September 26, 2011

Nassau - Bahamas

Hello Everyone!!

Its been so long that I dont even know where to follow on from.

Well a quick update of what I have been up to. My dear Wobbles came from Sydney to visit me in Orlando so of course we hit all the theme parks! and had a cheeky little escapade to the BAHAMAS!!! yes the Bahamas!! I was a little cynical at first as I thought it would be an overpriced pretentious place.. but boy, was I WRONG!
Bahamas has to be one of the most beautiful places I've been to and thats saying something seeing as I've got Mauritius, Seychelles, Austria, Switzerland etc to compare with. Although we were only there for a few days we managed to pack in so much and it was relaxing at the same time too!

The Bahamas is a group of little islands and cays off the coast of USA near Florida. Its capital is Nassau and takes about 1 hr by plane from Orlando international Airport. Below is a map of Nassau & Paradise Island.
We booked both the flights and hotel as a package through a website called Priceline. It was a really good deal! For 4 nights accommodation and flights to and from Orlando, USA to Nassau, Bahamas it only cost around $450 pp inc tax!
One of the pool areas at the Sheraton Nassau Beach
We stayed at the Sheraton Hotel Nassau Beach. It was actually a really nice hotel, although the pictures on the website don't do it justice. I was worried it would be old but it was actually quite new and the facilities nice. Included in our stay was a daily buffet breakfast and a $100 drink and food voucher, which made the deal even better!

Breakfast at the Sheraton - fatty foods = Wobbles, fruit and cereal = Me :)

Another good thing about this hotel was that it was situated on the main part of Nassau and not on Paradise Island, which meant we were able to get out and experience the 'real' Bahamas. What I mean by this is that, if you stay on Paradise Island you are a little limited in terms of seeing and experiencing how the locals live. The only bad thing about this hotel was the daily hotel fees of $40 a night per room.
Having a cocktail at the private beach in Sheraton :) 
You can hire out the jetskis and also go on snorkel trips
If you are thinking of heading to the Bahamas you have got to try the following:

Dolphin Encounters - US $98 pp
The excursion starts off with a relaxing boat ride from Paradise Island at Nassau, through the crystal clear waters to a private island called, Blue Lagoon Island. This island is specially operated for the care of Atlantic dolphins and sea lions, it offers several marine life conservation and education programmes and participates in research of the marine wildlife.
Lovely boat ride out to the island
I had so much fun on this excursion!! I was so excited to be finally getting up close and personal with a dolphin! There's an introductory talk when you first get to the island, then you are ushered to the platforms which surrounds a bit of open water. The dolphin swims up to greet you, then a few groups at a time you are asked to stand on the platform which allows about half your body to be submerged in the water (perfect for little kids too!) When you are on this platform the trainer lets you touch, dance, touch the teeth, feed, kiss and hug the dolphin. The duration is about an hr with the dolphin, our dolphin was called Andy!
After this you are free to roam the island, where you can go check out the sea lions or participate in the sea lion encounter (if you have time) or just chill out on the island. The water is amazingly crystal clear and the sand, white! We didn't have enough time as we went on one of the later excursion times but if you go there in the morning you can catch a later boat ride back to Nassau and make a day of it.

ps - dont forget to get the video, it was only around $50 which films your whole experience. I missed out :'(
Kiss kiss ♥
In addition, there are several other options available:
Dolphin Swim $189 - only difference is you actually are swimming with the dolphin and get you pushed through the water with their noses.
Sea Lion encounter $80

Watersports Cruise - $150 pp
This was a whole day excursion, it was so much fun! It included snorkelling, parasailing, banana boat ride, jet ski ride, lunch inc drink (alcoholic too!) and beach stop. Need I say more?

Parasailing - short but sweet, it was raining and cloudy that day and there were lightning strikes in the distance so it was a little scary being up there ><
Jet Skiing - for those who haven't done it, its great fun!! We managed to go on it for much longer than the 15 min limit :)
Powerboat Adventures - $190

Speed boat - it was pretty cramped on the way back coz we picked up some more passengers who were staying on the island
This was my FAVOURITE!!!! Well worth the money!! It starts off with a power boat ride, which was kind of uncomfortable as you are kind of packed in so it was a little squishy, but if you get on the boat early (which never happened for us) you can get a good seat. It felt very Miami Vice meets Mission Impossible lol!
The first stop is on this amazing small island where the water again is CRYSTAL CLEAR! looked like a swimming pool and the water was nice and shallow!! You are given grapes and get to feed the iguanas that live on the island.
Iguanas - they were really cute!
Then you are whisked away to the private island on Exuma Cays. This place was a dream come true! There's a nice little platoon with an awesome shack/bar attached to it. The beautiful beach is free for you to roam the entire day. Before you even get off the boat you are able to spot lots of beautiful fish and marine life in the water. Upon arrival we were greeted with snacks consisting of chips, dips and sandwiches and the commencement of an open bar (yes, all alcoholic drinks are included).
You can go as close to the sharks as you wanted - depends how crazy you are
But thats not the main attraction of this excursion, its the sharks and stingrays that come up to the shore!  When you are in the water the rays can come up to you if you want them to it was awesome to see them so close! And you can see the sharks swimming less than a few meters away from you :)
Stingray feeding up close and personal -  I was pretty freaked out, all I could think about was Steve Irwin :S
They offer stingray feeding and shark feeding. For the stingray feeding you are all lined up in a straight line and get down on your knees. Then they give you a piece of fish which you hold between 2 fingers like the piece sign. You put your hand in the water and the stingray will swim over your hand and suck the fish out from your fingers!! It was sooo scary at first but they are the most graceful creatures I've ever seen! lol one of them came and sucked on my knee!! lol!!
Shark Feeding
Shark feeding was more cautious, although we were still in the water, the guide was infront of us in the water with fish on the end of a rope throwing it in for the sharks. There was another guide that was next to him with a stick to keep the more agressive lemon sharks away from us and his mate. There were lemon, caribbean and nurse sharks on this island.

We got to go snorkelling in these waters, where visiblity was as close to 100% as I'd ever seen! I saw a Baracuda!!! and the second time we went out there was a shark that was pretty close to us. When that happens you just have to swim away from it. It was pretty cool though :)
As you can see my macho Wobbles likes to swim towards the man eating shark rather than away from it!
 Lunch was also included and was a lovely buffet of fish, steak, salads and a variety of sides. I was very impressed! Make sure you get some of the fish, it tasted sooo good!! Better than the steak! I snobbed it off at first but then when I tried Elliot's I knew I made the wrong choice... but lucky you can go back for seconds! :D
I was so sad to be leaving :( but I did find out that they have a few rooms that are avaliable for over night stay at the island. It didnt sound too expensive for what you were getting so I would definately look into it again when I go back. Too bad we only found out about this when we were there and it was too late to change arrangements :(

Here are some pics of Nassau
There was a hurricane that came through the Bahamas literally a week before we got there, but this is how they secure the trees so that they dont fall down.
Love how they have little stores and bars by the beach, 'Yah know?'
Paradise Island - the big building is one of the buildings of Atlantis Resort
One of the many celebrity condos by the waterfront
Downtown - Nassau
Straw Market
Bahamas was so awesome! I would definately recommend it to anyone who is thinking of going! Oh and something that we missed out on was the 'Pink sand Island', it looked gorgeous, unfortunately we ran out of time. If you have been or are thinking of going please do email me pics! Feel free to email me questions you guys might have too!
And have a drink for me ;) 

PS - I'd also like to congratulate my bestie Jenny of Chasing Perfection on her new job as a beauty and makeup journalist! xx


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