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Friday, June 15, 2018


Exploring the rocks (that you aren't supposed to climb on) outside of The Cove/The Reef Beach at Atlantis.

The moment Joshua told me that his mom wanted to take a family trip to The Bahamas, I instantly started looking up fun activities to do while we were there.  Sure, our resort in itself was going to be a blast, but who wants to stay at the same exact spot for 7 days straight.  After looking into different adventures, I landed on two things that I REALLY wanted to do during our vacation to The Bahamas; Visit the Swimming Pigs & Swim with the Nurse Sharks of Compass Cay.  I am so happy to say that I can now cross BOTH of those things off my Bucket List! 

Now that our vacation has come to an end and we are settled back in at home,  I figured it would be a good time to share our experiences and offer some travel tips/advice for traveling to The Bahamas! 

Flight #1 from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Atlanta, Georgia.

As far as traveling to the Bahamas goes,  we flew from Minneapolis to Nassau, Bahamas via Delta!  Unfortunately there were no direct flights available, so we had a layover in Atlanta, Georgia.  Once we arrived, we took a shuttle to Atlantis on Paradise Island.  

The Courtyard in front of The Royal Tower at Atlantis.

Checking out the Koi Ponds outside of The Cove Tower at Atlantis.

We stayed at The Reef Hotel in Atlantis, which granted us access to all that Atlantis had to offer, with the exception on "Hotel Guest Only" Pools at the other towers!  We didn't so much mind not having access to the other Tower Pools, because we loved how quiet and secluded our specific tower was!  At the Reef, we stayed in the Two Bedroom Harbor View Suite.  This suite included a kitchen with cooking utensils, a common area, and two master bedrooms King Size beds! 


Swimming Pigs of Staniel Cay.
Nurse Sharks of Compass Cay.
Walking on the Saddleback Sandbar of Saddleback Cay.
Feeding the Bahamian Rock Iguanas (or keeping all of the grapes to themselves).
Regardless what Island you stay on, find a way to visit the Exuma Islands and check out these two spots!  We stayed on Paradise Island (Nassau) & did a private charter (we had 15 people) via Bahama Boat Excursions!  They offer a couple different Excursion options, but we decided on the Full Excursion which offers tours of both Northern and Southern Exuma Cays!  Along this Excursion, we stopped at Allen's Cay to see and feed the endangered Bahamian Rock Iguanas and Saddleback Cay to see the Saddleback Sandbar.  Next we made a stop at Norman's Cay, it is known for its runway that was used by Pablo Escobar and also features a sunken airplane that was used to muggle Cocaine.  Then it was on to Compass Cay for a swim with the Nurse Sharks!  There are also Nurse Sharks in Highbourne Cay where you stop for lunch, but our guides informed us that you will have the best experience with the Nurse Sharks in Compass Cay!  After lunch we took a quick swing through Staniel Cay for a visit with the infamous Swimming Pigs!  This was the most exciting part of our trip for me!  I still regret not holding a little piglet, but we were running short on time and had to head back to Nassau!

Headed to the River Rapids at Aquaventure.
Of course not everyone stays at Atlantis while visiting the Bahamas.  There are many beautiful options, and I think if we ever went back, I would enjoy staying in the Exuma Islands, but if you're staying in Nassau/Paradise Island, or have the opportunity to take a day trip then I highly recommend it!  I will be the first to admit, that when I first saw the Mayan Temple at Aquaventure, I was a bit disappointed.  The commercials on TV make it seem much taller and a lot cooler, but once I got past the disappointment, it was actually a lot of fun!  I decided that we made the trip there so I had to try and get on as many of the rides that I could - starting with the River Rapids.  Let me start with this,  these are in no way a "lazy" river, in fact our family actually call this the "not so lazy" river!  It was a blast and the boys loved every minute of it, until the last day when they decided Braxton was all of a sudden "too small" to be on it.  Unfortunately on the last day the path from the River Rapids to the Tube Slides was closed, and we decided to just skip the long walk up to them.  I also took a ride down all three of the Mayan Temple slides; Joshua and I raced down the Challenger Slides & rode the Serpent Slide together.  The Serpent Slide was awesome because we could see all of the Sharks in the Lagoon of the Mayan Temple.  Lastly, you know I couldn't leave Atlantis without doing the famous Leap of Faith.  This slide is known for its 60ft nearly vertical drop down a clear acrylic tunnel into the Mayan Temple's Shark filled Lagoon!  My biggest suggestion on this is to KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN!  I closed mine because I didn't want to get water in them and I feel like I missed out on most of the experience, but either way it was an awesome experience!  If you have kids, they will definitely enjoy Splashers!  It is a Mayan Temple themed kids pool and water playground featuring three tube slides, a side-by-side slide, cargo nets and rope bridges for climbing, water cannons, and water fountains!  The boys played here for hours at a time and didn't want to leave.  I highly recommend bringing sandals for yourself and water shoes for your kiddos, the ground at Aquaventure gets VERY hot!

One of many beach days.

Playing in the high tide and getting swept away with the waves.

Collecting sea shells at the beach during high tide.
It sure is hard to skip out on a relaxing day at the beach, which is why we spent multiple days at the beach right outside of our hotel!  It was a great little spot to relax on the beach, make sand castles, hunt for sea shells, explore the rocks (which you technically aren't supposed to do, oops!) and snorkel!  I highly recommend taking at least one of your days in The Bahamas, and just laying out on the beach and enjoying the ocean! 

Swimming in this fun little spot Josh, his sister & I found while exploring around the Beach!


Pink Sand Beach is located on Harbor Island and is considered on of the best beaches in The Bahamas Islands.  This beach is ACTUALLY pink due to microscopic coal insects, known as Foraminifera, that have a bright pink or red shell full of holes. They live on the underside of reefs, on the sea floors, beneath rocks and in caves. After the insect dies, waves crush the bodies and washes the remains ashore and mixes it in with the sand and bits of coral, making the color of the sand pink!  They say that the sand is always cool, so you can walk about freely with bare feet.

Unfortunately the currant was too strong, so we were unable to actually snorkel over the Sunken Plane, but we were able to drive by it.  I'm not 100% sure on when the best time would be to be able to snorkel over it, but its definitely worth looking into while on your vacation to The Bahamas.

Due to lack of time, we were unable to make a swing through Rachel's Bubble Bath while we were in Compass Cay.   Rachel's Bubble Bath is a lagoon on the north end of the Island.  It borders Conch Cut, an “inlet” from Exuma Sound, and the southern boundary of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. The lagoon is fed by water from the Sound breaking over a notch in the lava rocks, which often causes froth to form on the surface, hence, “Bubble Bath.  I actually saw this on a video from The Bucket List Family and knew it was something not only myself, but the boys love!  If we ever make it back to The Bahamas, this is one of the places I would like to go!

The boys enjoying the last Sunset in The Bahamas.

Unfortunately nobody warned us about how expensive the Bahamas can get!  We spent quite a bit more than we originally had planned to due to the high cost of food and beverages.  We flew via Delta to the Bahamas and spent $5,500 on plane tickets alone, this was for 5 people and was in First Class.  We could have saved roughly $350/ticket by riding in Main Cabin, but figured it was worth the extra money for Premium Boarding & by passing the line at Security via the Sky Priority Line!  Also be careful what days/times you fly, depending on the flight you take the prices can jump around up to $1,500 more!  On our hotel room, we spent $10,320 for 7 nights.  Again, this is something that you should check different dates, because the price does vary depending on the season!  The price of our hotel room did not include any food or additional activities aside from entrance into Aquaventure and The Reef Pool.  We opted to skip a dining plan, and instead visited a grocery store in Nassau to pick up some food to cook while we were there.  In the end this probably didn't save us all that much money as you have to charter a Taxi and they charge $1/minute you are in the grocery store.  The food at the hotel is very expensive though, so I am glad we didn't eat at the hotel restaurants every night.  Between the grocery store and eating at the hotel, we spent an additional roughly $3,000.

I opted to packing my own SPF and Aloe, which I am thankful that I did!  The price of SPF and Aloe at our hotel was nearly double what I paid for it at Target in Minnesota!  We ran low on SPF and Aloe about half way through our trip, so we had to purchase more.  I underestimated how much we would actually need, but after our Excursion, we needed all of the Aloe we could get!  We were all burnt to a crisp in one way or another, and spent the entire next day hiding out in our hotel room.  Don't make the same rookie mistake that we did, make sure you are reapplying sunscreen and have Aloe handy!

Peak Season in The Bahamas is Mid-December to Mid-April.  This is the time when resort prices will be the highest and you can expect lots of other travelers.  We visited during late May/early June and still experienced high resort prices.  Writing this blog now in mid-June, the prices of the room we stayed in are closer to $550/night instead of the $1000/night that we paid.  Temperatures in The Bahamas are great year round, but between June 1st and November 30th it is considered "Rainy Season" and Hurricanes may be a factor to consider.

We had such an amazing time at Paradise Island in The Bahamas.  If we were to ever go back, I would definitely prefer we stay at one of the Exuma Cay Islands!  Atlantis was a great experience and we had a lot of fun, but I feel like it was a very touristy spot and I would like to get more of a true, island experience.  I recommend taking a trip to The Bahamas at some point in your life, because it is truly an amazing experience and such a beautiful place.  Stay tuned for upcoming videos from our trip on my Youtube Channel!


The boys were not ready to come home.  Kane goes, "Daddy, I want to stay FOREVER!"
Have you ever been to The Bahamas?  
Where did you stay and what was your favorite part? 

SNAPCHAT:: jordanrenie

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