You may be against the cliched Bahamian vacation now, but chances are, one day you will find yourself flying away from Florida and into the beautiful, blue abyss. Just look at the facts: The Bahamas attracts over 5 million visitors per year, and partly because of the convenience, 80% of those visitors are American.
But the question is: how predictable will you be when choosing an island? You could go with the more obvious choice, Paradise Island, home of the famed Atlantis, where you'll be bumper to bumper with tourists as you pay $20 for a beer—only to have that beer inevitably spilled on you by some children running to the water slide. Or you can head to the frequently overlooked Grand Bahama Island, which boasts the perfect mix of a relaxed resort experience and thrill-seeker adventure that, frankly, there is just not enough space for on Paradise Island.
As the fourth largest island in the Bahamas, Grand Bahama is much bigger in size compared to Paradise, but the population is a great deal smaller. This means Grand Bahama has so much to explore that has been untouched by tourists, allowing the island to retain its small-town feel and ecological treasures. Perhaps the Bahamas are cliche for a reason—but we'll show you how to see them differently no matter how many times you've been.
These two hotels are directly across the street from each other but offer very different stays. If you want a little more action and a few more amenities, stay at the Grand Lucayan. Located right on the beach, this massive resort has everything you could ever need, including a steakhouse, multiple pools (swim-up bar included), and a golf course.
If you would like a little more traquility, though, stay at Pelican Bay. While not much different, the atmosphere is a little more down to earth, probably due to its size. Still, Pelican Bay offers most of the same amenities as the Grand Lucayan, including on-site restaurants and breathtaking views, and both of the hotels are within 3 minutes walking distance of Port Lucayan—the main marketplace with shopping and bars. (Note: Pelican Bay is on the bay, hence the name, not beachfront like the Grand Lucayan.)
Drink like a man at...The Bahamian Brewery
Sold exclusively in the Bahamas, Sands Beer is brewed here on Grand Bahama Island. Take a tour of the Sands brewery where they brew everything from light beers to stouts. After the short tour, hit the tasting room to try their authentically Bahamian beers with unique names like Strong Back and Bush Crack (we promise, they taste better than they sound!).
Party and dine like a man at...Taino Beach
The Taino Beach dinner bonfire is a unique Bahamian experience. Sit by the bonfire and watch the sun set on the beach while dining on Bahamian specialties like peas and rice and spicy chicken amongst local party-goers. The DJ may seem a little corny (sometimes it feels like a sweet 16), but we encourage you to grab a Bahama Mama and join in the games. What happens at Taino Beach, stays at Taino beach.
But if you are looking for a more romantic and quiet dining experience? We recommend Churchill's. Boasting the best steak on the island, Churchhills' breathtaking views and live music set the mood for a very special evening.
Sightsee like a man at...UNEXSO
While there is plenty to see above sea level, we highly recommend checking out what's underneath. Don't have enough time to become a certified diver? No problem! With UNEXSO's Learn to Dive program, virgin divers can skip the rigorous multi-day training that is usually required to get in the water at all. As a diving "student", you will receive an hour of training in their 17-foot deep pool with a highly qualified (and awesome) diving instructor. Without wasting any time, you then head out onto the ocean and swim with the Bahamian wildlife, including coral, sharks, and dolphins. No experience necessary and offered exclusively on Grand Bahama Island. It is extremely safe—but outrageously wild at the same time.