First time to the Bahamas
07.01.2012 - 07.06.2012 88 °F
Day 1 - Arrival Day
After an easy 2 and a half hour flight, we arrived in Nassau, Bahamas.
The airport was a bit crowded and the lines were long through customs, but luckily they moved quickly. We grabbed a taxi and made it to Compass Point Beach Resort in a matter of minutes.
Originally I had booked a room at the Sheraton on Cable Beach, however after reading inconsistent reviews and the construction of Baha Mar nearby, I decided it would be better to stay at a smaller resort on the western end of New Providence Island.
Compass Point was originally founded more than 30 years ago by Island Records’ Chris Blackwell. Compass Point once provided recording studios to famous musicians such as Bob Marley and U2. The boutique style hotel is painted with vibrant colors referred to as ‘Junkanoo’.
I was so happy that I changed where we were staying. Once we were dropped off, we were told that our room would be ready soon but enjoy a cold beverage at their outdoor bar.
My husband and I ordered two rum punches and sat at one of the tables as we toasted to the start of a great relaxing vacation.
Before long, we were told our room was ready. It was a Sunday, so there wasn’t extra help available to bring our luggage to are room. In addition to our luggage, we had provisions that I had ordered ahead of time from an online service called Foodstogo.com. There was a large box waiting for us near the front desk. We walked to our room with our luggage to #111.
We had an elevated seaview room located just a short walk away from the beach. We then headed back to grab our provisions. It was nice to have bottles of water, juice, and beer available right when we got there and saved us a lot of money.
The room was adequate and size and had a rustic feel to it. The history of music at Compass Point was evident with a description about Celine Dion hanging on the wall.
We had a small balcony that overlooked the grounds and views of the brilliant blue green hues of the ocean.
There were wooden chairs on the balcony and a wooden picnic table down below for relaxing - with a wet bar and refrigerator.
The one thing I would suggest to them, either provide cushions on the chairs, and/or replace the chairs on the balcony that are a little more comfortable. After sitting in the wooden chairs after a while, it did get uncomfortable.
Soon it was time to get ready for dinner. The restaurant at Compass Point provides a beautiful view of the water. We shared an appetizer of tempura battered shrimp that was quite tasty.
I decided to order the whole stuffed snapper and my husband had the bolognese.
I had no idea what the size of the snapper was going to be, but boy it was HUGE. I managed to eat a lot of it and was pretty full afterwards. We walked back to our room to call it a night.
Day 2 - First Full Day
The next morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny day.
There was a nice breeze that made it very comfortable. We sat outside again at the restaurant and enjoyed a good breakfast. We loved how empty the resort felt. With only 19 rooms, the place never felt busy or overrun with tourists.
After breakfast we headed back to our room to grab some bottles of water and our snorkel gear. We followed the walkway to the end of the resort and headed to Love Beach. There were a few adirondack chairs that were available for the guests staying at Compass Point.
We were the only ones one the beach and it was very relaxing. I tried snorkeling just off the beach, however I was hesitant to go out too far by myself. I only saw a few fish but nothing really to write about.
A few hours passed by and we were getting thirsty. The sun was strong even though there was a pleasant breeze. We walked back to our room to grab a few beers. After a few minutes we noticed that housekeeping was coming by to freshen up our room. We told her not a problem and we’ll head down to the bar for a few. She then mentioned that the kitchen was closed but we were not concerned, figuring they were in between shifts.
We got to the bar and ordered a couple of rum punches. My husband began talking to the restaurant manager Jamale who was very friendly.
He mentioned to us that the restaurant was closed due to last minute reservations? As an alternative, there would be a limited menu consisting of fresh grilled seafood and other options. All food would be free of charge for guests staying at Compass Point due to the inconvenience - only beverages would be charged. It was a bit of a let down but, we were open to the idea of fresh grilled seafood. We chatted a little more before heading back to our room to get freshened up for dinner.
When we walked back to the dining area we noticed a hue make shift bbq grill/smoker. The food smelled delicious and we were eager to try the revised menu. We sat down and ordered a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc. We were given menus and noticed it was very limited with only a few options. It was fine since they had grilled red snapper and my husband ordered the grilled shrimp. Each entree had a side included. We both opted for the salad and enjoyed a nice but light dinner. (We never got the real story from the resort, some of the staff said it was renovations, while others mentioned a kitchen emergency....)
After dinner we grabbed a few seats along the water near the bar area and watched a beautiful sunset.
I took a lot of pictures trying to catch the green flash, but unfortunately the sun disappeared behind the clouds before touching the water. Nevertheless I was able to get a few pictures of the sunset.
Soon it was time to head back to our room since we had to be up early for the Island World Adventures excursion to the Exumas.
Day 3 - Island World Adventures
Waking up early wasn’t really a problem during our trip since every morning we were woken up by some mysterious bird that liked to let everyone know it was 5am. Usually around 6am he would quiet back down but he was very loud. Around 7:15 we received a call from Island World that a shuttle would be picking us up at 7:45am to take us to the dock. Since we were staying at one of the furthest hotels from Paradise Island, we were the first ones to be picked up. Another couple staying at the resort was also heading out so it was nice to have company along the way to Paradise Island.
We hopped into the shuttle and headed down West Bay Street. The first stop we pulled into was the Sandals resort. The resort was very impressive looking with statues and elaborate architecture. Our next stop was the Sheraton on Cable Beach. I was very curious to see the hotel since I had originally booked our vacation there. We pulled up to the lobby and it looked like a typical Sheraton hotel. I was quite relieved that we didn’t stay there since I noticed how busy the hotel was. The next stop was the Wyndham, which was located right next door. Again the hotel itself wasn’t anything impressive to look at.
We then drove around the enormous Baha Mar construction site. I can only imagine what this place will look like once its completed. The area is huge and it took a few minutes to get around it. Signs indicated that Baha Mar would be completed in the fall of 2014. I would be very curious to see the final result.
After a few more stops, we finally made it to the bridge which lead us onto Paradise Island.
Immediately you could see the tall buildings consisting of the Atlantis Resort. WOW. The Atlantis looked like its own city on Paradise Island. We parked at the dock and went to the counter to pay for our day excursion at $200 each. (We did get an additional 10% off for booking online) The price seemed a bit high, but when they offer all you can eat and drink, we thought it was a good price.
Everyone headed to the dock where two boats were waiting for us. We were directed into the one boat when my husband asked one of the staff if the back of the boat would be better then the front. He said that the rear is calmer then the front, so we grabbed the two back seats on the left hand side of the boat. After listening to the safety rules and what to expect during the day we were headed off.
The Northern Exumas are located about 42 miles away so the ride was over an hour and 10 minutes. The two boats went pretty fast and soon enough we were starting to get sprayed with water. Being that my husband was sitting on the edge of the boat, he got the worst of it. Even one of the guys from the boat asked if my husband would like to be moved or a rain jacket! He made the best of it as he continued to get hit with tons of water. At one point he put on a snorkel mask just to stop the burning of the salt water in his eyes.
We finally made it to our first stop Leaf Cay, to feed the iguanas. We pulled up to waist high water where everyone got out of the boats. Since the water wasn’t too deep, we were able to grab a few beers and our camera.
Once we were on the beach the iguanas would come up to you. The staff gave us grapes to put on to the end of sticks to feed them. You can tell they were used to this ordeal and weren’t too scared of people. It was funny to see them come up you for the food.
Once everyone had their fill of feeding the iguanas we were guided back to the boats. The second stop on the tour was the sand bar. As we got closer to where the sand bar was, you could notice the difference in the color of the water. The blues and greens were amazing.
Unfortunately it was high tide so the sand bar wasn’t fully visible. The water was covering a few inches above the sand bar but you could still walk around on it. We all got off the boat and walked over towards the sand bar. Again, it was only about waist high so you could grab anything you wanted to. We had about 35 min. to relax on the sand bar so we grabbed some cold ones and took some photos. It was really beautiful.
35 minutes had passed and everyone was back on the boats. Our next stop was Saddleback Cay, where we would have lunch and refreshments. Once we docked onto Saddleback Cay, we walked up towards the bar area. Walking around reminded me of being on the set of Survivor headed to tribal council.
There were boardwalks everywhere directing you to different areas along the island with views of the beach. We walked down towards the beach area to sit down for a bit. Everyone grabbed some snacks that were provided, along with a few beverages.
Once everyone was settled in, the staff told us to head on back onto the boats for a snorkel trip. My husband and I were quite comfortable at this point and really didn’t want to leave.
While everyone was being fitted for snorkel gear, I asked one of the guys if it was okay if we decided not to go? He said it was fine and to relax. This was probably one of the best ideas we could have thought of. We headed back to grab a few rum punches and relax near the beach. Once everyone left, it was so quite. We had the entire beach to ourselves and the bar was available without any lines!
The bartender was very friendly and we chatted for a bit as he was preparing lunch for everyone. An hour went by as we started to hear the boats return. Our quiet paradise was over! It was okay, however it was nice to have some time to ourselves. Since we were already there, we were able to grab some lunch right away. The lunch consisted of bbq chicken, grilled fresh grouper, pasta salads, bean salad, etc.
We were told to save our chicken bones, because after we were done with our lunch, we would head over to the dock to feed the sharks. We also had to be careful while we ate since the seagulls were relentless. At one point my husband walked away from his plate and the seagull scooped up an entire piece of chicken. (I didn’t think they would eat their own kind!)
Once everyone was done eating, they headed over to the edge of the dock to feed the sharks. There were lemon and nurse sharks swimming below as people started to through their leftovers into the water. At least there was no waste!
With everyone fed, we all walked back to the boats for our trip back home. My husband was assured the way back would not be as bad like the way there since the wind was in the other direction. Luckily he was right as we had a drier way back towards Paradise Island.
We made it back after about another hour and ten minutes to the dock. We thanked and tipped the staff before we headed back to the shuttle. It was a long day as we finally made it back to our hotel. Once again since we were on the other side of the island, we were the last ones dropped off around 6pm. I would highly recommend this trip http://islandworldadventures.com/index.html
We were exhausted and decided to stay at the resort for dinner. Again we were offered the limited grill menu. This time we shared the grilled shrimp as an appetizer and I had the grilled red snapper (again) and my husband had the grilled pork chop.
After dinner we had a nightcap of very good mojitos before heading in for the night.
Day 4 - Fourth of July
We woke up to another wonderful day of sunshine. We were told by the locals that we probably picked the best week, because for the past month they were having nothing but rain showers. We grabbed two seats at the outdoor area and were given a limited breakfast menu of two choices - panini sandwiches or an omelet. We choose to go with the omelet. Compass Point’s rates included a $15 per person credit towards breakfast. Everything had a 15% gratuity on it (which is standard in the Bahamas). So we wound up only paying about $4 a day for breakfast - which wasn’t a bad deal. (Another side note, you would sometimes get money back in Bahamian but the exchange rate is equal - $1 for a $1 - just be sure to use it up before you head back home)
Feeling a bit burned from being on the water all day, we wanted to relax in the shade. We thought about heading into Nassau for the day to do some shopping and maybe stop at Senor Frogs or the Green Parrot. We walked to the front desk to ask about the easiest way to get into town. The manager at Compass Point pretty much told us it wasn’t worth going in to Nassau. He mentioned the Straw Market but said it wasn’t really all that besides over priced stores, etc. I was a bit surprised, we agreed to set up at the pool area where we could grab some shade under an umbrella. It was a nice way to spend the day.
We took a break and took some pictures of the famous pier at Compass Point.
The afternoon was spent relaxing and grabbing a few cold ones at our room. It was just what we were looking for. Since the kitchen was still closed, we wanted to try something different for dinner.
I recently found reviews online prior to our arrival about The Beach Club Cafe located just outside Sandyport which is about a 10 min. cab ride away. I had made reservations to sit outside at 6:30.
Soon it was time to get ready and head out to dinner. The front desk called a cab for us and our room was called when the cab was there. We pulled up to cafe and I was quite excited to have something different for dinner. Once we sat down outside, we noticed that there were a lot of flies and only one other table. We were asked to be moved inside, which they accommodated us. We figured it wouldn’t be a problem since they weren’t busy.
My husband’s drink of Belvidere vodka and tonic, consisted of just seltzer water. I didn’t think it would indicate anything negative so we just ordered our dinner.
The first course was very good - shrimp spring rolls with bamboo shoots which I had, and my husband had the spicy conch salad with mixed chilies.
For dinner I ordered the thai-style sauteed snapper with rapini, and my husband had the linguine with roasted lobster tails and creamy tomato sauce.
While my husband thoroughly enjoyed his dinner, I wasn’t too crazy about mine. Unfortunately, the piece of snapper I was given was not very good - very firm and fishy tasting. I wasn’t too hungry at this point so I ate the other items that came on the plate. If it wasn’t for the good appetizers and my husband’s entree I would have given the restaurant poor review. I think this place does have potential - maybe I just ordered the wrong thing. As we waited for the taxi to take us back, we noticed the place starting to fill up. It seemed that it was more of a late night type of place.
Our taxi finally made it and we were driven back to Compass Point. We had a night cap before heading back to our room. We also noticed that the bar area at Compass Point does fill up at night quite a bit with locals and guests staying at nearby condos.
It was the Fourth of July but there weren’t any fireworks nearby - only on Cable Beach and Paradise Island. We
turned on the TV and just watched the Macy’s Fireworks. We were able to hear the fireworks nearby but couldn’t see them.
Day 5 - Our Last Full Day
We woke up to another beautiful day.
I was a bit relieved since during the night I was woken up by the sounds of pouring rain - which is typical this time of year in the Bahamas.
The kitchen was still closed so we still had a limited selection for breakfast. We enjoyed another breakfast as we contemplated what to do for our last day. We figured that being it was our last day, to spend some time on the beach.
We walked over where we were the only people on the beach once again. Eventually we weren’t the only people as we saw two dogs accompanied by her owner as they played in the water while she was taking their pictures.
Once we took our last swim in the water, we headed back for a few beers at our room.
We played a few rounds of cards as we enjoyed our last day. The anticipation of leaving the next day was beginning to set in.
For dinner, I wanted to try another restaurant. On the way to The Beach Club Cafe, I noticed signs for the Poop Deck. I called and they had availability for dinner. We eventually got ready and headed to the Poop Deck in nearby Sandyport.
We pulled up to the restaurant and walked in. Before we were seated, we were shown the fresh fish shown on display on ice as ‘the catch of the day’. It was snapper, but at this point I was had enough of snapper. We were seated outside where you could see the Atlantis far off in the distance.
For our appetizers I had the fried calamari, while my husband had the sauteed calamari.
Unfortunately once the food was brought out, we were attacked by flies. We couldn’t figure out why no one else was? Then we saw citronella sternos that were on the other tables besides ours. One of the nearby tables offered one for us, but it didn’t help. I am not sure if was because of the smell of the food or what. We were asked to be seated inside which wasn’t a problem.
Dinner was also very good. I had the herb crusted grouper and my husband ordered the fisherman’s platter. I realized that anything that was served in a ceramic bowl was very good and loaded with fresh garlic.
We were too full to order dessert, but had a wonder dinner. Our cab driver was waiting for us by the time we were done and headed back to Compass Point.
It was our last night so we enjoyed it with another great mojito at the bar. We watched the sunset again for the last time.
Day 6 - Back Home
Another beautiful morning and we were heading home. We were both ready to head back at this point. It was a great trip. Beautiful beach, beautiful resort and beautiful weather.
We had our last breakfast outside before checking out. We only had to be at the airport 2 hours ahead of our flight time so we had time for one last cocktail.
When it was time to go, it was a nice and quick 2 min. cab ride back to the airport. We checked in with ease before heading to the US customs line. We walked in and noticed there were two lines. We figured we would go in the line with less people. As we waited and waited, we noticed that more people were on the other side. Eventually we made it to the customs agent where we were told we were in the foreigners line. Luckily she let us through without putting us in the other line. Note to self, read the signs carefully! (Stay to the right as you walk through the doors)
After a quiet 2 and hour flight we were back home in NJ. We both agreed though, that the Bahamas far exceeded our expectations. It was the perfect place to spend a relaxing vacation where the beaches were beautiful and the people there were warm and friendly.
Until next time.....