I love the islands of the Bahamas for its relaxed easygoing lifestyle, pristine aquamarine water alongside the coastline, and it’s amazing and delicious conch dishes. I wanted to visit the quiet side of Bahamas without the party hype or busy metropolitan scenes like Nassau. So, I decided to go to Freeport located on the Grand Bahamas Island. This part of the island is laid back and quiet perfect for me since it was the exact ambience I was looking for.
I booked my family’s hotel stay at the Pelican Bay Hotel located in Lucaya and the Bell Channel Bay. I noticed a significant hotel stay price difference traveling there the last week of September as compared to leaving in the month of August- close to a major USD $300 difference.
I recommend accessing a multitude of hotel booking websites for the best price offer and review the possible promotional codes. Having done my research, I was able to book with Travelocity and cut my cost with their “End of the Summer” promotional code- taking my cost down an extra USD $100.
We arrived at Freeport’s only airport and were immediately transported to the hotel grounds. We were welcomed with a lush landscape of palm trees and colorful flower blooms. You instantly smell the sea as the Bahamian breeze courses through the hotel grounds; the native flag breezing in the air as if to welcome you to the island.
The driver was cordial to handle our multiple luggage pieces as I made my way to the front lobby to check in. We were welcomed with complimentary drinks complete with the small umbrellas and orchid bloom 🙂 I set my parents up with the resort’s Waterside State room which resembles a small apartment complete with a kitchenette. As for my sister and I, we shared a room in the Waterside suite opposite of the hotel’s grounds.
Having decided to get super comfortable by changing attire, we agreed to meet up to do a quick exploration. The first thing on our minds was to see the beach and then grab a bite to eat. Pelican Bay is on the marina and beach access means you have to walk around the corner to their neighboring resort to get there. It wasn’t a very long walk either, in fact getting there only took less than five minutes.
Alas, we were facing the beach listening to the sound of the waves crashing in: the turquoise water in its entire splendor as it graces itself to repeatedly reunite with the powdery sandy shoreline. Needless to say, we all got hungry at this point and agreed to meet up here first thing in the morning.
We made our way back to the hotel contemplating on whether to eat there at the hotel’s restaurant called Sabor or wander around the Port Lucaya Marketplace. The hotel wraps around the marina, onto a boardwalk and into the port’s square where shops and mini-restaurants are set-up. We found this one dig that had outdoor seating and unfortunately the name escapes me but the food was good but not outstanding.
I should mention that anytime you decide to eat on the outskirts of the touristy area review your receipt before leaving a tip as most of the establishments already include it in the check. If you are trying to cut cost on having to splurge on eats, I highly recommend the following actions:
• Fish Fry Night by the Beach – for less than USD $10, you can snag a delicious plate of fresh catch, grilled with a side of spicy Mac and cheese, and greens. The local fish fry takes place every Wednesday night here at around 7 where locals and visitors gather on the beach to dance, sing, and be merry; a great and laid back atmosphere for socializing with other people from around the world and the local Bahamians. To get there, you would have to set-up taxi transportation via the front desk.
• Take a Jitney to the Market- on all the other days, consider going to the local supermarket to grab some snacks and quick things to whip up in the room suite. Taking the jitney or bus transportation is incredibly cheap and the island is not hard to get around to and fro. As I mentioned, my parents were staying in the suite with a furnished kitchenette so having things on hand to make took little effort.
Also, most of the local markets offer a selection of prepared meals for you to grab on the go. Perfect for those times, where you not really hungry but don’t want to splurge on a dining experience.
• Ask & Take a Local’s Advice on the cheapest eats. Sometimes the best way to experience real Bahamian food is by asking where the locals go to eat. Finding these hidden gems can do wonders to your budget 🙂
The hotel’s restaurant Sabor is pretty good choice to dine at and offers a spectacular view of Port Lucaya. I wouldn’t recommend eating there all the time unless money is not of concern then by all means! The hotel’s complimentary breakfast however is phenomenal; imagine waking up to watch the sunrise drinking coffee with assortment of fresh things to eat. In addition to that, the staff was super friendly, hilarious and was so catering to myself and the family.
Since our visit in 2009, the hotel has undergone significant changes to include one other dining option and a bar to appease your taste buds.
As far as entertainment, the hotel hosts a live band that plays music almost every other night and on selected nights, the Port Lucaya Marketplace hosts night events where other live bands play at the square. Surrounding the square, are multiple bars that offer two for one drink specials and the Bahamian beer of choice, Kalik. If live music is not your thing, the resort offers gaming entertainment at the Treasure Bay Casino.
One of the amazing parts of my visit was being out in the water with the school of fishes surrounding me. It was my first time snorkeling beneath the Bahamian water and it was a memorable experience. I recommend booking your excursion at the Port Lucaya steps away from the pier. It was so easy to step up and I discovered that it was cheaper to buy it in person than online.
There is also the UNEXSO Dolphin Experience located right next door to the hotel where you can swim and interact with the dolphins. I haven’t tried this activity due to time constraints but it looks like major fun playing with those guys!
I really enjoy my stay at the resort and I will make most likely visit again since I haven’t been to their newly renovated area just yet. I recommend this stay should you wish to experience a relaxing and quiet stay on one of the islands of the Bahamas.
Average night stay can cost about USD $148. For more information about the hotel, their contact information to call is (242) 373-9550.