by Michael Blanding
Throughout the Caribbean, Aruba is known for the quality of its beaches, long white-sand strands that seem to stretch endlessly both directions, tumbling gently into a gentle azure sea. The main tourist area of high-rise hotels north of Oranjestad lines the beach with one towering hotel after another, all crammed into the sand next to dozens of beach umbrellas and vendors touting parasailing and speedboat rides. While it can certainly be exciting, it doesn’t always make for the most relaxing beach vacation. The antidote is the “low-rise” hotel district further down the beach, a much more low-key area with a big wide beach and plenty of elbow room. Vendors here are few and far between, and there is little competition for lounge chairs and umbrellas, so guests soak up the sun and the sea without competition.
Situated right in the middle of the low-rise district, the Divi Aruba All-Inclusive may not be the flashiest resort in Aruba, but it strikes a good balance between sophisticated dÃƒ©cor and proximity to the beach. Attached to the Tamarijn All-Inclusive resort, with which it shares a meal plan and many activities, the Divi is quieter and more upscale than its sister property, with a more urban design of dark teakwood, earth-toned couches and granite tiles around a large pool area. It’s not quite as lively or close to the beach, but it does nicely combine adult comforts and fun for kids.
Perhaps most surprising is the quality of the all-inclusive offerings; unlike some all-inclusive resorts that offer lackluster meals and limited drink offerings, the Divi’s restaurants are all excellent, with The Red Parrot a particular highlight. Add unlimited tropical drinks, a free kids’ club and a full complement of watersports and other activities, and you’ll find Divi Aruba offers exceptional value for the money.
Our Editor Loves
- Two large pools, wading pool and Jacuzzi
- 10 restaurants included in all-inclusive rates
- Kids' club and other activities offered through the Tamarijn All-Inclusive next door
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The 261 guestrooms are organized around several garden courtyards overflowing with tropical plants, with plenty of room for kids to run around and explore. They represent a significant upgrade over the rooms at the Tamarijn next door, while still not quite as nice as those at the Divi Village across the street. Rooms are decorated in a muted tropical palette of aqua and pastel yellow, with cherrywood and rattan furniture. The smallish bathroom includes a marble-tile floor, shower and double vanity. Each room includes a spacious closet with a flat-screen TV, mini-fridge and complimentary Wi-Fi access which can be found throughout the resort. Each room also includes a balcony or patio, with a mix of ocean and garden views.
The guestrooms feature a king bed or two queen beds and the bathrooms feature a large walk-in shower.
These oceanfront, one- or two-bedroom suites feature a king bed in one bedroom and two double beds in a second bedroom. The spacious living room area features a sofa and chairs and a sliding door to the terrace or balcony.
The trade-off from the Tamarijn is proximity to the ocean -- unlike its sister property next door, accommodations are set back a little bit from the water, though still within no more than a minute's walk away. It all depends on what you are looking for. For some, that trade off will matter little for the upgraded quality of the furnishings; others will sacrifice quality for the ability to walk right out of the room onto powdery sand.
Daniela was the best wedding planner we could have ever hoped for. We were little unsure how our wedding would be with the planning from a different country. But once we were in Aruba we knew there was nothing to worry about with Daniela and the Aruba Weddings team. They were there with us every step of the way, making sure we had an amazing night with our entire wedding party. We highly recommend doing your wedding with Aruba Weddings if you are thinking of doing your wedding in Aruba. Thank you again Daniela!!!
-Tyler and Ornela
We loved this place! Our room was good on the 1st floor very convenient...easy access to the pools and beach...and Pizza! Everyone was very friendly! Saving chairs at the beach and pool is annoying at times because people save them very early in the morning...but that happens at a lot of resorts....food was good but we ate at the buffet a lot...not a huge fan of buffets but it had a lot of choices! I like that you get a water bottle upon arrival and there are filling stations all over the resort! I did not like the whole towel thing...need a card for a towel only allowed 2 towels a day or something...that was annoying lol ...honestly we loved Aruba but I think next trip will not be all-inclusive...I would like to try other restaurants off the resort.
The Divi's activities center is around the large and spacious pool area at the center of the resort. It features a stylish pool deck full of comfy couches and chairs around two large rectangular pools with both shallow and deep areas. A separate, smaller sit-down pool is less than a foot deep, with cushioned seats within the water, and is perfect for parents of young children to sit and enjoy a frozen cocktail while the little ones splash in the water. The area also includes a large Jacuzzi pool for both kids and grown-ups. The pool tends to be a little quieter than the pool area of the Tamarijn next door (which is also open to guests of the Divi). Instead of classic rock music pumped over the speakers, Divi guests are treated to a more alternative soundtrack -- think a steel drum version of Coldplay.
Then, of course, there's the beach, which curves around a point in a wide, graceful arc. The beach is exceptionally wide and pretty, with white sand and several palapas (thatched-roof umbrellas) available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Unlimited drinks service is provided from the nearby Sandpiper Bar. The beach here is not nearly as active as the beach at the high-rise hotel district north of Oranjestad, however, there are a few isolated beach vendors that offer the latest rage in Aruba -- rides on huge nylon float rafts towed at high speeds by speedboats.
Activities and Water Sports
Other activities at the Divi include twice-weekly water aerobics at the pool; most sports and outdoor offerings, however, take place at the Tamarijn next door, which is located a short walk down the beach boardwalk or a short shuttle ride away. The water sports center there includes Sunfish, kayak and windsurfing rentals along with a rockclimbing tower on the beach.
The Tamarijn also has bike rentals and a Kids' Club, open to guests of the Divi at no extra charge, offering full- and half-day programs including arts and crafts, sandcastle building and the like.
Nightly live performances alternate weeks between the plaza at the Tamarijnn and the pool deck at the Divi -- so you might want to call ahead and figure out which resort will be center stage when you visit, depending on whether you want to be in the midst of the action or not. The performances at the Divi tend to be a little more low-key than at the Tamarijn (though hardly sedate), including a jazz quartet, steel drum bands, and a dance performance followed by an interactive salsa clinic. The performances at the Tamarijn, meanwhile, are a little bit more high-energy, including a Latin dance and Carnaval shows, as well as a weekly "fire limbo" performance. The Tamarijn also offers a weekly movie on the beach, featuring a kid-friendly title you can watch with your feet in the sand.
The many restaurants at the Divi Aruba are a significant step up from most all-inclusive resorts, especially the signature Red Parrot restaurant fronting the beach.
The interior is done in an undersea theme, with shimmering blue walls, coral light fixtures and a waterfall and gurgling stream running through the middle of the restaurant. The ocean theme extends to the menu with seafood dishes such as pesto linguine topped with buttery sautÃƒÂ©ed shellfish, crab, shrimp and a Cajun-rubbed mahi mahi filet served with fried plantains. Other dishes, however, surprise with a Continental flair, including escargot and quiche. As upscale as the menu is, the atmosphere is relaxed and lively, welcoming for children in the inside area or on an outdoor patio overlooking the ocean. The Red Parrot also offers a children's menu with the choice of a petit filet mignon, alongside fish and chips spaghetti, and chicken fingers.
A more international flair can be found at Pelican Terrace, a buffet-style restaurant open for breakfast and lunch, as well as various theme-night dinners. A popular Caribbean night features Jamaican jerk ribs and spiced local snapper and grouper, while other nights include Mexican, Asian, Italian and Mediterranean fare. There's also a BBQ and Steak & Fish night.
The Divi Aruba opened their newest Mexican restaurant, Pure Lime in December 2015. The traditional Mexican menu offers items like tacos, burritos and tostadas for dinner.
Coco Grill & Bar
Situated around the pool, the Coco Grill & Bar serves up pizzas all day, including the signature Coco pizza with ham, pineapple, jalapenos and mushrooms, as well as pressed Panini sandwiches.
The beachside Sandpiper Bar offers a lunch menu of hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches to diners on a teakwood patio overlooking the ocean, as well as to loungers in palapas on the sand.
Guests at Divi Aruba are also allowed dining privileges at any of the five restaurants at the Tamarijn next door, included in the all-inclusive meal plan. The Cunucu Terrace and Pizza Per Tutti are similar to the Pelican Terrace and Coco Grill, respectively; however, the resort offers three unique dining experiences: Papparazzi, an elegant but family-friendly Italian restaurant; Ginger, a pan-Asian noodle bar; and Palm Grill, an interactive eatery where diners can stir-fry their own meat and vegetable dishes.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Divi Aruba has regular shuttle service to the Tamarijn next door, which has several extra perks.
A fitness center on the beach has a spacious and sunny room, and includes free weights and weight machines, along with cardio equipment. A personal trainer is also available to help polish your training routine.
Babysitting services are available through the resort for an additional fee.
Complimentary Wi-Fi access can be found throughout the resort.
For adventures farther afield, the Divi has a concierge desk run by De Palm Tours, the island's premier excursions company, which offers a range of activities including jeep tours of the national park, sailing and parasailing adventures and glass-bottom boat and submarine rides through the reefs.
The Art of Smart Timing
Aruba is a popular destination year-round due to its regular balmy temperatures and international clientele. The low-rise hotels are particularly popular with European and South American tourists, who travel more in the "off-season" of April through November, ensuring that the Divi Aruba is always lively (though not crowded). Rates at this time are somewhat lower than those in the high season from December through March, when the hotel is at peak capacity.
Flights fly to Aeropuerto Internacional Reina Beatrix, right outside Aruba's capital of Oranjestad, just a few miles from the resort.
Divi does not provide airport pickups, but taxis are available for a flat rate. Depending on traffic, it's anywhere from a 15 to 30 minute trip.
For Mom and Dad
There is a nail salon and a recently expanded spa, Indulgence by the Sea, which offers manicures, facials, massages and other body treatments, both inside the facility and in a private enclosure on the beach. The menu of treatments is long and varied, including such pampering treatments as a mojito body exfoliation, a green tea and seaweed body wrap and a cool peppermint foot scrub.