8 Unforgettable Beaches of St. Maarten

The island of St. Maarten is home to 37 beaches, all of them stunning in their own way. The sheer variety of beauty on the island can be surprising, considering it’s only 34 square miles. These are some of the most unique beaches.

#1 Simpson Bay Beach


Photo credit Alljengi

Simpson Bay Beach is one of the longest and prettiest beaches on the island, with pure white sand and small waves. It offers great views of Saba and St. Eustatius, and on clear days, you can see all the way to St. Kitts. There are no water sports or resorts there, just the sound of water gently lapping at your feet.

#2 Maho Bay Beach


Photo credit Kara Phelps

Hands-down the most famous beach on St. Maarten, Maho is also one of the island’s most exciting beach locations. Swimmers splashing in the water can experience the unusual thrill of airplanes passing right overhead as they take off or land at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM). Bring your camera for some unforgettable shots, and expect strong gusts of wind from the jet blasts!

#3 Little Bay Beach

Little Boy at Divi Little Bay

Little Bay Beach, home of Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, is the perfect beach for families with its calm, clear waters. When you stay at Divi Little Bay, you’ll have easy access to its water sports rentals and beachside restaurants!

#4 Mullet Bay Beach


Photo credit Richie Diesterheft

Mullet Bay Beach is a picturesque beach with a long stretch of white sand, well-known for its fabulous snorkeling. It’s easy to spend a full day there.

#5 Cupecoy


Photo credit Bruce Tuten

Sandstone cliffs line the beach at Cupecoy, producing naturally beautiful coves and caves. Since this beach faces southwest, it also provides striking scenery at sunset. The surf can be strong, but the wind is blocked by the many rocks. Since this beach lies near the border with the French side of the island, its dress code is French-influenced and clothing is optional.

#6 Ilet de Pinel


Photo credit Alljengi

This uninhabited island offers some venues that are open during the day, and it is a great spot for snorkel trips and picnics. Located on the northeastern French side of the island, it’s a short ride in a beach taxi from Cul de Sac, or a bit longer from Orient Beach.

#7 Orient Beach


Photo credit Craig Stanfill

Despite being on the windward eastern coast, Orient Beach is one of the gentlest beaches on the island because of the protection afforded by the reef running from Green Cay to Pinel. The southern end of this beach is clothing-optional, and the reef running southeast from the start of the clothing-optional section is home to many fish.

#8 Dawn Beach

A beautiful beach that is well-protected, Dawn Beach offers a great location for snorkeling. If the surf’s up, there’s also good boogie boarding to be had.

Guests of Divi Little Bay Beach Resort can ask the Front Desk for details on any of these beaches. It’s also easy to rent a car to explore both the Dutch and French sides of the island. What’s your favorite beach on St. Maarten?

Get Ready for Aruba Restaurant Month!


Foodies rejoice! Aruba Restaurant Month is a very special time of year on our One Happy Island. During the month of October 2016, tourists and locals alike have been invited to explore the rich culinary variety available on Aruba. The theme this year is “Eat Local,” and more than 60 restaurants will be participating with limited-time menus highlighting their best takes on Aruban and Caribbean cuisine.

Windows on Aruba and pureocean are both joining in this year, with special menus spotlighting local Aruban flavors and traditions with a twist.

If you’re looking for a last-minute decadent getaway, this is the perfect opportunity. In honor of Aruba Restaurant Month, Divi Resorts is offering 30% off room rates, as well as daily complimentary breakfasts for two, for reservations on Aruba now through October 31, 2016. Choose from Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort or Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort for a culinary vacation fit for a foodie’s dream.

4 Hidden Gems of Barbados

Barbados is home to stunning natural beauty and a unique style of Caribbean culture you won’t find anywhere else. We rounded up a few ways you might not expect to experience the best of the island’s landscapes and people.

Divi Southwinds Beach Resort is the perfect home base for your exploration of the island. Centrally located on the St. Lawrence Gap in Bridgetown, it’s easy to rent a car and experience Barbados firsthand. The island is only 21 miles (34km) long and 14 miles (23km) wide, and many vacationers choose to see it all in a single day, returning to Divi Southwinds by nightfall. If you’d rather take your time, however, the island will reward you with breathtaking views and rich cultural experiences.

#1 Bathsheba Beach


Photo credit Kara Phelps

Bathsheba is a striking white-sand beach located along the East Coast, scattered with rock formations that seem to be boulders—but are actually the only remnants of an ancient coral reef that eroded long ago. The view is dramatic and unforgettable. Enjoy a picnic on the grass at Bathsheba Park, and walk along the beach for truly incredible photo opportunities.

#2 Oistins Fish Fry


Photo credit Dan Costin

Tourists and locals alike flock to Oistins Fish Fry every Friday night, just a short drive from Divi Southwinds. Flying fish is a Bajan tradition, and you’ll find plenty of it here, as well as a huge range of other local fish. All of the fish platters have generous portions and come highly recommended, although you’ll want to arrive early—the lines for food can get long! You’ll be able to shop for local handicrafts in nearby stalls, however, and maybe even enjoy a breathtaking sunset from the pier.

#3 Farley Hill National Park


Photo credit Kara Phelps

Farley Hill is an out-of-the-way spot toward the northern tip of the island with an impressive view overlooking the inland forests all the way to the northeastern coastline. Mahogany trees, native to the Caribbean but overharvested on other islands, are a protected species on Barbados, and this park has an entire grove of them. Farley Hill is also home to the beautiful ruins of a mansion destroyed by fire in 1965—now a backdrop for evening concerts and other events.

#4 St. Nicholas Abbey


Photo credit Travel Junction

St. Nicholas Abbey is a former sugar cane plantation that was recently renovated into an active rum distillery. Tour the house and the grounds for a fascinating glimpse into architectural history as well as many Barbadian artifacts from the 17th century onward. The rum production facility is also open to the public—St. Nicholas Abbey prides itself on using traditional small-batch “pot still” distillation methods. Visitors can also view the bourbon oak casks used in the aging process. Make sure to leave time for a rum tasting and a pleasant meal outdoors at the on-site café.

Barbados is full of hidden gems, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Where are your favorite off-the-beaten-path spots on the island?

How to Learn to Sail on St. Maarten

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Escape on a boating excursion with Aqua Mania Adventures

St. Maarten is famous for its sailing. It’s easy to see why—the steady breezes, clear turquoise waters and charming scenery are the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable boating experience. World-class regattas like the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, the Alliance Race and Captain Oliver’s Regatta take place here every year, and across St. Maarten, dozens of boating excursions launch daily for every experience level. From amateur enthusiasts to yachting professionals, the Dutch side as well as the French side of the island offers plenty of satisfying sailing for everyone.

So, what better place to learn how to sail than St. Maarten? We sent Kara Phelps, the communications specialist for Divi Resorts, to Divi Little Bay Beach Resort to learn the ropes on the stunning waters of Little Bay. Here’s her take:

Hi there! Some of the best sailing in the Caribbean can be had on St. Maarten. When I visited the island this summer, I was excited to experience it firsthand.

st maarten sailing 1

Kara’s hobie cat rental

My first stop was the Aqua Mania Adventures kiosk on the beach at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. The helpful staff recommended that I rent a single-sized catamaran, or “hobie cat” ($40 per hour). With its simple setup, this type of boat is easy for beginners to wrangle.

kara sailing instructor

Kara with Albert, a water sports attendant with Aqua Mania Adventures and her sailing instructor for the day

Albert, an experienced and easygoing water sports attendant born and raised on St. Maarten, accompanied me onto the water. He explained that most of what I’d be doing would be adjusting the “sheet” (the rope that pulls the sail into the boat or lets it out) to “trim” (reposition) the sail. On a larger sailboat, you need to pay attention to multiple aspects of the sails’ interactions with the wind, rope tensions, and so on, but the stripped-down nature of the hobie cat and its single sail allowed me to focus on the basics: angling the sail to catch the wind and move the boat in the direction I wanted to go.

We set out on a diagonal across Little Bay, directly into a light chop. (It’s best to wear your swimsuit for the rental—you’ll definitely get soaked!) Albert said that on a typical day, the winds swirl around in the bay, blocked as they are by land on three sides. Today was no different, so we needed to move diagonally to catch as much wind as possible.

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Kara and Albert sail across Little Bay

Every so often, I pulled on the sheet, hooked to the “boom” (the horizontal pole that helps the sheet guide the sail), to respond to the changes in the wind and to keep the sail full. It takes some strength, especially if it’s a windy day. You’ll also need to keep a hand on the rudder to keep the boat heading in a straight line. Sailing is a full-body workout.

As we neared the far shore, Albert taught me how to “tack.” Tacking involves turning the boat so that the wind shifts from one side of the boat to the other. It’s how you turn around to head back from where you came. As you tack, watch your head! The boom swings from one side of the boat to the other, and you’ll need to duck. On a small craft like a hobie cat, Albert told me, it’s also best to shift your weight to the other side of the boat. That movement keeps the boat balanced and prevents it from capsizing. In the protected waters of Little Bay, wearing the lifejacket that Aqua Mania provides, you won’t be in much danger if you do manage to flip the boat, but you’ll probably want to avoid that scenario anyway!

Luckily, Albert and I stayed upright the entire time. We tacked successfully and headed back toward the beach. We went back and forth across the bay several times, and each time, the necessary movements became a little easier. Sailing requires physical as well as mental effort, and it’s a rewarding experience when everything is working together and you’re heading smoothly across the water with the wind at your back.

Stay at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort for easy access to this experience! Aqua Mania Adventures rents hobie cats at the water sports kiosk at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. They’re also available by booking online.

Two Local Bonaire Cocktails to Say Goodbye to Summer


Photo credit Cadushy Distillery

How are you celebrating the end of summer? Our culinary team at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino on Bonaire designed two cocktails using spirits from the local Cadushy Distillery. Famous for its cactus liqueur, Cadushy is also the only distillery on the island of Bonaire. It produces a different type of specialty liqueur for each of six islands in the Dutch Caribbean, as well as rum, vodka and whiskey.


Photo credit Cadushy Distillery

Bonaire Ariba
(Pictured above)

Fill shaker with ice cubes
1 pour Cadushy Vodka
1 pour Rom Rincon
1 pour Kukui of Aruba
1 pour crème de banana
Top off with 1 part orange juice and 1 part pineapple juice

Fill glass with ice cubes, strain the mixture into the glass and decorate with fruit and a toothpick umbrella. Welcome to Bonaire!


Cadushy Special

Fill shaker with ice cubes
1.5 pour Cadushy of Bonaire
1 pour blue curacao
Top off with pineapple juice

Fill glass with ice cubes, strain the mixture into the glass and decorate. You’re on island time now!