A day of Paradise, an eternity of memories.
– review of a day spent on Grand Bahama Island.
Yes, there’s a lot you could do via one of the cruise lines that take you to The Bahamas, but as much fun as you’ll have that way, it often comes with limitations. You’ll typically find yourself overstaying at a given excursion or two and most certainly not getting the true Bahamian experience. Thankfully, with the help of Brooke Grant from the Ministry of Tourism Grand Bahama and a little research myself, getting the feel for Grand Bahama’s island life definitely came to fruition.
Arrival at Freeport Harbor via Grand Celebration.
Transfer to the Garden of the Groves for Tour
Garden of the Groves – Grand Bahama’s premier nature experience where guests explore winding trails through lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls and sparkling fountains. There you can visit a picturesque chapel, which has been consecrated and is a favorite place for weddings, prayer and meditation. They could also explore the Garden Shoppes and discover the sacred beauty of the Labyrinth.
Transfer to Bahamian Brewery for Tour
Bahamian Brewery– During your tour of the brewery you’ll see how Jimmy and his crew create (the beer). SEE THE BREWERY IN ACTION: Walk through the 25 step process from malt to beer; See the lab quality control; Learn about their filtration & kegging process; and watch their staff bottle your beer. Then become a brew master yourself as you taste the sensation Sands, in Jimmy’s personal tap room. Once you’ve sipped a Sands, or two, you’ll be taken down to the gift shop and the liquor store – where you can purchase all you want – it’s all duty free!
Drinks: Sands Beer, Sands Light, High Rock, Bush Crack, Virgils Ale, Strong Back, PINK RADLER (Grapefruit flavor- introduced to the market in summer of 2015)
Transfer to UNEXSO for check in for Dolphin Encounter
Dolphin Encounter (www.unexso.com) Duration 2 hours. A truly unforgettable experience for all ages! Sit with your feet in the water as the dolphins’ swim around you, hear interesting facts about the dolphins, and ask questions of their animal care staff. You’re invited to pet their beautiful dolphins by stepping into the shallow water to experience their velvet skin and pose for a picture while the dolphin kisses your cheek! This highly educated, yet fun program is a great way to experience the dolphins up close and personal. Also even as the dolphins’ encounter ends, the facility also has a massive turtle and large parrot, which guests can pet or pose for pictures.
Walk through of the Port Lucaya Marketplace
Transfer to Banana Bay Restaurant for lunch and relaxation
Located on Fortune Beach, Banana Bay is a great place for lunch or daytime cocktails. As the tide rolls out the beach grows, creating a wonderful shallow lagoon and sandbar, perfect for wading and for frolicking kids. In addition to daily fresh-fish specials, the kitchen serves up homemade warm banana bread loaves along with salads, sandwiches, wraps, and seafood appetizers like conch fritters and crab cakes.
Transfer to Out Da Sea Restaurant and Bar
This centrally-located island hot-spot provides an outdoor bar and grill experience and is a favorite amongst locals. The facility is equipped with a full kitchen featuring a wide variety of native dishes including conch, lobster and fish signature samplers. You can also buy fresh fish, and have it fried (or broiled/grilled) right on site!
While waiting for the food make sure to stop over by the bar and try the local favorite, the Gully Wash. It may be one of the best drinks you’ll have.
Signature Drink– Gully Wash
1 ounce dry London gin
½ ounce sweetened condensed milk
2 ounces coconut water
- Shake gin, sweetened condensed milk and coconut water with ice until frothy.
- Pour into a coconut shell or a cocktail glass.
- Add dash of nutmeg and or cinnamon
Transfer to Freeport Harbor for departure via MV Grand Celebration
Grand Bahama Island is the fourth largest island and northern viewpoint to the archipelago that is the paradise called The Islands of The Bahamas. It is the perfect destination for coupling a cosmopolitan vacation at an upscale resort with the rich heritage of a small town. With three distinct destination experiences including: Freeport/Lucaya, East Grand Bahama and West Grand Bahama, the diversity of Grand Bahama Island is the complete package!
Getting to Grand Bahama is a breeze. Whether you prefer a quick flight or a cruise ferry ride, visitors from throughout the United States, Canada and soon-to-be Europe can access Grand Bahama Island directly. Visitors opting to come to Grand Bahama by sea now have the choice of two well-appointed ferry services.
The upgraded MV Grand Celebration of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, which came on stream in February 2015, sails every other day from the Port of Palm Beach to the Freeport Harbor. This 1,800 passenger capacity vessel brings with it a new experience for vacationers, including five swimming pools and Jacuzzis, 11 Restaurants, bars and lounges, 751 cabins, a spa and wellness center.
Also servicing Grand Bahama is the Balearia Bahamas Express, a daily fast ferry service from Fort Lauderdale; now preparing for the introduction of its new 650 passenger vessel.
At a close 55 miles from the coast of Florida and with year-round direct flights from South Florida and Atlanta, along with summer service from eight US cities and winter service from seven major Canadian cities, visitors can enjoy the value of accessibility as they experience the congenial culture that the island is known for.
The European market will be in for a treat in 2016 with the return of Alpitour to the island of Grand Bahama.
Alpitour Charter will commence operations in June from Italy, Milan from Malpensa MXP to Freeport GBI via Cuba once per week until the beginning of September using B 767/300 with 120 seats. The service will be in partnership with Bravo Club, the strongest brand of the all-inclusive Alpitour product with personalized service.
With over 15 hotels and resorts located through the island, visitors can select from an upscale resort to a local B&B on the beach.
Visitors with a distinct preference for all-inclusives have a choice of several upscale resorts: the Memories Grand Bahama Island Beach and Casino Resort and Lighthouse Pointe at the Grand Lucayan Resort, both of which are brand new all-inclusive properties. The all-inclusive Viva Wyndham is recently renovated and has introduced an upgraded experience complete with more activities including paintball and archery to list a few. Bahamas Adventures, one of the island’s newest tour and activity operators offers the ultimate family-friendly all-inclusive beach retreat (www.bahamas-adventures.com).
Vacationers looking for an active holiday can choose from countless sports – from scuba diving, sailing and kayaking to fishing, golfing, horseback riding and even bird watching. Swim with the dolphins at UNEXO, dance the night away at the count Basie Square in the Port Lucaya Marketplace or hop on a Jeep or an ATV tour and see the island for yourself. Soon to be added to the island’s array of outdoor adventures are zip-lining and rock climbing.
Exploring Grand Bahama’s great outdoors is a must for all Nature enthusiasts. Visit the island’s premier education center at the Rand Nature Center, a few minutes outside of downtown Freeport; trek through the Lucayan National Park, which is home to all six of the island’s ecosystems (caves, pine forest, blackland coppice, whiteland coppice, rocky coppice, mangroves, beach). Also located at the Lucayan National Park are the famous picturesque Gold Rock Beach and one of the world’s longest underwater systems of limestone caves, which served as a burial place for the Lucayan people.
For the gamers, Grand Bahama has a special treat for you; the Treasure Bay Casino. This Las Vegas Style 20,000 square foot gaming space offers some 21 tables of casino table games along with numerous slot machines.
The colorful and highly cultural Junkanoo Museum and Village is another one of the island’s newest attractions. The museum, elegantly and creatively. depicts the history and overall culture of our Bahamian heritage, Junkanoo.
Experience East Grand Bahama’s Old Freetown Heritage Trail, one of the island’s chief nature walks featuring the remains of “The Hermitage,” the oldest intact building on the island, dating back to 1901.
Grand Bahama Island certainly offers to its visitors the Grand Life experience!