Bahamas Great Itineraries: Island-Hopping for 1 Week

Island-Hopping for 1 Week

The Bahamas is comprised of more than 700 islands, yet many visitors experience just one in a single visit. With limited scheduled transportation between the islands, it’s difficult to island-hop without going back to Nassau for each leg, but this itinerary shows how you can use mail boats, speed boats, and scheduled flights to experience Nassau, Paradise Island, Rose Island, Sandals Island, mainland Exuma, and a handful of the Exuma cays and do it all in just a week, provided you arrive in Nassau on a Monday since the mail boat to George Town leaves on Tuesday.

1 Day: Nassau

Explore the sprawling marine habitat, face your fears on the exhilarating waterslides (including a clear acrylic slide that plunges through a shark tank), and get up close with sea lions and dolphins at the iconic Atlantis Resort. A new policy limits Aquaventure access to resort guests or cruise-ship passengers (with a day pass) so you’ll need to plan on at least one night in the sprawling resort or at Comfort Suites next door. Dine at one of the 21 restaurants on-property, and then dance the night away at Aura nightclub.

1 Day: Mail Boat Passage

On Day 2, head downtown and take in the history, architecture, culture, and (most important of all) the food of historic Nassau on the Bites of Nassau Food Tour. With your belly full, head to the eastern side of Potter’s Cay Dock to the Grand Master mail boat (242/393–1041). Once you get your tickets (no need to book in advance), head over to the colorful stalls to enjoy a game of dominoes and an ice cold Sands or Kalik beer. The mail boat, which leaves port between 4 and 5:30 every Tuesday afternoon, will be your transportation, overnight accommodations, and dinner restaurant on your way to George Town, Exuma, all for less than $60 per person one-way. Don’t expect anything fancy; you'll get only a basic bunk in one of two small and stark–-but air-conditioned–-cabins. For dinner it’s a plate full of the same hearty meal enjoyed by the crew.

1 Day: George Town, Exuma

Following your 14-hour overnight passage—complete with unbelievable sunsets, a strong possibility of dolphin spotting, and space shared with everything from cars to mail to sheep and goats—you'll arrive in George Town bright and early. Make Club Peace and Plenty your first stop for a Bahamian breakfast staple: boiled fish and johnny cake. Drop your bags at your prebooked accommodations, and take the water taxi from the Government Dock for a day of sun and fun at Chat 'N' Chill on Stocking Island, just a mile offshore. Swim with some wild stingrays that pop in daily for lunch, and treat yourself to tropical libations and conch salad prepared right before your eyes. When you’re done chatting and chilling, head back over to the mainland for a restful night, as there’s not likely to be much going on outside of Fish Fry Friday or the annual Regatta.

1 Day: Exuma Cays

The next day, island-hop the stunning Exuma Cays on a half-day excursion with Four C’s Adventures. Skim through the azure, crystal clear waters from island to island, feeding iguanas on Allan’s Cay, petting the swimming pigs on Big Major Cay, taking the perfect selfie at one of the beautiful beaches, and snorkeling in ocean blue holes. Catch the last scheduled flight back to Nassau, where you'll spend another night.

1 Day: Rose Island

Just 8 miles off the eastern coast of New Providence lies Rose Island. A popular weekend boating drop for locals, the long island is uninhabited. Book a night at the new Sandy Toes Retreat (363–8637 www.sandytoesroseisland.com; starting at $795 a night), a beautifully appointed two-bedroom cottage with unbelievable ocean views. Your boat transportation is included, and once the excursion day-trippers leave at 3:45, you’ll have the island to yourself.

1 Day: Nassau

Catch the 20-minute boat ride back to Nassau, and head west to wrap up your island-hopping week with a luxurious massage on the Sandals resort private island. A day pass gives you access to an array of restaurants, unlimited beverages, and all the amenities, including a private offshore island where you can be pampered in a tiki hut as the waves break on the northern shore, explore the three beaches, or lounge in the pool, and either head home late in the afternoon or early evening or spend one final night on New Providence.

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