It’s cold this time of year. So as the winter solstice approached and with the kids out of school, we took a trip to a warmer location, the Bahamas. It was our first time in the Caribbean, so we were looking forward to seeing what the islands were like. The plan was for it to be a lazy vacation. No sightseeing. No tourist stuff. Just sitting on the beach or by the pool eating and drinking. A real vacation.
We stayed at Riu Palace, an all inclusive resort in Nassau on Paradise Island. Paradise Island has some of the fancier real estate in the Bahamas and is the location of the equally fancy Atlantis resort. Riu Palace is right next door to Atlantis, so we had all the benefits of prime location at a much lower price. Riu Palace is an all inclusive resort, so food and drink were included in the price. I had no idea how relaxing it is not to have to worry about where to eat on vacation, especially with picky kids. Every night there is a buffet available and the food choices change, so it’s not the same thing every night. Sure, the food isn’t going to compare to a fancy restaurant, but there are good dishes and enough variety to keep it interesting. Plus the kids never complained about food choices, something that can’t be said when we go to certain restaurants. And the booze is free, too.
Okay, so I said no sightseeing, but we did make one trip into downtown Nassau to do some shopping for the usual souvenirs and stuff. Bay St. is where the shopping is at. Local stores and high end boutiques are all there, so you can buy a local made wooden mask for a few dollars or a duty free Rolex for several thousand dollars. The stores are all located there because that’s where all the cruise ships dock and their passengers come out eager to spend money. Along Bay St. is the historic Straw Market. It’s a flea market of local stalls that sell Bahamian stuff. I wouldn’t recommend it for the fainthearted. The sellers there are a bit pushy in trying to sell you stuff. And the prices are set for haggling, so if you don’t, you’ll get ripped off. Zarni wanted a wooden crab that he saw at some of the stores. Several of them wanted $40 for it. We got him one, after haggling, for $12. Yeah. But overall it was fun exploring Bay St. and its shops.
When talking about the Bahamas, the Atlantis resort is usually comes up. While we didn’t stay there (it’s expensive), we heard you could get a day pass to explore the resort, so we checked it out. It’s $46 for adults (less for kids), and you get to explore the resort compound, their Dig exhibit, and use their pools and lagoon. It doesn’t include their massive waterpark. That costs $144 for adults (less for kids). Yes, it is quite pricey, but from what I saw, it is really big and has lot of very cool looking slides and rides. Perhaps when the kids are older, we will give it a try. Overall, the resort is really nice and seems like It would be nice place to stay and relax provided its in your budget. Next visit maybe.
One of the other big attractions in the Bahamas (there are so many) are the dolphins. Sandy thought that Zarni would get a kick out of playing with the dolphins, so we went to Dolphin Encounters to play with the dolphins. They are located on Blue Lagoon island which is a short boat ride from Nassau. Our dolphin was Salvador. He did tricks for us, splashed us with water, danced with us, and gave us wet kisses. Zarni really had a blast. He couldn’t stop talking about dolphins for days. Naygi, unfortunately, fell asleep on the boat ride, so she didn’t get to participate. Plus she was also not feeling well and the ocean water was really cold that morning. One tip, no electronic equipment is allowed with the dolphins, so my underwater GoPro with a head strap mounted on Zarni was a no-go. Dolphin Encounters does provide photos and videos of the entire experience for you, but it’s not cheap. Oh, one more tip, go in the morning. When we went, there were less than a dozen people on the boat for the various dolphin attractions. When we left, the afternoon boat was filled with about 100 people.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. I said that this was a lazy vacation but so far it’s all been about doing stuff. Yes, we did stuff, but there were just so many interesting things to do, we had to do some of them. I felt that we did the right amount of activities, enough so we have some cool memories, but not so much that the vacation left us feeling worn out. In all time spent doing things was about three half days. The remaining 5.5 days was all beach and pool time, playing in the sand, eating and drinking. The beach was wonderful. The sand was near white and the grains where very fine almost like a powder. It was soft and cool to the touch. Relaxing to lay down in. A pain in the ass to clean it off of you afterwards.
Overall, we had a great vacation. The hotel was good. All the places we saw were great. The locals were nice and friendly. The beaches and scenery were beautiful and relaxing. We will definitely returning in the future to enjoy the Bahamas again.