ISLAND ADVENTURES: 10 Reasons to Visit Barbados

Home to famed singer Rihanna and Mount Gay Rum (the rum that invented rum), this surprisingly large island with a British heritage offers endless amounts of fun and adventure both on land and below the water. Our corporate Communications Specialist, Alyssa Smith recently experienced the island for herself and we followed along to find out what makes Barbados so special.

Whether you’re longing for leisurely days lounging beachside or seeking a thrilling new adventure, there’s something for everyone on Barbados. Delicious food, lush landscapes, friendly faces and striking landmarks you have to see to believe, are in abundance on this island. Fun for the whole family or romantic island bliss for two lovebirds, Barbados checks all the boxes for a perfect Caribbean paradise.

They are everywhere, and they are adorable! Originally brought to the island 350 years ago from West Africa as pets, these quick-moving mammals are a joy to watch in their natural habitat. While you can see Green Monkeys anywhere on the island, the best place to catch a closer look is at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, where not only can you see hundreds of monkeys doing what they do best – monkeying around, but you can also watch as unique species of deer, tortoises, peacocks, caimans, iguanas and more roam freely throughout the 4-acre forest. Insider tip: arrive a little before 2 p.m. so you don’t miss feeding time, where all the animals gather to grub out. For details, visit

Warm sand, turquoise water and sunny skies are always on the menu on Barbados! With more than 70 miles of both pink and white sand beaches, there’s a shore for every occasion. Check out Bathsheba for the coolest rock formations, Browne’s Beach for stellar snorkeling and Dover Beach for the ultimate in relaxation, located right on Divi Southwinds’ property.

If you’re a culinary connoisseur, a gastronomy guru or just a traveler who loves to chow down, Barbados is the island for you. Stop by Divi Southwind’s on-site restaurant, pureocean to savor award-winning Executive Chef Henderson Butcher’s perfectly fried flying fish and rich macaroni pie, both local delicacies you have to try. And if you want to experience the island’s best fusion of food, entertainment and culture, stop by Oistins Bay Gardens for the famed Oistins Fish Fry every Friday night. Oistins is open every night of the week, but the seafood market really comes alive Friday nights with sizzling seafood, energetic music and a bustling crowd of locals and tourists ready to devour the most authentic Barbadian dishes. The locals swear by Pat’s Place & Uncle George’s, but be sure to arrive early to avoid long lines.

If you think surfing is not for you, think again! Barry’s Surf Shop will have you shredding waves like a pro in no time. Open to all skill levels, a beginner surfing lesson with Barry’s includes a quick beachside class to learn how to properly stand up on the board, and then you’re off. With a stand up success rate of 99%, you’re bound to discover why the sport is so addictive, and who knows, maybe you’ll find out you missed your true calling in life! To book your lesson, visit

Dive into an underwater world where turtles, fish and colorful sea creatures abound. Climb aboard Tiami’s 60-ft catamaran to spend the day snorkeling and swimming side-by-side with turtles and a variety of exotic fish, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Back on the boat, enjoy a fully stocked bar, delicious snacks and a full lunch, all served up by an attentive, upbeat crew. To book your tour, visit

Think dinner and a movie, but a million times better! Harbour Lights Barbados’ Beach Extravaganza Dinner Show is a must while on the island, happening on Mondays and Wednesdays only. Enjoy a night full of lively entertainment from bands, dancers, stilt walkers, acrobats and even a fire performer. Add great music, an upbeat party environment with dancing and balloons, flowing drinks and a traditional Bajan style BBQ, and you’ve got an ideal night out on Barbados. For more details, visit

What do you get when you mix history with rum? The St. Nicholas Abbey! No, it’s not an actual abbey, but it is filled with 350 years of history and Barbados’ finest aged rum, just waiting to be sipped. Originally a sugarcane plantation, this now museum, working rum distillery and plantation home has a cafe, tropical birds, vibrant gardens, mahogany forests, tropical gullies, a steam mill, a courtyard and more, all on its 400-acre property. For more details, visit

Prepare for a journey far below the ground into mystical caverns to explore the island’s most popular attraction, Harrison’s Cave. This natural wonder features fascinating grottos, dripping stalactite formations that look like glistening chandeliers, huge echoing caverns and underground waterfalls. Marvel at the formations as you wind through the caves by tram or book the Eco-Adventure Tour where you get down and dirty to discover the caves by foot, and sometimes by hand and knee, for even more excitement. For more details, visit Another sweet spot to visit is the Animal Flower Cave, the island’s only accessible sea cave, located on the north side of Barbados. Named for its many sea anemones, this is a popular destination for locals and tourists thanks to its spectacular views, a natural swimming pool inside the cave and a restaurant overlooking the crashing waves.

No matter where you look, you’re bound to find abundant greenery, majestic towering trees and vibrant flowers, and there’s no shortage of sanctuaries dedicated to preserving the island’s flora and fauna. Bask in the natural beauty with a scenic drive up Cherry Tree Hill or a stop at the ever-popular Flower Forest, Hunte’s Garden or Andromeda Botanic Gardens. For more details, visit, and You can also book a full-day island excursion with Glory Tours to uncover even more of the island’s remarkable sights. For tour details, visit


When he’s not jumping from one of our five Caribbean islands to the next, Regional Operations Director, Jan ten Have uses his multifaceted experience and talents to work closely with our operations teams on many areas of day-to-day resort management. We caught up with this very busy man to learn more about his past experience and what it’s like to be an island-hopping Director with Divi Resorts.

Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from the Netherlands, and up until 1987, I lived, studied and worked around “The Hague.” It’s a beautiful city that’s well-known because the Dutch government, the Royal family, most foreign embassies and the International Peace Court are all located there. The city has so much to explore, from forests to parks, lakes, canals, beaches and more. It’s also very modern, with wonderful shopping centers, boutiques, open-air markets, a vibrant nightlife and a tiny, but authentic Chinatown.

What’s your past experience in the travel industry?
I’ve had many years of experience at various resorts and also in the airline and cruise industry.

As a Regional Operations Director, you travel a lot, so where do you call home base?
Aruba is where I live and call home. I moved here from Holland in 1987 on a one-year contract to assist with the reopening of the Aruba Caribbean Hotel, now called the Hilton. That contract was extended for another year and then I moved on to a new position setting up an airline catering plant at the Aruba airport. After five years working in that industry, I got in contact with Divi Resorts, and here I am 23 years later.

What role did you start with at Divi Resorts and how did you progress over the years?
In 1995, I started as the Food & Beverage Manager, then moved on to property management at the Alhambra Casino & Shops. After that, I was asked to help out on various assignments at the resorts on Barbados, Bonaire and St. Maarten, and in 2001, I assisted with the opening of Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort & Casino on St. Croix. My latest role has me focusing on elevating our staff, systems and services to the next level and training employees to meet and exceed our guests’ expectations. We have a strong leadership team, so my goal is to bring those resources together to ensure we work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Seeing the smiling faces of our staff when they accomplish difficult tasks and seeing our guests enjoying their vacations to the fullest. I also appreciate that there’s always a new challenge, and all of the islands are different, so I’ve learned to adapt to better assist each resort team.

What are your favorite activities on your days off?
It used to be scuba diving, snorkeling, running and going out, but nowadays, a perfect day off starts with a morning swim in the ocean, followed by a relaxing breakfast on the beach. I leave the rest of my day open for anything exciting that comes along.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I love to travel to different countries with my lovely partner, Irma, and although we’ve been to many places around the world, there’s still so much to explore.

What is a fun fact about you that would surprise people?
I took a break from Divi Resorts on my 50th birthday to work on cruise ships again. I hadn’t done that since I was 22 years old, and it was great. After four years, I decided to rejoin Divi Resorts, and I am so happy I did!

DIVI CARES: Winter 2019


Since the start, Divi Impact on Aruba has been helping provide local kids with back-to-school supplies and uniforms, and this year was no different. Divi Impact helped contribute to the success of 150 local school kids by donating and providing funds for essential back-to-school supplies. In addition, Divi Impact partnered with the Family First Foundation for the sixth year in a row to sponsor a back-to-school program for 50 kids.

Two special computers, designed to help blind and visually impaired students communicate and learn, were donated to FAVI. FAVI is an organization that helps and guides the visually impaired and the blind, with the purpose to contribute to their happiness, personal development and integration.

Six local students were awarded scholarships from the Divi Impact Scholarship Fund to assist them with their continuing education at Colegio Arubano, EPI and the University of Curaçao.

New uniforms were donated a local children’s baseball team, the Team Centro di Bario Noord Eagles. The team had a great time showing off their new uniforms as they competed for the championship.

Divi Impact proudly sponsored a one-week camp organized by partners in the community and the Ministry of Social Affairs, by providing meals for 80 children. The kids enjoyed a week full of fun activities and learning experiences at the Jupi (meaning hooray) Camp.


When a local family lost their home in a fire, Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort stepped up to the plate, donating furniture to help get the family back on their feet.

FEATURED DVC MEMBERS: James & Brenda Dubilzig

Meet our featured President’s Elite Members for this issue, James and Brenda Dubilzig from Perrysburg, Ohio.

The Dubilzigs became Divi Vacation Club Members back in February 2016, converting their traditional Divi Vacation ownership weeks to Pure Points. The couple travels twice a year to Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, often bringing along their adult son, daughter and their significant others, so they were looking for more flexibility.

On one of the Dubilzigs’ recent trips to Aruba, we sat down with them to learn why the Divi Vacation Club fits their needs so well.

“The flexibility is truly a great benefit for the whole family,” James said. “We enjoy being able to choose different room sizes depending on how many people we have traveling with us. It’s also convenient for us to take advantage of midweek arrivals. We often choose to travel Wednesday to Wednesday, for example.”

The Dubilzigs have visited Divi Little Bay Beach Resort on St. Maarten, which Brenda says is so beautiful, and Aruba, where they enjoy playing golf at The Links at Divi Aruba, the 9-hole golf course surrounding Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort. But they say Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort is still their true home away from home.

“Phoenix has everything you want, without being a huge, touristy spot,” said Brenda. “The beach is right there, the pool is right there, and you really get to know the staff. When we’re here, we love just relaxing, reading, trading stories with the family and going out to nice restaurants.”

Divi Aruba Phoenix’s upscale, chef-driven pureocean Restaurant is a favorite, especially when the Dubilzigs want to dine in and enjoy the sunset right from the beach. When visiting in the fall, the family enjoys watching college football from the swim-up bar at purebeach, the resort’s casual dining restaurant.

“It’s become a family tradition to watch the Michigan-Ohio State game here on Aruba every year,” James said. “Since our children went to the University of Michigan and we live in Ohio, the famous rivalry makes the game an absolute must-see for our entire family, especially on vacation, and the staff at purebeach is always more than happy todevote one of their TVs to the big game.”