I went on a soul searching trip to the Bahamas, but that doesn’t mean that I spent the whole time with my head stuck in a journal on the beach! Prior to my trip, I made a whole itinerary of adventures, museums, and restaurants I wanted to try. I’m a nerd like that, I like knowing exactly what I’m doing with my time on a vacation so I can see all the things I want to see and know where they are. Although I didn’t strictly adhere to it, as I met new people, I stayed pretty on point with it.
The island itself is so beautiful. The water, the sand, all the colorful homes are eye catching and gorgeous. The people and the culture are so sweet and friendly. I love that everybody says good morning, day, and night to each other. I rode the bus a lot from my AirBnB, so I got to see more than just the tourist areas. I love the school uniforms the kids wear. They’re so cute. I saw so many different natural hairstyles and braids. I’ve got some serious hair inspiration to try out now that I’m home.
The best experiences? I absolutely loved going kayaking at Bonefish Pond National Park. My guide taught me all about history and the ecosystems, how the island is reliant on them, and about the effects of global warming. I got to hold a jellyfish and a sea cucumber while getting a great arm workout. It was my first time kayaking, but it won’t be the last. I loved it! It’s going to be my new hobby when I get back to Orlando (and find some water that doesn’t have gators or snakes in it).
I loved Junkanoo Beach, and made time to go there almost every day. It’s a popular spot for cruise folks to hang out. It got pretty crowded, but I didn’t mind. I met the sweetest little beach puppy Chloe and her owner BJ there, did the Wobble, and took some sweet photos. The staff also took care of me after seeing me there a lot. I got a lot of free stuff, which was super kind of them. I made sure I tipped well, even though the gratuities were already included, because they kept doing me solids.
The Fish Fry is an area that locals and tourists alike hang out. I swear the best (and least expensive) food was over there. I had conch (said like conk, not conCH) salad and fresh coconut water and meat just about every day. Conch salad is basically ceviche, but with conch meat (say that out loud LOL) instead of fish or shrimp. Conch is a mollusk that lives in that pretty shell pictured below. Too bad for it, that it’s absolutely delicious. From what I was told, it’s packed full of good vitamins and minerals. It’s the super fruit of seafood. It was AMAZING.
I visited Queen’s Staircase, Fort Fincastle, and Pompey Museum. The museum was housed in a building that actually used to be the place that slaves were auctioned off during the height of the slave trade in the Bahamas. I learned more about the history of the TransAtlantic slave trade, as well as found out about Domestic Work slavery, something I had no knowledge about. There is a wonderful organization called Free The Slaves that’s dedicated to educating the world about human trafficking and techniques used to pull people into it. I recommend reading more about them!
I was invited on a boat ride with my new Canadian friends, Kay and Sydney. We went snorkeling in some cold water, but it was amazing! The coral reefs were full of life. I saw lots of brain coral, which is my favorite kind. We swam with sea turtles, a dream come true. They were just minding their business eating sea grass while we all were freaking out underwater following them. It may or may not be audible in the underwater video I took, but I cried a little bit. It’s something I’ll never forget. It was like living in a documentary for a few hours. There was a shark in the water with us. I thought the Captain was joking and trying to scare us by saying, “Stay close to the boat,” until I got back on the boat. He had a speargun and was focused on one particular area that we were snorkeling near. Wellp, now I can cross swimming with sharks off my bucket list, too.
The girls and I went out dancing and did karaoke Friday night. It was such a good time. We sang Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and danced terribly together at a smaller bar at the beach. These older ladies had gotten off work and they were trying to teach us how to twerk, it was hysterical. None of us could do it, no matter how hard we tried. I haven’t laughed that hard in ages. It was some good clean fun. We met a big group of people at Senor Frogs, which small world, we had met them at the beach when we all flocked to puppy Chloe. Everyone was tipsy and having a blast. I loved it!
The experiences that were so-so? I might have appeared cool as a sea cucumber, but getting followed around by pushy thirsty dudes was fucking terrifying. I went on this trip to find myself, not to get kidnapped! Thankfully, a lot of couples or groups were very cool about letting me tag along with them or even intervening on my behalf. This trip has reinforced the fact that there are so many wonderful people in the world.
I also thought the Atlantis Resort was cool, but it was expensive. I’m not ballin’ like that yet, so I thought $20 for a glass of wine was a bit much. But the aquarium and marina were places I wouldn’t miss if you have the chance to go. The aquarium is free after 7 p.m. On my first night, I went with a couple from my AirBnB, and also met up with a guy named Bryan I had met earlier at the Fish Fry. He found the sharks and stingray tanks, and we played hide-n-seek in the aquarium. We were running around in the dark laughing hysterically. It was really fun. The second time I went to Atlantis, I saw my very first super yacht up close. It was a ridiculous floating mansion.
The taxis were a rip off, but I did find a driver that gave me great discounts halfway through the week. Prior to that, a ride from the Atlantis to my AirBnB was $25. When I tried to get a ride back from Atlantis that second night with two flight attendants, Annalise and Kay, we were charged $35 because we were three people. Here’s the kicker: we were all going the same place! I tried to argue the logic of it, but was met squarely with a, “That’s how it is.” I actually missed out on a couple of my planned adventures because the cabs were asking way too much. Not a big deal though, it just means I have to come back!
MyAirBnB hosts were absolutely amazing. Since I went by myself, they went out of their way to make sure I was safe. My host was quick to tell me that she’s my Auntie Linda, and to call her immediately if I felt unsafe or if someone was following me. She provided a cell phone, drove me to a lot of places, and showed me the best areas to meet new people safely. It was so kind of them to watch out for me. Sometimes I forget how much kindness there is in the world, but there’s more than enough to go around.
Things that I recommend bringing?
- T-Shirts (I always forget something important)
- Quarters for the bus
- A sweater (seriously, this saved me so many times)
- Extra beach towels
- External battery
- Your own snorkel and fins
I found out on an AskReddit thread a while back that purchasing travel insurance is not only cheap, it could sometimes be the difference in life or death. Accidents happen, so I highly recommend it! It was only $95. I was really glad I bought it during the boat ride to see the turtles. Our Captain was trying to make up time, and I could’ve easily hurt myself with all the times we bounced around on the waves. I don’t think No Wake Zones are a thing in the Bahamas.
My week away was so so so worth it. I highly recommend going on a solo trip meant solely for your well-being and happiness if you ever have the opportunity. Find a place where you can get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and learn a thing or two about you! I’m going on another trip next month, I’m planning it out now!
Have you ever been to the Bahamas?
What was your favorite experience?
Leave a comment below!