Category Archives: Aruba

One Happy Island, One Happy Couple

Divi Owner Spotlight

We hope that you will enjoy a new monthly feature highlighting the story of a Divi Resorts owner.   Each month we will spotlight a different owner and tell their story of vacations on the islands.

We are pleased to announce that our first spotlight is a long time Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort owners Eugene and Patricia Connors.

Gene and Pat are a fun loving, retired couple with close ties to family and friends and many stories to tell.  The couple is originally from New York and for years searched for warm vacation spots in the south to escape the cold northern winters.  After a few disappointing vacations, they told their travel agent they wanted a place with guaranteed great weather.  She suggested Aruba.  “Where is Aruba?” they asked.  The couple fell in love with the island during their first trip in 1979 and bought their first time share unit at the Divi Dutch Village in 1988, because they preferred the low rise resort.  Today they own several weeks and spend much of the winter on the tropical island.  Gene has observed that there are many more people traveling to Aruba than when they first started vacationing there.  The Connors’ believe they are partly responsible for that because they tell everyone they meet that Aruba is the only place to vacation.

While visiting Aruba, Gene and Pat can often be seen lounging on the beach and swimming in the blue tranquil ocean.  Afterward they head to one of their favorite spots Bunker Bar.  Located at the Divi Tamarijn, just steps away from their vacation home, Bunker Bar offers beautiful sunset views and a chance to catch up with friends.   They also enjoy the romance of dining on the beach surrounded by soft white sand, palm trees swaying in a gentle breeze and water lapping on the shore.   If asked, Gene and Pat would recommend a sailing excursion, snorkeling or dining at Madame Jeanette’s.

The Connors’ will tell you that family and friends are important in their lives.  After more than thirty years of traveling to Aruba, many of their fellow travelers as well as the native Arubans they see every year have become very close friends – part of their Divi family.  That is why in 2008, a surprise 50th wedding anniversary party thrown by fellow owners and Divi staff was extra special.  The couple later celebrated on their actual anniversary day at Chalet Suisse, which they do every year, where they are always taken care of by Benny, the manager.

Thank you, Gene and, Pat for being loyal Divi Dutch Village owners.  We wish you many more years of vacations in paradise.

Divi Does More for Kids!

Divi Resorts is expanding its children’s activities at six of its Caribbean resorts starting July 22nd.  The weekly schedule of free family events, called Treasures of the Caribbean, includes a treasure hunt, sandcastle building and movie night.

Every Monday morning starting July 22nd, children and their parents will follow clues (and the resort’s activities staff) around the Divi Resort property to amass a stash of keepsakes.  The real treasure at the end is a T-shirt, one that does special things:  It turns every kid into a member of Divi’s Pirate Crew.  And those crewmembers enjoy free refreshments – beverages and ice cream – throughout their stay at Divi.  It also earns them a salute from Divi staff each and every time they wear the shirt.

On Wednesdays, the big event is sandcastle building; souvenir bucket, shovel and great sand and ocean are supplied.

To kick-off the new Treasures of the Caribbean program Divi is hosting a contest to decide who can build the best sandcastle this summer at a Divi resort.  Pictures of the sandcastles will be showcased on Divi’s Facebook page (Divi does the posting and all the picture taking) and Divi will invite its Facebook followers to decide the best one.  The winning family gets another vacation, but this time it’s a FREE one.  (The contest gives new meaning to the term “vacation home,” wouldn’t you say?)    The winner can select any of the participating resorts for their free stay.

So let the fun begin! Join Divi’s Pirate Crew.  Hunt for treasure.  Build a castle.  Enjoy a movie on Friday night.

Need a little inspiration for the sandcastle you’re going to build?  Redbook Magazine gives a step-by-step on the basics.

Want to step up your game a bit?  Check out these architecturally awesome sandcastles collected by the folks at Popular Mechanics.

Get more details about the Treasures of the Caribbean, including participating Divi resorts, complimentary family photos, contest deadline and more here!

The Aruba Nightlife

No wonder Aruba is such a happy island.  Day or night, there is no shortage of things to do while in Aruba.  So many travelers who return to Aruba again and again have a list of favorite things about Aruba, be it a pool to languish by, a beach for savoring a sunset or a certain shop.  And, yet, it’s always fun to discover something new.  If you haven’t yet had a night out at Fusion, make a note.  Since opening last season, this one-of-a-kind establishment has – in less than a year – become a go-to place for those on their Aruba vacation as well as locals out for a nice evening.

The full name is Fusion Wine & Piano Bar and it is situated in the newly revamped Alhambra Plaza.  And, to borrow from the vernacular of the day, it is what it is:  that is to say, a fusion, in just about every way.  It is restaurant and lounge, dinner and tapas, cocktails and wine, live music and cigar bar.  It’s also a mix of inside and outside, with a bright lights/big city circular bar plus table seating inside and a cozy living room-like arrangement out under the stars where you can sink into comfy couches and let the music gently waft over the summer breeze.

Fusion is a place for doing your own thing.  Got a favorite wine?  The wine selection is the most extensive on the island and continues to expand.  Fusion also has Aruba’s most extensive cigar collection.  Live entertainment is offered six nights a week, and has variety, too, ranging from jazz, pop, soul and a little R&B.  Sunday night, Angelo Koolman (Love the name.) sings and plays guitar, Monday night Angelo Kock tickles the ivories and Tuesday, Mister Martens plays sax.  Fusion Wine & Piano Bar’s Facebook page posts the upcoming schedule: https://www.facebook.com/FusionAruba.

On the Facebook page, you will also find comments and reviews, like this one from Liliana Erasmus, writing for 10Best.com, “It’s here at Fusion, where laidback evenings are filled with the indulgence of the senses and where signature cocktails, a generous selection of global wines and premium cigars are complemented by French Executive chef Gerard Coste’s reinvented menu.

EJ Schanfarber, CEO of Divi Resorts, says that Fusion is a nice place to relax at the end of the day. “It is a new concept for the island, and we’re so pleased that it has struck the right chord with our guests and locals alike.

See you there!

Aruba Ariba!

Whether you see it printed on the menu or not, saunter up to any bar in Aruba, ask the bartender for an Aruba Ariba, and guaranteed, you’ll be obliged.  What makes the Aruba Ariba so ubiquitous?  It’s unique to Aruba.  And why?  Because every Aruba Ariba is made with coecoei, a liquor made from the sap of a local agave plant.  The deep red sap is then mixed with rum and cane sugar.  It not only adds a distinctive taste and color when used as an ingredient, coecoei also packs a punch with its 100-proof alcoholic content.

It surely must be a seductive cocktail because plenty of message boards evidence a search for coecoei by travelers once they return home from a trip to Aruba.   Sorry.  The only place to buy coecoei is Aruba.  So there you go:  another reason to go to Aruba.  (As if you needed another one besides sugary white beaches, blue skies, friendly people, endless activities or a beautiful place to do absolutely nothing while sitting under a palapa.)

Though the recipe varies a bit, the end result is universally described as delicious, refreshing and fruity – very apropos to the tropics.  A clear glass mug is recommended as an appropriate vessel in order to show off the rainbow of colors.  Make that a tall, clear glass mug to accommodate the liquors, liqueurs and juices.  Yes, you need all three to make a proper Aruba Ariba.

Here is the most often published recipe for the Aruba Ariba:

  • ½ ounce of vodka
  • ½ ounce of 151 proof rum
  • 1/8 ounce of coecoei
  • 1/8-ounce crème de bananes
  • ½ cup of orange juice
  • ½ cup of cranberry juice
  • ½ cup of pineapple juice

Directions: Pour into a glass.  Stir slightly. Splash with grenadine.  Top with Grand Marnier.  Garnish with a slice of orange.

I’ll have mine while enjoying the sunset from one of those cushy white couches at Pure Lounge over at Divi Phoenix Beach.

You can find other famous Aruba cocktails here at Visit Aruba.

Enjoy!

A Caribbean vacation in summer? Yes, let’s go!

Did you know there are over 7000 individual islands in the Caribbean?  Who’s ready to spend a few days on one this summer? The Caribbean in summer?  Yes!  It’s when the best deals are.  Especially after April 1, when kids eat and stay free at Divi Resorts.  June is when most Divi Resorts offer the lowest rates, but there are deals all summer long.  Vacation dollars go further, spacious suites are available and there are plenty of palapas for a quiet snooze on the beach.  There are also as many activities in summer as in season.  This is sounding like a vacation made in heaven.  But, it’s the Caribbean.

So, just where should you go for a Caribbean beach vacation?  I’m giving an “A” to Aruba.   First of all, there are few worries about hurricanes.  Aruba is technically out of the hurricane zone.  The temperature is only slighted elevated in the summer months due to the ever-present trade winds.

Aruba has too many temptations to list.  But, just consider these:

Divi Village, Divi Aruba Phoenix and Divi Dutch Village offer all-suite accommodations, an ideal set-up for families.   Not only are the suites spacious with modern amenities, but also they feature fully equipped kitchens. That’s handy for keeping kids satisfied with a little snacking and refreshment throughout the day, and an excellent way to stretch the family’s vacation dollars.   ‘Because you will want to do this vacation again next year.

If the brood is just too tired to go out at night, it couldn’t be easier to settle in for a night at home.  Slide open the balcony doors, plop onto a comfy couch and hit the remote for the flat-screen TV.  You can also gather ‘round the dining room table for board games.

Staying in won’t feel like a letdown after all there is to do during the day.  If you opt for the Druif Beach area, you’ll have your pick of multiple pools (enough to choose a different one just about every day), lighted tennis courts (weekly tennis clinics, too), poolside games and beach walks every afternoon, a water sports center with enough free activities to keep families entertained no matter how long the stay.   Aruba’s only 30-foot rock climbing wall is located on the Divi beach.

There are more than a dozen restaurant choices for the entire family when you do feel like dining out together.   (Remember:  kids eat free April 1 through December 21st.) Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort also has a nine-hole golf course and pro shop.  Parents might also like an evening at the Alhambra casino, which can be reached by a free shuttle bus from the resort.

Over at Phoenix Beach, the curvaceous pools are a big hit with families, as is the cool and comfy Pure Beach restaurant.  For a convenient diversion, go across the street and roam the Butterfly Farm.  Buy one ticket and go multiple times.

It’s just a shame you have to go home at some point.  I guess that’s why it’s called a “vacation.” Be sure to check out Divi’s discounted Summer rates!

Knock, Knock. Holland Has a King!

Today promises to be a very colorful day in certain parts of the Caribbean – all stemming from the rise of a new king in Holland. His Royal Highness The Prince of Orange ascends to the throne that day. Hear ye and welcome King Willem-Alexander.

The investiture of the new king is taking place on Queen’s Day. Confused? If you’ve ever found yourself in The Netherlands, on St. Maarten, Aruba or other Dutch provinces and states around the globe, you know that April 30th is huge holiday, called Queen’s Day. When Queen Juliana ascended to the throne in 1949, she marked her monarchy with an annual celebration on her birthday, April 30. Her daughter, Beatrix, who became queen in 1980, didn’t think January 31, her birthday, was a good day for outdoor parades and merry-making, so she kept her Queen’s Day on April 30th.

Note to travelers: Queen’s Day next year is cancelled. Lest you think an uprising is about to occur at the loss of a national holiday, no worries. Starting in 2014, King’s Day fittingly will replace Queen’s Day; but the celebration will move to April 27th, which is the new king’s birthday. The king has already concurred that April is indeed a splendid time of year for a day off and grand party. This decision continues a long line of service to the people and practicality by the Dutch monarchy. (They’re also known for abdication, too. Queen Beatrix is handing the reins to her son, as her mother did for her, believing it is time for a new generation to lead the monarchy.)

Of this you can be certain: the national holiday that celebrates the monarchy – be it king or queen – is a great day for the wearin’ of the orange. Orange is the national color of The Netherlands because the Dutch royal family is known as the House of Orange-Nassau. The dynasty traces its lineage to the marital union of the royal house of Nassau-Breda in Germany with the Chalon-Orange line from France Burgundy in 1515.

The soon to be King Willem-Alexander is the first male heir to the Dutch throne in over 100 years. He and his wife have three daughters. And, you know what that means: King’s Day will become Queen’s Day once again.
The historical signs at Fort Amsterdam in St. Maarten, which are a very special part of the grounds of Divi Little Bay Resort, already have been repainted – with a fresh coat of orange, of course – to note the change in leadership of the Dutch Kingdom. At a ceremony there on April 27, SIMARC, an organization that works to preserve the island’s heritage, was awarded an Orange Bow, a very special honor indeed since it is the last bestowed under the reign of the outgoing queen.
Orange you glad you read this?