Enjoy in the Bahamas – Paradise Islands
Last week we were in beautiful Cuba and this week we travelled to the earthly paradise: the Bahamas. When you think of the Bahamas, you may automatically think of beautiful beaches, swimming between fish and staying overnight in luxurious hotels. That is exactly what we experienced here in the ten days we stayed here. Are you enjoying our ten days in paradise?
The flight from Cuba to the Bahamas was with Bahamasair. This is a small airline and our plane was also one of the smallest we have already flown with. However, it was a catered flight where we got free bottles of water and chips. After an hour of flying, we had already landed in Nassau. The second largest island in the Bahamas and also the most touristy. The inhabitants of the Bahamas live off tourism and you can see that. The airport is taken care of and there were people in Southern costume who welcomed us. You feel you’re on vacation!
As easy as things got at the airport, the control was rather strict when we arrived. The lady behind the customs desk asked us several times where we were coming, where we were going and some personal info. Quite an interrogation. We were suspected of something. She didn’t understand that we didn’t have cash with us either. Never have we entered a country (outside Europe) with the local currency. We always collect cash at the airport itself and that always goes fine. This woman had little faith in it and thought we were weird. Eventually she let us go and we, as always, just took cash at the airport.
In the arrivals hall of the airport we immediately saw a large chic info desk of our hotel. That only predicted luxury, luxury and luxury. Once arrived at the hotel after the gigantic long driveway, it was also immediately clear that this was no ordinary hotel. Our resort was by far the grooste and most imposing on the whole island. The ground floor was occupied by a huge casino and a few fancy restaurants and chain stores of luxury brands. At the check-in desk there was a huge aquarium with exotic fish. Not to mention the imposing garden with swimming pools. But we’ll come back to that later. We had imagined a beautiful hotel, but we couldn’t have dreamed of being so beautiful.
The Bahamas mainly attract American tourists. This is also not surprising because the islands are relatively close to America. It is the ideal location for a luxurious holiday or a wedding abroad. We were right back in America. Certainly the big casino at our hotel reminded us of our time in Las Vegas. Also the restaurants and certain customs, reminded us of America. It was nice to think of us right back in America, but it’s also a shame that this place didn’t have its own vibe. That’s what we were secretly hoping for.
It is normal but also a regret that this resort is only focused on money. They want your money, and that’s obvious. It makes sense that they more or less take advantage of tourists who are on vacation, but we -and also other hotel guests – felt that the resort was overly expensive. The rooms were expensive, but of course you know that in advance when you book. But what really makes this hotel so expensive are the additional cost. For example, they charge $20 a day for the service to clean your room, for example, even when you ask not to clean the room.
Budget in the Bahamas
Not only the rooms, but also the restaurants were extremely expensive. We couldn’t stay under a budget of $50 per meal for the two of us. And we certainly didn’t pick the most expensive restaurants. So we were on average on a daily budget of $100. Not included only for lunch and dinner, activities or drinks in between. Breakfast we bought in the local shop but also this was hugely expensive compared to Belgium. For example, a loaf of bread costs $4. Everywhere they also charge the service. So you definitely don’t have to tip anymore as the service charge at restaurant is an average of $10. It was already clear that this was going to be one of our most expensive trips ever.
Enjoy in the Bahamas
Of course we came to the Bahamas to enjoy and worrying about money is not one of them. We agreed not to spend too much on snacks and drinks in between. And that went fine! Water was free in the hotel and also fruit you could get so. And three meals a day is also enough of course. It was time to enjoy!
The first days
The first few days were a bit overwhelming as there is so much to see in the resort. There were about six swimming pools, dozens of restaurants and bars and a wide range of (water) activities. We chose to test the different pools in the first few days. Our favorites? The cave with giant aquarium where sharks swam and the large pool with jacuzzi that was surrounded by palm trees. In the evening we took a gamble at the casino. We won 30 dollars once but immediately spent it again so actually we didn’t win anything, other than a few hours of fun!
The following days were destined for the beach and the sea. We tried to paddle-board, but that wasn’t a success. Snorkeling we managed better. And because we really had the taste to get, we booked a tour to go snorkeling in the ocean. We boarded a catamaran and sailed across the clear blue ocean. On a huge coral reef we went snorkeling. It’s crazy to think that Sigrid didn’t even dare to swim in the sea for this trip and now she swam in the deep ocean among the fish! We have spotted some particular colorful fish and beautiful corals. Unfortunately, there is little useful footage of this because our waterproof smartphone case didn’t work as planned.
What we were really looking forward to was being able to visit different islands. The island, Nassau, where our hotel was located, didn’t have much to offer outside the cosy downtown. We would have loved to go to the island of Exuma. This is the island where there are pigs swimming. Unfortunately the tours to this place were not only extremely expensive but also full every day. No pigs, but a nice tour to Rose Island. An island an hour and a half sailing from Nassau. You’ll also come across some beautiful islands along the way, such as Paradise Island where the richest celebrities in the world have a villa. There’s nothing to do on Rose Island itself, but you’re really here for the view. Enjoy on the pearly white beach or swim in the clear blue sea. Or find unique shells. That’s all it should be on a sunny afternoon. Life can be beautiful!
Update June 1, 2019
This post was written before we had any knowledge of the latest developments in the Bahamas. In the previous paragraph we tell you that we booked a trip to Rose Island and also went snorkeling. However, five days after we went snorkelling here, a horrific event took place.
An American family went snorkeling in the exact same place as us. They stayed in the same hotel as us, perhaps also at the same time as us, and booked their tour in the same hotel. Like us, they went snorkeling near Rose Island (the island you see in the picture below). Unfortunately, things weren’t as pleasant as when we were here.
The family’s 21-year-old daughter was struck by a shark and died of her injuries. The family had to witness this terrible scene. We are therefore deeply shocked by this terrible event. And we’re angry, too. Angry at the organization that has left us ignorant about the shark season that is now underway. They didn’t tell us anything about that. On the contrary, when we hesitated to go into the sea, they even laughed that there are no sharks in the water. It is not recommended to snorkel at that spot anymore.
We certainly want to share this information because we were so positive about this place at first but now we think quite the opposite. We had a good time at the time, but when we think about what happened, and therefore could have happened to us, we can only say that it is irresponsible to go snorkeling near Rose Island. So don’t do this under any circumstances!
At first we thought that ten days of “doing nothing” would bore us after a while. But at this resort there was so much to see and do that we didn’t get bored for a minute. The various pools, water activities and excursions will keep you busy for a few days. We even spent a few hours in the gym every other day! So there is plenty to do to keep you busy, but the cost means that you can no longer or will no longer stay there. And that’s too bad. A lot of people we spoke to stayed for a weekend or a week.
Positive or negative?
There are countless positive aspects to a holiday in the Bahamas, but we are almost certain that we will never travel here again. Mainly because of the price tag. It’s a luxurious trip and you just can’t make it cheap. Even if you were to stay in an Airbnb and cook yourself. Life is expensive. Furthermore, we regretted that everything is focused on tourism and money. A very positive aspect of the Bahamas are the people. We found both the locals and tourists pleasant and friendly. Also very helpful. Residents will come to your aid immediately if they see that you are unsure of anything or can use help. We also met some interesting and lovely people from America who gave us extra tips about our upcoming trip. A nice extra to a beautiful trip!
Where are you from?
It was clear that they had not met a Belgian here very often, or perhaps never before. In the taxi, in the hotel, at the airport, everywhere we went we were asked‘Where are you from?’. Belgium did not know many locals. It felt like we came from a far and tropical country. Although we felt like an outsideron several times, we were warmly welcomed and there were few barriers between ourselves and the locals. Both in terms of language, people speak fluent English here, and in terms of prosperity we were on the same wavelength. That makes travelling in a country a lot easier and perhaps more enjoyable for many. It certainly wasn’t a big adjustment or culture shock.
Go or not?
If you ask us if you should go to the Bahamas or not, we have to say that it depends from person to person. We certainly wouldn’t do it again despite it being a wonderful destination. If you are looking for paradise, here it is to be found! But that may not quite outweigh the cost. At least, that’s our opinion. If you don’t have a budget or money doesn’t matter, we can definitely recommend this destination. Also for a one-off luxury trip, such as for a honeymoon, we can highly recommend the islands of the Bahamas. We realize that this is a very unique location. We thoroughly enjoyed it!
Our trip in the Bahamas is over and we are now heading for a new destination. It is also a tropical destination. It’s an island. And the land of reggae and ska music. Can you guess our next destination based on these tips? It’s not very difficult. Let us know in the comments what you think where we are going!