An All-Inclusive Bahamas Vacation: Paradise Island
by Joelle Hibbert
In order to get to paradise, you must first figure out where it is! It’s a tricky question really: What continent is the Bahamas part of? Is it in North America or the Caribbean? Like many of us, things are a little bit complicated: the islands lie perfectly between the United States and the Caribbean. On the world map, The Bahamas is located within the continent of North America, south-east of the United States and north of Cuba'>Cuba. So the short answer is, The Bahamas is a part of the enchanting Carribean! The next important thing to know is that the Bahamas is not just one place: it consists of 700 islands, though only 30 are inhabited. Visitors often want to know, “Who does the Bahamas belong to?”. The Bahamas is its own country, having gained independence from Britain in 1973. It is an English speaking country and the national currency is the Bahamian dollar.
Why is the Bahamas a Good Vacation Spot?
That’s easy! It’s in the Caribbean and you just can’t go wrong with this region! The beaches are breath-taking, the people are friendly, the alcohol is strong, the music is invigorating and the history is rich! Specifically, the Bahamas is known for several things:
- Good Food- it’s that good that the USA has birthed a popular chain in its honour: Bahama Breeze. In particular, the islands are famous for the Bahama Mama drink and its finger linking conch fritters.
- Atlantis- a world-renowned ocean-themed resort; complete with a water park, casino, shopping district and one of the planet’s most expensive hotel rooms!
- Junkanoo- this centuries-old cultural festival is held 3 times per year (summer, Christmas and New Year’s Day). It is said to be one of the most fun-filled carnivals in the world, showcasing local music, costumes, and dance.
- Animal Sanctuary- if you’re looking for exotic animals, they are plentiful here: flamingoes, an indigenous hummingbird, The Bahama Parrot, and iguanas.
- Pink Sand Beaches- yes, there is such a thing! The Bahamas is one of the few places on earth that offers this rare phenomenon. You can find a 3-mile long pink sand beach on Harbour Island. It’s even been voted one of the top 10 sand beaches worldwide!
- Family Friendly- there’s Atlantis, unique animals and a museum dedicated to pirates, so kids are sure to have a great time. With its romantic charm, the islands are also ideal for destination weddings and honeymoons.
- Wonderful Weather- it’s warm all year round with temperatures varying between 21-32°C.
- Several Vacations in One- the fact that the Bahamas offers you quick access to 30 islands (many of which offer unique attractions) makes for a very rich and diverse visit.
All-Inclusive Resorts on Paradise Island, Bahamas
We already looked at what makes the Bahamas a great destination, now we will zoom in on one particular island: Paradise Island. What I loved about this location is that it really felt like paradise: superbly clean and beautiful. It’s modern, pristine and very tourist-centred. The Bahamas (primarily Nassau) offers an array of all-inclusive hotels, however, since Paradise Island is much smaller, the options are more limited for this type of stay. Here is a short list of resorts you can consider:
-Atlantis (the Reef, The Cove, The Royal, The Beach, etc)- 4 or 5-star depending on which accommodation you choose.
-Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island- 4-star
-Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas- 4-star, Adults Only
We spent our anniversary at Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island and were very satisfied. If I had the choice, I would always opt for all-inclusive vacations— I find it to be less work. Travelling and “touristing” can be tiring; all-inclusive resorts provide the opportunity to be pampered, which makes for a more relaxing experience. You don’t need to go in search of food three times per day (unless you want something local) and you’re not constantly checking if meals and basic amenities fit within your budget, because you paid one up-front price. For us, the Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island provided the best of both worlds: a more affordable stay and quick access to Atlantis, which was walking distance away. This meant that we were able to visit Atlantis (you can purchase a Day Pass) and save money while doing it! The Riu offers a luxurious lobby (this is quite characteristic of their hotels), beautiful rooms with a well-stocked minibar, great themed restaurants (our favourite was Krystal), a sports bar with grab-and-go foods, a lovely beach and great alcohol (we got a free bottle of wine for our anniversary and I had the best cocktail of my life: a Green Apple Martini). The only disappointments for us, having stayed at a number of Caribbean all-inclusive resorts, were that we thought the grounds were rather small and the single rise building gave more of a city-feel than a tropical getaway. However, those were less significant factors and we would highly recommend it!
What to do on Paradise Island
Atlantis is located on Paradise Island and this location alone presents a host of things to do!
In addition, there are also other attractions on Paradise Island that makes for an exciting adventure. What’s great is that since the island is so compact, you can see all of these on foot without spending extra on transportation! Here are some attractions that will strike your fancy!
- Bahama Craft Centre- here you will find authentic island creations ranging from handmade bags to hats to wooden figures. A perfect place to savour Caribbean craftmanship or to collect souvenirs.
- Marina Village- this picturesque shopping area makes for a wonderful stroll. Its colonial design is both charming and colorful and the locale provides a number of dining options including popular international restaurants such as Starbucks & Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
- Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis- a lazy river, rapid waterslides, and refreshing swimming pools. Need I say more?
- Golfing- if this is your cup of tea, or if you want to explore a new sport, then Paradise Island is your place! Courses can be found at Atlantis and the prestigious One & Only Ocean Club.
- Predator Lagoon-check out a collection of sharks in an up-close tunnel experience!
- The Iconic Chair- you really haven’t been to the Bahamas until you take a photo in the Atlantis chair. So don’t miss out on this opportunity, especially since access is free!
- Versailles Gardens and French Cloister- I could have stayed here forever! It is so gorgeous! The Romanesque architecture overlooking the beach perfectly blends the Old World with the New! The gardens, which run parallel, are green, lush and tranquil and offers an outdoor museum feel with its collection of sculptures.
When is the best time to visit the Bahamas?
Our visit was during mid-December (unfortunately, we left just a little before Junkanoo) and we enjoyed it! Although the weather is warm all year round, I’d actually recommend this period for visiting. Why? During the summer, the Caribbean can be sweltering and rainy which makes it less ideal for outdoor exploration. Additionally, the summer coincides with the hurricane season which lasts from June-November. So as a Caribbean native, my suggestion would be to visit between December-April. Unfortunately, this is the peak season, but in terms of weather, it’s most pleasant. If, however, your concern is cost, then definitely chose to travel from May-October — the off-peak season when you are more likely to find bargains!
I hope you get to experience this piece of paradise soon, as they say, “It’s better in the Bahamas”!