The Bahamas. Part 1.

Hi everyone! Today’s post is dedicated to my trip to The Bahamas for CPP Festival. This entry is more on travelling and tourism since I didn’t do that well in the poker game. Perhaps it will inspire some of you to go ahead and travel there on your own. As for poker – nothing to write home about as I barely made cash in the Main Event.

This was my third trip to the Bahamas, and since I only got to see the interiors of my hotel room and the airport during my last two visits, I decided to take advantage of this trip and explore the islands. This time I was set on visiting a few other islands, apart from Nassau. This archipelagic state of The Bahamas consists of more than 700 islands, and only 30 out of all are uninhabited.

After reading up on various places of interest online, I pinned down 3 most interesting locations:

Dean’s Blue Hole – world’s deepest blue hole.

Pig Beach

Pink Sand Beach

I decided to arrive one week prior to the CPP start. Unfortunately, I had to postpone my trip to the blue hole, as the island was way to far, and it would have been quite difficult to visit all three spots in one go.

Next step – tickets and accommodation booking.

Since Pig Beach is uninhabited, visitors usually take a return boat ride to the beach to feed the pigs and take pictures. Therefore I had to choose a nearby island for accommodation and easy access. I had a few options to choose from, and ended up booking the most picturesque place located on Black Point Island with a population of about 400 people.

When booking accommodation my go to apps are:

– booking.com and airbnb.com (former – for the hotels, and latter – for the apartments).

I found a cozy house 30 seconds away from the beach (see photo above) on Airbnb. The posting also advertised a tour to the Pig Beach, which was convenient.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the visit to iguana island, swimming with sharks and something else (on which I’ll elaborate further) were also included in the tour. The listing had rave reviews with everyone recommending to rent this house and take a tour. Snap call!

Harbour Island, the host of pink sand beach, had a lot more listings, and it took me a bit more time to find a place to stay. In the end I booked via Airbnb again, and this time around rented a room instead of a whole accommodation. I thought it would be good to stay with locals and ask their advice regarding places to go.

I ended up having the whole flat to myself since the landlady was housed somewhere else during my stay.

Booking airfares proved to be quite a challenge! At first, I was set on commuting between the islands by boat, however it takes much too long. Besides, ferries are few and far between, and their schedule didn’t fit my travelling dates.

While booking flights from Europe to The Bahamas was a piece of cake, domestic flights were a lot harder to navigate. I sent a message to both of my hosts asking for directions to their respective places. Whilst one of the hosts immediately got in touch and let me know that to get to Black Point I needed to buy plane tickets with Air Flamingo, and she would meet me at the airport, the other one couldn’t even answer my question How can I get to your house from Black Point?.

Having extensively searched the web, I realised the only way to get there was to fly back to the capital city, and take another plane. Upon arrival I needed to take a taxi to a ferry terminal, then a water taxi to my destination.

Since we are on the topic of planning trips, rome2rio is my go to app for planning a journey. All you need to do is enter point A and point B, and you will get a plethora of options with displayed fares and links to booking.

Despite a number of options being omitted from time to time, this app extremely useful.

* * *

I chose a flight via Canada, with a night layover in Toronto, a nuisance for some, but a welcome excuse to visit a new city for me. I managed to walk around the city for a couple of hours, and even got to see Venom in 4DX in a local cinema, and it was awesome! A new experience, highly recommended!

Upon arrival to Nassau airport I had to go through a routine security check which briefly ruined my mood. I was asked about the purpose of my visit, and how long I was going to stay in the country. My response of ’19 days of tourism’ didn’t seem to sit well with the immigration officer, who told me she could only allocate me with a 14-day visa, and closer to the end of my stay I were to go to the Immigration Department and ask for an extension of stay. Umm, thanks a bunch?

The whole process of visa extension took about 3 hours of waiting around in a long queue. I was told the airport staff isn’t really familiar with visitor visa nuances, and I was supposed to immediately ask for a supervisor to get a correct entry stamp. Go figure…‚

Having cleared the customs, I had 3 hours to kill before the flight, so I bought a local SIM-card with an Internet allowance, which always comes handy.

My next flight turned out to be rather interesting.

Tiny plane with images of guinea pigs.

Cabin looks old and shabby, and can only fit 12 to 15 passengers.

There were no overhead luggage compartments, and no toilets (or cabin service for that matter lol) on board. In addition, the plane made a stop about 30 minutes after take-off! And no, the plane didn’t stop for refuelling! It let some passengers off and allowed other passengers on board, and soon the cabin was at maximum capacity again.

Safety first!

My destination was five minutes away, but the newly boarded passengers were flying onwards to the Bahama’s main airport.

The flight went well, and all along the way I was enjoying spectacular view of the blue ocean from my window seat. The host met me at the airport and took me to the beach house I booked on Airbnb. The whole ride took just under 10 minutes.

 

* * *

Local shool in Black Point offers education only up to 6th or 7th grade, and after that students have to go to Nassau for high school. Nassau is also home to the University of The Bahamas.

Apart from school there is a police station (which looks more like concrete shed measuring to the total of 3Ñ…3 metres), a hospital, 3 minuscule shops and 4 restaurants.

A little note on the door of a hospital announced that a doctor visit was scheduled for next Wednesday, please book appointments for that day.

There’s quite a shortage of food products in the local shops and bodegas, and shelves are mostly stocked with canned food. Apart from some rotten bananas there was no fruit, and vegetables were represented only by potatoes and onions. Prices are exorbitant. I remember stopping by one of the shops to buy some water only to learn they ran out of it, and were waiting for the next delivery via boat.

Local people tend to speak very loudly which I found very bizarre. At first I thought everybody was fighting and having a shouting match with each other! Turns out this is a normal, everyday volume for Bahamians. I managed to strike a conversation with a local who was born and bred on the island, and new every single inhabitant.

I was pleasantly surprised by local people’s friendliness – they always say hi to one another and exchange a few words. A group of men I came across thanked me for visiting their island and told me to feel at home. As a tourist you feel pretty safe here, and if something happens – locals are more than happy to help.

The whole island commutes by bikes, bicycles, golf-cars and cars. The traffic is left-handed.

My landlady suggested I rent an $80 a day golf-car, but I politely refused. Instead, I rented a bicycle and made the most of it by cycling across the island.

One side of the island offers impeccable white sand beach with calm and clear water, the other side is all rocks and strong waves.

Part 2 talks about the island tour and a visit to the Harbour Island.

Already a member? Play now

This article is also available in: ruРусский

Share.

Comments are closed.