The Islands of the Bahamas: Nassau & Paradise Island

The Islands of the Bahamas: Nassau & Paradise Island

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to go to the Bahamas. I called up Ryan, the dude who I earned how to dive with, and asked him if he wanted to go. He did… and we were ready to plan our island getaway. (We didn’t actually plan it, Sheryl did. But we were there WHEN she planned it!)

When we were in the Bahamas, we stayed at the Comfort Suite Paradise Island. Most people that stay on Paradise Island stay at Atlantis, one of the most well known and one of the most expensive resorts in the world. There is one in the Bahamas and in Dubai. But we didn’t stay at Atlantis. It was too expensive! Speaking of expensive, the most expensive hotel room in the world is there. It’s called the Bridge Suite and runs $25,000 a night. That is crazy! What could possibly make a room worth that much money? The room is often referred to as the Michael Jackson suite. When he was alive, and wanted to come to the Bahamas, he stayed in that room. Regardless, that’s outrageous! (My friend Heather has actually partied in the Bridge Suite. I need to find out what goes on in that room!)

We booked the trip several months in advance. Like I said, Sheryl actually booked the trip. She said that staying at the Comfort Suites we would get access to all of the amenities at Atlantis. The rate was decent, and since we were staying for a week we needed to save as much as we could on the room.

Shuttle from the Airport

When we got off the plane and made our way through customs, I was hoping to find a shuttle outside. There wasn’t. We had to take a taxi. The hotel is actually nowhere near the airport, but Nassau is a small island so the ride didn’t take long. It wasn’t cheap, but it didn’t take long. In Nassau, all of the taxis are priced the same. Where you are and where you are going will depict the fare. From the airport to the hotel was $32 plus $1 for the bridge. Paradise Island is in fact an island, and there is a bridge from the mainland to the resorts. Every time we took a taxi, we had to cover this as the taxi drivers must pay cash each time over the bridge.

Spacious Room & Two Beds

Since Ryan and I were going on this trip, we needed two beds. Sorry, but I am not about to share a bed with a dude! Never mind that Sheryl would show up later that week. She got her own room… with a king size bed!

When we checked in, the process was smooth and we were given two beds. It was easy, and everyone at the hotel was nice. I was actually surprised with how nice everyone on the island was. No matter where you went, everyone was so nice. We later learned that as a local, if you don’t say good morning, good afternoon, or good evening your parents can actually beat you into submission. Talk about conformity!

Each time we needed something, from towels to clogged toilets the hotel staff was very friendly. I couldn’t be happier with how we were treated from the moment we arrived.

Free Wi-Fi & Complimentary Breakfast

This was a big deal… especially in Nassau. Free Wi-Fi was a must for us. Ryan and I are geeks; we need the ability to connect. I was trying to unplug, and really didn’t want to check my email while we were gone… but I did. I did daily, actually. I also kept checking Facebook and Twitter. Ryan brought his laptop, but I only brought my iPad. It was actually an easy way to stay in touch with Sheryl as well.

The hotel had Wi-Fi. When we got there, we didn’t have it in our room. Our room was in the corner, and we were unable to get a signal. So we called the front desk, and they sent someone up immediately to look. Long story short, within the hour they had moved us rooms and put us right by a router. We had a perfect signal for the entire week. We did have to authenticate our connection every few hours, but the connection was great.

So why is free Wi-Fi a big deal? If we had stayed at Atlantis it would have been $15 a day. Yeah… that’s ridiculous. I told Ryan that we need to figure out what everything would have cost had we paid full price. That right there would have cost us $150… for Wi-Fi! Not to mention the free breakfast. Breakfast isn’t even offered at Atlantis.

Each morning, between the hours of 8:30 – 10:30 AM we could head down to the pool and partake in a complimentary breakfast. Each day we were served eggs, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, cereal, muffins, and more. It was a great way to start the day, and since I was on vacation I left the diet at home. I have no idea how much weight I gained, but I am sure I gained a ton! It felt good to eat, that’s for sure.

To Our Valued Guests

Rum is huge down there. They actually bottle Bacardi on the island. Speaking of Bacardi, one night we were at Brussels Bistro for dinner. While we were there, Mr. and Mrs. Bacardi were there. Not even kidding… we met them. It was cool to meet the man behind the rum. Rum is also cheaper down there, a bar liter under $10. (Duty free is awesome by the way.)

After a few days of being in the Bahamas, we came back to our room after a long day at the beach. When we got there, there was a gift on one of the beds. It was a letter thanking us for staying at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island, and welcoming us to the island. But that’s not all. There was also a rum cake!

Rum cake is huge down here, and everywhere you go you can find a free sample. That’s about the only thing that’s free on the island. The rum cake was from Tortuga, who also makes a rum. Their rum is in their rum cake! They come in a variety of flavors too, including chocolate, coconut, and original. Original is my favorite. The cake is very moist, and is actually low in calories. One rum cake only has 400 calories. Of course, on my diet that’s a meal!

Let’s Get Wet

When Ryan and I first planned the trip, our goal was to dive four or five times. The only dive I really wanted to do was the shark adventure at Stuart Cove’s Nassau Bahamas Aqua Adventures. We did the shark adventure… but that’s it. We only dove twice while on the island. But that’s okay, we did book a snorkel trip while there. It was just so far from the hotel. The ride was an hour each way, not to mention the time to prepare and to get to the dive sites. The dive site was some ten miles off the coast.

The dive was sweet though. The first one we just dove with the sharks, as they swam right along with us. It was a shelf dive too, on the “tongue of the Atlantic”. We were just swimming along, and then you see the shelf that drops some 6,500 feet. It’s dark down there, and it freaked me out a little going down 80 feet on the side of the shelf.

After that we fed the sharks. Yeah, we fed the sharks on purpose. We all got in a circle and they lowered the chum. Then, fifty sharks started to circle us. One dead fish after another, they started to feed the sharks. It was CRAZY! I was inches, not feet, from sharks. These were not small sharks, either. They were 10/12 foot sharks. The guys feeding the sharks were covered in chainmail… and the chains had holes in them. So you know the sharks bite!

We survived, though. It was such a thrill. At one point, these three sharks were staring at me… they took off, and came right for me only to miss me by a few inches. Then one must have wanted to turn around as he (or she) bumped into me on her way back to the food. I was nearly knocked over as the shark hit me. It was so cool!

Sheryl Decided to Come!

We went diving on Thursday morning. I say Thursday morning, but that just means they pick you up in the morning. By the time you get picked up, stop by several other hotels to pick up additional divers, and make it to the dive shop it was nearly 1:00 in the afternoon. But they didn’t hesitate getting you on the boat and to the dive site. Once we got to the dive site, it was all about getting your gear on and getting in the water.

We ended up getting back around 5:30 that evening. Ryan wanted to take a shower, and I just wanted to check my Twitter feed. I had looked, before we left, on Sheryl’s feed. Her last message said, “Be back in a minute.” I had sent her several messages since that, both on Facebook and Twitter, but had not heard from her. I found that weird.

About five minutes later, someone knocked on the door. Ryan was in the shower, and I was tired. I really didn’t want to get up to see who it was. So I just lay there. They knocked again. I huffed and puffed my way to the door, and looked through the peep hole. Nothing. What is going on? So I said, “Who is it?” Nothing.

I opened the door to find Sheryl standing there. I can’t tell exactly what I said, but I was in shock. I was actually in shock for several hours. Sheryl was there! I wonder if she came to see me… or if she came for the beaches!

Talk about a great way to spend my final weekend in the Bahamas. We ended up hanging out all weekend long, and it was never weird for Ryan. (That was my biggest fear… that Ryan would be uncomfortable with her being there. He wasn’t, and it was a great way to end the trip.)

Saying Goodbye to the Bahamas

Growing up, a vacation like this would be impossible. But as I look back on the last few years of my life, I realize that I have a good job, I pay all of my bills on time, and I am able to save money to travel like this. Plus, with the help of a travel agent girlfriend, I am able to find cheap flights and discounted hotel rooms. When I go on trips like this, I just have to smile… I am only 28 and I have worked my butt off to get where I am. This is just the beginning of a career filled with hotel rooms and beaches.

The Bahamas were SO much better than Aruba. Sheryl and I were in Aruba in December, and this was way better. I am glad that I was able to go, to experience it with Ryan (and then Sheryl) and to dive here. It was a wonderful trip, and one that will remember for the rest of my life. I go on trips like this because I want these memories when I get older.

There is so much more I could talk about. We spent a lot of time at Bahama Joe’s, a bar located right next to the port. We had dinner a few times at the “fish fry”, which is a place just loaded with locals. I could write a book on our trip, really. I just wanted to share some these things with you as I look back on a great week away. If you ever need any advice on where to eat on the island, just let me know!

Have you ever been to the Bahamas? If so, what island?