 306

Direct download: EP23_-_Marcia_and_Ray_Frost.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

This episode of One Happy Podcast, Aruba's Officially Unofficial Podcast features Sue Basler.  An avid scuba diver and golfer, Sue first discovered Aruba in 2004 and immediately fell in love.  On that trip to Aruba, Sue and her husband purchased a timeshare from a fellow diver at the Renaissance Ocean Suites.  Since 2006 they have been returning to paradise annually, staying 3 weeks at a time.

Those of you interested in getting off the Palm Beach strip and enjoying other parts of Aruba will love hearing about Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba.  Being that the Renaissance is located in the downtown area Sue points out some of the highlights that so many visitors of Aruba fail to experience. 

If you are a diver or aspire to be a diver you will gain additional value from this episode.   In addition being an Aruba diver for more than a decade, Sue also dives all over the world.  Here she discusses what makes diving in Aruba so different and special compared to other dive sites.

On this episode of you will hear about:

·         What makes the Renaissance Ocean Suites so special

·         An awesome dive excursion provider located just steps from the Renaissance

·         A seldom played Aruban golf course that’s a bit off the beaten path

·         Some of the great restaurants located in the Oranjestad Area

·         A couple of incredible resources for planning your next trip to Aruba

Links and Resources Mentioned in this episode

· – The Official website of the Aruba Tourism Authority

·         Mermaid Divers Aruba – A fantastic Diving Operation

·         Renaissance Ocean Suites Facebook Group – The #1 resource for those looking for information about the Renaissance Ocean Suites.

·         Divi Links Golf Course – The premiere golf course on the island of Aruba

·         One Happy Podcast  Share your Story  - Be a guest on a future episode of the show


·         iTunes Review – Leave a review for One Happy Podcast

Direct download: EP22_-_Sue_Basler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Joining me this week on One Happy Podcast is comedian Aruba Ray Ellin.  Some of you may remember Ray from his first appearance on episode 7 “Aruba Ray Ellin Brings Comedy to One Happy Island”.  During that show we learned all about how Ray discovered and subsequently fell in love with Aruba.



On this episode Ray is back to discuss his comedy show which is taking place June 9th through July 9th in the Amsterdam Ballroom at the Marriott Stellaris Casino.  During this half hour episode we talk about the comedians coming down this time around as well Ray’s take on a couple of about excursions and restaurants.

Direct download: EP21_-_Aruba_Ray_Ellin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Joining me on this 20th episode of One Happy Podcast the Officially Unofficial Podcast of the Island of Aruba is a guest many of you are already familiar with, Andrea James.  Andrea was a guest on episode number 2 of the show and there she shared the story of how she fell in love with Aruba.  Well, Andrea is just back from a trip she took in May and is here to share that little adventure with the rest of us.

Normally Andrea stays at one of the resorts on the island but this time she switched things up by staying someplace off the beaten path, Banana Apartments.  Over the course of this episode Andrea tells us all about Bananas, a couple of different restaurants and a few activities she and her husband Paul enjoyed during their two week stay.

Andrea has 35 years of experience visiting Aruba and being able to tap into a bit of the knowledge she has accumulated over the years is definitely a treat.  The first episode with Andrea got great feedback and I am positive you all will enjoy this one just as much, if not more.

On this episode you will hear about:

Another option for you to stay if you want to try something a bit different

One of the best places on the island to snorkel

A bit of advice if you are going to be going into the water at Arashi

Some tried and true restaurants that still deliver an excellent dining experience

Advice from a 35 year Aruba veteran about what newbies should not do


Links and Resources Mentioned this episode: forums - the Official website of the Aruba Tourism Authority

Banana Apartments


Bully -  Aruba's most popular taxi Drivers

Madame Jeanette's

Sole Mare Ristorante Italiano


Direct download: EP20_-_Andrea_James.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43pm EST