Bahamas has always been a pretty big destination for Americans who want to get out of the country, but do something safe, familiar and close. Also, it has beautiful beaches to go long with its English and close proximity. While a very cool country, with great people, it is pretty expensive. While this is the case, I won’t see I felt ripped off, but just know going ahead of time that even a backpacker’s budget will be tested, especially if you want to experience everything. My “excursions” you could call it, were approximately 50% of our post airfare budget (dolphins, harbor island trip, and Atlantis resort). So, you could do it for less, but then a beach is little different than any, and you may as well just go to Florida.
I went with a lovely lady named Lauren and we had a blast, but we also tried to travel very cheaply. We did AirBnB for $32/night (which is by far the cheapest thing we heard of on the island), and still spent over $1,600 for the week (this does include airfare, lodging and excursions). Meals are expensive, you have to take cabs at night, and excursions are pricey. So, definitely a bit on the pricey side, even with incredibly cheap rent. I am happy to say that we did most everything on our list. We spent 2 days at Atlantis, went to Harbor Island to see Pink Sand Peach (hands down the nicest beach I have ever been to), ate out nearly every night and most afternoons, saw most of the island of Nassau, and had a great time. The only thing we didn’t see would be Pig Beach on Exuma Island, as it would have been $300 each just for transport. So, not worth it.
Paradise Island (Spend3 days here, we did 2 days and 3 nights) –
Paradise Island is the famous island just off Nasaau (you cross a bridge to get there). This is where Atlantis resort is, along with the dolphins, and a bunch of power boats leave off from here. A new resort is being built now that rivals Atlantis for size and amenities, and so hopefully that will drag prices down a bit. For now though, Atlantis costs an outrageous $135/day to use their waterpark. However, if you stay there, it is included for up to 4 people (hence why most rooms start at $400/night). A little known trick though is that you can actually book a night at the Comfort Suites next door for $340/night and get up to four passes for the day you check in AND the day you check out. Therefore, that is how I suggest seeing the park, especially if you can go in on a deal with friends.
Other than that, the water park isn’t all that exciting, with the exception of the shark tank you dive into, and the phenominal tube river, but the slides are a bit few and far between, plus slightly dull.
Atlantis Resort, pretty swanky plce and definitely the best place in Nassau for evenings when the locals might be sleeping.
The private pool at one of the Towers. It had just rained and so a lot of the cushions are wet. A bit of confidence and speed walking should mean they don’t ask what room you’re in.
Dolphin Cay –
If you have already swam with dolphins then this won’t be worth it, but neither Lauren nor I had and so this was a pretty great experience. It was very expensive though, and I recommend trying to get a friend to go after or before you so that they may take pictures of you, and you of them (with a good camera since they won’t let them get in the water), because the most reasonable set of pictures was an outrageous $120. This was one of the few times we did feel truly ripped off, because we had assumed that something, even if it were small, would be included in the already high price of $150/person entrance.
Apparently this dolphin is really old for a dolphin. Something like 53 years old I think.
Lauren and I before being introduced to Jill.
On our last night we ate at Bobby Flay’s restaurant and we’re pretty sure we saw the famous poker player Mike Mizrahi at the table next to us, which was cool. After that, we walked around the water park and much to Lauren’s chagrin, I hopped a fence so I could slide down the slide at midnight. It was fun, but with no water it definitely makes it a slow ride.
Harbor Island (Spend a day here, same as we did)
Harbor Island is a 3 hour ferry from Nassau, each way, and costs around $150/person. This means you’re only on the island for a few hours if you go for the day (the cheapest hotel we found on the island was $120/night). However, even though this is expensive, especially when added to the cost of a decent meal and transport, it was still very cool. There are very few vehicles on the island, and so you have to rent a golf cart to get around ($45). We used this to get around the entire island from tip to tip, on four sides.
A typical house on the island.
I believe the north part of the island, near the lonely tree.
The famous pink sand beach. You can’t see it too well here, but if you put the sand in a bottle you can distinctively see pink sand. Also, it is like walking on flour, the sand is incredible.
Nassau (spend 2 days here, we spent 4)
Lauren and I trying to figure out the GoPro at the Queen’s staircase.
The town hall I think…
Cop in box.
This is actually Watussi horn (The same cow they have in Congo/Uganda). I asked how much the chair was, and once I heard that it was over a couple thousand I immediately gave up on the idea. It was actually made in Mexico anyways.
This was at the Bacardi store, 4.5 liters of Grey Goose. While actually more expensive per liter, the 3L Bacardi above it was a steal.
All in all, it was a great trip, largely because Lauren was a great travel companion. However, we both agreed that 7 days was a bit long, and we think you could do everything in 4 (maybe 5 with Harbor Island) and not miss a thing. Also, don’t be afraid to get an AirBnb like we did. We stayed in the “ghetto” for Nassau and felt entirely safe. The islanders kept saying “we don’t mess with our bread and butter,” and being a relatively poor neighborhood does not necessarily make it dangerous. In our case, we got a great deal, and had lot of fun.
Business Opportunity –
The two business ideas we heard floating around the most were to build condos and sell athletic clothing. For the condos, we were told that a four condo unit with the two rooms each, in a decent neighborhood, would fetch $1000/unit a month, and cost about $250k to build. Which, isn’t a bad deal. With its proximity to Florida there is already a ton of American influence here and so we didn’t see much else that could be brought over, with the exception of a lack of street food. Walking around the island you can only get fast food, or tourist food, and so there is some opportunity for locals to serve street food if they’re able.
Country level of difficulty – 3/10