At the end of April, I had the opportunity to visit my sister and her husband in the Bahamas. They moved there from Ontario almost 6 years ago now as my sister’s husband wanted to return to his native country. Even though they have lived there for more than half a decade, this was my first time visiting the Bahamas…. (gasp). Why did we take so long to visit? A few reasons, but mostly because we were pickled in debt. Also, my sister and her husband recently moved into a house where in the past they were renting a one bedroom so it would have been hard to accommodate myself and my husband before this. Without their hospitality to accommodate us for this vacation, it would have probably been a few years before we could afford this trip. The Bahamas is an expensive place to live and not having to worry about lodging expenses freed up a lot of money for us to spend on food, drinks, activities, souvenirs and various adventures.
My husband and I plan on making the Bahamas a regular destination point for as long as we can. Especially if my sister and her family continue to live there we can save on accommodation and spend most our money on embracing the culture and taking in the views. I made the mistake of only booking a 6-day trip. I should have done at least 10 days, the time was just not enough, but I had a blast.
Even during my brief stay we got to visit 3 islands, Nassau (the capital and where my sister lives), Paradise Island (which is only a few minutes’ drive across the bridge from Nassau), and Blue Lagoon Island (which was a 30-minute ferry ride away and more of a touristy island where we did the dolphin encounter).
Some of the things I loved about the Bahamian culture and people were:
1. Everyone was so polite. People said hello, please and thank you. The local people were pleasant and kind (and I don’t think it was because I was a tourist).
2. The woman clean up nice. Bahamian woman know how to dress to impress. From the hair, nails, clothing, everything is colored coordinated and intentional. At times, I felt it can be a bit much, even for a simple outing they will dress to impress. That is not me but it was cool to see.
3. The Bahamian bills are so colorful and pretty. They remind me of the Canadian dollar bills, but different. The Bahamian dollar is at par with the US dollar which means that whatever the US dollar is worth at any given day, the Bahamian dollar is worth the same. All vendors will take either Bahamian or US dollar and they are both worth the same. This was good and bad for me for 2 reasons. It was good because I didn’t have to worry about converting the Canadian dollar into the local currency. Instead, I just converted everything into US dollars because it would be easier for me to convert back any unused currency when I returned to Canada. It was bad because the Canadian dollar is so weak right now compared to the U.S. At the time of the exchange, $1 CDN got me $0.72 USD…. YIKES!!
4. The streets and houses are filled with color. There were pink, purple, blue and green houses, office building, churches, recreational centers etc. With the magnificent back drop of the Atlantic Ocean and the palm trees, these colors fit in beautifully. They make you feel alive and heighten your senses.
5. You can and should bargain for everything, especially in the street markets. It is encouraged and expected. This I liked because I like to get a good deal, and like my culture, bargaining is a way of doing business so I felt right at home in some sense.
6. Lots and lots of sea food, tropical fruit and sun. If I was trapped in a deserted island, I think this is all I would need. For real though, I had my fair share of sea food and got to try their famous conch dishes (pronounced like konk) prepared in its many forms. Although I enjoyed the local food, I think long term it can be very fattening as a lot of foods are deep fried.
7. An endless bounty of water. Everywhere you turn you are only a few miles (if not less) from water. Whether it is a neighboring island, or a beach there is never a shortage of opportunities to go swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving, all things I love to do. The Bahamas has over 700 islands but only 30 of them inhabited by people. Why am I so excited about this? Well as of right now and for the past 5 years I have lived in Calgary, Alberta which is land locked so the little water reservoirs we do have are at a premium and not nearly as captivating.
8. So many carnivals and festivals. When I was there they were promoting the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. The costumes and dancing was vibrant and colorful.
9. A strong Christian based community. On Sunday, we attended the church where late Pastor Myles Munroe use to preach. He was a great preacher, a global leader that advised many governments in the Bahamas and overseas among other things. Him and his wife passed away suddenly in a plane crash. I know a lot of people locally and internationally were impacted by his loss. However, it was nice to see the church was still alive and packed with people.
10. My experience in the Bahamas was awesome because the people, culture and atmosphere was awesome.
Here are some more pictures from the trip:
Water, water and more water:
What destination points left a lasting impression on you and why? What did you like or not like about your experience?