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Grand Bahama & Why I'm Sorry I Listened to a Lonely Planet Guidebook

Grand Bahama & Why I'm Sorry I Listened to a Lonely Planet Guidebook

Old Jan 12th, 2011, 07:21 AM
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I enjoyed your report- and I was attracted by the headline, because I have had similar experiences with LP. I stopped using them because I found them to be too critical of any area that is completely uncharted. LP writers seem to overlook the fact that one reason there are lots of people travelling to a place, is because there is something compelling there to see and do! Yes, some destinations do a better jib of managing their resources, and there are plenty of off the beaten path places where one can experience something similar. But what I have found is that no matter where you go if you take the time to get to know the place, the people and the environment, you will probably enjoy the trip! As you ultimately discovered. Great report... Wish I was there;-)
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Old Jan 12th, 2011, 07:24 AM
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Oops meant to say " NOT completely uncharted"
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Old Jan 12th, 2011, 10:12 PM
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Thanks for the report Daniel. I'm also glad you didn't listen to Lonely Planet about Grand Bahama. As you discovered, it's a lovely place to visit. Two of my cousins recently said to me that they would never visit Grand Bahama because of what they had "heard" about it. Believe me, their minds were changed after we had a conversation!! It seems they heard about Grand Bahama from someone who had never been there and was only passing down what they had heard from someone else (who probably had also never been there)!! Ridiculous!! I will pass along your trip report to them ASAP!!

Now, I want to go back!!
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 07:04 AM
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Thanks for the video clip Daniel. It looks great.
No, you didn't mislead me about Grand Bahama; I always knew that it was very touristy from other family members who have been and my friends who live there, but gleaned from your report that it's still possible quite easily and quickly to get away from the madding crowd at times, which is important to me when I travel.

Still mulling it over. I've travelled to most of the larger Caribbean islands (Leeward and Windward) over the years and loved them immensely, especially the French ones, but find myself enjoying the smaller ones now, where I can hike and run and snorkel and chill on tiny turquoise bays and beaches which I can have to myself if I want, with a cold Carib and a plate of chicken, rice and peas.

Ahhh... can't wait for March.
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Old Jan 14th, 2011, 07:54 AM
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whammy77: "Bread lady" and the Exuma period sounds wonderful. I agree it's a pity that far too often, the Bahamas gets judged based on downtown Nassau/Paradise Island/Cable Beach. While I love the homey inn I stayed at near Nassau, I preferred the overall feel of Grand Bahama Island for the cycling & the ease to find quiet yet beautiful spots.

Familygoboston, Essie_Lewis: Thanks for reading. I still will probably peruse, even buy Lonely Planet books but this definitely was an eye-opener that I may not be a kindred spirit of the author. Since the author wrote that it had about as much appeal as an Australian outback town, I'm now more curious about Australian outback towns ! I agree with your sentiments about wanting to go back or being there!

Mathieu: How wonderful to have been able to enjoy so many islands in the Caribbean! People on the Caribbean forum I'm sure do and will appreciate all the insight you bring having such a region-wide knowledge, and for that question that seems to nag first time visitors (which island do I go to?).

I've not been to the Caribbean (only Bahamas!) and I'd love to be able to pick up more on some of the regional differences (when I left, I felt I was just starting to pick up on the Bahamian accent (as opposed to say Bajan, Jamaican, Grenadan), but I'm honestly not sure).

BTW, "escaping the madding crowd" on Grand Bahama was not hard at all. Even the beach where my B&B was, 7 minute walk from Our Lucaya resort, was very peaceful with only occasional passersby taking a walk. In truth, compared to the sea of umbrellas that is Fort Lauderdale, even the area right in front of Our Lucaya resort felt quiet!

Have a blast snorkeling and chilling with a Carib!
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Old Jan 14th, 2011, 08:47 AM
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Love your report.
PS you should buy Fodor's guidebooks! ;-)
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Old Jan 21st, 2011, 05:58 PM
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Enjoyed your report very much, I've never been to Bahamas, always in the list of "to-go". Real people's experience always educate me more than guidebooks. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 06:16 AM
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Thanks SakuraSakura,

I hope you do go one day!

Thanks Blamona,

I did also have the Fodor's guidebook Bahamas 2011 (which I didn't buy but rather received complimentary due to being quoted in one of their guidebooks ). To Fodors: Again thank you! To its credit, the Fodors book had a more positive spin on Grand Bahama, seeking out the positives, mentioning truthful negatives but not focusing on them.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2011, 07:35 AM
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Hello Daniel! Firstly, thanks for all the information. I wish we could have been there for New Year's Eve, it sounds wonderful! Secondly, I was hoping you'd answer a question for me... My husband and I are heading down to Freeport via Discovery (just for the day trip), and are wanting to cycle from the Port to some of the spots you mentioned (Gold Rock Beach, Fortuna Beach, Billy Joe's). Is this a possible thing? We have about four hours to play around, and I kind of wanted to be on our own, and tour at our leisure. Also, did you encounter any "unsafe" areas, or places to avoid? Hate thinking in the negative, but like to be one step ahead, ya know? Thanks in advance!!!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2011, 09:14 AM
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Hi kellyfish,

Oh boy. No, I'm afraid the day trip via Discovery doesn't leave you much time to do much of anything or to go out much on your own. It's a five-hour crossing each way more or less and we got in at 2:30pm more or less and that boat *was pulling out* of Freeport Harbour at 5:30pm (which means you'd better be on the boat before). Even though Discovery lets the day-trippers off first and back on last, considering that Freeport Harbour is a good 25-minute ride to Port Lucaya and the nearby Lucaya beaches (there may be other excursions, but this is where I noticed the day trippers seemed to end up), it really doesn't leave much time (maybe an hour to max 1 1/2 hours to actually explore?). You'll probably have enough time to explore Port Lucaya Marketplace and go to nearby Lucaya Beach before you get on the tour vehicle back to the harbour and that's it. If you could change things to stay for a night (or more), this is what I'd strongly recommend doing to get a better sense of the island. Plus, you're up at the crack of dawn and not off the boat till late at night.

If you do stick with the day trip, I'd probably just explore Port Lucaya Marketplace and walk over to see Lucaya Beach (which are pleasant, albeit touristy). I just don't see there'd be time to rent a bike and cycle anywhere of interest. Billy Joe's you could likely see on your day trip as it's right on Lucaya Beach, although I don't know if they would be serving food and offering musical entertainment at around 3:30pm when you'd be there, but maybe.

The rest are impossible given the time constraints of a day trip, I'm sorry to say. Fortuna Beach took me 45 minutes to an hour to cycle to from Port Lucaya one direction and Gold Rock Beach would be about an hour and a half further by bike I'd say more or less. Even getting to Gold Rock Beach (east of Lucaya) by car from the harbour (west of Lucaya) and back would be tight I'd say given your time restraints.

Sorry to have burst your plan, but ending with a positive: I never once felt worried for my safety while on Grand Bahama Island.

Enjoy whatever you do decide! Best wishes, Daniel
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Old Feb 8th, 2011, 10:04 AM
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Daniel - great trip report! Am taking family to Lucaya in a week - unfortunately on Discovery - but only time we had - is there a local bus at the port that would take us to Lucaya or other places?
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Old Feb 8th, 2011, 10:57 AM
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Hi wildbird1275

I may be mistaken, but I don't believe so. I was told that the Grand Bahama Taxi Union has lobbied and used pressure tactics successfully, fixing things so there's no public transit stopping at Freeport Harbour. (The rate was $27 for a cab Lucaya-Freeport Harbour each way in January.)

If you're doing a day trip and want to get to Lucaya, a boat-arranged shore excursion is probably your best bet.

Have fun! Daniel
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Old May 2nd, 2011, 12:08 PM
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Hi Daniel
I'm finding this trip report a bit late (just starting to do some research for my own trip to the Bahamas), but I loved it. Felt like I was there! Thank you.
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 04:40 PM
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Hi Gia,

I always love it when someone finds a trip report a few months past and comments on it. I hope you enjoy your trip to the Bahamas. I still periodically look at my pictures from this December/January and hope to return one day!

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old May 4th, 2011, 06:50 AM
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Gia what part of the bahamas are you traveling to
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Old May 4th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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Daniel, I'd mentioned in a post higher up on this thread that I was considering a trip to the Bahamas, but instead I've just returned 3 days ago from a wonderful stay on St. Martin.

I know that I will someday soon get to the Bahamas (I have lots of reasons to go), but I did have a fantastic time on SXM and hope to post a trip report about it shortly. I think its a place you'd love, especially if you like to bike ride. Lots of hills and panoramic vistas.

Regards,

M.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 10:00 PM
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Mathieu, Glad you had a great trip and I'll keep an eye out for your trip report. SXM with its panoramic vistas sounds like a great bike ride... don't know how I feel though about the lots of hills business though Daniel
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Old Feb 19th, 2013, 07:13 AM
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bookmarking
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Old Mar 14th, 2013, 10:41 PM
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I hope this isn't too late to receive a reply, but we are also booked for a Bahamas cruise with one day on Nassau and one day on Grand Bahama. I was thinking we'd rent bikes for the day - we have about 10 hours max - and take ourselves for a ride to some historic sites, beaches, maybe lunch. Considering a cave tour somewhere in there, too.

My question is, if one wants to make any stops, are there places to leave a bike? Like if we wanted to go inside for lunch, or see a museum or church? Where would we leave the bicycles where they wouldn't be stolen?
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Old Mar 15th, 2013, 11:58 AM
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Hi christianna,

I hope you enjoy the cycling as much as I did and get good cycling weather. I can't really address your question too much except to say that when I had lunch at the Garden of the Groves, they let me bring my bike in where I could see it from my lunch spot (luckily as I had no lock). Maybe I was naive, but I wasn't really too worried as I would stroll on the beach at some of the Grand Bahama beaches away from the business of Port Lucaya Marketplace because it really was so peacefully quiet in spots. I imagine some bike rental places might provide locks?

Have a great trip! Daniel
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