We travel so much together as a family, but on occasion, I love to take the kids on trips individually, to really get some quality time with them. Last year, just the girls and I flew to Miami for February break and they haven’t stopped talking about our “Girls Trip.” With this in mind, I felt I needed to make a getaway with the little ladies an annual thing, so this year, I opted for the Bahamas! We’ve experienced the Bahamas previously on a cruise ship, for one quick day but it was time to get the full Bahamian experience.
For our five day vacation, we decided to split up our time at Baha Mar and Atlantis. At just two years old, Bahar Mar is a newer property, comprised of three iconic oceanfront hotels—the richly refined Rosewood, the playfully hip SLS, or the stylish and modern Grand Hyatt—each offering stunning beach views and an epic selection of pools. The girls and I stayed at the Grand Hyatt property, which for me, felt a bit more family friendly.
I was blown away by the variety of experiences and activities at Baha Mar, all within a short walk from your doorstep. There’s golfing, a casino, soothing spas, stunning pools, and a beach that will take your breath away. Every evening we would head outside to view the water show, and then walk along their huge dock to see the sunset. For some wildlife encounters, the girls and I participated in a Flamingo Parade. Baha Mar is home to a Flamingo Habitat featuring 1,600 square feet of dry land and a 1,600 square foot freshwater pool. The habitat is home to West Indian Flamingos, the national bird of The Bahamas that are walked through the resort twice daily for all the guest to see. We loved everything about this resort, and I would considering with my girlfriends for a mamas weekend which we’ve been talking about for ages, because the beaches and property are just that beautiful!
I think if you ask the girls about their favorite part of Baha Mar, they would definitely say the The Sanctuary, which you can actually view one of the pools! You get up close to sea turtles, stingrays, nurse sharks, native birds, and more. The Sanctuary lies at the heart of Baha Mar’s commitment to environmental conservation and education. We also spent a ton of our time in Dean’s Blue Hole, where the pool area is home to alluring waterfalls, stone gardens, and a secluded grotto with a window for viewing sea turtles and sharks. The 8 and 15 foot rock walls offered platforms for the girls to jump from. Not sure if I was more freaked out watching them jump, or when they asked me to jump off with them!
I was super impressed with Baha Mar’s selection of restaurants. From high-end dining experiences by renowned international chefs, to more casual spots serving familiar favorites, you could experience all them all, regardless of which hotel you were a guest of. For our first night the girls and I dined at Katsura, one of our favorite sushi restaurants from back home- I was happy to see they even offered a kids menu too. Another night, we opted for a more laid back vibe at the Regatta Buffet, offering everything under the sun from American favorites to Bahamian classics. This bountiful buffet has fresh and unique options for every kind of craving. Out in the sunshine, seaside airstream trailers and colorful beach shacks offer delicious meals with a classic, laid-back Bahamian vibe, ideal when hanging at the beach all day.
Baha Mar offers a complimentary five minute ferry to Balmoral Island, where guests can relax, swim, snorkel, or experience it’s one-of-a-kind dolphin and stingray encounters. The girls and I had a Dolphin encounter, and let’s just say it was the coolest experience! Even with all of our previous caribbean travel, this was a first for all of us! It was extremely educational, learning tons about Dolphins anatomy, environment, and more. All dolphins at Balmoral, live in the ocean and receive 24/7 care. After our encounter, we enjoyed a fun lunch before jumping into the crystal clear waters for some snorkeling. This was Gemma’s first time with a snorkel and she loved every minute of it! I suggest getting to the island early as Bamoral is not exclusive to Baha Mar guests, so crowds tend to grow as the day progresses.
Next, we were off to Atlantis. As mentioned earlier, this was our only Bahamas cruise experience, and the weather on that day 5 years ago was rain rain rain. Well, not this year! We stayed at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island, which is just a five minute walk from the Atlantis Towers. This place you guys, is probably the best deal for families in all of the Bahamas, With rates starting around $250 per night, it opens up the Bahamas and Atlantis to families who are working with tighter budgets. As guests of the Comfort Suites Paradise Island Hotel, you have full access to the Atlantis Resort, and the rooms are all suites, so there is plenty of room for the kids. Plus a complimentary hot American buffet breakfast daily makes it cheap and easy to get up and out, to explore everything the island has to offer. The girls loved the pool at Comfort Suites, ordering special mock-tinis at their swim up bar!
When vacationing, I tend to splurge with some shopping, so I like when we are walking distance to all the stores and restaurants are close to my resort. With over 20 designer and retail shops spread over 65,000 square feet, dining options ranging from casual to fine dining restaurants to grab-and-go meals, you’ll love strolling around this vibrant outdoor marketplace during the day or after dinner. One night, we ate at Frankie’s Gone Bananas- a must if you’re in the Bahamas. Every Bahamian dish we ordered was absolute perfection. Conch Fritters are on most menus in the Bahamas, but Frankie’s may have had our favorite. Afterwards we danced the night away with a Bahamian parade also known as the Junkanoo Parade!
Atlantis, Paradise Island features the world’s largest open-air marine habitat; Aquaventure, a 141-acre water park, including the iconic Mayan Temple’s Leap of Faith slide; 11 incredible pools; five miles of magnificent beaches; a Tom Weisskopf-Designed 18-hole, oceanfront golf course; and the Atlantis Casino.
We spent a full day at Atlantis’ Aquaventure Park riding all of the slides, and our favorite the Rapid River, which is like a lazy river but with lots of waves. The girls got such a kick out of this ride and probably went round and round at least five times! Another favorite was the Serpent Slide! This slide lets you travel on a tube at high speeds through darkness and then passes through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in a lagoon filled with amazing marine life including SHARKS! It was beyond the coolest!
The Dig was definitely one my favorite parts of Atlantis, from both this trip and our last time on the island. I remember being blow away walking through the dark tunnels. The Dig at Atlantis Paradise Island features over 100 venomous Indo-Pacific Ocean Lionfish, iridescent jellyfish, and six-foot Moray Eels. Special environments hold nine species of enormous groupers, while smaller separate “Jewel Habitats” are home to multitudes of brilliantly-colored tropical fish. There is also an open tank filled with conch, starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, crabs, and horseshoe crabs, designed to encourage interaction between vacationers and marine life of all kinds.
Well, all good things must come to an end, but this was without a doubt another trip they will remember forever. It was hard to get them to leave, but I can say with some certainty that we will be back, hopefully as soon as next year, but this time with Jason and Ryder!
Big thank you to Nassau Paradise Island for hosting us!
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