Category Archives: Bonaire

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?

A Life Altering Experience At Divi Flamingo

Ever had a life altering experience? Timothy Dalton was at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort a few weeks ago when something incredible happened.

First of all, life must already be incredible if by July 15th a person is on their third dive vacation to Divi Flamingo Beach. How much better can life get than three vacations to Bonaire before the year is even half over? But, nevertheless, in July, life changed for him forever. A few pictures will tell the story best.

Dalton took the Stephen Frink master class in underwater photography that was held at the resort, July 7 – 14th. Frink, the world’s most widely published underwater photographer, came to Bonaire to teach a class as part of the property’s yearlong celebration of sixty years of hospitality on Bonaire. Dalton was one of 20 students who came from near and far – from the US and Europe, even a few from right there on the island of Bonaire – to study with the master. Dalton learned of the Frink class while at this year’s Beneath The Sea show.

Dalton started taking underwater shots about five years ago after years of diving, albeit first with a point and shoot discount store special. Now that he has better equipment, including a Nikon 200 with an assortment of lens, he’s taking better images. And, now that he’s been to the Frink class, he’s taking way better images. “The post-production classes were especially helpful. “I loved it. I would definitely go to do another class – at Divi.”

Dalton is one of those people we just love around Divi. He issues a steady stream of compliments, totally unprompted, by the way, for every employee of Divi Flamingo Beach. For Sara Matera, the general manager: “She just makes it such a relaxed place. Sara does a wonderful job.” And, he has high praise for everyone at the Divi Dive Shop. “It is THE best, and not just in Bonaire. I am very impressed with the professionalism of the staff. Serge and crew are awesome. Serge (Serge De Groote, who is manager of the Divi Dive operation) goes out of his way to help make sure you have a great time. He arranged a special trip to the salt pier, where we ran into a school of grunts that just kept circling around us to give us many photo ops. It’s like Serge told the fish we would be there to take their picture. It was a great moment.”

“And, Enrique has a knack for locating seahorses. This is a special skill. You will never be disappointed going out for a dive with Enrique and Serge.”

Check out the photos of the master, that is, Stephen Frink, on his own blog: http://stephenfrink.blogspot.com.

And, is that a photo of Missy Franklin on Frink’s blog? Now, that’s a true creature of the water, too!

The Movie Stars of Bonaire

The fan favorite at the recent Aruba Film Festival, held at the end of June, was a documentary called, “Children of the Wind,” a story about a group of kids on Bonaire who rise from humble beginnings to become the best in the world at windsurfing.  You don’t need to have ever windsurfed to enjoy this movie.

The story has universal appeal; great characters and incredible triumph that makes you just break out in a smile or even stand up and cheer.  It is the classic underdog story – with beautiful scenery and dazzling sport scenes.  Watch the trailer!

The tiny island of Bonaire, with only about 13,000 residents, has no sporting facilities for these kids, no coaching system, no factory-like sporting establishment that comes anywhere close to what we are familiar with having just watched two weeks of the Olympics. Yet, with sheer dedication to a goal, the kids have made themselves into champions.  And the governors of the sport say they have transformed the sport in the process.

What the kids in Bonaire excel at – and started – was freestyle windsurfing.  Freestyling, no matter what the sport, whether skateboarding, snow boarding or BMX, brings kids into a sport.  When the windsurfing establishment found out what the tricks these kids were doing atop a board with a sail attached, the sport changed forever.

“Children of the Wind” was honored with the “Audience Award” at the Aruba Film Festival. No surprise there.  And, no surprise that the people of Bonaire rallied behind the makers of the film.  Production was partially funded through the kindness and open hearts of businesses like Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino, which provided accommodations to the crew.

It may, however, come as a surprise that there is indeed another sport on Bonaire.  Diving is so identified with the island and for good reason.  The surrounding waters, which are nationally protected as a marine park, are teeming with fish and other colorful creatures.   And, the dive operations like Divi Dive excel at providing a first class travel experience.

But, for a change of pace and a little time above the water, consider an afternoon trip over to the other side of the island (only a couple of miles!) to Lac Bay.  A sheltered, calm ocean lagoon, it offers ideal conditions for windsurfing.  The water is shallow and warm with steady trade winds that send you skimming across the surface.  Visitors to Bonaire can learn to windsurf at Bonaire Windsurfing Place.  The owners promise you won’t just be able to say you tried the sport, they practically guarantee you can proudly say you windsurf.  Who doesn’t like coming home from a vacation and doing just a teeny, tiny bit of boasting like that?

 

Note: Still Photography by Richard Schmon and Max Rijavec

The Legend of Peter Hughes

When it’s comes to naming names, Peter Hughes is a pretty big deal in the halls of Divi Resorts.  In a good way, that is.  He’s not only good, he’s a legend.  And, a “legend” is what he was called in a celebration recently at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino in Bonaire.

You see Peter Hughes had a lot to do with making the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort a real destination.  In fact, he had a lot to do with making the little island down near Venezuela a destination for people from all over the world.  Taking advantage of the island’s natural marine beauty – warm, calm waters teeming with colorful creatures – he put together a first-rate dive operation in a fledgling resort on an island with a fledgling tourism industry.

He started work the day after Christmas in 1975 at a place called the ZeeBad hotel, which wasn’t so bad of a hotel, but it was certainly not the resort we know today with its casino, spa, restaurants, pools, lush landscaping and 129 rooms.  And, back then it didn’t have any of the colorful Caribbean charm it has today.  When Peter first arrived, the hotel had about five divers a day.  By the time he left Bonaire a decade later to open dive operations at other Divi Resorts, the property was handling 275 a day.  And today, the island of Bonaire tops many lists of best dive destinations, including the 2011 Scuba Diving’s Reader’s Choice awards. (link to awards on landing page).

And, that’s why the folks at Divi decided to christen The Peter Hughes Room, a meeting and reception room located at the Divi Dive shop. Top government and tourism officials for Bonaire came to the ribbon cutting for the room, also noting that the hotel has been welcoming tourists for exactly 60 years.  There was indeed a lot to celebrate.  And, still is.

The party goes on.  Divi Flamingo Beach is spending the entire year celebrating 60 years of hospitality. Be sure to check out their current dive deals for their 60th Anniversary Celebration of Events.