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Best place to stay in the Bahamas?

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Feb 7th, 2008, 04:47 AM
  #1
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Best place to stay in the Bahamas?

Ok, my little brother is getting married on May 31st and I somehow got "stuck" paying for his honeymoon. At first he said he just wanted to go somewhere in the Caribbean, but lately he's been dropping hints about the Bahamas. I'm not sure why he prefers the Bahamas (he's never been anywhere in the Caribbean), but if that's what he wants then that's what he'll get. My questions are, where is the best place to stay? What areas should they avoid (where should I not look)? They don't want something super touristy, they want to be able to relax and enjoy the beach, snorkel, etc. But, they also don't want to be holed up in their hotel after 9-10 p.m. I've never been to the Caribbean either, so I have no idea where to start. What hotels do you recommend? Give me any ideas without price being an issue. I'll overlook all recommendations and then make my decision as to what I want/can spend on this. They would be flying out of Chicago and the trip would be for 4-7 nights. Sorry for the long read, just wanted to be specific about what information I need. Thank you.
travelisgood is offline  
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Feb 7th, 2008, 05:49 AM
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I would suggest that your brother get a guidebook first!! There are 700 islands in the Bahamas, and those which support tourism (not all 700!) are as different as night and day. You've got the very busy and tourism heavy islands of New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport)on the one hand, with every hotel, diversion, shop, amenity, and -- at least in Nassau, it seems -- cruise ship passenger that you can imagine. Then you have the Out Islands (Abacos, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Cat, Long, Andros, etc.) which are laid-back and remote, in varying degrees.

The closest compromise between not "super touristy" and not "holed up in their hotel after 9-10" is probably the Abacos ... but they are nevertheless pretty sleepy. In fact, in the more laid-back islands of the Caribbean and the Bahamas, my experience has been that there is a vibrant beach and waterfront bar scene, but that it doesn't go very late into the night. (In fact, my favorite beach bar anywhere, the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke in the BVI, pretty much goes quiet by sundown.) Nightlife tends to go hand-in-hand with the more touristy destinations.

If the beach is your little brother's highest priority, then the Out Islands offer some of the best in the world, especially if he likes those beaches secluded.

Some nice honeymoon spots in the Abacos that I would consider (and truly wish I had known about when I got married!) would be: Bluff House Inn or Green Turtle Club on Green Turtle Cay; Dolphin Beach Resort on Great Guana Cay; Hopetown Harbour Lodge and Abaco Inn on Elbow Cay.

There are nice places on the other Out Islands as well, but they are all substantially more sleepy and remote than the Abacos.

BTW, May is a glorious time to visit the Bahamas.
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Feb 7th, 2008, 06:34 AM
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I was reading through the Caribbean forum and saw someone mention you specifically for their "Caribbean" needs, so I was hoping for you to chime in. Thanks for all the advice. I'll go to the bookstore today and get a guidebook for him.

From reading all the different posts, I get a feeling that it would be better to stay away from Nassau and Freeport. Am I correct in assuming this? So, unless he ends up going to Nassau or Freeport, there won't be much, if any nightlift? I just want him to have the best honeymoon possible. Maybe this way he'll repay me when I get married!!

One question you didn't really answer is, I've heard that it might be "better" to stay away from certain areas after dark, is this true? And if so, which areas? Sorry for all the questions.

Thanks again for all the advice.
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Feb 7th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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Based on the information provided I would look into Harbour Island off of Eleuthera. Gorgeous 3 mile beach, not too touristy but not ultra quiet either, a few nice restaurants, ride around in golf carts. Few different hotels to choose from including Coral Sands, Pink Sands, Romora Bay etc

Here is a good link to research the island
http://www.harbourislandguide.com
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Feb 7th, 2008, 07:24 AM
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I certainly won't tell anyone to stay away from Nassau or Freeport because -- clearly, from the numbers alone -- those destinations have a lot of what people want. It's simply a matter of identifying what your brother wants (or what you want him to have!) and then choosing the right place. Remember that Nassau is a big city, so your brother will want to govern himself accordingly, especially after dark.

There is a great little item on an Abaco website which helps people figure out whether Abaco is for them: http://oii.net/Forum/For_you.htm (aka "Abaco is not for Sissies"). I think it does a marvelous job giving people a feel for what to expect of Abaco and the Out Islands. As much as I love the Abacos and the other Out Islands, they are not for everyone, and they are all about managing expectations.

As I think more about where your brother should honeymoon, I think the Bahamas may not be the place for him, since the options really fall in two extremes, and your brother seems to want something more in the middle. I think that maybe some other places in the Caribbean might be better, and the BVI come to mind -- Tortola and/or Virgin Gorda in particular.

Anyway, if you want something to chew on (before you buy those excellent Fodor's guides!), I've got lots of stuff on my webpage here: http://islandtime.homestead.com/mainpage1.html. Trip reports and photos. While my personal taste runs to secluded places, I'm not averse to a little action from time to time, and the BVI offer that.
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Feb 8th, 2008, 05:25 AM
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You may have said and I missed it but how old is your brother??

I think the Abacos are a great choice. The suggestions you got are exactly the ones I would have made- particularly the Green Turtle Club or Dolphin Beach on Guana because at both of those locations he would have the wonderful beaches, nice accommodations and some nightlife- Nippers on Guana can be pretty lively. I also love Hopetown so the Hopetown Harbour Lodge would also be in my top choices. Did you visit the websites for these places to look? The Abacos are very safe and friendly. In these smaller places the honeymooners will very likely meet other vacationers to party with- we certainly always did.
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Feb 8th, 2008, 06:44 AM
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I love Abaco. There are a few beach bars on some of the islands that offer a little night life, depends on how much light life he wants. One of my favorite memories on Green Turtle was a night out at Sundowners during a "pool tournement". Sundowners is a little local bar. Its so small that it was hard to take some shots with the cue stick, in fact, they had a little short one to use! A couple places will have live music on certain week nights. I think Green Turtle Club would be a wonderful place for a honeymoon. We sayed there when we stayed on Green Turtle Cay.
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Feb 8th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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Thanks for the continued suggestions.

ishkribbl - my brother and his fiance are both 24. Would there be people around that age at these places? I don't want to send them somewhere they'd feel out of place.

I've been looking into all the suggestions everyone has given me and am going to get together with my brother this weekend to try and nail down a choice.

Thanks again everyone.
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