Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas Vacation Guide
So right after the IEP Visa Opened, and a day after Tyler got back from his surf trip I left for 5 days on a girls trip to the Bahamas! Back story is my two friends from college wanted a reunion trip and since one of the girls is from the New York and has always flown out to the west coast to visit us, this time we would fly to a destination near her to spare her some travel time. After multiple phone calls and discussions we decided on the Bahamas. All three of us had limited days off work (I could only take 3 days off not including the weekend) and wanted a beach resort type place since the other two girls did not scuba dive or surf. Long story short after looking up hotels and pricing we booked the Atlantis on Paradise Island. Now, I am usually more of a off the beaten track kinda of traveler, I have not stayed in a mega resort in a very long time so I had some serious doubts about this place. Especially since this resort is geared towards families and we were three 20 something girls with no kids. But I am also VERY good about being a beach bum on a lounge chair with a pina colada in my hand so I knew i wouldn’t have a bad time. But, being that I was on a VERY Strict budget, I knew I would have to do my research not to end up in serious credit card debt. I split up my post into three separate categories to get out as much information as I can, especially about my favorite part of the trip where I went Scuba Diving with Stuart Cove’s.
Arrival and Overview
The flight from Atlanta (where I had a layover) to Nassau was beautiful. Seriously I had my nose to the airplane window for the whole last 20 minutes in.
Once we landed we took a cab from the airport to the resort and checked into our part of the resort called the Beach Tower (Note you actually check in at the Coral Towers, then walk to the Beach Tower through a hallway). Th cab ride from the Airport was $40.00 total and we decided the $13.00 per person was worth taking the cab over the Atlantis Shuttle just to get there quicker and not have to deal with waiting. The first thing I noticed about Atlantis is how huge it is. Pictures do not do this place any justice as it is like 5 different hotels combined into one monstrosity of a “theme” park. I would say it is a cross between Disneyland, a cruise ship, and Las Vegas. Upon check in you get a key card that is basically your credit card for the whole trip as you use this to pay for everything. Most restaurants on the property to not even accept cash or personal card (danger this is how you overspend) so it is very easy to swipe for 4 pina coladas at the blink of an eye. If you stay at the Atlantis, you will do a ton of walking. One day, when I had to walk back to the hotel room for my snorkel from the water park it took me 30 minutes round trip. So if you don’t like walking or getting slightly lost, this resort is not for you. Overall we had a great time the five days we were there as we channeled our inner child and went on all the water slides, walked through the numerous aquariums, and hung out on the beach. While we had a great time while we where there, I probably would not make a effort to go back as it is a very commercial resort and very theme park like.But it is great for families and for people who are just looking to relax and hang out by the pool.
How to save money while staying at one of the priciest hotels on Paradise Island
Like I said before we ended up staying at Atlantis due to what everyone wanted to do while we were here and for the amenities included in our stay. That being said, I seriously was freaking out about my budget. I did so much research before our stay and went in hoping I made the right decision especially since I was planning on spending most of my budget on scuba diving one day (more on that later). Here is my list of helpful tips and tricks for Atlantis and how to save some cash:
We did not eat at any of the restaurants at Atlantis. After reading some pretty bad reviews on how basic the food was compared to the prices, we decided to keep it completely casual on dining while we were there. I got to bring a checked bag for free on Delta because I have a Delta Credit Card so I took this opportunity to pack a whole bag full of snacks. Seriously, all of my clothes were in my carry on and it was a lifesaver. I packed snacks, peanut butter, granola bars, bottles of rum and vodka, crackers, salsa, nuts, cookies, and even bagels. I even packed the Starbucks Via Coffee packets but it turned out there was a coffee maker in the room and refrigerator (Trip Advisor Reviews said there was not so maybe this is a recent upgrade). It really did help save food costs as a bag of chips in the store in the lobby cost $8.00. Also, I would recommend taking a trip to the liquor store on Paraidse Island as they have actually decent prices for alcohol to stock up for your stay. If you buy booze at the bars at the resort, you will be charged $7.00 for a beer, $10.00 for a pina colada, snack food such as hamburgers and hot dogs run from $10-$12. Also something interesting I found was bottle water pricing. The large bottle waters in the room cost $7.00 each. I went on a mission around the resort to find the cheapest bottle water thinking the room pricing must be the most expensive…. wrong it was the cheapest! I went into Ben and Jerry’s in the Marina and the same bottle of water size was $10.40! In the pizza place in the marina was the same bottle water for $8.50.
For breakfast every day we got Starbucks, which turned out to be around $10.00 for a breakfast sandwich and a coffee, which was fine for me. Another night we got slices of pizza for $7.00 from the pizza place and split a salad, and one night we actually ate at the dive shop which had a grill serving burgers and sandwiches so you are able to eat cheaply at the resort with a little bit of research.
Arawak Cay and the Fish Fry
Before we left, I had read about the Fish Fry in Arawak Kay and how it was a fun and inexpensive place to eat and get drinks. It was the place where locals served up fresh fish, Bahama local dishes, and fresh conch. We actually ended up eating there twice and we were not disappointed. The conch fritters are so good, and so is the macaroni, fried plantains, and rice and beans. We ended up just ordering a bunch of sides and one large main to share which was perfect. The second time we went there we walked from the resort and across the bridge. It took us about 30 minutes and is about 2 miles ( we stopped and checked other stuff out along the way). I would recommend doing the walk during the day, as at night you can get lost and the sidewalks are uneven at some points. the most famous restaurant on the Fish Fry road is the Twin Brothers, but we actually think the other smaller ones hugging Twin Brothers had better food. Prices for the most part were the same.
Other information about Atlantis & Pricing (as of January 2015)
Internet: It will run you $22.00 for 24 hours
Water Park: It is free if you are staying at the hotel, but the slides close at 5:00pm-6:00pm as do all the pools
Snorkeling: There is some fish to be seen off Atlantis beaches but not much. We brought our snorkels down one day to look around and it wasn’t anything special.
Booze and Food: You can bring coolers and food to the pool areas no problem.
Downtown Nassau: Only a 15 minute walk from the hotel.
Weather: It was kinda cold! I wish I would have brought a hoodie, and the water temp was in the low 70’s. While we were there the air temp was very low 70’s with some strong wind every day. I could have done with a pair of jeans as well.
And now stay tuned for my favorite part of the trip which was the day I did a AM Dive and 1/2 day snorkel trip with Stuart Cove’s, which I am going to do a totally separate post for =).