Category Archives: To Do

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.

Anyone up for some beach tennis…in Aruba?

Did you say beach tennis? Why, yes I did! What exactly is beach tennis you might ask? It’s anything, but your normal tennis of course! You know those bouncing balls, tennis racquets & hard courts you’re accustomed to in tennis? Well for starters, in beach tennis, there are no bouncing balls, they play with paddles instead of the average racquets and the game is played on a much softer court made out of, you guessed it, sand!

And, what about the attire in beach tennis? Well, it’s definitely skimpier than those tennis whites you normally see worn at Wimbledon.  Other than that, it’s pretty much the same ‘ole tennis. And, it’s an official sport like tennis is too!

Want to see what all the excitement’s about with beach tennis?  Come to Aruba and watch 200 of the World’s top players compete in the 2012 Aruba Divi Resorts International Beach Tennis event during November 14 through November 19, 2012.

Currently, the best beach tennis players in the sport are the Italian teams in both the men’s and women’s divisions.  For this Aruba tournament, the Italian teams will be joined by teams from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, Mexico, Bermuda, St. Martin, the US, Puerto Rico and of course, Aruba, where beach tennis is now practically its national sport. Like tennis, beach tennis is predominantly played in singles and doubles match-ups. Over the course of the tournament, 600+ players, ages 6 up to 69 years old, will have taken to the courts as they vie for a purse of $15,000.

Spectators and players will also be able to enjoy a sport village that will be erected on the beautiful white sands of Eagle Beach in Aruba, just a short stroll from all five of the Divi Resorts in Aruba.  The village will include 20 beach tennis courts, a food court, bars, merchandise stands and entertainment stages for DJs and live bands.

After the tournament has concluded with its final match, the nets will all come down and all the energy and enthusiasm from the beach tennis tournament will burst out into an “after dance party” on the centre court! They’ll be celebrating until the wee hours of the morning and they want all of you there as Divi, BTA and Aruba will make this a “lifetime experience” for everyone!

Admission to the sport village and to all the beach tennis matches is free! Each of the Divi Resorts properties in Aruba are offering specially discounted rooms during this beach tennis tournament.  For reservations, call 888.367.3484 (if International, call 919-367-3484) or visit Divi Resorts to select your resort & travel dates for your stay. And to get our “special discount”, simply click on the “Corporate Rate” tab and enter the code “BTA”.

You never know, you just might be watching the next great Olympic sport! We look forward to your arrival!

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 Top 5 Summer Essentials You Need!

It’s summertime and we’re here with our Top 5 summer essentials you need while you’re vacationing!

Summer and my mind turns to physics. You know the law: a body at rest tends to stay at rest. And, what could be better than R&R at the beach. It does a body and the mind good. Some people even think there’s something in sea spray – little positive ions that are beneficial in some scientific way. It all sure beats the neighborhood beauty salon, head to toe. A few highlights in the hair, bronze glow on the cheeks, heels smoothed by the sand and a little vitamin D for the body (just 15 minutes to meet the recommended daily allowance).

So get going and spend a day or two – or three, four or more at a beach. Here’s my packing list.

Beach read – Whatever floats your boat. I’m going to read Atlantic Fever, the new book on the race to conquer the Atlantic by airplane. Back in 1919, a $25,000 prize was announced for the first nonstop aircraft flight from NY to Paris. But, it wasn’t until eight years later and thirteen attempts by others that young Charles Lindbergh succeeded, flying 33 and1/2 hours. We owe Mr. Lindbergh for his triumph. He opened up the skies for travel! Now, it’s so easy to get the Caribbean!

A cover up – (No, that’s not what I meant. If you’re going to read Fifty Shades of Gray, get a Kindle to keep your secret.) If you’re settling in for a long read on the beach, you’re going to have to cover up from the sun after awhile. Whether a pareo, maxi dress, long-sleeved T-shirt, Everything But Water has a huge selection, including this long caftan.

Sunscreen – Don’t leave home without it. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends at least 30 SPF, partly because people don’t use enough. It does get expensive, but it’s your skin and your life we’re talking about here. It’s got to be the “broad spectrum” type. My final three words of advice: Reapply. Reapply. Reapply.

Big hat – Skin does not survive by sunscreen alone. I come from a long line of hat wearers. It was once strictly for style, but in this day and age, it’s a necessity. My all-time favorite hat designer is Helen Kaminski from Down Under. I figure an Aussie knows a little about scorching sun. Many of her styles are packable, so when you see me around Divi in Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, St. Croix or St. Maarten, that’s a Helen Kaminski hat I either packed in my suitcase or put in a carry-on tote for the trip. Either way, these hats are good travelers. For the guys: lather up with sunscreen and get under the umbrella.

And last, but certainly not least:

Summer love – Good things are best shared with others. So, take your honey to the beach. I suggest Aruba right now, because the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort has a special that’s, well, pretty special – with a petal-strewn bed, flickering candles, chilled champagne – all in the room upon your arrival. The deal also includes a sunset sail. The special is $499 for four nights for two! That’s a great deal. And, deals are sexy.

When In Rome..

It’s the motto of travelers ’round the world: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So, when in St. Maarten, have a guavaberry colada! Chances are you won’t taste guavaberry liqueur anywhere else in the world. These little wild berries – no relation at all to guava – grow high upon the hills in the center of the island and elsewhere across the Caribbean. But, no one has turned them into a cultural and tourist “don’t miss” event like the Sint Maarten Guavberry Company right in the heart of Phillipsburg.

Even the quaint, colorful gingerbread cottage on Front Street where the liqueur is made is a must see. Once a synagogue, abandoned around 1785, the store serves up free samples of the liqueur and guavaberry coladas and sells a full line of liqueurs, rums and hot sauces. Yum.

The cottage/headquarters was one of the first stops on Angela Lawrence’s recent whirlwind visit to St. Maarten. Lawrence, a Toronto writer of Jamaican heritage, came to St. Maarten to write about this year’s Carnival festivities. Lawrence will tell you more about her first taste of the guavaberry liqueur on her blog, Cook like a Jamaican. She must have liked it enough to want to take a bottle back to Toronto. Sadly, there’s a cautionary element to her telling of her intro to guavaberry liqueur. (Pack it; don’t carry it on.)

Gizmo’s Bar & Grill right on the beach at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort serves up two guavaberry cocktails. Dylan from the Divi Little Bay food and beverage staff offers this recipe for Oldman Punch.

Oldman Punch

Drink Ingredients:
2oz. Guavaberry Island Folk Liqueur
2-3oz. orange juice
2-3oz. pineapple juice

How to mix the drink:
Mix ingredients well and put in tall glass with ice. Add dash of grenadine. Garnish with fresh flower, half a lime or freshly grated cinnamon.

Gizmo’s also serves the Guavaberry Colada. It’s a little sweet for my taste, but hey, I tried it. When in St. Maarten, I want to try everything! This following Guavaberry Colada recipe comes from the fine folks at Guavaberry. You’ll find lots of other recipes there.

Guavaberry Colada

Drink Ingredients:
2oz Sint Maarten Guavaberry
1oz Coconut Cream
3oz Pineapple Juice or Pieces
Ice

How to mix the drink:
Put ice in blender, add Sint Maarten Guavaberry, Cream of Coconut, pineapple pieces or juice. Blend well. Garnish with pineapple, toasted coconut & fresh nutmeg.