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Home > Destinations > The Bahamas > Trip Reports > Trip Report

The Bahamas - Trip Reports

Grand Bahama Island

My 2 girlfriends and I just returned from a 12-day stay in Freeport (Oct. 3-14). We are regular visitors, and as always, we had a blast! I'll just highlight some of the new things we did, but feel free to e-mail me with any specific questions.

Taino Beach Fish Fry & Bahamia:

Despite being pretty darn tired due to crack-of-dawn departure times, on our first night there we spirited Janice away from home for a rare night on the town (thanks, Les!). First we hit the Fish Fry at Taino Beach, which is held every Wednesday. Despite reports of things being slow on the island in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, there was a good crowd. You line up at the hut, where fresh snapper is seasoned and cooked right in front of you. When it's your turn, you select your sides (I highly recommend the mac 'n' cheese), grab your plate and go. Quite a big meal for about $7. There's a bar over to the side where you can buy drinks, and picnic tables on the deck and in the sand, where you sit to enjoy your food. Folks are very friendly - a few more natives than tourists, and are happy to squeeze you in at the tables. All in all, a very relaxed mood and delicious food!

Afterwards, we dragged Janice (who was nursing a particularly virulent Bahamian cold) to the Bahamia to check it out and try to meet a certain "Foxy." Mission was completed on that front, and Sheilz knows the details. As for the Bahamia, I was not at all impressed with the place. It was my first time there, and no way would I want to stay there. I know lots of people love it, and maybe I didn't see enough, but if I were a honeymooner walking through that crazily wallpapered hallway, with the ceiling tiles all water-stained and swollen and treacherously hanging in some places, I would definitely feel bummed out. Just my personal opinion, and I will definitely want to re-visit it after renovations are completed.

The John B. was temporarily closed, but we found the Sunglows, who were setting up to play on an outdoor stage. The bar was not crowded, and we even persuaded Janice to have a piña colada (the only drink I saw her have the whole time we were on the island). Folks were friendly and the service was fine, but we left after a short time, as we were all running out of steam. Never heard those Sunglows -- next time, maybe!

Junkanoo Rush Out:

On Saturday night (Oct. 6) we were lucky enough to go to the Junkanoo Rush Out, which was also at Taino Beach. It was a competition among 4 bands, each of which had to make 2 circuits up & down the road. It was a highlight of our trip, and definitely made us want to return for either the Boxing Day (Dec. 26) or New Year's Day parades! The drumbeats are about 14 beats per every 5 seconds (I repeatedly timed it out of disbelief), and I was amazed that one band kept on for 30 minutes!!!! That is 168 bpm, which is about as fast as you can go. One guy had his cowbells duct-taped to his wrists!

Most bands had brass sections, but all had a big contingent of drums, some of which are just huge. When I get the photos back, I'll set up a web page so you can see. Standing right there, you feel like you are in the band; the drumbeats reverberate in your chest! It was amazing, and even the most sedentary person would have to move a little! I found myself just laughing with delight. There sure is a bit of the Devil in that music!!! The music, dancing and beat are infectious -- the smallest kids are hopping right along with the groups.

If you're interested, you can read more about it at: www.whatsonbahamas.com

Just great. We weaseled free T-shirts out of the Kalik beer promotion tent, and I will wear mine proudly!

West End and Old Bahama Bay:

Mid-week, the weather took a strange turn, and 40-50 mph winds kicked up. Clouds eradicated our sunning plans, and forced most of the tourist boats & activities to stay in port. Thanks to a friend, we took a jeep ride out to West End to see a little more of the island. No roof on the jeep, heh-heh. The wind whipped into us from the east, and left my 2 girlfriends short hairdos horizontal! When I turned to talk to them at one point near Holmes Rock (well, yell, actually), my sunglasses were ripped off my face and flew out of the jeep! Luckily, we were able to find them by the side of the road pretty quickly and into my bag they went!

As we got closer to West End, the sky darkened, and the turbulent sea was crashing over the sea wall. When I saw natives walking along the road in full rain suits, it wasn't hard to figure out how the rest of the ride would go. The spume from the waves just soaked us on the passenger side, and we couldn't stop laughing. Wet, horizontal hair? We wanted to look at the construction at Old Bahama Bay, and maybe grab a late lunch, so we carried on. By the time we got there it started raining, and we took refuge. Although the restaurant was technically "closed" (workers were installing new ceiling lights), the folks there welcomed us in and prepared us a meal anyway! Fresh grouper and a Kalik never tasted so good! That kind of Bahamian hospitality keeps us coming back year after year.

Return trip was the same -- we were on opposite sides, so my friends' hair straightened out, and the driver's side of the car got soaked instead. We did duck into the Chicken Nest to get some conch salad, since my buds had never tried it. It was super fresh and good! Nice and spicy!

Ferry House:

We finally tried the Ferry House restaurant in Port Lucaya. We had heard mixed reports, but this night was definitely a good one. Service was impeccable, yet relaxed. A variety of fresh breads were sliced & served; we all liked the mushroom bread, but enjoyed the sun-dried tomato and basil ones as well. Different textures and flavors, with oil & balsamic vinegar, as well as butter. The wine list had a decent selection from around the world. A little pricey, but no worse than Luciano's. We shared a crisp French white for about $33. The 2 Icelandic chefs circulated among the diners, happy to answer questions or get comments. I recommend the grilled tiger shrimp salad and the red snapper on mashed potatoes with seasoned tomatoes. One of my friends highly praised the duck & cleaned her plate! I understand the menu changes frequently, but everything we saw looked quite good. Presentation was excellent as well. Hopefully, it is hitting its stride and will remain good. I would definitely return.


Having been on the island so long, we were on Bahamian time, so we missed our flight home on Saturday! We got to check-in an hour before our Air Tran flight was to leave, and were told that US Customs would not let us through. Once we saw that no amount of begging & pleading would help, we rescheduled flights for the following day, and returned to Port Lucaya - homeless! Well, all I can say is that our concerns about where we would stay were ill-founded. We had four different offers of places to stay, offers to give us extra cash, offers of meals, offers to store our bags… just amazing! I would never feel stranded on GBI; people just leapt to proffer assistance -- something I could never expect here in Washington DC. One person even got offended when we accepted another offer over his! When I read people on these boards accusing the Bahamians of being rude or unfriendly, I can firmly attest that it does not match my experience in the slightest.


Here are some updates for those who might be interested:

The Corner Bar is closed for renovation. They are tiling the sides of the bar in bright colors, and have it all boarded up.

The Seaview and adjacent clothing store are both closed for repair. Apparently, during roof work, debris fell through and wrecked these 2 places. Construction was coming along, so it may not be too long before they reopen.

Our Lucaya - Reef Village & Lighthouse Pointe are still closed down - all guests are staying in the Breaker's Cay high-rise. All pools are open, though, and the Lighthouse Pointe infinity pool is especially relaxing. You can have you chair on a ledge in the water, and there is a nice breeze you don't feel in the Breaker's Cay pool area.

According to the Miami Herald, the PGA Senior Slam will NOT be at Our Lucaya this November. It has been changed to St. Augustine, Florida, purportedly due to fear of terrorism.

Thanks to Renee for this trip report ...
January 2002

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