Real Bahamian Bliss in Bimini
Last week I left the dreary weather of Minnesota to spend a week in the Bahamas, and it was a DREAM. I couldn't have asked for better weather or company. I flew into Lauderdale on Tuesday, drove up to Palm Beach to jump on the boat, and we shipped off early Wednesday morning. I used to think the Bahama Islands were so far away (well, some of them are pretty far since there are 700 sprawling islands). But, there are some islands just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, making it really fast and simple to travel to!
Our first stop was West End, on Grand Bahama Island, where we stayed at the Old Bahama Bay Marina for a couple nights. West End is about 65 nautical miles East of Palm Beach, which you can travel to via boat or plane (there are flights into both West End and Freeport, the main city in GBI). We were able to clear immigration and customs here, and had a lot of fun exploring before heading to our final destination: Bimini!
Bimini is about 60 nautical miles South of West End and 50 nautical miles East of Miami. It took 3.5 hours to get there on our boat. Being the westernmost district of the Bahamas, Bimini consists of 3 islands: North, South, and East Bimini. North Bimini is the most popular island, offering many resorts, marinas, restaurants, and shops.
What was once a haven for pirates and rum runners during the Prohibition because of its close proximity to the U.S. and Cuba, Bimini is now a traveler's paradise. It's blessed with pristine beaches, fishing adventures, and its TRUE Bahamian island charm. Everyone's traveling to Nassau nowadays, but who do you know that's been to Bimini? Don't get me wrong, I love Atlantis (Nassau), but Bimini has so so so much more true and authentic Bahamian charm... it is way less commercialized. Bimini has remained true to its roots and culture, and that's my favorite part about this place, and why I will keep coming here...*end of rant* LOL.
I highly recommend staying at the grand Resorts World if you come to Bimini; I think it's one of the best "long weekend" getaways out there, hands down. Here's my travel guide to Bimini, covering everything from transportation to drink recommendations :)
1. How to get to Bimini
If you have your own boat in Florida, traveling to Bimini can be a piece of cake (if the water is remotely calm). I recommend calling Resorts World well in advance to make a slip reservation. I noticed their "Fishing Village" marina didn't have many slips, probably due to hurricane damage.
You can also fly to Bimini, which is a quick 30 minute flight from a few South Florida airports. There are also direct flights from New York. Miami and Lauderdale offer sea plane flights, which land directly at Resorts World, which is pretty darn cool! There is a "fast" ferry that leaves out of Miami Seaport, and takes just 2 hours to arrive in Bimini. If seas are favorable you'll get to relax on the sundeck of the 170-foot catamaran with a cocktail in your hand!
2. Resorts World Amenities
You have several options for lodging at RW. If you traveled there on your boat you can stay at the marina. You can also book a suite at the hotel, or rent a private condo. All options are top notch, and you'll have full access to all of the resort's amenities!
Cross off some bucket list items at RW's on-property water sports center (Bimini Undersea). Snorkel real shipwrecks, dive with sharks, or take a cruise to the nearby Honeymoon Harbor to swim with manta rays and dolphins. You can rent a paddle board, jet ski, kayak, or bike from Bimini Undersea and head out to one of the white-sand beaches on property.
Inside the resort, you'll find world-class dining, a spa and salon, fitness center, and a casino! RW has three pools for you to choose from: a main level pool with a swim-up bar, a rooftop infinity pool, and the Sabor Pool which is right next to the resort's signature seafood and steak restaurant.
There are two private white-sand beaches, each offering a different vibe. My favorite is Luna's Restaurant & Beach Club. During the day, you can grab a Bahamian Kalik beer or frozen piña colada at the brand new bar and plop down under a tiki umbrella on the white-sand beach to relax. The Luna Beach Club plays the BEST music, and has an unparalleled view of the ocean. They also host nightly Junkanoo Bands so you can get your groove on or just get some good people watching/entertainment for the evening.
Fisherman's village is an adorable marketplace, where you can find upscale resort wear and trinkets, restaurants, and bars. I loved exploring this area! (Hint: make sure you take your camera along, because it's so cute). This is also where the Dockmaster's office is located.
You won't see all that many cars driving around Bimini because golf carts are the best way to get around the island! I highly recommend renting one from RW so that you can go into town and explore the island on your own. RW also has their own extended golf cart that escorts many guests around the property.
3. Things to Do in Bimini
Once you make it off the resort's property, you can explore North Bimini Island and all of it's unique treasures. RW is on the North end of the island, so it's time to head South! Make your way down the narrow and winding road that passes through Bailey Town and Alice Town. There are plenty of stops to make along the way...
For sure make a pit stop at Joe's Conch Shack to grab a bowl of conch salad and an ice cold Kalik. You will also pass Porgy Beach with all the conch shells! The Big Game Club and Marina sits on some of the prettiest water and has a fun bar/restaurant.
After BGC, there's a super interesting museum called The Dolphin House. Legend has it that Ashley Saunders began created the famed Dolphin House in 1993 after a profound encounter whelk swimming with wild dolphins. He's been building the tribute ever since. Stop in and marvel at mosaic covered walls of tiles, shells, bottles, coins and everything in between.
Once you reach "the end of the road" you'll be at one of my favorite spots to get out and take a photo by the ocean. If you're looking for activities off the island, RW offers a variety of excursions such as fishing charters, deep sea dives, jet ski tours, shipwreck snorkeling, dolphin, sting ray, and shark expeditions. For something not so wild, try the heritage and nature tour of Bimini.
4. Where to Eat & Drink
There are plenty to choose from! Here are some of my favorites:
Sabor (RW) Fresh seafood and steak.
Sushi Bar (RW) Sushi and noodles.
Luna Beach Club (RW) Bahamian-Mediterranean fusion.
Joe's Conch Shack (Bailey Town) Conch salad and friend conch.
Edith's Pizza & Takeout (Bailey Town) Lobster pizza made with Bahamian bread!
Bimini Big Game Club Bar & Grill (BGC) Fresh caught fish, steaks, burgers.
Sharkies (BGC) Ribs, jerk chicken, grilled conch.
If you'd ask me if I'd go back to Bimini, I'd say, "yes!" in a heartbeat. Actually, I've made it here the past two years in a row, and I'd love to make it an annual trip. The water, the culture, the food, it's just so vibrant and fun. My heart is so happy while I'm in Bimini, and it wouldn't be the same without the charming locals, who always have a smile on their faces. I hope this post convinces you to at least do some of your own research on Bimini, and hopefully make it there someday for your own Bahamian adventure!