Freeport, Bahamas: April
FREEPORT: I took my daughter to Freeport for Spring Break. I did not know what to expect because I had never been there before. All I knew was that I needed some sunshine, walk the beaches and experience relaxation.We arrived at a tiny airport in Freeport and proceeded to the baggage claim which consisted of two men tossing your luggage down this little strip. I had never seen anything like it! Little did I know, it was a foreshadowing of primitive things to come.
Our hotel (The Island Palm Resort Hotel) was fine. It was located about 5 miles from the airport. I booked it with an Orbitz special, so I wasn’t expecting to have a balcony overlooking the beach. It was clean, well kept, the staff was friendly and helpful and we have no complaints whatsoever. They provided a free shuttle to their “sister resort” which had a beautiful pool and beach access.
Freeport is known for its spectacular beaches with sparkling blue ocean waters. Our first experience at the beach was amazing. The water was so clear that you could see the fish swimming! One of the best moments of the trip was being able to watch a sting ray glide right by us — it was a little frightening, but exhilarating at the same time! The water is amazingly clear and it really is blue / green.Unless you stay at a hotel in the area called Port Lucaya, you will need to use some form of transportation. We were thrilled to discover the public bus system. These little busses are more like run down mini-vans, but they get you to your destination for only $1 per person each way.
Shopping at Port Lacaya – Port Lucaya is where you will find a variety of shopping. From drug stores to jewelry stores … from souvenir shops to unique clothing boutiques and cigar shops. This is also where a majority of the dining is.
Shopping at International Bizarre – The International Bizarre was very interesting. A lot of the shops were closed or being renovated. The shops that were open mainly sold straw related products. Each little “cubby” shop sold basically the same thing with only slight variations. There was a lot of pressure to buy from the shop owners. This was a good experience, but the shopping wasn’t fantastic.
What To Do!
There is a plethora of water activities to choose from. We chose to ride the Banana Boat, do the Water Trampoline, take a Glass Bottom Boat Tour and take a Snorkeling Excursion. We opted to just be “riders” and not actually snorkel, because the day before on the Glass Bottom Boat, we saw sharks. It was a GREAT experience, but it evoked some fear in regards to snorkeling.
Here’s what you can expect as far as pricing:
- Banana Boat – $15 adults, $10 children
- Water Trampoline – $10 for the day
- Snorkeling Tour – $35.00 for adults, $18.00 for children. We chose the Pat & Diane Fantasia Tours Company. Their boat had a rock climbing wall and a water slide on it! Lots of fun!
- Swim with Dolphins – $169
- Dolphin Close Encounter – $75 adults, $37.50 for children, but children can’t do it without an adult!
- Tour the Lucayan National Park – $79.00
All the water activities really made our vacation.
- Zorbas (located in Port Lucaya) offers reasonably priced breakfasts. We ate at Zorbas several times during our stay. The conch chowder was a good value and quite tasty.
- Led Med (located in Port Lucaya) – This was one of our favorites! We ate out on the patio and enjoyed the fresh air and the views of the boats and docks. Food was very good and reasonably priced.
- Hong Kong Cuisine (located at the International Bizarre) – Out of this world! Food was perfect and the price was reasonable!
We only had one meal that was genuine Bahamian — and that was at an outdoor festival that we stumbled upon. The food was delicious.
Overall, the Island seemed kind of run down to me. In all fairness, they had experienced a hurricane (but I think it had been years before) that was devastating. I actually didn’t see the draw to Freeport — other than the fact that it is so close to the US and the ocean is beautiful. If you are going to Freeport solely for the beaches, go! For me, in the future, I will be looking for places that I can have the same blue ocean, but with a little nicer surroundings. I have been to the Canary Islands and highly recommend them if you are looking for a gorgeous beach related vacation.