One of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets offers much more than just beautiful beaches, and getting there is now easier than ever
One of the closest islands to the United States, Freeport, Grand Bahama Island offers a convenient, affordable and adventure-packed Caribbean vacation – and with new airlift, ferry service and experiences, this summer is the prime time to visit.
The island is easily accessible from the U.S. and has plenty of accommodations for any type of traveler seeking a stress-free summer getaway. Freeport is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in The Bahamas, offering an ideal setting to relax and unwind. The island is also home to three national parks, one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems and off-the-beaten-path adventures for the thrill seeker. Read ahead for how to plan a trip to Freeport this summer.
WHEN TO GO
Visit Freeport during the summer months to experience the island’s pristine weather and exciting cultural events. Summertime on the island is a balmy 86 degrees and water temperatures reach up to 82 degrees in August.
Bahamian Independence Dayon July 10 is a time for celebration and features live music, traditional Bahamian cuisine and the vibrant Independence ceremony at Independence Park.
July 4 – 25, Freeport transforms as the Goombay Summer Festivalheats up the island. Visitors can experience lively sounds of The Bahamas, local cuisine, Bahamian arts and crafts, Junkanoo and more. The festival is held every Thursday, from 6:00 p.m. to midnight at Taino Beach.
August 3-17, Freeport comes alive as the Junkanoo Festival goes into high gear at Smith Point. The festival will take place during the first three Saturdays in August. Residents and guests will be treated to the sounds of the goatskin drums, colorful costumes, and high energy dances that are generally experienced during the New Year. Complimentary transfers are available to hotel guests for both festivals.
HOW TO GET THERE
Less than 55 miles off the coast of Florida, visitors can easily get to Freeport by plane, cruise or ferry. While direct flights are available through Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Atlanta, easy connections can also be made through Palm Beach, Chicago, Detroit and New York.
This season, a number of U.S. and regional airlines are offering expanded airlift. Direct flights by Bahamasairand Silver Airwaysoperate daily out of Fort Lauderdale. Delta Air Linesoperates direct flights out of Atlanta four times per week while Bahamasair will offer direct flights from Orlando twice a week from July 1, 2019 to September 7, 2019.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’sGrand Celebration and Grand Classica sail every other day from the Port of Palm Beach to Freeport as part of their two-day cruise. Upon arrival, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has dedicated excursions, water-based activities, such as snorkeling and diving, animal encounters and more.
Balearia Bahamas Expressferry sails round-trip to Freeport from Fort Lauderdale. The three-hour ferry trip runs Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months. Balearia Caribbean has also relocated to Terminal 21, Port Everglades, Florida, which will allow the ferry line to be of greater service to its passengers.
WHERE TO STAY
Freeport has a variety of accommodation styles, from all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels, allowing guests to customize their experience on island. Each accommodation option has luxe amenities and unique Bahamian offerings for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Taino Beach Resort & Clubs– Surrounded by clear blue sea, white powder beaches and lush tropical landscaping, Taino Beach Resort & Clubs offers an intimate island escape. The resort boasts a private beach, lagoon style pool with a waterslide, waterfalls, caves, lazy river and swim-up bar.
Flamingo Bay Hotel & Marina at Taino Beach–Flamingo Bay Hotel & Marina sits on the beautiful emerald green Bell Channel Waterway. The hotel offers three stories of mid-size guest rooms furnished with a true island feel and Caribbean décor. Flamingo Bay also includes a full service marina with 25 dockage slips.
Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour– Old Bahama Bay provides guests Bahamian charm and cosmopolitan luxury. The resort is home to 73 guest rooms and two restaurants. It also offers guests complimentary non-motorized watersports, such as snorkeling, sailing and kayaking.
Pelican Bay Hotel– Pelican Bay Hotel was awarded the prestigious “Small Treasures of The Bahamas” by the Ministry of Tourism. Their 89 waterside rooms and 94 waterside staterooms all include private balconies with sweeping views of Freeport’s turquoise waters. The hotel provides a complimentary ferry service to Taino Beach, where guests can take part in beach and water activities.
Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan– Located on seven acres of white-sand beaches, Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan is home to 198 guest rooms and suites, four restaurants and lounges and ocean front swimming pools. The property also includes an 18-hole championship golf course and a Senses Spa & Fitness center.
Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort – The 26-acre, all-inclusive resort has 274 ocean or garden facing rooms, three restaurants and three bars on property, as well as a disco, theater, gym and sauna. Guests can also earn their scuba diving or PADI certification during their stay through professionally taught courses.
WHAT TO DO
Fish Fry at Smith’s Point–Every Wednesday, Smith’s Point comes alive for an authentic Bahamian Fish Fry. With live music, local cuisine and drinks, there is no better way to experience The Bahamas like a local.
Toni Macaroni’s Conch Experience– Toni Macaroni’s Conch Experience at Taino Beach is known for some of the best conch and fish dishes on the island. Learn about the life cycle of conch and how the island favorite is prepared before indulging in the dish.
Port Lucaya Marketplace– As one of the prime locations for shopping, dining and entertainment on Freeport, Port Lucaya Marketplace is home to more than 40 specialty stores and boutiques, 16 restaurants and four bars. Visitors can also immerse themselves in Bahamian culture with Junkanoo, Rake & Scrape and live Bahamian music at night.
Sands Brewery – The 100% Bahamian owned business launched its first beer, Sands, in 2007 and today, visitors can tour the brewery and indulge in a Sands or two. During the brewery tour, guests can witness the lab quality control, learn about the filtrations and kegging process and watch Sands staff bottle beers. After the tour, take a trip to the gift shop for some duty-free shopping.
Blue Green Outdoors Snorkel/Kayak Tour– Guests on this tour will kayak off the shores of East Grand Bahama, snorkel the mystifying blue hole and see diverse marine life while learning the story of Freeport’s culture.
Grand Bahama Jeep & Sightseeing Excursion– Travelers can drive their own 4 x 4 open top Jeep in a convoy, led by an experienced island guide. The tour includes excellent roads with very little traffic as well as off roading through the pine forest and along a scenic coastal road. Also included is a visit to Lucayan National Park where guests walk through several ecosystems, see Lucayan caves and enjoy lunch at Grand Bahama Island’s botanical garden, Garden of the Groves.
Perfume Factory Tour– This behind-the-scenes tour takes travelers through a working fragrance production operation, located in an elegant plum and white replica of an old Bahamian mansion. At the end of the tour guests can have the opportunity to mix their own special fragrance, bottle it and name it.
Anita Johnson-Patty | General Manager, Global Communications | Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation | firstname.lastname@example.org
Weber Shandwick Public Relations | Bahamas@webershandwick.com