Category Archives: Activities

St. Maarten’s New Top Dining Spot

St. Maarten, regarded as the dining capital of the Caribbean, just got a new “top” dining destination:  historic Fort Amsterdam.  The promontory, on the grounds of Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, is now the backdrop for a special dining experience under the stars, hosted by a pirate costumed waiter, serving up history and memorable cuisine at one of the Caribbean’s most enchanting and exclusive settings.

By day, a hike to the summit of Fort Amsterdam, which dates to the 1600s, provides a stunning vista across the Caribbean, all the way to St. Bart’s and Saba.  No wonder the peninsula served as the island’s lookout, protecting valuable salt ponds from advancing navies and marauders.  Now, by night, the fort at Divi Little Bay Resort hosts Dinner Atop the Fort, an epicurean event that combines history, pirate’s tales and Dutch cuisine amid the native flora and stone ruins of the fort.

A waiter, dressed in pirate garb and well-versed in local facts and yore, welcomes just a few couples nightly.   Diners are driven to the top of the fort by golf cart, tiki torches illuminating the ascent. The specially conceived menu takes inspiration from long ago and includes Dutch stew with beer and vegetables, a true Dutch apple pie and an old-fashioned Dutch dessert called Dutch poffertjes.   Diners will also be enthralled with the twinkle of lights in the capital city of Philipsburg far below and ships sailing in and out of Great Bay Harbor.

The cost of the dinner is $350 per couple, $185 per person; wine is included.   Reservations are required due to limited seating. To ensure availability during your stay at Divi Little Bay, reservations are suggested at the time of booking by calling Divi Resorts at 800.367.3484 or 919.419.3484.

Yum…Who’s In The Mood For Food?

The St. Croix Food & Wine Experience isn’t until April, but we just can’t wait to talk about food until then.  We found Tanisha Bailey-Roka, an attorney by day and a “countess” by night.  She’s the Crucian Contessa, a name given to her by her friends and homage to Tanisha’s favorite celebrity chef:  Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  (Who sadly is not one of the celebrity chefs judging this year’s Taste of St. Croix at Divi Carina Bay, April 18th.)  Tanisha likes to cook food and, even better, she loves to share it.  So last year, she started The Crucian Contessa blog, full of recipes she cooks up for friends.

Well, count yourself among them.  Let’s try her Passion Fruit Mimosa.  Yum!  Easy, delicious, colorful — it’s a taste of the islands in a glass.  (I’m sure there are some vitamins in there, too.)

Tanisha says that St. Croix definitely influences what she creates, but she has such a curiosity about food that she doesn’t limit her culinary explorations to the island.  “Food is fascinating, whether it originates around the corner or around the world,” she says.

More recipes to come.  Soon Tanisha will share with us what she will be instructing budding chefs during the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience children’s cooking classes.

For a complete schedule of the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience and to purchase tickets for any of the events, including the Taste of St. Croix, held on the beachfront of the Divi Carina Bay Resort, go to http://www.stcroixfoodandwine.com/events

And, for another treat:  Divi has One Sweet Deal (a free night with a five night stay, plus Cruzan Rum Sampler & coupon book — all valued at $1000.)

Vacation Like ABC’s The Bachelor

Want to vacation like the bachelor on ABC’s hit show, The Bachelor? Head to St. Croix, America’s Caribbean. This week’s episode showed Sean Lowe and the six remaining bachelorettes enjoying the island’s many splendored things. St. Croix is a good catch for a quick vacation getaway – romance, culture, history, fine dining and great beaches await.

Do what the bachelor did and take in sunrise at Point Udall, the easternmost point of the United States. The most convenient way to enjoy dawn there is with a stay at nearby Divi Carina Bay Resort, only a five-minute and very scenic drive away.

Every Sunday morning at 9:30, those seeking exercise and adventure meet in the hotel lobby for a hike through the hills to Point Udall National Park. The excursion lasts about two hours, stopping along the way at the exclusive Jacks and Isaacs Bay beaches for an optional swim. Hikers finish at the point to take in a breathtaking view.

Those jumpin’ and jivin’ masked dancers on this week’s episode of The Bachelor are mocko jumbies, a cultural fixture of St Croix. No worries about scheduling a vacation to catch the dancers at one of the island’s many festivals or parades. Every Thursday there is a mocko jumbie performance at the Caribbean Beach BBQ at Divi Carina Bay All Inclusive Beach Resort & Casino. Dinner on the beachfront is at 6:00pm, entertainment at 7:30pm. Children are welcome. Reservations required.

And, who doesn’t love a guy with good financial smarts? Divi Carina Bay All Inclusive Resort offers a free night in their One Sweet Deal promotion. Book five nights, get one free until April 15. The package includes meals and drinks, matchplay at the casino, island activity book and a sampler of Cruzan Rum, distilled and bottled on St. Croix. No doubt the bachelor and his bachelorettes sipped a little Cruzan rum while on in the island. When in St. Croix, do as the bachelor does.

To book their One Sweet Deal or for more information about the hike to Point Udall and Caribbean Beach BBQ, call Carina Bay at 877.773.9700.

What’s Your 2013 Travel Resolution?

Did you make resolutions for 2013?   Did the list include:  Be a better person, work smarter, be more organized and take more vacation days? It might come as a surprise that those four resolutions are connected.  Workplace experts highly recommend taking vacations.  Yes, that was an “s” on the end of the word “vacation.”  Vacations recharge the batteries, replenish the creative juices and make a person more productive at work, according to those who study workplace behavior.  So, think of it this way: vacations are a good thing for you and your business.

Planning is key. January is a good time to sit down with the calendar and map out optimum times to be away from work and accommodate the whole family’s activity and school schedules.  There are also early booking specials that help stretch the vacation dollar.  (Was “find ways to save money” a resolution, too?)

Divi has a few vacation ideas for you in 2013.

  • Be part of the yachting set that will gather in St. Maarten-St. Martin for the island’s Classic Regatta, March 29-31.  Divi Little Bay’s Regatta Package gets you a discount on a room; a sail on a catamaran to watch one of the races and VIP passes to opening and closing festivities.  So party with the yacht crews during one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful sailing events. Ever done that before?
  • Or meet on the beach with “top chefs” at this year’s Taste of St. Croix.   Noted chefs from across the US descend upon St. Croix to cook up a party each night of the six-day St. Croix Food & Wine Experience.  The Thursday night event is the Taste of St. Croix, held under the stars on the beachfront of Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort. Planning ahead is absolutely crucial as tickets sell out to the Taste of St. Croix in less than 30 minutes (1200+ tickets gone in minutes).  Get a guaranteed ticket by booking a three-day stay by January 30th.
  • Need a photo for next year’s holiday card?  How about dressing up for the Carnival parade in Barbados in August during Barbados’ famed Crop Over Festival?  Last year, Divi Southwinds provided costumes for guests to join in the fun.  Watch the website for details of this year’s plans.
  • Is 2013 the year you learn to golf?  Make an tee time appointment with a golf pro at the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort in Aruba.  Golf in the morning, relax at the beach in the afternoon, and fine dine at night at the resort’s gourmet restaurant, Windows on Aruba.  Is there a better way to spend a vacation day, or two, or ten?

Playing in the Sand

In addition to dazzling white beaches and a nearly constant blue sky, the island of Aruba offers endless excitement and something new to discover on each visit. Like beach tennis. Even if you don’t know a thing about beach tennis, doesn’t it just make sense that Aruba is the perfect place in the world for this emerging sport? All that sugary sand and brilliant sunshine recently attracted beach tennis players from around the world to play in the first ever Divi Resorts Aruba International Beach Tennis Event, held November 14-19, 2012.

The Italians came to defend their #1 world ranking in a rousing series of matches on Eagle Beach. Over the course of four days, six hundred beach tennis players battled it out on the 26 courts that had been erected for the competition. Athletes hailed from Brazil, Slovenia, Germany, the US, Netherlands, Venezuela, Czech Republic, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Italy and Aruba. The Italians indeed did sweep the event, capturing the men’s and women’s singles and doubles matches as well as the Nation’s Cup and the Team Cup.

You didn’t have to know how to score a match to enjoy the serves, volleys and smashes. For most of the 2,000 spectators in the stands, watching a beach tennis tournament was a first for them. The adjacent sports village provided nightly entertainment, an experience the visitors were unquestionably more familiar with in Aruba. The tournament organizers declared every aspect of the event a huge success.

I can tell you now: the Divi Resorts Aruba International Beach Tennis Event can now be rechristened The First Annual Divi Resorts Aruba International Beach Tennis Event, because next year’s dates are already confirmed: November 13-18, 2013.

To see even more images taken from the Aruba International Beach Tennis Event, feel free to visit their Facebook photo albums.

Taste of St. Croix 2013

It is now the end of October and my mind is on April. Two thoughts: food and travel. Three words: Taste of St. Croix. (Is that technically four?) Who among us on the Mainland doesn’t think that a jaunt down to the Caribbean is our due come April? Travel is a good thing after a winter up north. Food – that is a good thing, too. Food is good. And, by the way, that shortens to F-I-G, and that is the name of one of the sensational restaurants whose stellar chef will be participating in the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience next year. Mike Lata, the award and award and award-winning chef is set to be a judge at the Taste of St. Croix, April 17th, 2013. As always, the Taste of St. Croix is staged at Divi Carina Bay All Inclusive Beach Resort and Casino.

The Taste of St. Croix started thirteen years ago as a little local food event devised to raise a little money for charity. It has grown and has been described as, “one of the best International food events,” according to Forbes.com.

And, for that reason, the event now draws some of the best chefs around. And from all reports, Mike Lata in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of them. And, get this: he’s self-taught. (Take hope, all of you.) Lata and his restaurant, known to all Charlestonians by its acronym FIG, (see above) have been written about in numerous epicurean magazines. His restaurant also has been featured on the Travel Channel as well as in travel publications. Food, it seems, is now drawing people to Charleston. And, it draws people to St. Croix now, too. Lata, no doubt, will draw foodies to St. Croix in April.

The television program “Dateline” reported that the food at FIG is, “so good it will buckle your knees.” Mmmm. Can’t wait.

Lata will take part in nearly a week’s worth of activities while on St. Croix from April 16 to the 21st. The centerpiece of the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience is the Taste of St. Croix, always on Thursday night. This tasting and sipping extravaganza brings about 1500 people to Divi’s beachfront. It’s festive, glittering with twinkling lights and fashion finery, the food is endless and delicious and everyone is swaying with the palm trees and music.

Two words: book now.