At Divi Resorts, and we truly pride ourselves on being your healthy escape in the Caribbean, using only the freshest ingredients to create tasty yet wholesome dishes the whole family will love. We recently caught up with Windows on Aruba’s Executive Chef Darwin Torres, to learn more about how he and other Divi Resorts chefs ensure nutritious options are always available.
“We are committed to making healthy eating easy for guests at Divi Resorts,” said Torres. “I’ve done a great deal of research on nutritious eating and cooking habits, and with that knowledge, I’ve developed delicious recipes that are actually good for you. The key is to surround yourself with wholesome products that are full of flavor.”
Torres says using assorted fruits, spices, vinegars, marinades, mustards, herbs, exotic roots and grains in his recipes helps “kick it up a notch’’ without adding unnecessary calories or fat. Cooking with “good” oils like olive, canola, avocado and safflower also helps to keep his dishes nutritious.
For his low-carb recipes, Torres swaps out white rice and other empty carbohydrates with whole grains and legumes to keep blood sugar levels stable.
“Changing the way you cook your food also makes a difference,” Torres added. “We roast instead of fry, and grill for flavor using low-fat or no-fat sauces and dressings.”
Torres’ healthy selections include his savory Grilled Salmon, exotic Stir-Fry Vegetables, mouthwatering ratatouille-style Vegetable Casserole and many gluten-free and vegan items, among others.
“We think you should leave every meal feeling refreshed, reinvigorated and full of energy,” said Torres. “It’s never too early to kick off your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, and we’re here to help satisfy your appetite with tasty island cuisine that packs a healthy punch!”
Take a break from the ordinary and explore the extraordinary on the unspoiled and unforgettable island of Bonaire! Good things come in small packages and this bite-sized island packs a punch for activities to thrill and chill. In fact, Bonaire probably checks off more than a few of your bucket list items, so to help you find out which ones, we’ve created our very own Bonaire Bucket List!
Now next time you visit, you’ll have plenty of items to cross off your list. Plus, send us photos and videos of your experiences for a chance to have them featured on social media!
KAYAK THROUGH LUSH MANGROVES Glide through crystal clear waters to discover the mangrove forest of Lac Bay, where you’ll find three types of mangrove species, plenty of fish, vibrant sponges and coral, upside-down jellyfish and more! With clear bottom kayaks, you won’t miss a moment of underwater action as you navigate through romantic mangrove tunnels. Once you’ve worked up a sweat paddling with your partner, you’ll have the opportunity to cool off with a peaceful snorkel through a calm mangrove channel.
EXPLORE BONAIRE WITH A LOCAL Discover the beautiful island of Bonaire in air-conditioned comfort with the help of a knowledgeable local guide from Tropical Travel Bonaire. Stops include 1000 Steps, a popular diving destination and beach, and Goto Lake, where you can often spot a flock of flamingos. You’ll also visit Museo Chich’i Tan, a 130-year-old Bonairian home and heritage museum where you’ll enjoy a local snack and lemonade prepared by the homeowner, and a tour of the residence. Rounding out this full island experience are stops at the colorful salt pans, historical slave huts, and Jibe City, the best spot on the island for windsurfing.
SWIM WITH TURTLES Hop aboard and sail through the Caribbean’s bluest waters with Woodwind Cruises to explore three unique spots near Klein Bonaire. Snorkel through colorful coral reefs where you’ll discover an abundance of awe-inspiring fish and magnificent sea turtles, all pointed out to you by an expert guide. Back on board, enjoy drinks, snacks and a delicious local lunch to keep you energized.
RIDE HORSES THROUGH THE DESERT It sounds like the start of a great western movie, but it’s real life! Saddle up with Rancho Washikemba for a leisurely horseback ride through Bonaire’s pristine desert terrain, spotting donkeys, parrots and iguanas along the way. Plus, if conditions allow, you might even have a chance to swim with your horse in the gorgeous Blue Lagoon Bay.
FEED 700+ DONKEYS Yes, you read that right! Do yourself a favor; buy a bunch of carrots and stop by the Donkey Sanctuary. You will not regret this heartwarming experience where you can hand-feed hundreds of hungry donkeys alongside your car. Animal-lovers rejoice – if you bring tasty treats, these affectionate asses will instantly become your best friends.
SCOOT OR CYCLE AROUND TOWN What could be better than a leisurely open-air drive around town with the wind blowing through your hair? We’re honestly not sure! Enjoy this experience with a single or double scooter or a traditional Dutch bicycle and prepare to travel throughout the island in style.
DRINK A CACTUS Sip on something completely new that you can only find on Bonaire – cactus liquor! Born and bred on the island, a visit to the one-of-a-kind Cadushy Distillery includes an educational tour, as well as a sampling of several types of the world’s only cactus liquor in a relaxed, laidback environment. Afterward, enjoy a cactus cocktail under the shade of Calabash trees in the distillery’s tranquil gardens where parrots and other tropical birds like to play.
LEARN TO SCUBA DIVE Discover a whole new underwater world when you learn to scuba dive at Divi Flamingo’s very own PADI 5-star dive operation, Divi Dive Bonaire. Friendly instructors will ease you into the water with a comprehensive educational class, underwater practice and a relaxing guided dive of the famed Calabas Reef, located right next to the resort.
WINDSURF IN JIBE CITY The mecca for windsurfing on the island, you simply cannot ignore the colorful sails as they glide across the water with ease at Jibe City’s Sorobon Beach. Perfect for newbies and pros alike, Jibe City is THE place to learn this thrilling sport, and when you’re ready to take a break, grab a lounge chair by the water and relax with a cold drink.
GO FOUR-WHEELING TO BAT CAVES If you like to go fast and you’re not afraid of getting a little dirty, you’ll love this quad tour, which not only takes you to the Bolivia Caves, home to hundreds of bats and ancient Indian drawings, but also to the Spelonk Lighthouse, where you’ll enjoy a beautiful view of waves crashing into the jagged coastline.
MEET A FLOCK OF FLAMINGOS Pretty in pink, these birds of a feather flock together throughout the island. You’re most likely to spot these blushing beauties near the salt flats or at Goto Lake, but you can also get a closer look at a few flamingos in a special section of the Donkey Sanctuary.
To reserve your stay on Bonaire, visit www.DiviResorts.com. To book your scuba diving experience, visit www.DiviDive.com.
For more information on Bonaire adventures visit www.TropicalTravelBonaire.com. If you’re staying at Divi Flamingo, simply stop by the Concierge Desk.
DIVI ARUBA PHOENIX BEACH RESORT Weekly activities are fun for everyone at this stunning resort on Palm Beach. Choose from water aerobics, bingo, pool volleyball, arts & crafts, beach walks, ping pong and basketball competitions, movie nights and more!
DIVI DUTCH VILLAGE BEACH RESORT & DIVI VILLAGE GOLF & BEACH RESORT Popular summer activities at both resorts include bingo every day with great prizes, water aerobics three times a week at the Seabreeze Pool, a kid’s scavenger hunt Monday mornings at the infinity pool, Fun in the Sun music and entertainment Monday evenings at the infinity pool, and a putting contest Tuesday mornings with polo shirts and prizes at The Links at Divi Aruba.
DIVI SOUTHWINDS BEACH RESORT On Barbados, guests can find an endless list of activities, including aquacise classes, beach volleyball, poolside bingo, pool volleyball, line dancing, nature walks, mini golf competitions, movie nights and more.
DIVI FLAMINGO BEACH RESORT & CASINO Bonaire is packed full of fun activities both above and below the water. Guests can enjoy sunset yoga, dive classes, live music, karaoke and of course, 24/7 diving and snorkeling right from our shore, at the Calabas house reef or from one of our dive boats.
DIVI LITTLE BAY BEACH RESORT Situated on a picture-perfect peninsula, the resort abounds with entertaining activities. Selections include beach and pool Olympics, crab races, water balloon tosses, mixology demonstrations, bingo, trivia, live music and entertainment, water aerobics, scavenger hunts, movie night, sunrise yoga, kid’s tie-dye, arts & crafts, dance lessons and morning walks, to name a few.
SPECIAL TREATS DONATED TO ELDERLY HOMES The Divi Impact Foundation was honored to donate hams and turkeys to local elderly homes. Recipients were all smiles as volunteers delivered the special gifts to SABA San Nicolas, Stichting Thuiszorg and spots in Savaneta and Oranjestad.
CHILDREN’S BOOKS SPONSORED FOR KIDS An advocate for education, especially amongst children, Divi Impact was thrilled to sponsor books for local children on Aruba, providing valuable learning resources and entertainment for students.
FUNDS RAISED IN THE FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER Divi Impact joined in the fight against breast cancer by hosting a highly successful t-shirt sale, which raised $10,000 Aruban florins (nearly $6,000 USD) for the Mary Joan Foundation, an organization that supports breast cancer patients, survivors and their families. Staff members were pictured throughout the fundraiser sporting their blue “Support the Fight” t-shirts.
DIVI SOUTHWINDS HOSTS PARTY FOR CHILDREN’S ORPHANAGE Children from a local orphanage were overjoyed as they were treated to a festive day of fun at Divi Southwinds. The resort hosted a party for the kids complete with with snacks and lunch, face painting and a clown.
DIVI FLAMINGO SUPPORTS KIWANIS CLUB The resort supported the newly-formed Kiwanis Club of Kralendijk, Bonaire by donating the use of its Peter Hughes meeting room for their charter ceremony. Kiwanis International is a global organization dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time.
FOUR EMPLOYEES EARN HOSPITALITY CERTIFICATION Divi Little Bay is proud to announce that four front office staff members recently received certificates for passing the American Hotel & Lodging Association course, which recognizes individuals who deliver exceptional service by engaging with their guests and creating memorable experiences. Recognized worldwide, this is the highest acknowledgment of awarding-winning guest service for employees in the hospitality and tourism industry.
DIVI LITTLE BAY DONATES MONEY FOR FOOD BASKETS The resort recently donated $1,000 to the Filipino Community of Sint Maarten to provide food baskets for locals in need.
MANAGEMENT & STAFF HOST CLEAN-UP SESSION In an effort to keep St. Maarten’s beaches and the ocean free of trash, resort management and staff hosted a cleanup session to pick up and properly dispose of small trash and bottles that were blown onto the resort. The event was a huge success thanks to the help of staff volunteers who spent the day cleaning up and beautifying the resort.
You might have seen him out and about on our islands working hard to keep our resorts in top-notch shape. With more than 25 years of hospitality management experience around the world, Divi’s newest Senior Regional Director of Resort Operations, Diego Concha, is bringing fresh and innovative ideas to the forefront to enhance and improve the Divi Resorts experience. We sat down with this globe-trotting Colombian native to learn more about his role at Divi.
What brought you to Divi Resorts? I’m deeply attracted to the Caribbean’s multiplicity of cultures, and last year, Divi offered me the opportunity to expand my horizons by working closely with their exemplary teams, who are dedicated to delighting guests with their unique blend of style and authentic island culture. Destiny has its ways and I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to join Divi’s great journey.
What does your job entail? I’m responsible for leading our resort operations teams, promoting positive guest-centric experiences, guiding staff to reach their full potential and creating a path to the smooth running of our properties. In a nutshell, myself and my team strive to implement authentic island experiences and create extraordinary memories for our guests that last a lifetime.
Where are you from and how does that influence you? I was born in Colombia, the land of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a literary Nobel Prize winner. Because of him, the country learned about “magic realism,” which transformed us into dreamers. I have also been exposed to many different cultures from around the world including South America, the Caribbean, North America and South Asia because of the nature of my work.
What do you like to do in your free time? I have always been passionate about sports and I love football (soccer), basketball, tennis, hiking, running, swimming. I’m now paying the price, but I still push through. I also like spending time with my wife, Cynara and my two children, Alex and Nadeska.
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!