Category Archives: Barbados

New Year, New You! Kick-start your 2015 fitness goals the Divi way!

Aruba Rock Climbing

 

Vacation time certainly has its benefits – new adventures, exciting experiences and an opportunity to unwind are always on the list of top reasons to plan your next getaway. But sometimes, it can be hard to keep up with your wellness goals while you’re away from home. Vacation time is typically focused more on rest and relaxation than health and fitness, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay active in fun and creative ways during your trip.

Let’s explore some of our favorite ways to find time for fitness while you’re on your Divi Resorts vacation:

Take a walk

The islands that are home to our Divi Resorts offer a lot to explore, so plan to spend some time sightseeing on foot during your trip. Many of our resorts offer guided group walks of the beaches and nature trails, and there are also plenty of walkable areas around town. There is so much to see and experience on each island, so pack your walking shoes and get ready to discover new places!

Make a splash

A fun way to get active on your Caribbean vacation is to take advantage of the islands’ most popular amenity – the ocean that is just steps away from our resorts! Our Divi Resorts destinations offer a variety of ocean activities, from snorkeling, to paddle boarding, to jet skiing. Several of our resorts offer water sports centers so that you can easily rent your equipment and head out to the ocean, and our resorts on Bonaire and St. Croix also offer PADI 5-Star Dive centers for exciting scuba adventures.

Explore the activities

There is never a shortage of activities available at Divi Resorts, and many of the daily activities are focused around fitness. From Caribbean dance classes to water aerobics, there are always plenty of ways to keep moving. You can also get adventurous with your fitness routine, trying out something new like the rock climbing wall on Aruba or a guided trail hike on Barbados.

Running in Aruba

 

Play around

It’s easy to keep up with your health and wellness goals when you find ways to make fitness fun! A great way to bring more fun to your daily physical activity is to invite friends or family to participate with you, and at Divi Resorts, there are a ton of games to get everyone moving. Challenge someone to a game of tennis, volleyball, golf, bocce ball or horseshoe; you’ll be so entertained, you may forget that you’re getting a workout.

Eat smart

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goal to eat better. Dining at Divi Resorts’ restaurants is a delicious way to keep up with healthy eating habits while you’re on your trip! Our chefs have introduced healthy versions of old favorites, like Spinach and Artichoke Dip made with Greek yogurt, so that you can satisfy your appetite without over-indulging on calories. The restaurants are also offering new farm-to-table and dock-to-dish specialties, deliciously flavorful salads and nutritious side options to complement your healthy meal.

Keeping up with your New Year’s resolution for improved health and wellness can be easy and fun when you vacation at Divi Resorts!

Here are some of our favorite fitness tips:

What are your best tips for staying fit while on vacation? Let us know by leaving us a comment!

 

Just wait till you taste what this guy is cooking in Barbados! Meet Chef Henderson Butcher.

Chef Butcher

Who doesn’t want a winner on their team? Divi Resorts does. The company hired a big time winner when it made Henderson Butcher executive chef of the new pureocean restaurant at Divi Southwinds Beach Resort in Barbados.

Butcher’s culinary star began ascending in 2007, and it hasn’t stopped rising since. He is famed not only throughout Barbados, but also all across the Caribbean. His winning way with pork earned him top chef honors in the Taste of the Caribbean competition, as well as the nickname “The Pork Boss.” He has likewise dazzled judges and foodies with his vegetarian dishes, beef entrees, seafood and chocolate concoctions.

The arresting architecture of pureocean restaurant entices many beach strollers to amble in. But on some days, it’s the wafts of fragrant smoke emanating from “The Smoker” out back that extends the invitation. Chances are, it’s Butcher’s “first love” – pork – tempting you. When the smoker is fired up, guests know that the daily specials include smoked pork ribs, loin chops or various offerings of pulled pork. The menu also includes smoked chicken or shrimp. Lately, Butcher has been experimenting, as chefs are known to do, and we are highly anticipating his smoked brisket and jumbo beef ribs, coming soon.

Local Barbados ingredients rev up Butcher’s recipes, including Mt. Gay Rum and organic vegetables and herbs grown in the resort’s own greenhouse. He is a big believer in dock-to-dish and farm-to-fork recipes, liking his ingredients to be as fresh as possible for his guests. Divi Resort-to-fork is pretty fresh, wouldn’t you have to say? Butcher also works with local farmers and fishermen to source the menu. Cocktails, too, feature native produce, like the Divi Cosmo Martini, which uses guavaberry juice; and the Old Passion, which mixes Mt. Gay Extra Old Rum with passionfruit and fresh ginger.

For several years, Butcher has been a key participant in the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival, but his demanding chef duties at pureocean do not leave time for that anymore. Thus, you’ll be happy to know he’s all yours at pureocean while the festival is going on around the island, November 20-23. With the word out about the great food and ambiance at pureocean, it’s a good bet that many foodies will beat a path to Divi Southwinds Beach Resort during the festival.

Here’s what the “Love Barbados Design” blog recently wrote about pureocean: http://www.lovedesignbdos.com/2014/10/pure-ocean-restaurant.html

Time to Save Money On Travel

Did you resolve to save more money this year?  US News says more people are making financial resolutions than a few years ago.  But vowing to be mindful of expenditures doesn’t mean one can’t resolve to have more fun and travel more – both good goals.  There is a way to be wealthier and happier as well as healthier in 2014.  (Remember:  Vacations are recommended for good health.) 

Here are a six ways to save money on travel in 2014:

  1. Go against the flow – The great rush to the Caribbean is in winter, but the hot deals are in the off-season. You’ll escape the crowds, temperatures are only slightly elevated during summer and chances are there are big discounts on airfare, too. Make it a family vacation because kids stay and eat free at Divi Resorts from April through mid-December.
  2. Best things come in twos – Booking a packaged vacation not only streamlines the reservation process but results in maximum savings. Divi’s new booking platform, Divi Vacations, provides the lowest price on rooms at the resorts, even exceeding published best available rates when booked separately, and assures best pricing on airfare from major airlines.  Depending on the season, customers will save from $150 to $345 per trip.
  3. Let’s be friends – Divi Facebook page includes occasional contests (Wow! Winning would really mean a savings!), and news about special offers, such as diving deals at Divi Flamingo Beach in Bonaire. Followers also receive announcements for limited time airfare discounts to the islands from major hubs.
  4. Suite deal – For family travel, nothing beats a suite. A one-bedroom with a pullout couch easily accommodates a family of four. (See savings tip #1.)  Even better, a family can take meals and snack time in their own kitchen. In St. Maarten at the Divi Little Bay Resort, the on-site grocery will stock the refrigerator and pantry in advance of arrival.
  5. Kid’s play – Look for resorts providing free kids or family activity programs. The new Divi’s Treasures of the Caribbean program at all Divi Resorts engages the entire family in treasure hunts, sandcastle building, movie night, souvenirs, T-shirts and more.
  6. Pack light – Avoid the extra baggage fees.  After all, most time spent on a Caribbean vacation is in a swimsuit.

Got any money-saving travel tips you want to share?  Post your own ideas for travel tips at the Divi Resorts Facebook page.  (Remember Tip #3 — Deals are waiting there.)

Divi Owners: Michael Smith and Diane Renfroe

Michael Smith and Diane Renfroe are not unlike a lot of other Divi owners when they get to their home away from home: They get out and explore their surroundings.  They have plenty of time to do just that.  This retired husband and wife power couple from Washington, DC, he, a former business executive and she, a former tax attorney and partner, come to Divi Southwinds for eight weeks every Winter.  During their two months on Barbados, they always rent a car to tour the island.  Exploring is still a fresh adventure even after eight years, be it a new beach discovery or the Barbados culinary scene.

Others might say a morning walk on the beach is invigorating, and the Smith Renfroes wouldn’t disagree, but they also call it the most romantic moments of their annual Caribbean vacation. They are especially fond of a number of beaches found on the south and west coasts of Barbados.

But their absolute favorite thing to do?  Feasting with relatives on the island!  I’m sure they’re feasting sensibly though, because the couple admits to being very weight and health conscious. (Eight weeks in Barbados sounds to me like a prescription for well-being.) They partake of the many great restaurants and nightlife in the St. Lawrence Gap, which runs through Divi Southwinds.  This unique cobbled street lined with some of the island’s best dining is one of the reasons Smith and Renfroe love their home at Divi.

Elsewhere on the island, Cin Cin heads their list of romantic places, offering good food served under the stars and with sweeping views of the west coast of Barbados.

For relaxing, they are both exercise enthusiasts:  Smith makes great use of the outstanding swimming pool at Divi Southwinds.   Renfroe walks, be it on a Barbados beach or around the 20 acres of grounds at Divi Southwinds.   She also loves genealogical studies, no doubt putting her expert research skills to work tracing the family tree, both the Barbadian branch and those up north.

Ownership at Divi is a real value, they say, expressing that they receive first class accommodations for a very reasonable rate.   Said, Smith, “The people of Barbados are friendly to visitors and are very progressive in their education and infrastructure.  The staff at The Divi Southwinds under the leadership of Alvin Jemmott continues to amaze me with the continual improvements.”  All that seems to add up to eight weeks in paradise.

Caribbean Weddings and Mini-Moons

I have a prediction:  in the not too distant future you will be invited to a destination wedding at Divi Resorts. I have it on good authority.  Today, nearly one in four weddings (24%) is now a destination wedding.  A favorite locale?  The Caribbean, of course.  Who can argue with the décor  – white sand met by turquoise water toped by brilliant blue sky?  And, balmy weather just makes stress melt away.  (You’ve had it happen.)  And another feel good is the hospitality of the region.  The people of the Caribbean just love hosting weddings.

The reasons for the rising popularity of a destination wedding are as plentiful as the items on a wedding registry.  A destination wedding offers adventure, it’s just more fun, and the couple can incorporate the honeymoon – or mini-moon, as the trend now is – into the wedding trip.  What is a minimoon? That is a brief vacation immediately following the ceremony with the extended, just-the-two-of-us vacation coming later.

“The idea of having a destination wedding is growing among our brides, and it goes hand in hand with the fact that most people no longer live where they grew up,” said Carley Roney, co-founder of XO Group Inc., whose brands include The Knot and Wedding Channel.

XO Group figures show that 66% of international destination wedding brides cite wanting a “special, fun, or exotic locale,” as a main factor for choosing to go abroad.  Other reasons include a desire to host fewer guests in a more intimate occasion and to celebrate at a location special to the couple.  And, we have a hunch it’s also because there are expert wedding planners at the ready in places like Aruba just waiting to take care of all the details.

You can also add deals and discounts to the reasons to do a destination wedding in the Caribbean.  Divi Resorts’ launched a very enticing deal for wedding couples. The special treatment includes free accommodations for the betrothed, an amenity-laden vacation for them and their wedding party and a free seven-night anniversary stay.  Plus massages, champagne and flowers, too.  The special promotion gives the happy couple the option to try a different Divi resort for their anniversary.

Spread the word and you soon could be on some couple’s guest list for their destination wedding at Divi Resorts. We hope so.

Breathless

You may already know about this, but it was a first for me: free diving.  That is diving without a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, or in other words, no oxygen tanks and breathing tubes. Using scuba gear would be too easy, and “unnatural,” say those who free dive. I only discovered free diving in conversation (not by actually doing it) when I was told that Carol Schrappe, one of the world’s best free divers, Brazilian record holder (242 feet!) and considered one of the top 15 female athletes in the world, was a guest at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino in Bonaire. The resort is a magnet for divers from all over the world, so the staff of Divi Dive is accustomed to having divers around all the time. But, the presence of Carole Schrappe at the property created a buzz. She is aqua royalty, known and admired the world over.

The Bonaire Tourist Authority recently invited her to come to learn about the island. Naturally, that included introducing her to Bonaire’s many sensational dive spots. Schrappe did many free dives while in Bonaire, many right at the Divi Flamingo. “I loved this place. It’s unique and perfect for free diving,” she said. “I’ll be back for sure.”

Schrappe practices competitive apnea.  We’ve all heard of apnea, defined as the suspension of external breathing, but I’m pretty certain that most of us would not consider it a contest. But apnea competitors attempt to attain great depths, times or distances in a single breath.   Which is probably why free diving qualifies as an extreme sport. I will stick to snorkeling by the Chibi Chibi the next time I’m in Bonaire. If you’ve ever dined there, you know you can peer right over the railing and watch myriad and colorful fish swim by.

And, wouldn’t you know there is an association governing the sport, sometimes called breath-hold diving, and staging competitions around the world. Given Schrappe’s stature in free diving circles and her impression of Bonaire, an international competition is bound to come to Bonaire in the not too distant future.

I also learned that there are records showing that Greek and Roman armies employed free divers to cut anchor lines so that enemy ships floundered on rocks. Thank goodness those days are over (hopefully) and we can just considered this all good fun and sport. Some spear fishermen and underwater photographers use it, as do synchronized swimmers and mermaid shows. I even read that free diving is part of underwater rugby, underwater hockey, and underwater target shooting.  Huh?  Now, those do sound a little extreme.