The Bahamas – an escapade to God’s beautiful creation
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Bahamas – Ba-Ha-Ma (locals address) or Ba-Ha-Mas (rest of the world address)
Nassau – NaW-Sa (locals address) or NA-SauW (rest of the world address)
It took almost 10 years to realize my wish to go to Bahamas. Exactly do not know what got into more priority that I kept on ignoring my small of visiting this place for a decade. It all started when I first saw their promotions (video and media) on SubWay in NY. I was more impressed by ads, may be!!, that I have decided that I should go to Bahamas.
Surprisingly, and oddly, my Bahamas trip was much unplanned. I am comfortable with planned schedules over haphazard activities. Yet, I survived. Thought I better pen my experiences in Bahamas to freeze memories forever.
Where on earth the Bahamas are?
It’s another Country on the globe.
The name “Bahamas” comes from the Spanish “baja mar” meaning “shallow sea”, and is an archipelago of over 700 islands stretching over 258,998 square km in the western Atlantic Ocean. More on Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bahamas
On a quick note, it is ruled by England’s Queen. However, business is done in US dollars. Bahamian Dollars are of equal value to US Dollars.
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People in Bahamas are called Bahamians (BA-HEY-MIANS).
The Bahamas is 1 hour away by flight and 4 hours by cruise, from Florida (Miami). May be hours differ by +/- based on the location you pick in Florida.
- Bookit-dot-com has been very nice to me, not once but twice. I did a great 5 day Orlando trip before. Knowing its competitive package plans, I resorted to this site again.
- Honestly, before looking into this site, I did research packages on other websites like Bookvip.com (only accommodation, no airfare), Kayak.com, Priceline.com etc.
- My vacation theme:
- Water, Water and Water
- My requirements:
- Flying into Bahamas for 3 or 5 days
- Be in Nassau over Paradise Island or Atlantis
- Package should include Air fare, Accommodation and All Inclusive Food
- I got all inclusive Drinks too; could do well only on Fruit Punch though 😉
- I said, NO to cruise:
- Cruise durations range anywhere from min of 5 days to more
- Yeah, intentionally avoided cruise as you don’t get time to roam locally. Cruise will take you to each island at 8am and asks you to return by 4.30pm (pretty standard timings for most of the cruises)
- By the time you complete your breakfast and come out, it’ll be 11 or so. Remember, this is not office work where you get up early. I am sure, you will be laid back to get out of the bed. More you are in bed, the less you have time to explore around
- com didn’t disappointed me this time
- I got Airfare (from BDL, not even from major airports like JFK), Accommodation, and All Inclusive package for a decent 3 figure for 5 days. Couldn’t ask for more than this exciting rate. My sense of accomplishment started off with a broad smile
- I got this good deal in the peak season; approx.7-8 days before my trip
- Going in large groups?
- Do check out airbnb-dot-com if you are going in large groups
- This site boasts of vacation rentals and homes. They have private rooms to entire homes on rentals. Do research about the location (where you will be staying) before booking the place. If you hit a jackpot, you will have your own place for your entire stay. What else one can ask for??!!
- This may be suitable for people who love to cook even when they are traveling
- Port of entry – fill out the required forms and stand in the relevant queues
- US Citizens and Greencard holders have different lines vs other Visa holders when you enter into the Bahamas
- While coming back, the Bahamas airport has self-service machines to enter info before flying out
- The airport is very small compared to other commercial, big airports
- FREE Internet for everyone, yayyy
- If you have a long wait for the flight, best place to hang out. What else one wants, other than a colorful airport with speed internet J
- Food, shopping and other facilities are easily available
Paper or Plastic:
- Short answer – have Cash on Hand, as much as possible
- Mostof the places doesn’t accept Credit Cards. So, plan to take cash to pay entry fees, adventures, small restaurants, bus fare or beach side souvenir shopping / buying
- Fun part is road side fruit stalls. Obviously no CCs but please do try Coco Water and Mangoes
- It’s been almost 2 decades since I ate custard apple. The Bahamas surprised me with those fruits on a road side stall. #EmotionalEating 😛
- In case you ran out of cash, then there are ATMs in the Nassau Downtown but they charge around $6 as surcharge
Food – Local or Global:
- I would say, Go Local
- The Bahamas do have McD and Wendy’s. Like me, I am guessing you will skip those restaurants for a while
- Breakfast: You can go to “Fish Fry” or Downtown, if you want to try local tastes. I saw many ordering spicy turkey in a wrap as breakfast. Not sure, if that’s what most of them eat
- Lunch / Dinners:“Fish Fry” is like a food court where you will find authentic Bahamian food. For Carnivores, try Fish, Conch (they call it as “Kunk” ; rest of the world as “Konch”), Shrimp etc. For Herbivores, all leaves are available. This place is on the way to Nassau Downtown. In Downtown, you will find other good, expensive, restaurants like “Lukka Kairi” where you can experience seafood
- Nassau Downtown has a takeaway restaurant. If I remember, it’s called Imperial, it’s near McD. Do try “Bahamian Chicken Curry” there. It comes with white rice and corn
- You can find Chinese, Thai, Philippinos, falafel and gyros, etc.
Key Locations to visit:
- Technically, the Bahamas is not a big location. It depends on where you are staying too
- If you are in Nassau, that’s like NY in USA. Most happening place. It appeared to me that rest of the islands are bit slow
- You can get familiar with Nassau in 2 days. All you need is stamina to walk a lot in scorching Sun and ability to take local transportation to visit places
- In Nassau, I covered:
- Ardastra Zoo – Flamingo show was amazing
- Queens Staircase
- Christ Church Cathedral – this is the first time, I visited or entered into a Church. All these years, I watched churches in the movies
- Pirates – I am in love with Pirates, I swear!
- Beaches – Cable, Junkanoo (Junk-A-Noe (like Canoe), Saunders. Each beach is unique with beautiful shorelines. If you are good at swimming, that makes a difference too. For the first time, I appreciated God’s creation explicitly. Transparent waters with light blue and dark blue colors within your eye reach and serenity as you gaze far off places from where you sit takes you to different world. All you have to do is – wake up early and sit in the beach. Watch people, waters, and feel the calmness inside you
- In Paradise Island, I covered:
- Versailles Gardens and French Cloister
- Adventures I did:
- Snorkeling with Shark encounters – Surface water. Go with Stuart Cove’s. Looks like they are in business for a long time and have various water adventures
- Jet Ski – it was with locals. Had to pay cash and there was no receipt business
- Unlimited walking on different beaches
** There are many Tour packages or individual adventures available. Choose based on your needs **
Taxi or Buses:
- Local bus ticket is $1.25 to max of $2.75. It runs from one end of Nassau to other end. I would recommend to take buses for local experience. Most of the buses have a stop near the major Resorts. This reduces any extra walking
- Taxis are a call away. Totally on you to use this service. I used both, as needed
- Water Taxis (aka Boats) – $4 from Nassau to Paradise Island. Best part why I picked Water Taxi or a Bus is, I wanted boat experience. It takes less than ½ hour to go from Nassau downtown to Paradise Island. Only downside of Water Taxi is, it’s like 7-seater auto in India. He will not start unless specific number of people are on the boat. So, too much wait time. If you have time crunch, go in a taxi or a bus. They charge little more but saves time
- Straw Market – best place for all handmade crafts. This is like small business shops on a big single floor. Vendors are very eager to sell their stuff. Bargaining may work well on items where you feel prices are high. Go with your instincts
- Souvenir stores – there are lots of souvenir stores in and around downtown apart from souvenir shops near each attraction. Do NOT purchase souvenirs near corners of the downtown. They have very high prices. If you walk a little into the streets, there are so many souvenir shops where prices are nominal and have more goods to choose
- Divers sell real conchs near their boats. They have various shapes and sizes with affordable prices. If you are a fan of conchs, try them
- The Bahamas airport is one of the best priced airports I have ever seen. If you forgot to buy anything, then don’t worry, Airport has almost all souvenirs that typically you get in the town; even prices are unbeatable. There are some shops that are not worth visiting though
- Do try “Rum Cake” – the Bahamian cake. They have samples to try too. You can either buy for yourself or to gift friends
- It’s very humid. People who are not comfortable with skimpy clothes, do try light T-shirts
- Most of the times it’s very hot. Suddenly, it pours with heavy lightening. So, do check the weather before coming out of the room
- Capris, and Skirts may be a best bet for people who don’t want to go with dresses (for women)
- In case you want to get into waters but can’t swim, that’s okay too. Try appropriate dressing that’s comfortable for you
Word of Caution:
- I was told to roam always in groups, as much as possible
- It’s okay to heed an advise by a localite
- Btw, all shops close max by 6.30PM. Get back to your nest before its dark
- Start your day early
5 day trip went in a jiffy. I was hallucinating the Bahamas for couple days. I would be lying, if I said, I wanted to stay there for some more time. I am more of a main land girl. The trip was not long or short, perfectly suited for me.
If asked, one suggestion that I would like to give you prospective visitors: Try to be local meaning use local bus transportation, walk a lot to learn the roads and enjoy the vacation like a Bahamian.
Hope you too visit The Bahamas soon. Happy Vacationing!