Grand Bahama

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Travel Guide Caribbean Bahamas Grand Bahama

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Introduction

Deadman's Reef, Grand Bahama - Bahamas

Deadman's Reef, Grand Bahama - Bahamas

© All Rights Reserved airwolf09

Grand Bahama is the northernmost island of the Bahamas and after New Providence the most popular and therefore crowded one in the island chain.

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Geography

It is the fourth largest island in the Bahamas island chain of approximately 700 islands and 2,400 cays. The island is approximately 153 kilometres long west to east and 24 kilometres at its widest point north to south. Administratively, the island consists of the Freeport Bonded Area and the districts of East Grand Bahama and West Grand Bahama.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

Lucayan National Park

Lucayan National Park is a small park at just 16 hectares. In the northern parts of the park there are trails to a limestone plateau where you'll find caves that open to the longest underwater cave system in the world. There are options to walk along the boardwalks in a mangrove swamp. From here, you can reach Gold Rock Beach, a nice beache fringed by dunes.

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Events and Festivals

  • Junkanoo is a street parade with music, which occurs in many towns on the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands every Boxing Day (December 26), New Year's Day and, more recently, in the summer on the island of Grand Bahama. Nassau still has the best and biggest one though!

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Weather

Grand Bahama has a pleasantly warm but humid climate. Compared to Caribbean islands more to the south, there are some differences regarding temperatures, mainly because it is somewhat colder during the wintermonths of November to April. Generally though, temperatures are high, with summer maximum temperatures averaging around 30 °C and minimum temperatures around 24 °C. During the wintermonths temperatures are about 5 °C lower. The rainy season lasts from May to October, with September and October being the wettest months. This is also the time (especially from August to October) when hurricanes are a possibility.

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Getting There

By Plane

Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) near Freeport has international flights to/from Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, New York, Atlanta, Charlotte, Toronto, Baltimore, Louisville, Richmond, Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Providenciales (main island of the Turks and Caicos Islands), and seasonal to Milan. Moore's Island, Great Harbour Cay Bimini, Walker's Cay, Treasure Cay, Marsh Harbour and North Eleuthra are domestic destinations served.

By Boat

Discovery Cruise Line operates a daily (except Wednesdays) cruise ferry between Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale in Florida and Freeport on Grand Bahama. It leaves at 9:30am from Fort Lauderdale, arriving in Freeport around 1:30pm, and returns from Freeport at 5:15pm, arriving in Fort Lauderdale around 10:30pm. So a one-way trip takes around 4 hours to the Bahamas, and about 5 hours back, which barely leaves you 4 hours at Grand Bahama Island. There are options to spend the night though and take a ferry the next day back to Florida. Services on board include three buffet meals and a Las Vegas style casino! A return ticket costs around US$140.

Pinder’s Ferry operates small boat running twice a day between McLean’s Town, Grand Bahama and Crown Haven on Little Abaco.

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Getting Around

Taxis are typically waiting for visitors at the airport and sea port. They are also easily summoned by phone. Please be aware that there is NO such thing as a "service fee" or "bag handling fee," as some unscrupulous taxi drivers insist. You only pay the fare, and a tip if appropriate.

Public transport on the island consists mainly of minivans that ferry locals to and fro. It is a dollar to take the local bus line anywhere on the island. They typically run about every 15 minutes however they will often wait until they have a full load before departing. It's unclear whether these are government run or privately owned.

Hotels often have their own shuttle services to various points of interest around the island.

Car, motorcycle, and buggy rentals are readily available. However be cautioned that the roads are driven on the left and locals drive aggressively.

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Eat

Grand Bahama offers a wide variety of international cuisines for all tastes. The local Bahamian cuisine consists mainly of seafood, poultry, or pork, typically fried, steamed, or curried, with various kinds of rice and salads. Spices are used in abundance. Finding authentic, quality Bahamian food in touristic areas can be rather hit-or-miss, so asking friendly locals their personal recommendations will go a long way to ensuring an experience your taste buds won't forget.

Conch (a type of large sea mollusk, pronounced 'kongk') is a quintessentially Bahamian food served in various forms. Island favourites include: conch salad, infused with citrus and served cold; cracked conch, tenderized and lightly batter-fried; and conch fritters, small balls of deep-fried batter mixed with minced conch and served with dipping sauce.

Check your bill carefully. A 15% service charge is included in some restaurants and bars. If not a standard 15% tip is appreciated.

Fish fries are like the Bahamian version of a neighbourhood barbecue, serving fried fish with various side dishes. Some fish fries cater specifically to tourists, but these are generally grossly overpriced ($50+, compared to local-run fish fries which cost less than $10 per plate) and the food pales in comparison to those run by locals, for locals.

The Port Lucaya area has a wide array of dining experiences for all budgets, at all times of the day.

  • Cappuccino's, Italian-owned, with an Italian chef, offering Italian cuisine. Prices are in the mid-to-high range. Due to high popularity, reservations are recommended.
  • Agave, Caribbean-Latin fusion cuisine. Prices are moderate to high, but the food is worth it.
  • China Beach, authentic Asian cuisine. Prices are steep but the food is worth it.
  • Giovanni's, authentic Italian cuisine. Prices are reasonable and the food is superb.
  • Sabor, eclectic gourmet menu, superb food, high prices. Jacket, tie and reservation recommended.
  • Luciano's, for those with refined tastes and expectations. Jacket and tie recommended.
  • Pisces restaurant and bar. Local and international cuisine, good prices.
  • Shennanigan's, Irish pub and restaurant, frequently packed. Amazing food, moderate prices.
  • Zorba's, delicious Greek cuisine, good prices.
  • Banana Bay, located in Fortune Bay near Lucaya. Situated feet from the ocean on a beautiful white beach, perfect for families who want a refreshing lunch, with indoor and outdoor patio dining available. Delicious local cuisine at good prices.
  • Pier One Restaurant (near the cruise harbor). Has a beautiful waterfront view and serves delicious, high-end food, but what it is best known for are its nightly shark feedings. Sharks are summoned to the water below with the ring of a bell, and guests can watch them chow down, and even throw food to them. A highly recommended, unique experience.
  • Radisson Grand Lucayan, 1 Sea Horse Ln, ☎ +1 (242) 373-1333. Located on the picturesque Grand Bahama Island, Radisson Grand Lucayan offers guests outstanding quality. It has 540 luxury guest rooms and suites, which are decorated in a modern Art Deco-inspired tropical style, and is situated on 7.5 acres of white sand beaches. Guests at the Grand Lucayan hotel can enjoy a daily activities schedule, two 18-hole championship golf courses, Las Vegas-style casino, spa services and three pools for some fun in the sun. On-site dining options range from casual fare to fine cuisine, and the 90,000 square feet of meeting space provides the ideal setting for weddings and events of all kinds. Visit Radisson Grand Lucayan and see what makes our hotel one of the finest resorts in the Bahamas.

In West End area dining options include Dockside Bar & Grille for dinner and Teaser's Tiki Bar for breakfast and lunch, both located at Old Bahama Bay Resort - (242) 350-6500.

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Drink

  • Goombay Punch Soda - sweet pineapple soda, with a slight lemon taste (like a pineapple heavy Pina Colada).
  • Kalik Beer - Locally bottled beer. A very world common lager beer. On the milder side (between a Corona and a Corona Light).
  • Bahama Mama - Alcoholic drink - Is told to be the local drink of choice. Rum, juice, and Grenadine.

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Sleep

  • Pelican Bay Hotel, ☎ +1 (800) 852-3702. Seahorse Road, Port Lucaya. The Pelican Bay Hotel is in Port Lucaya, 5 miles from Freeport. The hotel is next to the Port Lucaya Marketplace and the UNEXSO facility and the resort juts into Bell Channel Bay overlooking two marinas.
  • Wyndham Viva Fortuna Beach Resort, ☎ +1 (242) 373-4000, fax: +1 (242) 373-5555. Churchill Drive & Doubloon Road. An all-inclusive resort on the south coast of the island, on 23 acres of land near a sandy white beach.
  • Old Bahama Bay, Box F-42546, West End Grand Bahama Island, ☎ +1 888 983-6188, +1 242 350-6500. 73 luxury suites and 72 marina slips.

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Grand Bahama Travel Helpers

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This is version 8. Last edited at 9:32 on Aug 27, 18 by Utrecht. 10 articles link to this page.

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