Paradise Revisited on a Journey to Grand Bahama Island
By: Mark Traverso
“Vacation” can mean different things to different people. For some, it can mean a break from the sights and sounds of their everyday life-pure relaxation in some not-yet-experienced paradise. Others might prefer an edgier foray into a vast menu of things not yet accomplished. Whether you want a full complement of activities, or prefer to do nothing at all, Port Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island is exactly what any vacationer could want on a Journey to Grand Bahama Island.
Port Lucayan Bahamians offer a ready welcome with their natural sense of hospitality. From the moment you arrive until you depart, you are bathed in their easy smiles, their memorable local dishes, and a culture of folks who recognize that they live in paradise and aren’t afraid to share it. And paradise it is: Grand Bahama Island benefits from abundant sunshine, and an average temperature of 70-75 degrees in the winter and the low 80’s in the summer. Even the rainiest months of August and September still average over seven hours of sunshine per day. This is what you as a traveler can look forward to on your Journey to Grand Bahama Island.
Of course, along with the weather, the sea is a big part of the paradise formula, and the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean are central to the Bahamian experience. Water sports include swimming, fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling. For sailors, the constant winds and steady current of the Gulf Stream make for year-round ideal conditions.
And for those who like to experience the water without actually getting wet, Grand Bahama Island offers some of the longest stretches of pristine, undeveloped beaches anywhere in the world. The producers of the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise knew this, as they shot several scenes on various beaches around the island. The Lucayan National Park was one of their locations, and along with those sparkling, rugged beaches, the park features caves, pine forests, sand dunes, and some of the most unique landscaping in all of the Caribbean.
Another must-do – especially for children – is the Dolphin Experience offered by Unexso. The two-hour interactive excursion begins with a short boat ride from the Unexso dock at Port Lucaya to Sanctuary Bay. After arrival, friendly and informed guides discuss all aspects of the dolphin’s life and behaviors in an entertaining and educational orientation session. Then the fun really begins, as guests enter the waist-deep water and are invited to pet the animals and witness up-close their amazing abilities. The guide puts a pair of dolphins through a series of activities designed to show both their physical prowess and cognitive talents, and the session ends with a personal dolphin kiss and photo opportunity for each guest.
There are many beautiful places to stay on Grand Bahama. On this trip, we stayed at Taino Beach Resort. This pristine beachfront property offers traditional resort accommodations, as well as, vacation club membership and timeshare offerings. Families of all sizes can be accommodated in everything from efficiency studios to luxurious grand villas. All units include modern kitchens, spacious well-appointed bedrooms and high-end furnishings. Many units also include a private lounging pool on the balcony. There is also a beautiful lagoon resort pool featuring a fantastic water slide and a unique bar in a grotto cave serving all kinds of tropical drinks, as well as, wine and other spirits.
While it may be tempting to spend the afternoon entrenched at one of the luxury resorts, there are still plenty more activities available near Port Lucaya. Golfers will find four well-conditioned, championship courses built by such design luminaries as Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Dick Wilson, and Jim Fazio. The Our Lucayan Reef Course is home to the Butch Hamon School of Golf and is consistently ranked in the top three golf courses in the Caribbean. All of the courses cater to both experts and novices, and their routing takes full advantage of the breathtaking tropical scenery.
Another unique and memorable activity is seeing the island on horseback through the Ultimate Eco-Tour offered by Pine Tree Stables. The two-hour guided ride is open to both novices and experienced riders. The trail winds its way through an endangered pine forest, past a castle, over rolling sand dunes, across the beach and into the sea, where both the horses and riders enjoy the clear, cooling waters. Trail guides Chris and Linda offer learned insight into everything from the tropical ecosystem to the history of the island, and they were more than willing to help with any photos, providing lasting memories of a beautiful day on the island.
Whether your time on Grand Bahama is packed with activity or languid bliss, the memories will be plentiful in this tropical paradise.