It's been a few years now since I first heard of the Cheeseburger in Paradise Party. Originally known as Stranded Naked, the famous beach and boat party founded by Bob Henderson began as a gathering for Jimmy Buffet fans in the 1980s. Since then, it has evolved majorly; the free party is suitable for people of all ages and thousands flock to Fiddle Cay for this one-day event.
In 2015, after a few tragedies, Bob Henderson and his wife Patricia announced they were taking a break from hosting Stranded Naked. When news of this got around, a few people from Green Turtle Cay (GTC) decided to take the reins.
Three years later, although the name has changed, the vibe remains the same. Boats are still filled to capacity, starting their journey to Fiddle Cay as early as 6 a.m. Record numbers of hamburgers and margaritas are still given out for free and the boats still line up around the shallow waters allowing partygoers to essentially boat hop.
The Cheeseburger in Paradise is now an initiative of the Green Turtle Cay Committee and it raises money for the Amy Roberts Primary School, the Volunteer Fire Department, and the Historical Foundation, all on the beautiful island of GTC. This year, the event was held at the end of Regatta Time in Abaco, Abaco's nine-day sailing regatta, and as a first-time attendee, it was as impressive as they come.
Now that I'm no longer a Cheeseburger in Paradise rookie, I can offer a few pointers for first-timers.
1. Timing is everything, sometimes: Most people would essentially encourage you to get there early but we left Bluff House after noon and we were still able to get a decent spot, but if you're someone who prefers to be in the middle of the action, maybe a 6 a.m. start is up your alley. Look on the bright side; you're on a boat - you can take a nap.
2. My friends, real friends, better than your friends: Beyonce said it best when she said, "My friends are goals, your friends are foes" because Cheeseburger in Paradise is nothing without your friends. The right friends can make or break your experience. Although the party is a chance to network and make friends, there's nothing quite like crew love.
3. Line up your transportation: Not everyone has a boat or access to one. In the Abacos, renting a boat is an affordable option between a group of friends but if this isn't an option for you, months before the event, keep an eye out for party boats. This year, Froggies Out Island Adventure was a very popular option and it came with a free drink. Win, all around.
4. Penne for your thoughts: Consider packing food as an option. The food lines are ridiculously long with the average wait time of 2 hours, because who doesn't drink and crave hamburgers? Apparently, waiting on the lines are a part of the Cheeseburger in Paradise experience. I can't attest to this, as I didn't wait on any lines but I can totally see it. I didn't think I would have to mention pack a cooler as well with drinks for the whole day; ensure that water is also in your cooler as you should stay hydrated. It's hot and you're on the beach the entire day; always take precautions to stay hydrated
5. Swimwear is always a good idea: This goes without saying, for both women and men. Beach fashion is a thing and we must fully prepare for it. Have a good swimsuit or swim trunks. Set a fashion or follow a trend but most importantly, be comfortable in your choice as you'll be wearing it all day as the party starts at Fiddle Cay but ends later that night in GTC.
The Regatta Time in Abaco is already scheduled for June 26, 2019 - July 4, 2019 and Cheeseburger in Paradise will be held July 2, 2019. Be sure to book early as things do get hectic in the Abacos during the summer months. Be sure to check out any specials before you book!
All in all, the Cheeseburger in Paradise party isn't just a party; it's an experience. Experiences are everything and as an experience seeker, I'm glad I came, saw and conquered Cheeseburger in Paradise, my way. Also, I scratched one item off the Summer Bucket List - The Abacos.
*Photos Courtesy of Cheeseburger in Paradise Committee