We were superstars about lockdown. We were hermits. We masked. We bubbled. We vaccinated. We masked. We ventured out. We masked. We boosted. We locked down.
Then we cracked. We knew that Omicron might upset our plans to spend 12 days in the Bahamas this month. But as the date got closer we became more and more determined to go come hell or high water. I joked to friends and family that we were keeping ourselves negative long enough so that we could go to the Bahamas and get Covid. We were still cautious, but whatever fear we had about venturing to a country with a 37% vaccination rate was mitigated by the fact that we needed to get the hell out of Dodge.
So, after five flights (including some tiny airplanes where the pilot’s face mask was doing a good job keeping his chin warm), three hotels, and about 10 restaurant meals we managed to get ourselves home without getting Covid.
In addition to staying healthy and getting to spend a lot of time on the beach, it was also kind of nice to let go of some of the fear. We’ve been Pfizered thrice, we were still aware of our surroundings, masking, and reducing our risk…but we started to get over the feeling of being under assault and even managed to stop wanting to assault people who weren’t wearing masks.
First Stop (from my bucket list): Atlantis
For about 20 years, I have been dying to go to Atlantis.–waterslides that require a fair amount of courage, and a lazy river that is actually a Rapid River. Totally brings out the 12-year old in me. John, on the other hand, has been wanting to go to the much quieter part of the Bahamas for at least as long, but has been afraid to show his interest in Atlantis lest I drag him to the Bahamas without being able to go to Harbour Island. But, since Harbour Island was next on the itinerary, he actually had fun.
Either because of Covid or the time of year, it wasn’t crowded at all and we never really had to wait in any lines to go on any of the slides. I would probably like it less if it had been hotter and crammed with people. All in all, I’m glad I went and we definitely had fun, but I’m not sure I need to go again.
We didn’t know if we’d be able to go until 48 hours prior to leaving. But the test came back negative so we were off. We also had a (planned) overnight layover in Houston that had me worried about flight cancellations to Nassau, but United’s vax policy has kept them in pretty good shape and our flight arrived in the Bahamas without a hitch.
The view from our room in The Cove, Atlantis’s more adult friendly hotel onsite. What you don’t see are many more pools, the Rapid River, or any of the crazy slides in the two structures you see across the way. This is also not a bad stretch of beach. (Certainly much better than the beach at the Baha Mar complex about 12 minutes away, more on that further down the page.) I will also say that the food was better than expected. I was particularly surprised at how good room service was.
Second stop (from John’s bucket list): Harbour Island
We had to get tested again to go to another island. Most (if not all) hotel properties have testing onsite that you can schedule once you check-in to ensure you can make it to your next destination (or home). Very convenient.
20 minute flight from Nassau to North Eleuthera, five minute taxi ride to the dock, 10 minute boat trip to Harbour Island, and then another three minutes in a taxi. (You can see me preparing tip money.)
John has wanted to go to Harbour Island for a long, long time. It has a long association with David Hicks and now style maven India Hicks. It is small, and quiet, and has some pretty nice places to stay. The eastern side of Harbour Island faces out to the Atlantic and has, by far, the best beach on the island.
Our resort had bikes you could use. We never touched them…but they make a nice photo. There are very few cars on the island so most people get around on golf carts. That can be a bit dodgy when you are trying to get to dinner in the driving wind and rain. Thankfully I was able to time our comings and goings with doppler radar projections online, so we stayed fairly dry.
The restaurant at the Pink Sands. We had a few meals here.
Our home for seven nights. The bed was blessedly firm.
The sand is so powdery and delightful, and there are no rocks or coral (or weeds) when you get in the water. It’s just absolutely delightful. This might possibly be the best beach we have ever experienced. If the wet sand looks a little pink to you, that’s because it is. Just enough pulverized coral to make it look pink.
I have no interest in being on a wet horse, but they were pretty to look at. Especially as I plowed my way through Lonesome Dove.
The view from our breakfast and lunch perch at the resort.
The nice thing about staying so close to the beach is you can jump in whenever you feel like it. One evening we even swam a bit in the rain.
It could get a tad bit chilly as the sun was going down, but still perfect for napping…I mean reading.
I’ve turned John into a Nevil Shute fan.
Once windy night we heard a thud on the roof which I said was probably a coconut. Turns out it was our umbrella. Couldn’t believe it made it up there and then didn’t blow away again.
Stop 3: Rosewood Baha Mar
Since we were on a tiny plane to get to and from Harbour Island, I wanted to leave us a cushion before our flight back to DC, so we stayed two nights at the Rosewood Hotel in the Baha Mar development near in Nassau. Baha Mar is has three or four large hotels, tons of restaurants, bars, pools, shops, a casino, and a waterpark. What it doesn’t have is a good beach. The one at Atlantis is much better and, of course, the one on Harbour Island was the best.
Originally we were supposed to be on a trip during this period from Singapore to Hong Kong. On that itinerary we were set to stay at two Rosewood properties (Bangkok and Hong Kong). Since we couldn’t do that we thought we would try the Rosewood in the Bahamas. Extremely nice property (and very expensive). But one HUGE flaw was that the fancy lighting system in our room could go low, medium, and high. But it was all or nothing! There was no way to independently operate the lamps or other lights. Was quite annoying for reading.
If the Pink Sands had the best beach of my life, the Rosewood had the best pool service I have ever encountered. This is what happened when I asked for water (after pressing the service button on our umbrella). And they were super attentive. What I don’t show here is the fact that they also served us the best piña coladas of our lives as well. It’s our beach vacation drink of choice, and up to now, our favorite was the lava flow at the Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. But the one they served at the Rosewood is a reason unto itself to stay there again.
We were relaxed enough at this point that we actually kept our massage appointments (with masks) and they too were fabulous. And then one more negative test and we made it home to Lucy.
Exquisite photos! Thanks for taking us along on your trip to the Bahamas…really loved reading about it!
It always warms my heart to hear that a tourist visited my birth island Briland and enjoyed there stay. I often brag about our Pink sand beach. If you went to a little pub where there was a band playing chances are you met my brothers Dwight and Wayde Stewart. Thanks for shariny your experience.
This sounds lovely! Do you have a picture of the lazy river? Did you go just in your body or on a tube? I also have Harbour Island on my list but I don’t want to take a tiny plane….
You need a tube on the not-so-lazy River. But you can get a two person. It will actually take you to two water slides. And it’s not so rough you cant enjoy a pina colada as you float around.
Oh and we went to Harbour Island last summer. We flew from Miami to N Eleuthra on a regional jet, just like we did to Nassau. Our next trip we are considering Atlantis first. Then the little plane or a 3 hour boat ride over. We stayed at The Dunmore and it was awesome.
If you do Nassau, check out John Watling Distillery. Trust me.
I live in The Bahamas and your statistics aren’t correct., over 50% of the population has been fully vaccinated and the number is steadily growing. Our government has encouraged persons to vaccinate but its a personal choice.
I’ve been to Atlantis 3 times, over the years: the Lazy River ride is done by straddling a tube they provide and then you just let the water’s current move you nicely along. It’s a fun ride around the area!
Those photos are amazing!
Thank you for this lovely post –like a mini vacation for me reading it. I also appreciate what you say about having a check on the free floating anxiety of being, well, anywhere with other humans.
Loved this post! The photos were terrific and I really enjoyed reading all about your trip – sounded amazing! Thanks so much for sharing it with us :)
Well done, thank you for sharing your trip! We have been so careful we’ve managed not to manage to get away at all, but I’m sending Mr Liz off to the Canaries on his own soon as his SAD is terrible and he needs some sun. Safer for one of us to get stuck than both, we think.
Love both Atlantis and Harbour Island. We’re combining the two next time.
We just got back from 5 nights at Rosewood Baha Mar and it was one of our best vacations. We have been to Atlantis 5 times and feel that cable beach is much nicer. I don’t know if people are still scared away or it’s slow season but the place was darn near empty. We had a 1 bedroom suite with butler service and it was absolutely amazing. Cabana Bay, part of the property, has a lazy River and an incredible water park. We can’t wait to go back.
Arguably one of the most pretentious, arrogant and useless articles I have read in a long time! Top ten list for sure!!
Atlantis is great, by the way. An unbelievable experience to see amazing sea life. The Bahamas has taken a beating as tourism has suffered immensely and they depend on it.
I have nightmares of being trapped at a dinner party next to the author. I understand the emphasis on the need to drink.
Can you believe the pilot had his mask around his chin??????
Glad you enjoyed your trip and you did not allow Omicron to ruin your plans. Thanks for sharing,photos were stunning. However, I must tell you the most beautiful beaches in the Bahamas are actually in Exuma. So if ever you plan to return take a chance visiting this island gem.
Very nice pictures, the out islands are very nice. I have been to all of them. Also flying in a small plane is very safe. I have been doing it for 55 years with no accidents.
Thanks for coming to the bahamas and staying atlantis I work at the reef is the residence part off atlantis the reef and cove is one
Thank you for sharing your experience. I was actually in the Bahamas at the same time. I’m writing a piece on the current state of tourism in the Bahamas and would love to chat with you for a few minutes about your experience, in particular any “local” activities and places you may have visited.
I love your essay on getting to and through the Bahamas. I have great understanding because as I write this, I am sitting on our couch in our condo in Freeport, Grand Bahama, as I’ve done for twenty years of winter since we bought here on top of the twenty years of visiting my Mother’s apartment here in the complex.
Besides the Covid presence and testing to get here, we’ve had other struggles to make the trip. My husband had emergency open heart surgery in Ohio last summer where he almost died from the complications caused by an unknown allergy to Heprin. But like you we were determined to make the trek to our sunny home in paradise, and so we went through the hoop-jumping required in processing meds, doctors, insurance overrides and finally paying out of pocket for dialysis here on the Island. Also like you we quarantined ourselves for two weeks before leaving the US to be sure that we were free of any Covidity to fly and arrive on the Island. Talk about kissing the ground as we disembarked our Bahamas Air plane. After all that we have endured since my husband’s botched surgery and finally hunkering down to be able to make our escape to GBI, we felt completely liberated. Since arriving we’ve been embraced by our many Canadian neighbors and the Bahamians as well, especially the technicians at the Kidney Center where my guy is receiving dialysis treatments.
I’m glad you had a great adventure and that you posted in black and white for others to enjoy. Ain’t the sun in the winter months just grand?