There’s something in the water at the Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort (warning: graphic content)


Editor’s Note: The contents of this story are graphic and some readers may find them upsetting.

When Susan Loin stayed at Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort in Aruba back in February, a water main broke at the hotel. She says the maintenance team mistakenly reconnected the water supply to the irrigation system.

And while her story takes some uncomfortable twists and turns, it’s a case study about how not to handle a crisis. It also leaves us questioning what rights resort guests have when things go terribly wrong, especially in a foreign country.

You don’t have to be a scientist to understand that clean water is not just about taste. Water contaminated by E. coli, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, organic matter, lead, arsenic, and pesticides negatively impacts health and quality of life — and can act as poison if ingested.

When Divi Resorts became aware of the problem, they compounded the error. Instead of immediately informing guests and instructing them not to drink the water, the resort waited.

How long, you might wonder? Allegedly, five days.

For five long days and nights, resort guests drank contaminated water, cooked in it, bathed in it, brushed their teeth in it, and consumed toxic ice.

And that’s when the proverbial human waste hit the fan. Loin estimates that “90 percent of resort guests” became sick, some violently so, and some left Aruba immediately to seek medical attention in the United States.

A quick visit to TripAdvisor reveals first-person accounts corroborating Loin’s complaints, including reports ranging from “intestinal distress” to “projectile vomiting.”

When the resort finally notified guests of the potential problem, it did so in writing. While it acknowledged to guests it had “identified a water contamination event,” it still tried to pretend it was not so serious a situation, adding the resort “believe[d] the water to be safe.” As a mere precaution, the resort announced it would distribute bottled water to be used for “drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes”. The letter states that it was conducting water testing “for obvious safety reasons.”

How obvious are these safety concerns, however? Only the resort has control of its water supply, and only it would know how dangerous the water was — unless and until it shares that information, of course. Guests received the alarming letter, which would upset anyone, especially if you had already experienced even minor queasiness.

During the five days resort guests were kept in the dark, parents tried to comfort and rehydrate their vomiting children with contaminated ice cubes. Elderly guests fell ill. One man whose Crohn’s disease had been in remission reports he must now resume taking prescription medication.

So the question on everyone’s mind, including Loin’s: What exactly was in the water?

According to Loin, the resort has told them E. coli was the primary contaminant, but based on the lack of transparency she and other guests witnessed throughout their ordeal, she feels the resort is trying to cover up a larger problem on the advice of its legal team.

The resort tested the water under the supervision of Aruba’s water authority, so it clearly possesses the information about what pollutants were in the water supply — information guests want, but have yet to receive.

And that’s the problem. When companies hide information from people — not just people, but their own customers — it only serves to increase the worry and suspicion about the depth of the problem.

Loin has asked for our team’s help in getting Divi Resorts to turn over the initial water analysis reports so that her doctor can know what medical tests to perform. Given that guests were ingesting water connected to the irrigation system, any number of potentially hazardous chemicals may have been present in the water. The resort has already admitted human waste was in the water, causing so many people to fall ill.

The company’s marketing team has responded to complaints on TripAdvisor about the water contamination with the following message:

We’re deeply sorry that you had to experience this! Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort on Aruba confirmed a water contamination incident, which appears to be related to the irrigation system. Since this occurrence, the Resort’s water system has been treated under the supervision of WEB (the Aruba water service), and subsequent test results from the Health Department lab are free of contaminants.

In the best interest of public safety we conducted an additional flushing of the system. We are awaiting the results from these tests by the Aruba Health Department, which we fully expect to be free of any contaminants.

On behalf of all the employees of Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort we sincerely apologize for the distress and inconvenience this unfortunate event has caused.

In the event that guests have any questions or concerns, please contact Owner and Guest Relations by email at or by calling 888.863.6822 (toll free), 919.419.3484 (International) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

We’re contacting everyone as quickly as we possibly can and in order of when we received them, just please know it takes time to contact everyone.

Again, we’re sincerely sorry that you had to go through this experience.

I’d say “sorry” isn’t going to cut it. People want answers, and will push until they get them.

Our advocacy team has reached out to Divi Resorts, which maintains its headquarters in Chapel Hill, N.C. So far we have not heard from the company, but will update this story if and when we do.

If Divi Resorts remains silent, getting answers may require the work of an attorney, backed by a court order. And if it comes to that, Divi Resorts will have no one to blame but itself.

Are resort guests owed the water contamination analysis performed during the time they were drinking the water?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Share this story
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook
About the Author
A writer and natural advocate, Jessica joined our consumer advocacy effort following a decade of work on behalf of air crash victims at one of the nation's largest plaintiffs' law firms. She has lived in Europe and Asia, but now calls Charleston, S.C. home.
Posted in Help Yourself Tagged , , , ,

Underwritten by

This site is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at

This site is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

This site is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

This site is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

This site is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

This site is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

This site is underwritten by Enterprise Holdings

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

This site is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

This site is underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

This site is underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

This site is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

This site is underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

This site is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

This site is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

This site is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

This site is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

This site is underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

This site is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

This site is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

This site is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.