Let's say I know nothing about the Bahamas

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DustyC

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So my fiance and I, and her 2 kids (10 and 13) have decided that the Bahamas are our leading candidate for our next trip.

Most of my dive travel has been to Bonaire, and I love that style of vacation. But it starts getting cost prohibitive for 4 and the airfare there. Economy there tends to be more expensive than first class into Nassau.

We know 2 things about the Bahamas, the pics are beautiful and there are a LOT of islands.

We're not liveaboard types, which is the only type of trip offered by my local shops.

What we like is doing a vrbo or similar on the water, doing some cooking, doing some eating out, and just exploring and enjoying a slow pace for a low key trip.

The kids aren't divers, but we generally like to get a few days of diving in. We will likely have another family or 2, so child care on our diving days isn't an issue.

So with all that in mind, advice?

Which islands can support that vacation style?
If not one easy to fly to from the US, what do the ferry or island Hoppers look like service and price wise?
Anything I should know that's not obvious?
 

flyboy08

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Nassau and Stewarts Cove Divers.
 

Wookie

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Bimini and Neal Watson
 

drrich2

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Most of my dive travel has been to Bonaire, and I love that style of vacation. But it starts getting cost prohibitive for 4 and the airfare there. Economy there tends to be more expensive than first class into Nassau.
I've visited Nassau twice on cruise stops, haven't dove there, and via cruise excursions visited little Pearl Island and also a place called Blue Lagoon (for a sea lion experience). Nassau looks rather covered in development; I've noticed on a cruise forum called CruiseCritic.com it's one of those unpopular ports (as in, some people don't bother getting off the ship when it stops there). So my concerns with Nassau are 2nd hand as I haven't stayed there, but they may be worth passing along, anyway. On the other hand, because it is a frequent cruise ship stop, it has an excursion infrastructure in place, and via 'Things to Do' on TripAdvisor.com, I imagine you can hunt up a number of options and book without being a cruiser.

What all are you guys looking to do topside? If off-island excursions are a concern, factor the cost of those into your trip.

I don't know about Grand Bahama other than Tiger Beach is near it; Wookie mentioned Bimini, which is known for great hammerheads. The Bahamas in general are known for Caribbean reef sharks. Is shark diving important to this trip, and what species do you seek? I've heard of oceanic white-tip diving near Cat Island.

P.S.: I recently learned airfare to Bonaire is sometimes much cheaper flying Wed. to Wed. instead of Saturday to Saturday, and someone else mentioned saving using Friday. For a flight I booked, around $722 cheaper. Fair was around $566 and something cents. Granted, that's money when traveling with 4, but still...
 

broncobowsher

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Can't help, only done the boats.

But the airport situation is interesting. It's an domestic American airport. As in when you leave the country you process American immigration and customs before you fly out, not when you land. So when you get back into the United states you land like any other domestic flight.

Former British colony so traffic drives on the left. Keep that in mind as you try to cross the street. The nicer cars are American so the steering wheel is on the wrong side, the other cars are used JDM exports. So an interesting blend of vehicles.
 

Redfoot

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I have not been here, but was with a couple on a liveaboard who had stayed and dove, and they absolutely loved it.

 

DustyC

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I've visited Nassau twice on cruise stops, haven't dove there, and via cruise excursions visited little Pearl Island and also a place called Blue Lagoon (for a sea lion experience). Nassau looks rather covered in development; I've noticed on a cruise forum called CruiseCritic.com it's one of those unpopular ports (as in, some people don't bother getting off the ship when it stops there). So my concerns with Nassau are 2nd hand as I haven't stayed there, but they may be worth passing along, anyway. On the other hand, because it is a frequent cruise ship stop, it has an excursion infrastructure in place, and via 'Things to Do' on TripAdvisor.com, I imagine you can hunt up a number of options and book without being a cruiser.

What all are you guys looking to do topside? If off-island excursions are a concern, factor the cost of those into your trip.

I don't know about Grand Bahama other than Tiger Beach is near it; Wookie mentioned Bimini, which is known for great hammerheads. The Bahamas in general are known for Caribbean reef sharks. Is shark diving important to this trip, and what species do you seek? I've heard of oceanic white-tip diving near Cat Island.

P.S.: I recently learned airfare to Bonaire is sometimes much cheaper flying Wed. to Wed. instead of Saturday to Saturday, and someone else mentioned saving using Friday. For a flight I booked, around $722 cheaper. Fair was around $566 and something cents. Granted, that's money when traveling with 4, but still...
Yeah, I fly down on Wednesdays. I fear that with the development going on, it's going to get too populous for my tastes.

As far as excursions go, if we have food, a beach, and diving we're happy. All adults considering going are Healthcare workers and pretty much over crowds and people at this point.

I'd love to encounter some sharks, but a packed cattle boat shark feed sounds about as fun as breaking my own toes.
 

drrich2

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No disrespect to the Bahamas, but if you like Bonaire, want sandy beach, prefer a less populous setting (but maybe a 45-minute drive to a decent-sized Caribbean city with entertainment attractions would be okay?)...did you consider Curacao, perhaps the West Punt region far from Willemstad? Airfare will probably still get you, and this may not be viable; just throwing the idea out there.

P.S.: On further searching, I see back in 2017 some others discussed the idea with you in an old thread.
 

DustyC

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No disrespect to the Bahamas, but if you like Bonaire, want sandy beach, prefer a less populous setting (but maybe a 45-minute drive to a decent-sized Caribbean city with entertainment attractions would be okay?)...did you consider Curacao, perhaps the West Punt region far from Willemstad? Airfare will probably still get you, and this may not be viable; just throwing the idea out there.

P.S.: On further searching, I see back in 2017 some others discussed the idea with you in an old thread.
Part of the Bahamas trip is retirement scouting, otherwise Curacao would be considered.
 

flyboy08

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We had a lot of white tips swimming among us on every dive with SC...just sayn...
 
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