The Bahamas - A Stray Monkey Trip

The Bahamas - A Stray Monkey Trip

Recently, we traveled to the Bahamas - a tropical paradise located in the Atlantic Ocean. Comprised of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets, the country is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant culture. From snorkeling and diving in its crystal-clear waters to exploring the rich culture and history of its capital city, Nassau, the Bahamas has something for everyone to enjoy. Read on to find out about some of our experiences!

The Bahamas: Paradise Found in the Heart of the Caribbean

If your idea of paradise involves turquoise water lapping against white-sand beaches, a vibrant island culture, and a dash of historical charm, the Bahamas should be at the top of your travel list. With over 700 islands, this Caribbean archipelago has something for everyone – whether you're seeking a luxurious all-inclusive escape or an adventurous off-the-grid expedition. We recently spent some time soaking up the Bahamian sun, and we couldn't resist sharing our favorite experiences and tips to help you plan your dream getaway.

Whether you're a snorkeling aficionado or a culture enthusiast, the Bahamas promises and delivers an adventure that suits every taste.

Riu Paradise Island Bahamas

Riu Palace Paradise Island: An All-Inclusive Oasis

For our Bahamian getaway, we chose to stay at the enchanting Riu Palace Paradise Island on the vibrant Nassau shoreline. The resort's spectacular beachfront setting captivated us from the moment we arrived. We loved stepping directly from the resort onto the soft, powdery white sand beach whenever we wanted—it was exactly the tropical retreat we were craving.

One of our favorite aspects of the Riu Palace was its culinary offerings. As food lovers, we were thrilled with the variety of dining options available. We found ourselves drawn daily to the poolside grill, where the aroma of Caribbean jerk chicken filled the air, quickly becoming our go-to lunch spot. The spicy and perfectly charred jerk chicken was a genuine taste of the islands. Refreshing tropical drinks were never far away, thanks to the lively swim-up bar, which became our afternoon haven. Sipping on a 'Dirty Banana' while submerged in cool waters epitomized vacation bliss.

The resort was not just about relaxation; it also provided plenty of activities to keep us engaged. We spent our mornings lounging by the expansive free-form swimming pool, often indulging in playful water games. The swim-up bar was a spot for drinks and became a social hub where we met other travelers. On days we felt more active, the well-equipped gym was our first stop, followed by some pampering at the spa, which offered a serene escape with treatments that melted away any remaining stress.

Our mornings usually began with a quiet ritual of enjoying cappuccinos from the resort's quaint coffee stand, savoring the peaceful start to the day. As the sun set, the resort transformed into a vibrant celebration of Bahamian culture. Live performances filled the evenings with energy and local flair, turning the Riu Palace into a lively cultural festivity. Seeing the resort embrace and showcase its local culture with such enthusiasm was delightful.

Our stay at the Riu Palace Paradise Island was a deeply fulfilling experience. It blended relaxation with cultural immersion and a host of activities suited for any taste. Whether engaging in poolside games, enjoying a serene moment by the ocean, or experiencing the local cuisine and culture, the Riu Palace ensured our Bahamian vacation was unforgettable. This is an exceptional choice for anyone seeking an all-inclusive experience in a gorgeous tropical setting.

Tip for families: if you're seeking adventure beyond the resort, the Atlantis is just a short walk away. Atlantis offers an exciting change of pace with its thrilling water parks and fascinating aquariums—a hit with families and anyone looking for excitement.

The Graycliff Hotel

Nassau's Hidden Gem: The Graycliff Hotel

While the Riu was tempting enough to keep us within its walls, we knew there was more Bahamian magic beyond the resort. Enter the Graycliff Hotel. One of its standout features is its rich history. Originally a private residence, the building has hosted several famous guests, including royalty, presidents, and celebrities. Today, the hotel maintains its historic charm and elegance, offering guests a glimpse into the past while providing all the modern amenities and services that one would expect from a luxury hotel. We started with a wonderful lunch at the Graycliff Restaurant and a tour of their wine cellar. With over 200,000 bottles, it's one of the world's largest private collections, and our knowledgeable sommelier, Gino, made the experience even more unforgettable.

But Graycliff Hotel isn't just about fine wine and food. We watched skilled artisans hand-roll cigars in the on-site factory, sampled delicious chocolates, and even got a dose of Bahamian history at their heritage center. It's the perfect place to experience Nassau's sophistication and rich past. This wasn't merely a meal but an immersive experience that paired great food with culture.

The Luna Rum Distillery

A Taste of Local Craft at Luna Rum Distillery

No visit to the Bahamas would be complete without a nod to its spirited side, and the Luna Rum Distillery was a testament to the island's craft. Nestled a bit off the beaten path, Luna provided a fascinating peek into the world of rum production. From the fermentation to the aging process, each step was a narrative on its own, narrated passionately by Livingston, the head distiller.

One of the standout features of The Luna Rum Distillery is its commitment to using traditional methods and locally sourced ingredients. The distillery uses a small-batch still to produce its rums, which gives them a unique flavor and character.

The tasting session was the highlight, offering a chance to try the distillery's finest rums, which were as rich in flavor as they were in heritage. From white and gold to more complex aged rums, visitors could also purchase bottles of Luna Rum to take home as souvenirs.

Things to Know about The Bahamas

Other Spots to Check Out

Our adventures also took us beyond the confines of resorts and restaurants. A short stroll from the Riu, the Atlantis Resort awaited with its water parks and aquariums, a perfect outing for families. The historic charm of Nassau's Arawak Cay, with its legendary fish fry, provided a taste of local cuisine against a backdrop of lively music and seaside views.

Navigating the Bahamas

In the Bahamas, every day is a new discovery. For those planning to explore this vibrant destination, remember to:

  • Book Ahead: The Bahamas is a popular destination, so snag your accommodations early for the best selection and deals.
  • Pack Smart: Light clothes, sunscreen, and insect repellent are essentials.
  • Be Weather Aware: Hurricane season runs from June to November, so stay updated on forecasts.
  • Embrace the Culture: Be respectful of local customs, especially when visiting religious sites, and immerse yourself in the warm Bahamian spirit.
  • Adventure Further: Nassau is fantastic, but take the chance to explore other islands like Exuma for swimming with the famous pigs or Arawak Cay for the Fish Fry and its lively atmosphere.

Of course, safety is essential, too. Book reputable jet ski tours through your hotel or an authorized agent, and always confirm taxi fares upfront (and be nice—tip 10-20% at the end of your ride).

Checking Out of the Bahamas

The Bahamas won us over with its stunning beauty, friendly people, and mix of vibrant energy and laid-back vibes. If you're looking for a place to unwind, explore, and create unforgettable memories, the Bahamas should be calling your name. Whether it was the stay at the Riu Palace Paradise Island, historical insights at Graycliff, the delightful discoveries at Luna Rum Distillery, or the sheer pleasure of the beaches, the Bahamas beckoned us with open arms and a promise to return.

Ready to Dive In? Watch our video below to see the sights, hear our stories, and get an even better taste of what the Bahamas has to offer!

A Video of Our Bahamas Experience

About The Author
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Ray is the founder of Stray Monkey, and as a shameless plug he wants to remind you to check out the Research the News podcast.

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